Starting Monday: Kader-Challenge in Magdeburg

by Klaus Besenthal
4/4/2021 – With ten players in the men’s section and eight participants in the women’s category, the Kader-Challenge — organized by the German Chess Federation — kicks off on Monday at Magdeburg’s Maritim Hotel. A number of measures will be in place to deal with the current sanitary crisis. Matthias Bluebaum and Alexander Donchenko are the top seeds in the men’s event, while Elisabeth Paehtz and Josefine Heinemann are the highest-rated players among the women.

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Covid-19 tests for all

Magdeburg RathausThe German Chess Federation will hold an over-the-board classical tournament on April 5-11. The event will be played at the Maritim Hotel in Magdeburg, the capital and second-largest city of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt.

People with contagious viral infections have always sat down at the board in chess tournaments. If the symptoms were perceived by the — still healthy — opponent, he or she still had no chance of success with any complaints. The topic simply never played a role in tournament regulations and rules. And how should that have been possible? Arbiters want to judge the facts surrounding each game — for example, is the mobile phone on or off? The symptoms of an infection, however, are not so easy to grasp. So, chess players have always had to bite the bullet: risk an illness of their own or simply suffer a defeat. 

It is possible, however, that a drastic cultural change is taking place, which is quite banal since Covid-19 test results or — perhaps in the near future — entries in vaccination cards can be clearly grasped and translated into an unambiguous rule. If the prevailing narrative that everything will return to ‘normal’ when everyone is vaccinated ‘in the summer’ crumbles in the next few months, then these measures could indeed be applied in chess tournaments for some time to come. Arbiters would then be able to cope with the issue. 

At any rate, the usual Covid-19 tests have arrived at the playing site of the Kader-Challenge. They will be carried out on every single person participating in the tournament. The audience in front of the screens will surely keep their fingers firmly crossed that the results will always come out negative! 

[Pictured: Town hall and golden Magdeburg Rider statue, via Wikimedia Commons]

Men’s tournament

Kader Challenge, chess

Starting rank list of players

Name RtgI
Blübaum Matthias 2670
Donchenko Alexander 2659
Svane Rasmus 2613
Heimann Andreas 2606
Huschenbeth Niclas 2604
Fridman Daniel 2601
Kollars Dmitrij 2598
Wagner Dennis 2581
Engel Luis 2553
Svane Frederik 2421

Round 1 pairings

Name Result Name
Svane Rasmus   Fridman Daniel
Kollars Dmitrij   Heimann Andreas
Svane Frederik   Blübaum Matthias
Huschenbeth Niclas   Donchenko Alexander
Engel Luis   Wagner Dennis

Women’s tournament

Kader Challenge, chess

Starting rank list of players

Name RtgI
Pähtz Elisabeth 2467
Heinemann Josefine 2296
Sieber Fiona 2275
Lubbe Melanie 2274
Schneider Jana 2272
Mütsch Annmarie 2266
Ziegenfuß Antonia 2101
Bashylina Luisa 1978

Round 1 pairings

Name Result Name
Bashylina Luisa   Sieber Fiona
Schneider Jana   Lubbe Melanie
Mütsch Annmarie   Pähtz Elisabeth
Heinemann Josefine   Ziegenfuß Antonia


Klaus Besenthal is computer scientist, has followed and still follows the chess scene avidly since 1972 and since then has also regularly played in tournaments.


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