Prague Masters & Challengers: Firouzja beats Vidit in playoff to take the title

by ChessBase
2/21/2020 – The "2nd Prague Chess Festival" in the Czech capital ran from February 13th to February 22nd. After an exciting final round in which two key encounters finished decisively, five players ended up tied in first place on 5 out of 9. Vidit and Alireza Firouzja had the best tiebreak scores and decided the championship in a blitz playoff. 16-year-old Firouzja won both quick-play encounters to take the title. Jorden van Foreest got clear first place in the Challengers. | Photo: Vladimir Jagr / praguechessfestival.com

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Vidit falls at the final hurdle

India's number two Vidit Gujrathi could not recover from a painful loss in round eight — on the final day of action, he was quickly defeated by Jan-Krzysztof Duda and had to wait for other results to favour him in order to at least get to a playoff. The other key game for the title was David Anton versus Alireza Firouzja, as a win for either player would be enough to get first place outright. Anton missed his chances during time trouble; Firouzja got the upper hand in the endgame; but the game finally ended up drawn.

These results meant five players tied atop the standings on 5 out of 9. According to the regulations, in this case the two players with the best tiebreak scores — Vidit and Firouzja — were to play a blitz playoff to decide the champion. The 16-year-old showed his prowess in quick-time play and got the title with a 2:0 victory over the long-time leader.   

Replay the games with commentary analysis. Full report will be published shortly.

Report on Round 1 | Round 2 Round 3 | Round 4 | Round 5 | Round 6 | Round 7 | Round 8


Live games and commentary

Players receive 90 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, plus 30 seconds per move starting from move one.

 

Commentary by GM Pavel Simacek and GM Vlastimil Babula

Current standings and results

 
Round 1
 
Round 2
 
Round 3
 
Round 4
 
Round 5
 
Round 6
 
Round 7
 
Round 8
 
Round 9
 

Challengers

 

Current standings and results

 
Round 1
 
Round 2
 
Round 3
 
Round 4
 
Round 5
 
Round 6
 
Round 7
 
Round 8
 
Round 9
 

Continuing a tradition

The 2nd Prague Chess Festival was officially opened on February 11th. Former President Vaclav Klaus was one of the guests of honour. The tournament director Petr Boleslav, who is also the driving force behind the success of the Novy Bor team, envisioned the festival with its Masters and Challengers tournaments as a Prague version of Tata Steel Chess in Wijk aan Zee — a symbiosis of top chess and amateur events. Prague, the "golden city", can look back on a long chess tradition, and was the birthplace of the first official World Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz. 

The opening ceremony was held at the Hotel Don Giovanni, which also serves as the playing venue. In his welcoming speech Boleslav underscored the momentum gained from last year's successful inaugural festival.

I wish the players give their best and fulfill both their ambitions and the expectations of the fans. It was their, I dare to say, enthusiastic response to the last year's premiere, which filled us with the new energy for the months of organizational preparations. I'm glad you are here and now again with us.

Masters players by starting rank

# Name FED Year of Birth Rating

1

Jan-Krzysztof Duda

POL

1998

2758

2

Nikita Vitiugov

RUS

1987

2747

3

Alireza Firouzja

FID

2003

2726

4

Harikrishna Pentala

IND

1986

2724

5

Vidit Santosh Gujarathi

IND

1994

2721

6

David Navara

CZE

1985

2707

7

David Antón Guijarro

ESP

1995

2685

8

Nils Grandelius

SWE

1993

2683

9

Samuel Shankland

USA

1991

2683

10

Markus Ragger

AUT

1988

2670

Challengers players by starting rank

# Name FED Year of Birth Rating

1

Nijat Abasov

AZE

1995

2655

2

Andrey Esipenko

RUS

2002

2636

3

Mateusz Bartel

POL

1985

2636

4

Jorden Van Foreest

NED

1999

2632

5

Kacper Piorun

POL

1991

2623

6

Jan Krejčí

CZE

1992

2578

7

Van Nguyen

CZE

2001

2548

8

Hannes Stefanson

ISL

1972

2546

9

Tadeáš Kriebel

CZE

1995

2516

10

Lukáš Černoušek

CZE

1983

2461

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retspan retspan 2/22/2020 05:59
How's that for a last-minute replacement? Ha ha. This 16-year old kid should be invited to all the top tournaments this year, "just to spice things up."
SermadShah SermadShah 2/22/2020 02:41
So much for the "Vidit too strong" and "dismantle Firouzja" heading.
chessgod0 chessgod0 2/22/2020 01:22
Would be interesting to see a human analysis of the King's Indian from Anton - Firouzja. The games was quite interesting and although the engines give white a +1 advantage very early on, I rather have my doubts.
PurpDriv2 PurpDriv2 2/21/2020 06:38
Anton vs Firouzja gonna be draw. Will Firouza throw his bottle again?
Iron_Monkey92 Iron_Monkey92 2/20/2020 05:35
Move 19 Duda vs Faro games... Notation is not right after black Qf6.. White play Kf1??
mamago92 mamago92 2/15/2020 08:12
Chess is dying?
macauley macauley 2/12/2020 10:11
@FramiS - Yes, you're right. There weren't any photos available at the start of the round. Now updated.
FramiS FramiS 2/12/2020 05:49
@tasmanian

The photo was certainly taken at the opening ceremony last year when Rapport participated in the tournament.
tasmanian tasmanian 2/12/2020 03:11
Someone knows why Richard Rapport is there...
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