Richard Rapport and Five‘s the Charm
A participant in the Candidates Tournament 2022 in Madrid and the current world No. 10 in the FIDE ratings, Hungarian GM Richard Rapport returns to Prague after a five-year hiatus. He's considered one of the top favorites to win the Masters tournament.
Four months before the start of the 6th Prague International Chess Festival, the organizers have revealed the names of the first players who have accepted the invitations to the closed tournaments. "I have a soft spot for Richard, and I'm thrilled to see him returning to Prague in February," says Festival director Petr Boleslav with enthusiasm. He continues, "It's almost like a charm; so far, Richard has consistently attended a our event once every five years." In 2014, as an 18-year-old GM, he visited the town of Nový Bor in northern Bohemia, known for its glass industry, to compete with Viktor Láznička in the Nový Bor Chess Corrida tournament. In March 2019, he participated in the first Masters tournament, and he's continuing this five-year tradition by bringing his unique and offensive style to Prague in 2024.
Two slots in the Masters tournament, the strongest chess competition in the Czech Republic, are traditionally reserved for the top two players in the Czech rankings, namely GM David Navara and GM Thai Dai Van Nguyen. Czech players have a tradition of success against top world competitors, gaining valuable points. In 2022, Van Nguyen secured the bronze medal, marking the best result for a Czech player in the tournament thus far.
Another long-term player from Nový Bor club, GM Mateusz Bartel, is no stranger to the main stage of the Don Giovanni Hotel. He attended the closed Challengers tournament in 2019, 2020, and 2023. His last participation was marked by a golden medal and secured his advancement to the Masters tournament in 2024.
Mateusz Bartel signed the contract during Czech extraleague which held in the middle of October at the Don Giovanni hotel Prague
As previously announced, after three years, the Festival is returning to its traditional February-March schedule. The event is set to take place from February 26 to March 7, 2024, at the Don Giovanni Hotel in Prague. Registrations for the Open and rating tournaments are currently in full swing. Festival regulations download (pdf)