Hamburg GP: Duda in the final

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
11/14/2019 – The second finalist at the FIDE Grand Prix in Hamburg is Jan-Krzysztof Duda. The Polish grandmaster will be facing Alexander Grischuk starting Friday to decide who will become the champion in the second-largest city of Germany. Duda defeated Daniil Dubov in rapid tiebreaks despite losing the first encounter against the Russian. | Photo: Official site

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Endgame technique

The third leg of the FIDE Grand Prix is being played in Hamburg, Germany. The 16-player knockout has a €130,000 prize fund, with the series as a whole having an additional prize fund of €280,000 plus two qualifying spots for the 2020 Candidates Tournament. The tournament takes place in the Kehrwieder Haus from November 5th to 17th. You can find more info here.

Two of the most daring chess players from the circuit were paired up against each other in the semi-finals of the Hamburg Grand Prix. Daniil Dubov comes from playing both sharply and successfully at the European Team Championship, while Jan-Krzysztof Duda used a bold style to reach the podium at last year's World Blitz Championship. Little did we know their tiebreak match-up would end up being decided by who was better at handling queenless endgames.

Duda started with White and agreed to quickly simplify the position. He had the better pawn structure, but also some difficulties to develop his light-squared bishop. As usual though, Dubov put his rival to the test and eventually managed to get a strong passer on the d-file. Already in a losing position, Duda went for a failed attempt to create counterplay by activating his rook:


Transferring his rook to the sixth rank with 43.f6 and, two moves later, completely taking it away from any defensive task with 45.h6 quickened Duda's defeat. Dubov queened his pawn and won the game not long after. The Russian only needed a draw with White to knock out his Polish colleague. 

Jan-Krzysztof Duda

Jan-Krzysztof Duda | Photo: Official site

Before this match, no one had managed to bounce back from a loss in Hamburg, nor in the classic phase nor in the rapid tiebreakers. The first one to do so was Duda, who used a strategy widely used when dealing with these situations: to play the Pirc. Although he did not leave the opening with a great position, he managed to avoid simplifications by establishing a closed pawn structure. A long manoeuvring struggle ensued.

When the dust settled, a rook endgame with four pawns per side presented itself on the board. White was the one who needed to be careful, due to the far-advanced black pawns on the queenside:


The black king is inevitably penetrating White's position. Given the circumstances, Dubov needed to go for immediate counterplay with 68.♖xh5, creating a passer on the g-file. Instead, the Russian gave a check with 68.e5+, gifting the king an extra tempo to infiltrate with 68...d3. Dubov's idea was to push his d-pawn instead and continued with 69.d5

This turned out to be the wrong plan. Black had to give up his rook for White's b-pawn, and Duda ended up levelling the score with his 85-move win.

25-minute games


Daniil Dubov

Daniil Dubov started the tiebreaks with a win | Photo: Official site

Perhaps exhausted after the lengthy 25-minute games, the players agreed to a very short draw in the first 10-minute encounter. Dubov was the one giving up the slight privilege of fighting for an advantage with White.

Following his strategy from the second 25-minute game, Duda opted for simply getting a playable position out of the opening by using the Torre Attack with the white pieces. Dubov kept things under control until around move 30, but at that point White's strategical trumps were too much to handle. Later on, he got tired of defending passively:


Of course, defending this position with Black is a pain. White will keep mounting up the pressure while Black is lacking paths to create counterplay. Dubov thus decided to break the tension with 36...d4. Unfortunately for him, however, this only led to that pawn quickly becoming a weakness. Duda captured it on move 47 and went on to convert the favourable rook endgame that ensued.

Duda will have a rest day before his final match against Grischuk kicks off on Friday.  

10-minute games


Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Daniil Dubov

The playing hall in Hamburg | Photo: Official site

Match results

Click or tap any result to open the game via


Commentary webcast

Commentary by GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko


Nov. 5–7 Round 1 + Tie-breaks
Nov. 8–10 Round 2 + Tie-breaks
Nov. 11-13 Semi-final + Tie-breaks
Nov. 14 Rest day
Nov. 15-17 Final + Tie-breaks


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.


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