Polish Ch: Two leaders in the Open, Socko ahead in the Women's

by Antonio Pereira
5/16/2019 – The Trading Room of the Warsaw Stock Exchange has received yet again the Polish Chamionships. This year, the events are taking place from the 11th until the 19th of May, with the two top finishers in each group getting spots in the Polish Olympiad team. In the Open, Kamil Dragun and Bartosz Sock are sharing first place on 3½/5, while in the Women's Monicka Socko is the sole leader on 4½/5. | Photo: Marek Skrzypczak

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A first-class venue

The Warsaw Stock Exchange is the largest stock exchange of Eastern Europe. The Polish Chess Championships have taken place at the venue the past two years and have returned for the 2019 edition. Lotto and Mokate are the main sponsors. Interestingly, both events have the same prize fund, with each winner taking home 20,000 PLN.

The top two Polish players — both 2700+ rated — are not participating, as both of them will play at the first leg of the Grand Prix Series in Moscow. Jan-Krzysztof Duda, therefore, will not be able to defend his title, while Radoslaw Wojtaszek will have to wait another year before going for his fourth victory in the national event.  

Former champions Kacper Piorun, Bartosz Socko, Mateusz Bartel and Grzegorz Gajewski are playing, though, with Piorun the rating favourite in the field. 34-year-old Bartel has been the most successful in Polish Championships, as he won the event first in 2006 and then three years in a row between 2010-12 — he arrived in Warsaw this year as the fifth seed.

Mateusz Bartel

Bartel is half a point behind the leaders | Photo: Marek Skrzypczak

Dragun and Socko grab the lead

23-year-old Kamil Dragun won the Under-16 World Youth Championship in 2010. The last time he played in a Polish Championship was in 2016, when he finished on 4½/9 after getting two wins in the final rounds. This year, he has signed three draws so far and, coincidentally, all of them lasted 31 moves. In rounds two and three, though, he defeated Grzegorz Gajewski and Szymon Gumularz.

 

Kamil Dragun

Kamil will try to keep up the pace | Photo: Marek Skrzypczak

The other co-leader, Bartosz Socko, was national champion in 2008 and 2013. This year, he defeated both Jacek Tomczak and Daniel Sadzikowski with the white pieces. 

 

Bartosz Socko

Socko will try to stay on top | Photo: Marek Skrzypczak

Standings after Round 5

 

All games

 

Monika Socko on 4½ out of 5

The clear favourite in the women's section is 41-year-old Monika Socko (Bartosz's wife). She is not only the highest-rated player but also has won the event no less than eight times. Her last victory at this event came in 2017, as last year she finished third behind Jolanta Zawadzka and Anna Warakomska. Zawadzka ended up winning the title (the fourth for her) and is now the third seed at this year's edition — the defending champion has won two and lost two so far in Warsaw.

Jolanta Zawadzka

Defending champion Jolanta Zawadzka | Photo: Marek Skrzypczak

Socko started this year's championship with a draw against second seed Karina Szczepkowska, but then went on to get four straight wins. She will try to keep her streak going on Thursday against Joanna Majdan (notice that there are no rest days in the schedule). 

Monika Socko

The strongest Polish woman player, Monika Socko | Photo: Marek Skrzypczak

Standings after Round 5

 

All games

 

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Antonio is a freelance writer and a philologist. He is mainly interested in the links between chess and culture, primarily literature. In chess games, he skews towards endgames and positional play.
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