“It was totally unrealistic but I am really happy to have won”
Friday, August 6th, 2021 – “Huge congratulations to Duda for winning the World Cup. Considering the line of opponents, he beat in the last four rounds, never losing a game — then obviously never being in a must-win or desperate situation — is a massive achievement. So, he is a richly deserved winner” was what World Champion Magnus Carlsen had to say about his opponent’s magnificent performance.
Unbeaten in 18 games against world-class opponents, including the current World Champion and a former World Cup winner, with a rating gain of 18 points – he is now number thirteen in the world - Poland’s 23-year-old Jan-Krzysztof Duda has made history by winning the 2021 World Cup.
“I was also touched by all the local chess fans who were wishing me good luck each day, thank you to all of them” were his final words just after receiving the winner’s trophy, at the prizegiving.
Attending the ceremony were the Deputy Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation, Alexey Morozov, the Minister of Sport of Krasnodar Krai, Alexey Chernov, the Executive Director of the Russian Chess Federation, Mark Glukhovsky as well as FIDE Vice-Presidents Nigel Short and Lukasz Turlej who gave the trophy to the winner and officially closed the tournament.
During the ceremony, the winners of the Gazprom Brilliancy Prize (a special trophy sponsored by a General Partner of the World Cup) were announced.
In the open competition, the best game of the tournament is Fedoseev - Carslen, the first game of the match for third place. The award is given to the World Champion Magnus Carlsen.
In the women's tournament, the best game is Goryachkina - Stefanova, the second game of the fourth round. The prize is awarded to Alexandra Goryachkina.
Jan-Krzysztof’s journey began by defeating Paraguay GM Guillermo Vazquez (2527) in the second round by a 1.5-0.5, followed by two more wins against USA GM Samuel Sevian (2647) and Iran GM Pouya Idani (2614), with the same score.
A very tough match followed in the 1/8 finals against top Russian GM Alexander Grischuk (2778), which Duda took down in the tiebreaks by 2.5-1.5. In the quarters he defeated India’s number two player GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi (2726) by a clear 1.5-0.5 score, leading him up to the clash with the World Champion in the semi-finals.
Duda prevailed again in the tiebreak, defeating Norway GM Magnus Carlsen (2847) by 2.5-1.5, leaving him in a great position to fight for the win in the final against Russian GM Sergey Karjakin (2757), whom he defeated by 1.5-0.5.
Born in Poland in 1998, 23-year-old Jan-Krzysztof Duda (2738) was always considered a chess prodigy. World Under-10 Champion in 2008, European Under-14 Champion in 2012 and Grand Master at the age of 15 are just some of his many achievements as a kid.
He topped these successes up by performing brilliantly in two top events in his own country, winning the European Rapid Chess Championship and achieving second place in the European Blitz Chess Championship, both at the end of 2014. The President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, awarded him the Silver Cross of Merit in 2016 for his sports achievements and contributions to popularizing chess.
In 2018 he was already the best Polish player and the number one ranked junior in the world and that year he also won the Polish National Championship. Thanks to these results, at the beginning of 2019 he became the first-ever Polish chess player to exceed the 2800 rating barrier in Blitz.
On October 10th 2020, he made the news once again. He defeated Magnus Carlsen at the Altibox Norway Chess tournament, putting an end to the World Champions’ unbeaten 125-game streak in classical chess.
His main strength as a player has always been his intuition: as a young talent, he studied Kasparov’s “My Great Predecessors” book series. However, he still thinks he can improve in calculation.
Outside chess, he enjoys listening to classical music such as Beethoven and Mozart and he is also a Queen fan. He even won a reality show in Poland called “The Brain” in 2017.
He is currently a student at the University School of Physical Education in Krakow and keeps himself in good shape with excellent nutrition and daily swimming routines.
With this win, he has qualified for the 2022 Candidates tournament where he will get the opportunity to fight for the chance to play against the World Champion for the title.
More information, the full tournament tree, live games and PGN files can be found on the World Cup website alongside a great amount of other interesting information such as daily videos, a complete photo collection and other useful data.
Photo: David Llada and Eteri Kublashvili
About the tournament:
Scheduled to take place from July12th (Round 1) to August 6th (finals), the 2021 FIDE World Cup will gather together in Sochi (Russia) 309 of the world’s best chess players, with 206 of them playing in the Open World Cup (and 103 participants in the first-ever Women’s World Cup.
The top two finishers in the tournament, aside from World Champion Magnus Carlsen who is also participating, will qualify for the 2022 Candidates Tournament, in addition to winning the 110.000 USD first prize (80.000 USD for the runner-up).
The full tournament tree, live games and PGN files can be found on the World Cup website alongside a great amount of other interesting information such as daily videos, a complete photo collection and other useful data.
Organisers: International Chess Federation (FIDE), Chess Federation of Russia, Russian Ministry of Sports, and Government of Krasnodar Krai.
Gazprom – general partner
Nornickel – general partner
PhosAgro – general partner
Chessable – event’s partner
Aeroflot – CFR’s partner