On Friday 4 June 2021, the Polish No. 1 player, GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda, visited Europchess “online”. Our high-level guest was first welcomed by Arkadiusz Langer, a Cabinet member of the Polish Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski. Langer not only gave an account of Duda’s impressive chess career, but also summarized in a succinct manner the significance of Poland as a great chess nation. Europchess President Johannes Bertram added that the club is inviting Grandmasters from an EU Member State every year. Unfortunately, this year a physical visit was impossible due to the pandemic – and therefore, Europchess was particularly happy to meet him online, thanks to the help of CHESS24, said Bertram. Of course, the club stands ready to welcome him in person whenever he would travel to Brussels in the future.
GM Duda then gave a one-hour lecture about his famous game against World Champion Magnus Carlsen during the Altibox tournament (Norway, 11 October 2020). In a Caro-Kann Defense, Carlsen chose 4. … Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6. According to Duda, White’s plan is to go for a pawn ending and win with the 4-3 majority on the queenside. However, as already Dr. Tarrasch said, before the ending, the “Gods have put the middlegame”. And that phase was particularly exciting, as Duda castled on the queenside and Magnus sacrificed a pawn on move 12 to open lines against the king. Black should have probably continued with a positional exchange sacrifice by taking a bishop on e3, but preferred to transfer his rook from e8 via e7 to the queenside, to sacrifice against a knight on a4. With a couple of precise defensive moves, Duda gained the advantage around move 28. When Magnus’s queen took a pawn on a2, White’s position looked very dubious, but 32. Qc2! was a masterly resource. Black lost material after 32. … Qxc4 33. Re8+ as 33. … Rxe8 34. Rxe8+ Kh7 35. Rh8+! Kxh8 36. Bxg7+ would lose the queen. Nevertheless, Magnus fought on and posed White a number of problems to convert the full point. Duda stayed calm and ended the World Champion’s 125 game-streak without a loss.
Afterwards, GM Duda took on 23 Europchess players in two clock simuls at 11 and 12boards, respectively, via Chess24. The Europchess players included unrated players, regular club players between 1700 and 2200 ELO and three FIDE masters. Every player had 30 minutes plus 30 minutes increment. The super GM delivered hard fights on all boards and scored an impressive 21.5-1.5 win! For Europchess, FM Carl Buhr took the full point, and FM Jan Bednarich drew in favourable position, while FM Víctor García Cuenca was winning at a certain point, but missed the correct continuation and eventually lost. Also our youngsters Carlo Russian and Mark Ouaki could hold their respective games for a long time. The Pechvogel of the day was Paolo Garzotti. In an equal rook-ending he produced a self-mate in one!
Please click here to reproduce the welcome speech of Arkadiusz Langer and the simultaneous games. Enjoy the excursion into Polish chess and the fine technique of best Polish player after the famous Akiba Rubinstein!
Update! The event was echoed in the Polish press: