German top tournament starts with a surprise

by Johannes Fischer
4/6/2021 – The "Kader-Challenge", where ten of the best German players meet over-the-board in Magdeburg, began with a surprise. Frederik Svane (pictured), a FM with a rating of 2421, convincingly outplayed Germany's current number one Matthias Blübaum and took the lead as the four other games all ended in draw. In the women's tournament, Germany's number one women player, Elisabeth Pähtz, fared better than Blübaum and won the first round with Black against Annmarie Mütsch. | Photo: Bernd Vökler (Archive)

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An ideal start for Frederik Svane

The 16-year old Frederik Svane, the younger brother of the better known German Grandmaster Rasmus Svane, is still a FIDE-Master, and with a rating of 2421 he is currently not even among the top 100 in Germany. Therefore, it is no wonder that Svane initially was not in the line-up for the "Kader-Challenge". But when Vincent Keymer was invited to join Team Polgar in the Julius Baer Chess Challenge that will start on Thursday, and had to withdraw from the "Kader"-tournament, Svane was invited to play in Magdeburg as a last minute replacement.

After all, he is considered to be one of the greatest German talents, and in December 2020 he surprisingly won the World Online Junior Championship U16.

In the very first round of the "Kader-Challenge" Svane also showed how justified it was to invite him to this prestigious tournament. He convincingly outplayed Germany's number one, Matthias Blübaum, who currently has a rating of 2670 and 249 Elo-points more than Svane. But in the game it was Svane who from the very beginning set the pace and played for a win.


After a year, in which almost all over-the-board tournaments were cancelled, the "Kader-Challenge" wants to give the German top players the chance to get some "live" practice again, but of course, there is also a lot of prestige at stake. Particularly so in regard to the fight for the top spot on the national ranking list. Currently, Blübaum is first with 2670 but with a rating of 2659 Alexander Donchenko might dream to catch his rival and to become Germany's new number one.

Easter bunnies can help to make sweet wins even sweeter | Photo: Frank Hoppe

Results of round 1






Women's Tournament

In contrast to the men's tournament, only eight players start in the women's tournament. Clear favourite is Elisabeth Pähtz, the long-time number one women's player in Germany. In round one she showed how determined she is to win this tournament and defeated Annmarie Mütsch with energetic attacking play:


Annmarie Mütsch (left), Elisabeth Pähtz

Results of round 1






Tournament page


Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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