Andrey Esipenko won this season’s first Challengers Chess Tour battle of the chess prodigies today with a dominant performance to take the Julius Baer Challenge.
The 20-year-old top seed was undefeated as he racked up 41/45 points to blow away a field of super-strong youngsters in the $10,000 two-day round-robin event.
Esipenko was congratulated afterward on chess24’s stream by chess legend Judit Polgar, who tutored all the players in the event. Full of compliments, she said he was “really very, very convincing”.
“It was great fun,” Polgar said of the event.
It was great to see the players, the young talents, girls and boys, out there who are representing their countries, they are fighting so hard!
She added: “They are really the best talents in the world right now aged under 20.”
Esipenko qualifies for the Challenger’s Chess Tour Final Four shootout on October 29-30 and takes home $2,000 in prize money.
Esipenko finished 10 pts ahead of his nearest rival, 16-year-old Raunak Sadhwani. He also gets a spot in the final as a consolation.
Esipenko said: “It’s always nice to win a tournament like this, just to win the tournament!”
Esipenko laughed when asked if his ultimate aim is to become World Champion.
For this year I’m just trying to be in good shape because in this year I have just played really badly. I lost, maybe, 50 points and it’s hard to accept, but I have to work harder and everything will be better.
The next event in the Challengers Chess Tour hosted by chess24 is the Magnus Academy Challenge which runs from October 8 to 9 and carries a similar $10,000 prize pot.