Gelfand Challenge pits world’s top young chess stars against each other

Gelfand Challenge

The $100,000 Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour returns on Thursday with the Gelfand Challenge offering talented youngsters another chance to break into the bigtime.

The fast-paced online chess event pits 20 of the world’s top young chess stars against each other in a unique team battle spanning four days.

Team Polgar for the Gelfand Challenge

At the start of the four-event tour, the players were divided into two teams headed by chess greats Judit Polgar and Vladimir Kramnik.

Each player receives special coaching from a pool of tutors throughout the Tour as the two team leaders compete to improve their charges.

Team Polgar is currently in the lead after winning the Polgar Challenge 96.5 points to 88. Team Kramnik will be hoping to close that gap before the Tour reaches the half-way stage.

Players from both teams will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of 15-year-old Indian prodigy Praggnanandhaa, the current tour leader.

Praggnanandhaa triumphed in the first Polgar Challenge and won a place on the prestigious Meltwater Champions Chess Tour

The youngster found himself up against the world’s best, including World Champion Magnus Carlsen, in the New in Chess Classic.

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But that’s not all. At stake is $15,000 in prize money, including $3,000 for 1st place.

The players are also competing for 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.

And there is the chance to win a trip to the Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi World Chess Championship match in Dubai for the winning team over the Tour.

Tournament schedule

New GM in the Gelfand Challenge

Since the last event, the Tour has a new Grandmaster. Kazakhstan’s Zhansaya Abdumalik earned the title at the start of this month while winning the Gibraltar FIDE Women’s Grand Prix in truly spectacular style.

The American Christopher Yoo is also on the road to becoming a GM having just made his first grandmaster norm.

In a tweak to the line-up, four reserve players have also been added after Dinara Saduakassova was forced to withdraw from the Polgar Challenge after connection issues.


The reserves are India’s Vaishali R and Aditya Mittal, Yahli Sokolovsky from Israel and Russia’s Leya Garifullina.

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 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.

Play begins at 15:00 CEST on Thursday and is broadcast live on this site or

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