ABOUT

Mentors

About

Judit Polgar

A living legend in chess, Judit is the all-time No.1 female player and former world No.8 who once held the record for the youngest Grandmaster of all time. The inspirational mother of two, whose sister Susan is also a Grandmaster, is now retired and turning her attention to finding the next Judit Polgar.

About

Vladimir Kramnik

A giant in chess with a unique place in its history. Vlad ended Garry Kasparov’s reign as World Champion in 2000 and reigned supreme in 2006 to become the first undisputed title-holder for more than two decades. Known for his strategic genius, every player in world chess looks up to the great Vladimir Kramnik.

GAME

Teams

Team Polgar coaches

Ju Wenjun

Surya Ganguly

Arthur Kogan

Players

Zhansaya Abdumalik

Polina Shuvalova

Nihal Sarin

Sara Khadem

Volodar Murzin

Jiner Zhu

Gunay Mammadzada

Gukesh D

Awonder Liang

Vincent
Keymer

Reserve Players

Leya Garifullina

Aditya Mittal

Team Kramnik coaches

Hou
Yifan

Boris Gelfand

Anna Muzychuk

Players

Christopher Yoo

Carissa Yip

Lei Tingjie

Praggnanandhaa

Nurgyul Salimova

Leon Mendonca

Jonas Bjerre

Olga Badelka

Dinara Saduakassova

Nodirbek Abdusattorov

Reserve Players

Vaishali R

Yahli Sokolovsky

FINAL STANDINGS

Team Kramnik

89

Team Polgar

101

#

Player

Points

1

Gukesh D

14

2

Praggnanandhaa

14

3

Vincent Keymer

13.5

4

Volodar Murzin

13

5-7

Nihal Sarin

12

5-7

Nodirbek Abdusattorov

12

5-7

Christopher Yoo

12

8

Awonder Liang

11.5

9

Leon Mendonca

10

10-11

Sara Khadem

9

#

Player

Points

10-11

Lei Tjingjie

9

12-13

Gunay Mammadzada

8.5

12-13

Jonas Bjerre

8.5

14-16

Zhu Jiner

7.5

14-16

Nurgyul Salimova

7.5

14-16

Dinara Saduakassova

7.5

17-18

Zhansaya Abdumalik

6

17-18

Polina Shuvalova

6

19

Carissa Yip

5

20

Olga Badelka

3.5

Overall Team Standings

Who's leading the race to win a trip to the World Chess Championship in Dubai?

Team Kramnik

177

Team Polgar

197.5

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ABOUT

What is the Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour?

The Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour is a set of tournaments running alongside the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, and featuring some of the world’s most exciting young chess players. These players will compete individually as well as in their teams, and so we’ll have a tournament winner as well as a winning team on the final day.

Vladimir Kramnik and JuditPolgar, together with their teams of world-renowned coaches, will provide weekly coaching sessions with the players throughout the Tour. 

The Tour will feature four “Challenges” and one Final for a total of five events. The Challenges will each be four-day, round robin tournaments, while the Final will bring the top 8 players together for a thrilling knock-out tournament to decide the winner of the Tour. All tournaments will be played in rapid format (10+5) with all games played on chess24.
The Tour will bring together 20 of the most exciting young male and female chess players. There will be ten female and ten male players split into two teams: Team Polgar and Team Kramnik. Stay tuned for the announcement of the lineup!
The Tour will be broadcast live on this website as well as chess24.com, and also available on chess24’s official YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels. The first event will feature Judit Polgar and Vladimir Kramnik as commentators.

Tournament schedule

April

8-11

Polgar Challenge

$15K Prize Fund

+ Wildcard to following Meltwater Champions Chess Tour tournament

June

10-13

Gelfand Challenge

$15K Prize Fund

+ Wildcard to following Meltwater Champions Chess Tour tournament

Presenting Partner:

July

15-18

Hou Yifan Challenge

$15K Prize Fund

+ Wildcard to following Meltwater Champions Chess Tour tournament

August

12-15

Kramnik Challenge

$15K Prize Fund

+ Wildcard to following Meltwater Champions Chess Tour tournament

TBA

0-0

Final

$40K Prize Fund

+ Invitation to Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 2021-2022 season

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Team Polgar: coach

Ju Wenjun

China’s reigning World Champion is the shining light of the women’s game right now. The 30-year-old from Shanghai has represented her country since 2008 and won multiple honours, including two golds at the Chess Olympiad. Ju was also only the fifth woman to cross the 2600 rating barrier after Anna Muzychuk.

Team Polgar: coach

Surya Ganguly

Six-time national champ Surya is part of the cohort of Indian stars inspired by the great Vishy Anand – and indeed he was in Anand’s team of “seconds” for three of his World Championship matches. Surya himself has a peak rating of 2676 a stack of honours including Asian champion and individual gold at the World Team event.

Team Polgar: coach

Arthur Kogan

A master trainer who has worked with some of the best players in the world. Arthur is a Ukrainian-born Israeli Grandmaster, now living in Spain, who has extensive coaching experience. He captained the Italian national team that included world No.2 Fabiano Caruana and has more recently worked with visually-impaired teams.

Team Polgar

Zhansaya Abdumalik

Age: 21 | Kazakhstan | 2472

International Master Zhansaya Abdumalik is a two-time World Youth Champion for her age and gender category, her U8 win in 2008 making her the first Kazakhstani to earn a world chess title. She became the World Girls U20 Champion in 2017 and earned her IM title in the same year, and today is second in the world among women 21 and younger. Abdumalik has secured three Grandmaster norms and, currently rated FIDE 2472, is tantalizingly close to the coveted title.

Team Polgar

Polina Shuvalova

Age: 20 | Russia | 2489

After becoming the World Girls U18 Champion in 2018, then graduating to become the World Girls U20 Champion in 2019, Russian International Master Polina Shuvalova remains at the top as the No. 1 ranked U20 female in the world today. She has won several medals for Russia in the World Youth and European Youth Championships, and in 2020 tied for first in the Russian women’s national championship.

Team Polgar

Nihal Sarin

Age: 16 | India | 2620

World Champion Magnus Carlsen has described Grandmaster Nihal Sarin as “one of the better blitz players around,” with the Indian prodigy notching a World Blitz Championship and a World Youth Championship before the age of 10. Sarin earned his GM title at 14 and was one of the fastest to cross the 2600 ELO barrier. He won the U18 World Youth Championship in 2020 and helped India to a gold medal in the 2020 FIDE Chess Olympiad, ranking today as the No. 2 in the world for players under 18.

Team Polgar

Sarasadat Khadem

Age: 24 | Iran | 2494

International Master Sara Khadem is the No. 1 woman from Iran and the No. 13 female player in the world, a competitor for the Women’s World Championship in 2017. She was a World U12 Girls Champion in 2009, and the World U16 Girls Blitz Champion in 2013, then finished runner-up in the World Junior Girls Championship the next year. Khadem was the 2015 Iranian Women’s Champion and has played for her national team in Women’s Chess Olympiads since 2012.

Team Polgar

Volodar Murzin

Age: 14 | Russia | 2502

One of the youngest players in the Challengers Tour, 14-year-old International Master Volodar Murzin is perhaps Russia’s most-promising up-and-coming players. He is a two-time European Youth Champion and currently No. 4 on the world list of players under 16, and under the world-class coaching of Team Polgar, Murzin hopes to improve on his endgames and strategical pattern recognition.

Team Polgar

Zhu Jiner

Age: 18 | China | 2462

Chinese Woman Grandmaster Jiner Zhu ranks as the No. 1 female player in the world under the age of 20, and the No. 24 female player overall. She was a World Youth Chess Champion for U14 girls, and qualified to compete in the 2018 FIDE Women’s World Chess Championship. She was also a bronze medalist in China’s Women’s Rapid Chess Championship in 2018, and would like to improve on her openings from the Team Polgar training sessions in the Challengers Tour.

Team Polgar

Gunay Mammadzada

Age: 20 | Azerbaijan | 2443

A Woman Grandmaster by 14 and an International Master by 18, Azerbaijan’s Gunay Mammadzada has today climbed into the top 30 female players in the world. She was girls U10 World Youth Champion in 2008, the U14 European Girls Champion in 2013, and has been the Azerbaijani Women’s Champion twice, in 2017 and 2019. Having already received training from Susan Polgar, Mammadzada now hopes to improve her endgame psychology and preparation on Team Judit Polgar in the Challengers Tour.

Team Polgar

Gukesh D

Age: 15 | India | 2578

Dommaraju Gukesh, commonly referred to as Gukesh D, is the second-youngest Grandmaster in history after missing the record set by Sergey Karjakin by just 17 days. He is still the youngest-ever GM from India, and has been the FIDE World Youth Champion for his age category since 2018, recruited by Viswanathan Anand’s coaching project. At just 15 years old and one of the youngest competitors in the Challengers Tour, today Gukesh D ranks No. 6 in the world for players under 18.

Team Polgar

Awonder Liang

Age: 18 | USA | 2592

Today the No. 4 under-18 player in the world and two-time World Champion in his age category, American prodigy GM Awonder Liang has been breaking U.S. records since becoming the youngest expert in the nation’s history just after his eighth birthday. Liang beat his first GM at nine and became the youngest U.S. master before he was 10, and now is a three-time U.S. Junior champion with a fifth-place finish in the 2020 U.S. Championship.

Team Polgar

Vincent Keymer

Age: 16 | Germany | 2591

Hailed as Germany’s greatest talent since Emanuel Lasker, 16-year-old Grandmaster Vincent Keymer notched chess’ highest title just before the pandemic in 2020 and became the youngest-ever German to achieve the feat. He earned his first GM norm as a 13-year-old, winning the 2018 Grenke Chess Open with a sensational 2798 performance that beat out 49 GMs, four of them rated above 2700. Tapped by Garry Kasparov as “exceptional,” Keymar today ranks No. 5 in the world among a studded group of U18 players.

Team Polgar

Leya Garifullina

Age: 16 | Russia | 2399

Russian Woman Grandmaster Leia Garifullina is the world’s No. 1 female player under the age of 18. After finishing eighth place at the 2018 World Blitz Championship, Garifullina won her age category in the World Youth Championship in 2019 and finished third in the 2020 Russian national championship. On Team Polgar for the Challengers Tour, she hopes to improve on critical moments in her middlegame.

Team Polgar

Aditya Mittal

Age: 15 | India | 2438

One of the youngest players in the Challengers Tour, 15-year-old International Master Aditya Mittal is also one of the world’s top-10 players his age. He was awarded India’s National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement in the field of chess in 2016, pushing on to earn his IM title as a 12-year-old in 2019. Inspired by Garry Kasparov, Mittal hopes that Team Polgar will help him study dynamic middlegames and complex practical endgames.

Team Kramnik: coach

Hou Yifan

China’s Hou Yifan is the No. 1 female player in the world and all-time No. 2 in the women’s game. She is also an Oxford scholar and last year became a Professor at Shenzhen university at just 26. Hou, now 27, is semi-retired from top chess is devoting her time to being a high-class coach for rising young talents.

Team Kramnik: coach

Boris Gelfand

Boris Gelfand is one of the great minds of world chess. Trained in the legendary Soviet-style, Boris went on to represent Israel with distinction. He won the Chess World Cup in 2009 before challenging Vishy Anand for the world title in 2012. Now 52, Boris is still active and brings a wealth of experience and know-how.

Team Kramnik: coach

Anna Muzychuk

A former world champion in both rapid and blitz, Anna is another inspirational female star who hails from a chess-playing family. The 31-year-old’s younger sister Mariya was also a world champ. But it was Anna who broke through the 2600 barrier – a feat only three women had achieved before her.

Team Kramnik

Christopher Yoo

Age: 14 | USA | 2457

Once the youngest U.S. national master at the age of nine, three years later Christopher Yoo became America’s youngest player to the International Master title and today sits just outside of the top-10 U16 players in the world. Perhaps missing his Grandmaster title only from a pandemic year away from OTB chess, Yoo finds beauty in tactical combinations and has won recognition for compositions, including a bronze medal in the FIDE World Cup in composing.

Team Kramnik

Carissa Yip

Age: 17 | USA | 2430

The No. 1 female in the world for players under 18, International Master Carissa Yip has been America’s girl since scalping her first Grandmaster as a 10-year-old in 2013. Already the fastest U.S. female to become an expert, Yip went on as a 15-year-old to set the record as the youngest U.S. female to earn the International Master title. Now a three-time U.S. Junior Girls Champion, Yip finished second in last year’s U.S. Women’s Championship.

Team Kramnik

Lei Tingjie

Age: 24 | China | 2505

Ranked just outside of the top-10 women in the world in a classical time control, No. 11 Chinese Grandmaster Tinjie Lei improves with speed and ranks as the No. 4 woman using a rapid clock. She earned her GM title in a big 2017 year that also included a silver medal in FIDE’s Women’s World Rapid Chess Championship in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. After tutoring under Chinese super-GM Wang Hao, Tignjie hopes to sharpen her calculation and practical endgames on Team Kramnik.

Team Kramnik

Praggnanandhaa R

Age: 15 | India | 2608

India’s 15-year-old Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa is a three-time World Youth Champion, first earning the U8 title in 2013 and most recently in 2019 as the U18 champion. Praggnanandhaa once set the record as the youngest-ever to the International Master (IM) title, and his pace to the Grandmaster title of 12 years and 10 months still ranks today as the fourth-fastest in history. At 14, Praggnanandhaa was the second-youngest to break the 2600 ELO barrier, a rating he still maintains today.

Team Kramnik

Nurgyul Salimova

Age: 18 | Bulgaria | 2395

Playing chess since four years old, Bulgarian International Master Nurgyul Salimova won the U8 girls European Championship in 2011, the U12 girls World Youth Championship in 2013 and became the Bulgarian Women’s Champion in 2017. She grabbed her IM title as a 15-year-old in 2019 and today ranks as the No. 3 female in the world under 18. On Team Kramnik for the Challengers Tour, Salimova is looking to improve on her fast decision-making and in-game psychology.

Team Kramnik

Leon Mendonca

Age: 15 | China | 2549

After earning the International Master title in 2019 just before his 13th birthday, India’s Leon Mendonca returned after pandemic lockdowns to earn his Grandmaster title with three quick norms at the end of 2020. Ranking today as the second U15 player in the world, Mendonca plays the violin, cycles and pushes his chess to the limits, taking inspiration from several bouts of training received by living legends, including Vladimir Kramnik, Boris Gelfand and Viswanathan Anand.

Team Kramnik

Jonas Buhl Bjerre

Age: 16 | Denmark | 2542

As Europe’s top U16 player, Denmark’s Jonas Bjerre has placed a priority on physical fitness to stay on the top of world chess, first arrived as the U14 European Youth Champion in 2017. Two years later, Bjerre earned his third Grandmaster norm with a 2662 performance in the 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament, becoming the youngest Dane ever to reach the GM title. Already tapped by the Kasparov Chess Foundation, Bjerre is looking forward to more world-class perspective from GM Hou Yifan and Team Kramnik in the Challengers Tour.

Team Kramnik

Olga Badelka

Age: 18 | Belarus | 2418

International Master Olga Badelka has spent much time at the top of Belarusian women’s chess, including four appearances in World Youth Olympiads before the age of 16. After reaching the first board for her country at the 2018 FIDE Chess Olympiad, Badelka went on to earn her Women’s Grandmaster title in 2019, and her International Master title three months later. She grabbed a silver medal in FIDE’s World University Online Blitz Championships during the pandemic, and at 19 years old is looking to glean some professionalism from Boris Gelfand in the Challengers Tour.

Team Kramnik

Dinara Saduakassova

Age: 24 | Kazakhstan | 2500

International Master Dinara Saduakassova is Kazakhstan’s top woman player as well as the No. 12 female player in the world. She was a two-time World Youth Chess Champion as a junior and competed for the Women’s World Chess Championship in 2017. Saduakassova participated in her first Chess Olympiad as a 15-year-old in 2012 and has since played for the Kazakhstani national team in four Olympiads, two Women’s World Team Championships and three Women’s Asian Nations Cups.

Team Kramnik

Nodirbek Abdusattorov

Age: 16 | Uzbekistan | 2634

The 16-year-old Uzbek GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov has been among the elite for a decade, since becoming the U8 World Champion in 2012. Abdusattorov broke a record as the youngest player to enter the Junior Top 100 as an 11-year-old, and then in 2017 became the second-youngest Grandmaster in history at 13 years, 1 month and 11 days, today the fifth fastest to earn the title. Now rated 2634 and No. 140 in the world, Abdusattorov hopes to improve on his middle- and endgame under the coaching of Team Kramnik.

Team Kramnik

Vaishali R

Age: 19 | India | 2393

Inspired by Viswanathan Anand, Woman Grandmaster Vaishali Rameshbabu is India’s No. 3 female player and part of the country’s gold-medal team in FIDE’s 2020 Online Olympiad. She was both a U12 and a U14 World Youth Chess Champion and already has a GM norm under her belt, looking to improve her endgame technique under the Team Kramnik coaching in the Challengers Tour.

Team Kramnik

Sokolovsky Yahli

Age: 15 | Israel | 2423

Aged 15 and his country’s top U18 player, FIDE Master Yahli Sokolovsky is Israel’s three-time youth national champion looking to tap into his potential among the heightened competition of the Challengers Tour. Fully inspired by hero Boris Gelfand, Sokolovsky is hoping Team Kramnik will help improve his thinking process during games.