WR Masters: Abdusattorov on the attack

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
2/18/2023 – Nodirbek Abdusattorov and Dommaraju Gukesh joined Wesley So and Levon Aronian in the lead of the WR Chess Masters after beating Andrey Esipenko and Praggnanandhaa in the super-tournament’s second round. Abdusattorov’s victory featured a demolishing attack, while Gukesh saw Pragg blundering the game away in a double-edged position. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Youthful, tactical battles

Half the field at the 10-player WR Chess Masters are aged 20 or younger. In round 2 of the Düsseldorf event, the two games that featured two young players facing each other were both the most entertaining and the ones that finished with decisive results. By contrast, the more experienced GMs showed much more cautious approaches and drew their not-as-interesting confrontations.

Particularly entertaining was Nodirbek Abdusattorov’s victory over Andrey Esipenko. Playing white, the Uzbek star mercilessly attacked his Russian opponent after the latter erred by playing an over-optimistic move out of the opening. Esipenko thus returned to a fifty-percent score, as he had won his inaugural game on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the all-Indian battle of prodigies saw Dommaraju Gukesh getting the better of Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu for a second tournament in a row. Gukesh (aged 16) had defeated Pragg (17), also with white, in one of the most fascinating games from the Tata Steel Masters. In their Düsseldorf encounter, a tense struggle came to a sudden end when Pragg overlooked a tactical motif that had been lurking for several moves in the position.

Pragg will try to bounce back from his consecutive losses in the one game from round 3 featuring two youngsters, as he will play white against 18-year-old Vincent Keymer. Three of the four remaining encounters will be intergenerational battles, with Abdusattorov and Gukesh getting the black pieces against Levon Aronian and Wesley So — in games that, incidentally, see the four co-leaders facing each other.

Vincent Keymer, Levon Aronian

Levon Aronian drew Vincent Keymer with black in the one intergenerational battle of the second round | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Abdusattorov 1 - 0 Esipenko


Andrey Esipenko, Nodirbek Abdusattorov

A memorable battle — Andrey Esipenko playing black against Nodirbek Abdusattorov | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Gukesh 1 - 0 Praggnanandhaa


Gukesh, Praggnanandhaa

The youngest players in the field — Gukesh (16 y.o.) defeated Praggnanandhaa (17) on Friday | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Results - Round 2


Standings - Round 2


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.