Openings, a minor matter
Jan-Krzysztof Duda continues the long tradition of Polish world-class players. Currently the Poles even have two of them, with the more freestyle-minded Duda alongside opening specialist Radoslaw Wojtaszek. Alexander Grischuk once compared Duda's openings to "an old Fritz computer that doesn't have an opening book yet". Admittedly, that wasn't meant quite seriously, but it was true in essence, as Duda admits.
I fell in love with chess right away.
The 24-year-old owes the discovery of his chess talent to his mother. Under her care, he was able to try out a number of things when he grew up – swimming, table tennis, music – and stuck with chess, Duda once told an interviewer. "I fell in love with chess right away."
In 2018, Duda demonstrated in Germany just how strong chess can be played without sophisticated openings: He finished second at the Dortmund Chess Days with WR Chess participants Ian Nepomniachtchi and Anish Giri in the field, among others. With this success he had finally started on the path towards world class, which reached a temporary climax with the qualification for the 2022 Candidates Tournament. His World Cup semifinal triumph over Magnus Carlsen had given him this qualification. In the end, he won the World Cup, his biggest achievement so far.
Although young and full of potential, the question in Düsseldorf is which half of the field Duda belongs to: the young guns or the established players? Actually, he fits into both categories.