Pavel Eljanov wins Deutschland Grand Prix

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
7/19/2021 – Thanks to a final-round win over Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Pavel Eljanov took clear first place at the Deutschland Grand Prix in Dortmund. The Ukrainian grandmaster had been in the sole lead until round 7, when he was beaten by Dmitrij Kollars. Kollars, who lost his penultimate game against Kasimdzhanov, finished in shared second place, together with Daniel Fridman.

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Kollars and Fridman a half point back

Pavel Eljanov arrived in Dortmund as the top seed in a strong 10-player single round robin tournament. This was one of many attractive events organized by Initiative Pro Schach as part of the summer chess festival which takes place yearly at the third-largest city in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The Ukrainian had a strong start, winning three out of his first four games. Two draws followed, against Ruslan Ponomariov and Daniel Fridman, which allowed him to keep the sole lead going into round 7. In sole second place at that point was Dmitrij Kollars, who was paired up against the leader.

In the crucial encounter, the 21-year-old grandmaster got a much better structure with the white pieces out of the opening. Patient play by the German prevented his opponent from creating counterplay. Only a pawn down, and without a clear tactical threat by White on the board, Eljanov resigned on move 39.


39.Kg2 was the last move of the game. It was a great technical effort by Kollars, who counts with full light-square domination in the final position.


Dmitrij Kollars

Dmitrij Kollars

The roles had been reversed, as Kollars was now the sole leader with two rounds to go, except that he was not only chased by Eljanov but also by Fridman. However, for a second round in a row, the sole leader gave up a full point. Former FIDE world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov defeated Kollars with the white pieces.

Early in the game, a material imbalance was created on the board: Black had a rook and a pawn against White’s bishop and knight. The minor pieces proved to be stronger, as Kasimdzhanov slowly increased his advantage. 


50.Bg6+ Kxg6 51.Ne7+ Kxh6 (51...Kf7 also loses) 52.Rxd8, and White soon won the game.


Rustam Kasimdzhanov

Rustam Kasimdzhanov

The curious turn of events meant three players entered the last round tied atop the standings table on 5 points each, with 16-year-old grandmaster Vincent Keymer a half point behind. Moreover, none of the contenders for first place were paired up against each other.

Much like in round 8, there was only one decisive game on the last day of action: the highest-rated player in the field finished the tournament in style, beating the ever-fighting Kasimdzhanov with the white pieces to claim first place.


Out of the opening, Eljanov had given up a pawn to get the initiative with his bishop pair in a complex struggle. Kasimdzhanov eventually recovered the pawn, but was nonetheless in deep trouble in the diagrammed position. At this point, the Ukrainian should have prioritized to keep the queens on the board with 29.Qf3 or 29.Qg3 — his 29.Bd3, on the other hand, was responded by 29...Qxb3 30.cxb3, and Black had enough resources to fight back.

White still had the upper hand in the ensuing position, but Eljanov needed to work hard until getting a 64-move victory, as Kasimdzhanov showed great resilience in defence throughout.


Interview with Daniel Fridman (instructive endgames included)

Final standings


All games



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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