“Maybe it’s the future of chess”

Lübeck’s U14 National Champions Visit Weissenhaus

“It’s interesting that these top players also play all these different positions. Usually they play normal chess but now they play Chess960, that’s pretty cool.”

20-year-old Celina Malinowsky visited the Freestyle Chess G.O.A.T. Challenge on Saturday, joining her brother Levi. The two are from Lübeck, the second biggest city in the state of Schleswig-Holstein here in Northern Germany.

A group of six young members of the Lübeck chess club had been invited to attend the tournament, see the top grandmasters, visit the commentary studio and the media center, and participate in a training session. They had earned this wonderful opportunity thanks to a great success in December 2023, when the U14 team won the German Youth Team Championship in Magdeburg. Levi played in that team, alongside Justus Sommer, Andre Petrow, Hanno Hellenbroich, and Bruno Engel.


Levi Malinowsky (left) and Bruno Engel are checking out the games of today’s fifth round. Photo: Lennart Ootes.

“I was very excited because I only saw them on my phone or something,” said Bruno about seeing these top players for the first time. “Of course, it’s an honor! It happened so quick, I was on the way to the playing hall and I just saw Magnus coming back from his breakfast, just walking right past me.”

“It’s really amazing,” said Celina, who came seventh in Magdeburg with Lübeck’s girls U20 team. “The playing area is very beautiful, it has so many details and I was really excited today to watch the game. It’s really cool.”

After seeing the fifth round from closely, the six youngsters trained for about an hour in one of the rooms of the Weissenhaus castle. They played the same starting position as the grandmasters had struggled with. “It was very difficult to have a different position, but I did my best I think,” said Celina. “I won the game, but it was not so easy.”


The chess training is underway. Photo: Peter Doggers.

Both Bruno and Celina quite like Chess960, or Freestyle chess, as it is called here. “It’s really interesting because you have such different positions, and the game is different,” said Celina, who thought not having opening theory can be positive: “I think it’s great because everyone can play it, from high level to low level, because there is no difference in the beginning and that’s kind of interesting for every game.”

“I think it’s great,” said Bruno. “I think it brings more creativity to the game and the chances of getting a draw are getting reduced because there is no opening preparation. I think Chess960, maybe it’s the future of chess in, like, 30 years when the theory is so advanced, maybe it gets replaced by Chess960.”

By Peter Doggers

Proudly Supported by
Stay tuned! Subscribe to our newsletter.