McShane with the best start in Netanya

by André Schulz
6/25/2019 – The Netanya Chess Festival (June 23 to July 2) features a GM round-robin and an open. In the GM tournament, possibly the strongest tournament in Israel ever, five world-class grandmasters take on five Israeli GMs. The prize fund is $100,000, while in the open it is just under $50,000: Luke McShane started with two wins. Watch Round 3 LIVE! | Photos: Yoav Nisenbaum /

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Promising tournament in the Promised Land 

The Israeli Chess Federation and the city of Netanya are currently holding a major chess festival that began last Sunday and will last until July 2nd. The festival consists of two main events, a Grandmaster Tournament and an Open Tournament.

The field of the Grandmaster Tournament consists of five Israeli top players and five top international grandmasters. 

  1. GM Leinier Dominguez Perez USA - 2739 
  2. GM Peter Svidler RUS - 2735 
  3. GM Daniil Dubov RUS - 2690 
  4. GM Maxim Rodshtein ISR - 2689 
  5. GM Luke McShane, ENG - 2686 
  6. GM Tamir Nabaty ISR - 2683 
  7. GM Boris Gelfand ISR - 2676 
  8. GM Pavel Eljanov UKR - 2661 
  9. GM Evgeny Postny ISR - 2612 
  10. GM Ilya Smirin ISR - 2607

FIDE Category 18 (rating average: 2678)

The venue is the VIP Lounge at Netanya Football Stadium.

Netanya is a city of about 215,000 residents on the Mediterranean about 30 km north of Tel Aviv

Luke McShane had the best start. In the first round, the Englishman prevailed over Maxim Rodshtein.


Black threatens ♜f6 or ♜f5 so White must play 29.e4 pinning Black's d5-rook. After 29... f6 30.c2 d7, releases the pin and targets h3. Now 31.h4 was called for but Rodshtein's 31.e7? was swiftly punished: 31...d6. The g5-knight still hangs as 32...♛xg3+ is threatened next. 0-1

Round 1 results


In the second round, the McShane met Pavel Eljanov and soon gave an exchange for a pawn in a Reti opening. White's initiative led to this endgame:


Black continued with 42...g5. White ignored the pawn and focused on his queenside majority, to reach the following position: 


Here Eljanov went for 53...h2. White had to give up the bishop, but his advanced passed pawns still offered good drawing chances, despite Black's extra rook. Finally, this exciting endgame reached its critical moment:


Necessary was 60...♜b2 to control the b-pawn, e.g.: 61.♘d5+ ♚f5 62.b7 ♝xb7 63.cxb7 ♜xb7 with a draw.

Black instead played 60.d2+, which lost a decisive tempo: 61.d5+ f5 62.b7 b2 63.c7 xb7 64.cxb7 c2+ 65.d6 b2 66.c6 e6 67.c7+ and Black gave up.

Rodshtein conceded his second defeat in round two, against Leinier Dominguez.

Round 2 results


Round 3 results


Standings after Round 3


All games



The open prize fund is 170,000 shekels (about USD $47,000). Fifteen players started with the maximum score of 2, among them Anton Korobov, currently atop the leaderboard.

Standings after Round 2 (top 20)


All games



Local times in Israel (IDT) are UT+3. Afternoon rounds are at 15:00 CEST / 9:00 AM EDT).

Day Date Time (IDT) Event
Sunday 6/23 15:00 Opening Ceremony
Sunday 6/23 16:00 Round 1
Monday 6/24 16:00 Round 2
Tuesday 6/25 16:00 Round 3
Wednesday 6/26 16:00 Round 4
Thursday 6/27 16:00 Round 5
Friday 6/28 11:00 Round 6
Saturday 6/29 Rest Day  
Sunday 6/30 16:00 Round 7
Monday 7/1 16:00 Round 8
Tuesday 7/2 11:00 Round 9
Tuesday 7/2 18:00 Prize giving ceremony

Translation from German: Macauley Peterson


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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Lachesis Lachesis 6/25/2019 11:36
I wish I was able to attend.Good coverage 😃