gelfand challenge news

20 of the world’s best young male and female chess players will compete on chess24 from June 10-13 in the Gelfand Challenge, the second event on the $100,000 Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour. The line-up, split into Team Kramnik and Team Polgar, is the same, as they aim to follow in the footsteps of 15-year-old Indian prodigy Praggnanandhaa last time around and qualify for the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. We’ll once again have live commentary on all the action here on chess24, with the games beginning at 15:00 CEST.

The Gelfand Challenge, the 2nd event on the Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour, is named after the legendary Boris Gelfand, who in Moscow in 2012 came within a rapid playoff of snatching the World Chess Championship from Vishy Anand. Boris is also one of the coaches of Team Kramnik, with the main line-up for the Gelfand Challenge exactly the same as for the Polgar Challenge.

There’s one behind-the-scenes change this time, with both teams now having a male and female reserve player, so that if a player has to drop out for any reason (as Dinara Saduakassova was forced to in the Polgar Challenge after connection issues), we’ll have a replacement. The reserve players are India’s Vaishali R and Aditya Mittal, Yahli Sokolovsky from Israel and Russia’s Leya Garifullina.

There’s a lot at stake in the tournament:

  • $15,000 in prize money, including $3,000 for 1st place
  • A place in the 8-player $40,000 knockout final of the Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour for the top performers over the four events
  • A trip to the Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi World Chess Championship match in Dubai for the winning team over the Tour – Team Polgar have a head-start after winning the Polgar Challenge 96.5:88
  • A place for the winner on the next event on the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, the 4th Regular Tournament that takes place from June 26 – July 4

It’s that final prize that’s perhaps most relevant to the young, ambitious stars in the event. 15-year-old Praggnanandhaa took full advantage of winning the Polgar Challenge to qualify for the New in Chess Classic.

Although he didn’t quite make the knockout he scored a brilliant 7/15, with wins over Duda, Karjakin, Radjabov and Christiansen. In the final three games he held his own with draws against current legends Carlsen, Nakamura and Firouzja, with World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen noting, “he certainly didn’t show me too much respect”!

Praggnanandhaa of course has a chance to qualify again (for an event with an Indian flavour – Adhiban and 17-year-old Arjun Erigaisi already qualified through the Indian qualifier), but he’ll face fierce competition from the likes of Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Nihal Sarin, Awonder Liang, Vincent Keymer and Gukesh, not to mention Christopher Yoo, who just made his first grandmaster norm.

We also of course have a new grandmaster since the last event, Kazakhstan’s Zhansaya Abdumalik, who earned the title a few days ago while winning the Gibraltar FIDE Women’s Grand Prix in truly spectacular style.

Gunay Mammadzada, who finished 3rd ahead of many of the stars of the female game, also competes in the Gelfand Challenge, as does Dinara Saduakassova.

The format is once again a 20-player round-robin held online on chess24, with five rounds on the first three days and four on the last. The time control is 10 minutes for all moves, with a 5-second increment from move 1. The pairings are already out:

The presenting partner of the Gelfand Challenge is Air for Kids, an initiative by Airthings for children to learn more about air quality and its importance for health and wellbeing.

With the Gelfand Challenge we’ll reach the halfway point on the road to the final.

The action begins at 15:00 CEST on Thursday June 10th here on chess24. Tania Sachdev, David Howell and Jovanka Houska are expected to be among the commentators, with guest appearances by the players’ coaches.

Before that, however, there’s more non-stop chess action. The San Fermin Banter Blitz Cup – another chance to qualify for the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour or to play Magnus in the San Fermin Mundial – started today with the 1st of 8 qualifiers. Then tomorrow, Saturday June 5th, the Superbet Chess Classic starts in Bucharest, from 14:00 CEST. Stay tuned to all the action here on chess24!

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