Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2012
Gibraltar, 24-01 /03-02-2012

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PRESS RELEASE 27 - 3 February 2012

Round 10 Report by John Saunders

Hou Yifan Breakthrough Gibraltar 2012

Nigel Short

The 10th Tradewise Gibraltar Festival ended yesterday at the Caleta Hotel with England’s Nigel Short winning the tournament for a record third time after tying for first with tournament sensation Hou Yifan of China and then winning a pulsating rapidplay play-off by 1½-½. Short and Hou Yifan had finished on 8/10, with Michael Adams (England), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), Viktor Bologan (Moldova), Emil Sutovsky (Israel) tying for third place on 7½ points.

For winning, Nigel Short netted the £20,000 first prize and also the £5,000 special prize (set up in honour of HM Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee) for the best placed Commonwealth competitor. 17-year-old Hou Yifan takes home £12,000 for finishing second plus the £10,000 women’s prize and the £600 Junior prize. The four players in the next score group shared £26,500 equally.

Nigel Short loves playing in Gibraltar and this is his third success on the Rock. He tied for first place in the inaugural event in 2003 and took clear first place the following year. Last year he scored a phenomenal 8½/10 – half a point more than this year – and easily good enough for first most years, but it wasn’t even good enough to tie for first as Vasily Ivanchuk, playing at his stratospheric best, scored an amazing 9/10. So this year’s success made up for that slight injustice.

The last round saw keen competition for the big prizes. It was still barely possible to believe that Hou Yifan was out ahead of the field but her three wins against 2700+ wins proved her right to be there beyond all shadow of a doubt. Could she go the extra mile and win outright? She came pretty close. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was her highest rated opponent yet but she played in the same way that had brought her success in previous rounds. She showed no fear and sustained pressure throughout, and was not afraid to give up material (in this case a pawn) to maintain her positional edge. The last few moves were played with both players in considerable time pressure, relying purely on the 30-second increment for thinking time. No mistakes were made and the position petered out to a draw.

Hou Yifan drawing meant that others could catch her by winning their games. Nigel Short and Viktor Bologan were soon in the ascendant, against Krishnan Sasikiran and Michael Adams respectively. The Moldovan GM pressed hard and won a pawn. Most pundits thought this should be enough to win but reckoned without the British Champion’s resilience. A draw resulted, leaving both players out of the running for first prize.

Nigel Short showed courage from the off, playing Black against Sasikiran and adopting the risky Modern Benoni. Things remained fairly even until move 29 when a slip by the Indian GM was exploited by Nigel to win  pawn. The position still remained fairly loose and unclear, but Nigel remained rock steady and gradually reeled in the win. It was a classic Short game – risk-taking, counterattacking play to reach a messy position which his well-honed tactical ability enables him to win.

This meant a tie-break – two games at the rate of 10 minutes for all the moves, plus a 5-second increment. Adjusting from longplay chess to rapidplay can be difficult, as attested by Michael Adams, who joined the commentary team for the finale. Michael knows this better than anyone as winner of an earlier Gibraltar shoot-out. In the tie-break, experience finally triumphed over youth. Nigel is an inveterate blitz player and he soon gained the upper hand in both games. That said, experts spotted a fleeting moment in the first game where Hou Yifan might have struck a blow but she missed her chance and lost. The second was an uphill struggle as Nigel blocked all her attacking tries, and was agreed drawn in a position where Nigel was comfortably better. But again Michael Adams was very complimentary about her play during the tournament and that is the important thing for her to take away from tournament (apart from the big cheque!).

Not quite the fairy tale finish for Hou Yifan, then, but for Nigel Short, who had lost two championship tie-breaks in the past year, at the Commonwealth and British championships, justice had finally been done. Incidentally, on a patriotic note, his English colleagues Michael Adams and David Howell also enjoyed good tournaments: between the three of them, only one game was lost – and that was the game that David lost to Michael!

Hou Yifan Breaks Through in Gibraltar

Without detracting in any way from Nigel’s commendable achievement, the big chess sensation of the past few days has been Hou Yifan’s almost unprecedented run of wins against world-class opposition. It is worth looking back at her tournament to see exactly how she did it.

The line-up in Gibraltar is formidable, with no fewer than 11 players holding ratings in excess of 2700 – the generally-recognised level at which the elite top 40 players in the world start. And there are at least 50 players in the field with grandmaster titles, or with grandmaster-level ratings. The tournament is also a magnet for the cream of women professional players, this sporting the world’s top three women players plus several more of the elite – almost certainly the strongest female line-up at a tournament in chess history.

Hou Yifan ranks 25th in the Gibraltar field. Though only 17, she has long since been identified as a genuine chess prodigy, qualifying for the woman grandmaster title before she was even in her teens. In the overall world rankings, including both men and women players, she is currently ranked 209th.

As Hou Yifan arrived to play in Gibraltar at the end of January, it was already well-known that she was a player with enormous potential who, in time, would have a good chance of challenging Judit Polgar for the status of number one woman player in the world and perhaps join the elite 2700+ players.

What came as a surprise was how little time she needed to get there! In round three she was paired with Zoltan Almasi of Hungary, rated 2717 and world ranked no.27. She played excellently, putting him under pressure and winning material and then game.

An excellent result, certainly, but players rated 2600 beat 2700s with reasonable regularity so we would be guilty of over-hyping were we to characterise this as “sensational”. The next day Hou Yifan faced another stern test, against the top English player Michael Adams, rated 2724 and number 25 in the world. She faced him down in his favourite Marshall Attack and held him to comfortable draw.

Next round, a set-back – a loss to Krishnan Sasikiran. She was then paired with the strong woman player Mariya Muzychuk, a likely future rival for the women’s world championship title. A tough game, but Hou Yifan’s quick tactical eye netted her another win.

Her score at this stage was 4½/6 – an excellent performance and half a point behind the eight leaders on 5. Yet, if any pundit had suggested at this point that Hou Yifan would go on to tie for first place in the tournament, I doubt they would have been taken seriously! This is the point where her tournament really took off and transported her into the stratosphere.

Providence took a hand in the shape of the pairings. She was to have the white pieces against Judit Polgar, the strongest woman chessplayer who has ever lived. That statement doesn’t need to be qualified or hedged in any way – it is simply a fact. Was Hou Yifan up to the challenge? She’s such a shy, slight young woman, and with an appearance younger than her age, that it is too easy to assume that she might be daunted by such a challenge. But appearances can be very deceptive: she packs a lot of chessboard confidence and aggression into her slight frame and relishes a challenge.

The game with Judit Polgar was balanced until about move 20 when it was Judit who faltered. It was really only a half-chance for Hou Yifan but she grasped her opportunity with alacrity and scored a sensational victory. Now the world’s word processors really started whirring. Judit, it has been pointed out, had not lost a longplay tournament game to a woman player for 20 years (and that was to her own sister, Susan!). True, she has played very few games against women in that time, but that is simply because she has spent most of those two decades matched with her peer group – which didn’t include any other women players!

Clearly this was a watershed moment for women’s chess. Hou Yifan had demonstrated that she was a worthy opponent for Judit Polgar. Suddenly we have the makings of a women’s chess rivalry. As well as a great moment for Hou Yifan, it marked the culmination of years of effort and planning at the Gibraltar tournament, where women’s chess has long been given a greater priority than elsewhere on the chess circuit. The meeting of the two star women players and the sensational result... well, it simply couldn’t have happened anywhere other than in Gibraltar!

That was a red-letter day for Hou Yifan and took her into joint second place behind the leader Michael Adams. I guess most of us chess pundits thought that might be the high watermark for her challenge. Surely one of these experienced 2700+ rated players would overcome her challenge? Next up she faced Le Quang Liem, rated 2714 and ranked 29th in the world. Once again Hou Yifan played aggressively, sacrificing two pawns to mix it up. Both players were short of time and the Vietnamese GM blundered and lost. But GMs only blunder when they are put under pressure – the trick is to give them lots of problems to solve and exploit the chances when they come. Mikhail Tal knew how to do it – and so apparently does Hou Yifan!

Hou Yifan was now tied first with Michael Adams on 6½. This was quite simply uncharted territory. Over the past few years, we’ve seen women players such as Antoaneta Stefanova, Nana Dzagnidze and Viktorija Cmilyte go toe to toe with the super-GMs at Gibraltar but they’ve not flown quite so high in the table. Even Judit Polgar was a point adrift of this score. Logic, reason and the rating list dictated that Hou Yifan’s run should end around here. When the pairings went up – Black against Alexei Shirov – that seemed to put the tin hat on it. Shirov is rated 2710 and ranked 31st. More significantly, he is one of the most admired players of the modern era, who beat Vladimir Kramnik to qualify for a world title match against Garry Kasparov in the late 1990s (though sadly the match never happened because of financial difficulties).

A bridge too far for Hou Yifan? No! She played a counterattacking line of the Najdorf Sicilian made famous by Bobby Fischer – the Poisoned Pawn variation. This was a statement that she intended to go toe to toe with her famous adversary. A great chunk of opening theory ensued – the women’s world champion knows her theory extremely well – and Shirov innovated by taking her b-pawn. But it seemed to be laced with more poison than his own b2 pawn and his position started to wilt as Hou Yifan’s position gradually got better. Eventually it came down to a level ending but one where Hou Yifan’s pair of pawns were just a little bit more advanced and threatening than Shirov’s and the Latvian’s super-GM’s king was trapped on the back rank. Would she start getting nervous and blow it? No – she hung and won.

I guess it was at this point that most of us realised that Hou Yifan had broken through some sort of barrier. Two barriers, actually: the big deal a couple of rounds previously had been the face-off between the two top women players but that had become almost an irrelevance. Hou Yifan had already moved on and was showing that it wasn’t just about beating Judit. She had proved that she was capable of dishing out punishment to any 2700 who sat in front of her.

What we were seeing was a player who had made a large jump in standard in a very short time. The clue was there in her world championship match last year with Humpy Koneru. On paper the two were closely matched but the evidence of the chess and the ease of the result suggested that Hou Yifan had put a distance between herself and her Indian challenger. After the last round, Michael Adams joined the commentary team for the play-offs and made much the same point. Basically, the rating list hasn’t quite caught up her rapid rate of improvement. Her playing strength is that of a 2700+ player.

The win against Alexei Shirov had done something else. Hou Yifan was now in the lead on her own! There was still one round to go. Would she suddenly get nervous and experience fear of success, like a tennis star serving for their first Grand Slam title? I think we knew enough about her temperament by now to think better of such a pessimistic idea. The pairing was her toughest yet – Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, 2747 rating and ranked 14th in the world. She played an enterprising game, sacrificing a pawn for some active piece play. Once again the key to her play was to pressurise her opponent and give herself opportunities to demonstrate her tactical prowess. Mamedyarov was a tough nut to crack, though, and he held firm. But, make no mistake, Hou Yifan made the running in this game.

This guaranteed her a tie for first place and Nigel Short managed to reach the same score as her. We won’t dwell on the play-off match. Nigel is a formidable blitz player and he played it excellently. For him victory was hugely deserved as he always turns it on in Gibraltar and was in any case extremely unlucky not to take first last year with a huge 8½/10 score that only Vasily Ivanchuk on his stratospherically best form could eclipse. Michael Adams in the commentary box explained the difficulty of adjusting to a super-fast time control after ten rounds of longplay chess and that may well explain Hou Yifan’s showing in the shoot-out. It doesn’t detract at all from what went before.

But what a performance by Hou Yifan! Chess pundits have been casting around the last few days, trying to think of something to match it. Judit Polgar put in a marvellous performance in Madrid in 1994 but the doyen of Spanish chess journalists, Leontxo García, present in Gibraltar, opined that Hou Yifan’s was the better one. Hou Yifan has left women’s records behind and is already looking for new worlds to conquer.

One comparable performance that does spring to mind was the (then) unknown Alexander Morozevich’s 9½/10 at the last Lloyds Bank Masters in London in 1994. Having witnessed it at first hand, I recall that it caused a sensation and marked the birth of a new star. Of course, many of the great names of chess, such as Karpov, Kasparov and Fischer, made spectacular breakthroughs in one of their early outings.

I am tempted to compare it with the sporting achievement of another 17-year-old outsider who surprised the pundits and fans in one of his first big open tournaments. Boris Becker at Wimbledon in 1985! I hope someone mentions Hou Yifan’s performance to him – he’s a keen chessplayer and came along as a honoured guest to the 2011 London Chess Classic.

The final word must go to the tournament itself. Given the emphasis placed by the organisers on the women’s element of the tournament, I can think of no finer way for the tournament to celebrate its own tenth anniversary than by seeing one of the women competitors tie for first place. And just as Hou Yifan went from outsider to first place over ten rounds, the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival has gone from small beginnings to the world’s premier open tournament over ten years. They are both amazing achievements.

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

PRESS RELEASE - 26 2, February 2012

Girl Power!

Round 9 Report 1 February 2012 by Stewart Reuben

Alexei Shirov vs Hou Yifan
Alexei Shirov vs Hou Yifan

17 year-old Chinese Women’s World Champion is assured of the top Woman’s Award of £10,000, irrespective of what happens in the last round. She is also lone leader on 7½/9. She is also assured of some sort of open prize. There is also the U18 prize. That’s what you get when you win against three 2700+ players in three consecutive rounds.

The day saw the conclusion of the Challengers B and the Amateur B. It was clear these events were enjoyed hugely by the participants and were just as competitive as the Masters. Of course the international interest is far lower. No doubt a number of good games were played that never found their way into this bulletin.

Challengers B Under 2250

= 1-3 Diaz Velandia Jose Manuel £1334
= 1-3 Barrenechea Bahamonde Gustavo £1334
= 1-3 Pettersson Anders £1334
= 4-6 Rowe Duane 4 £167
= 4-6 Hanley James L 4 £167
= 4-6 Spence David J 4 £167
 =1-3 2050-2149 Jaunooby Ali R 4 £167
 =1-3 2050-2149 Uran Bermudez Oliver Kevin 4 £167
 =1-3 2050-2149 Osuna Vega Enrique 4 £167
=1-2 1950-2049 Ungureanu Sandu £250
=1-2 1950-2049 Whitehead David J £250
under 1950 Dimitrijevic Dragan 3 £500
Woman Agrest Inna 3 £300
Gibraltar Gravett Alan David £150

Amateur B Under 1800

=1-2 Elias Wel Han £900
= 1-2 Grainger Benjamin P £900
= 3-6 George Lolomari 4 £300
= 3-6 Lam Minh Chau 4 £300
= 3-6 Becham Khalid 4 £300
= 3-6 Stap Lou 4 £300
1-2 Gibraltar Manetto Luis 3 £50
1-2 Gibraltar Poggio Freddie 3 £50
Woman Gallardo Obregon Alexandra £200

Masters Round 9

GM Almasi Zoltan 2717 6 ½ GM Adams Michael 2724
GM Shirov Alexei 2710 6 0-1 GM Hou Yifan 2605
GM Svidler Peter 2749 6 ½ 6 GM Negi Parimarjan 2641
GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2747 6 1-0 6 GM Akobian Varuzhan 2617
GM Howell David W L 2603 6 ½ 6 GM Movsesian Sergei 2700
GM Rapport Richard 2543 6 0-1 6 GM Sasikiran Krishnan 2700
GM Gopal G N 2566 6 0-1 6 GM Bologan Viktor 2680
GM Salem A R Saleh 2505 6 0-1 6 GM Short Nigel D 2677

Once again it was quite impossible for Simon Williams to keep up with the moves in all the leading games. There was simply too much going on. But of course chess has the advantage that the games can be played through for all time, not just the moment.

Zoltan Almasi HUN v Michael Adams ENG
Although this was a very long game, it was by no means boring. The endgame was fascinating. It was said that Zoltan was very upset when he only drew.

Alexei Shirov LAT v Hou Yifan CHN
They played that most uncompromising of openings, the Poison Pawn variation in the Sicilian Najdorf. One might think that, after all these years, everything is understood about this ferociously complex tactical variation. With the growth of computer chess that is far from true. Using computers has changed people’s conception of what positions are defensible. Thus players are stronger. That is one reason so many people are rated over 2700, not inflation in the numbers.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Rb1 Qa3 10.e5 h6 11.Bh4 dxe5 12.fxe5 Nd5 13.Nxd5 exd5 14.e6 Bxe6 15.Nxe6 fxe6 16.Be2


(One would think 16 Bd3 is more natural, so that Bg6ch would tie the g7 pawn down. Another alternative is Rxb7.)  16...Be7 (16...b5 prevents Rxb7, but neglects Black's development.)  17.Bh5+ Kd8 18.Bxe7+ Qxe7 19.0–0 Nd7 (19...b5 is possible. But Nc6 probably runs foul of 20 c4.) 20.Rxb7 Qc5+ 21.Kh1 Rb8 22.Rxb8+ Nxb8 (That Black's king is in the centre is adequate compensation for a mere pawn.)  23.Qe2 (23 Qe1 Rf8 is an alternative.) 23...Qb5 24.Qxb5 axb5 25.Rf7 Nc6 (25...g5 Rb7 also leads to equal material.) 26.Rxg7 Rf8 27.Kg1 Nb4 28.Rb7 Nxc2 (28...Nxa2 is also possible, but then Black won't have two connected passed pawns.) 29.Rxb5 Ke7 30.a4 Ra8 31.Rb2 Ne3 32.Kf2 Nc4 33.Rb7+ Kd6 34.Bd1 e5 35.Rh7 Nb2 36.Rxh6+ Kc5 37.Bc2 Nxa4


 (It is true a bishop is better than a knight in the endgame. But Black's pawns are further advanced and she exerts greater control of the centre.) 38.h4 Nc3 39.Bf5 Ra2+ 40.Kf1 Ra1+ 41.Kf2 Ra2+ 42.Kf1 Nd1 43.g4 Ne3+ 44.Ke1 Kd4 45.Bc8 Ng2+ 46.Kd1 e4 47.h5 e3 48.Ba6 Nf4 49.Rb6 Nd3 50.Bxd3 Kxd3 51.Rb3+ Ke4 52.h6 d4 53.h7 Rh2 White's position is hopeless.) 0–1

Peter Svidler RUS v Parimarjan Negi IND
White never generated enough energy from the opening to warrant playing on.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov AZE v Varuzhan Akobian USA
Another 100+ move game. White always had a small edge and it is more difficult to defend than attack. Whether black could have held the queen and pawn endgame I don’t know.

David Howell ENG v Sergei Movsesian CZE
White had a very promising position. First he had an initiative on the kingside and then play against Black’s weakened queenside. But it all came to nothing due to the Czech’s tenacious defence.

Richard Rapport HUN v Krishnan Sasikiran IND
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 b6 3.Nc3 Bb7 4.d4 e6 5.a3 d5 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.e3 c5 8.Bb5+ Bc6 9.Bd3 cxd4 10.exd4 Nd7 11.0–0 Be7 12.Re1 0–0 13.Ne4 Rc8 14.h4(All very romantic, 14...Bxh4 15 Nxh5 Qxh4 16 Bg5 wins the queen. But perhaps 14 Bg5 eliminating the black-squared bishops was better.) 14...Bb7 15.Bb1 Qc7 16.Bd2 N5f6 17.Nxf6+ Bxf6 18.Be3 Rfd8 19.Ng5 h6 20.Bh7+ Kf8 21.Nh3 Ne5 (21...Qc6 is better. 22 Bf4 would have given White the better game for the first time.) 22.Rc1 Nc4 23.Bd2 (Probably 23 b3 was best. But Black would still have pressure against the weak d4 pawn.) 23...Rxd4 24.Bb4+ Ke8 25.Qe2 Qd7 26.b3 Ne5 27.Rxc8+ Qxc8 28.f4 Nd7 29.Bg6 Nc5 30.Bh5 Re4 31.Qb5+ Bc6 32.Qf1 Rxe1 33.Qxe1 Nd3 34.Qb1 Qd7 35.Kh2 Nxb4 36.Qh7 Nd5 0–1

G N Gopal IND v Viktor Bologan MDA
The young Indian was uncharacteristically cavalier with his pieces.

Saleh Salem UAE v Nigel Short ENG
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 c5 5.Nge2 d6 6.a3 Ba5 7.g3 0–0 8.Bg2 Nc6 9.0–0 Rb8 10.b3 a6 11.dxc5 dxc5 12.Qxd8 Nxd8 13.Rb1 Bc7 14.b4 Nd7 15.Ne4 b6 16.f4 f5 17.N4c3 Nf7 18.e4 Nd6 19.exf5 Rxf5 20.g4 Rf8 21.f5 Nxc4 22.Nf4 Be5 23.fxe6


 (White will emerge a pawn down. 23 Nce2 was more circumspect.) 23...Bxc3 24.exd7 Bd4+ 25.Kh1 Bxd7 26.bxc5 Bxc5 27.Bd5+ Kh8 28.Rb3 (28 Bxc4 fails to Rxf4 with the threat of mate.) 28...Ne5 29.Bb2 Rbe8 30.Rh3 Bxg4 31.Rh4 Bf5 32.Rh5 Ng6 33.Rg5 Bd3 34.Rg4 Rxf4 35.Rfxf4 Re1+ 36.Kg2 Nxf4+ 0–1

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

PRESS RELEASE 24 - 1 February 2012

Hou Yifan is a game away from winning the strongest open chess tournament in history

No-one here in Gibraltar at the 2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival can quite believe it. A quiet, polite, 17-year old girl, here with her mother, is a game away from winning the strongest Open chess tournament in history. In her wake, some of the best chess players in the world.

Hou Yifan, from China, has beaten one elite player after another in the last few days - including Judit Polgar, the highest ranked female player of all time. At the start of the event Hou Yifan - the reigning women's world champion - was ranked number 25. But 9 days later, she has beaten four players rated over 2700, and her tournament performance currently stands at a colossal 2892.

Tomorrow (Thursday 2nd Feb) she faces Shakriyhar Mamedyarov, the cheerful Azeri grandmaster, rated 2747 - number 14 in the world.

Hou Yifan has 7,5/9. Her opponent tomorrow has 7 points, as have 4 other players, including top British grandmasters Michael Adams and Nigel Short. The final round begins at 11am (Gibraltar time).

All eyes will be on Gibraltar to see if Hou Yifan can claim the first prize of £20,000 - as well as the top female award of £10,000.

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

PRESS RELEASE 23 - 1 February 2012

Thrills and spills

Round 8 Report 31 January 2012 by Stewart Reuben

GM Adams Michael 2724 6 ½ GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2747
GM Short Nigel D 2677 ½ GM Almasi Zoltan 2717
GM Hou Yifan 2605 1-0 GM Le Quang Liem 2714
GM Movsesian Sergei 2700 ½ GM Gopal G N 2566
GM Negi Parimarjan 2641 ½ GM Sasikiran Krishnan 2700
GM Dzagnidze Nana 2535 0-1 5 GM Svidler Peter 2749

Hou Yifan vs Liem Le Quang

Today there were many interesting games, naturally some of them not from the top six games above. It was amazing to see Simon Williams conduct virtually a simultaneous display during the time scrambles, flitting rapidly from one game to another. There were 2700+ GMs on each of the first 9 boards, with two being paired together on board 1.

Michael Adams ENG v Shakhriyar Mamedyarov AZE
This came down to a bishops of opposite colour endgame with Michael having an outside passed pawn. We had visions of history repeating itself as he won a similar game yesterday after over 100 moves. But it was not to be, Shakhriyar set up an impenetrable barrier by move 42.

Nigel Short ENG v Zoltan Almasi HUN
Nigel didn’t try for much in the opening, starting off with 1 b3 and he didn’t achieve much either. Eventually it came down to yet another bishops of opposite colour endgame that was completely drawn.

Hou Yifan CHN v Liem Le Quang VIE
This started life as a normal Open Sicilian.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f4 e6 7.Be2 Qc7 8.0–0 Be7 9.Kh1 0–0 10.a4 Nc6 11.Be3 Re8 12.Bf3 Na5 13.Bf2 Nd7 14.Qe1 b6 15.e5 (This seems premature, saddling White with weak pawns, one of which dropped off.) 15...Bb7 16.Bg3 dxe5 17.fxe5 Rac8 18.Rd1 Bb4 19.Qf2 Rf8 20.Ne4 Nxe5 21.Bf4 Bxe4 22.Bxe4 Bd6 23.Nf3 f5 24.Bxe5 Bxe5 25.Bd3 Bxb2 (Although Black is two pawns up, White has dynamic counterplay and must, at least, regain one of the pawns.) 26.Rb1 Bc3 27.Ng5 Qe7 28.Qe3 Nc4 29.Bxc4 Rxc4 30.Rxb6 Bd4 31.Qd3 Rxa4 32.Rxe6 Qa3 33.Qe2 h6


34.Rxh6! (The computer didn't see this for some time.) Now the best Black can hope for is a draw.) 34...gxh6 35.Qe6+ Kg7 36.Qd7+ Kg6 37.Ne6 Bc5?? (Ouch. What was he thinking of? 37...Rf7 keeps him in the game.) 38.Qg7+ Kh5 39.Nxf8 Bxf8 40.Qf7+ 1–0

Sergei Movsesian CZE v G N Gopal IND
This was a rather dull draw.

Parimarjan Negi IND v Krishnan Sasikiran IND
This reached yet another bishops of opposite colour endgame. Both players made attempts to win to no avail.

Nana Dzagnidze GEO v Peter Svidler RUS
White’s pawns became very weak and eventually the problems became insurmountable. A nice game by the highest rated player in the tournament which brought him back into contention.

Thus the British Champion   Michael Adams and the Women’s World Champion  Hou Yifan are tied for first with 6½/8. They met and drew in round 4.

Artur Jussupow GER v Alexei Shirov LAT
We expected Alexei to visit the commentary room after this wonderful win. Thus we got two master classes in quick succession. Artur seemed rejuvenated – he doesn’t play that much competitive chess anymore. A game where it seems a pity there had to be a result. We would have liked it to go on and on. A win for either player would disadvantage the other. Alexei said that, should it win the £1000 Best Game Prize, Artur would deserve a portion.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nbd2 0–0 5.c3 d5 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Bd3 Re8 8.0–0 e5 (Shirov didn't know the theory and, as a result, got into time trouble.) 9.e4 exd4 10.cxd4 dxe4 11.Nxe4 h6 12.Qb3 Re7 13.Ne5


(After an hour's thought. Alexei suggested this may be a record think for this type of time control where each player has two hours for 40 moves including the 30 second increment.) 13...hxg5 (Black thought for 27 minutes before playing this. 13...Nxe5 14 Nxf6ch Kh8 15 dxe5 hxg5 may be better.) 14.Nxf7 Nc5 15.Nxf6+ Bxf6 16.dxc5 Rxf7 17.Bxg6 Qf8 18.f4! g4 19.f5 (2 Bishops are often a superior force to Rook and 2 pawns. But the position can't be thought of as having been stabilised.) 19...Bd7 20.Rf4 Bc6 21.Kh1 Rd8 22.Rxg4 (The 2 bishops are mighty beasts, even against those 3 passed pawns.) 22...Bd5 23.Qh3 Rg7 24.Bh7+ Kf7 25.Bg6+


25…Ke7 (Had Alexei played 25...Kg8, White would probably have repeated and been satisfied with a draw. But he wanted more from the game, in order to get back into contention. He didn't want to think for long as that would have given Artur time to think.)  26.Qa3 Kd7 27.Rd1 Kc8 (Our silicon friend suggests 27...Qe7. As Simon pointed out. 'Hasn't Black now castled twice in the same game? Isn't that illegal?') 28.Qxa7 c6 29.Qa8+ Kc7 30.Qa5+ Kb8 31.Ra4 Be5 32.h3 (Possibly 32 Re1.) 32...Kc8 33.Re1 (33 Kg1.)


33...Bxg2+ 34.Kxg2 (Panicking. Kg1 was best and Black still has some work to do.) Qxf5 35.Rg4 Rxg6 36.Qb4 Rd4 0–1

Viktor Laznicka CZE v David Howell ENG
One would have thought David would be shattered today after the bitter disappointment of his loss to Mickey Adams. Instead he gritted his teeth and won against a member of the 2700 club. This will have raised the stock considerably of the young Cardiff University student.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Qc2 dxc4 5.Qxc4 Bf5 6.g3 e6 7.Bg2 Nbd7 8.e3 Be7 9.0–0 0–0 10.Rd1 Ne4 11.Qe2 Qb6 12.Nc3 Rfd8 13.Ne1 Nxc3 14.bxc3 Bg6 15.e4 c5 16.Be3 Qa5 17.Nd3 Qxc3 18.dxc5 Rac8 19.Rab1 Nxc5 20.Rbc1 Na4 21.Nf4 Qb4 22.Rxd8+ Rxd8 23.Nxg6 hxg6 24.e5 Bc5 25.Bg5 Rd7 26.Qc2 b5 27.h4 a6 28.Bf3 Rd4 29.Qb3 Qa5 30.Kg2 Qb6 31.Rh1 (31 Be3 was probably best of the many choices.) Rb4 32.Qd3 Rb2 33.Kh3 Rxf2 34.Be4 Qc7 35.h5 Qxe5 36.Qd8+ Bf8 37.Rd1 f6 38.Bxg6 fxg5 39.Rd7 Rf3 0–1

Varuzhan Akobian USA v El Debs Felipe De Cresce BRA
The American’s entry for the £1000 Best Game Prize.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 dxc4 5.a4 e6 6.e4 Bb4 7.Bxc4 Nxe4 8.0–0 Nf6 9.Qe2 0–0 10.Rd1 Nd5 11.Rd3 Nd7 12.Bg5 f6 13.Bd2 Re8 14.Re1 Nf8 15.h4 Bd7 16.h5 Bd6 17.Ne4 Nf4 18.Bxf4 Bxf4 19.g3 Bc7 20.h6 g6 21.Qd2 f5 22.Qc3 Ba5 23.b4 Bxb4 24.Qxb4 fxe4 25.Rxe4 Re7 26.Qxb7 Qb8 27.Rb3 Qxb7 28.Rxb7 Kf7 29.Ne5+ Ke8 30.Rf4 a5 31.Rb3 g5 32.Rg4 c5 33.dxc5 Bxa4 34.Ra3 Nd7 35.Rxg5 Nxe5 36.Rg8+ Kf7 37.Rxa8 Bc6 38.Rh8 Nxc4 39.Rxh7+ Kg8 40.Rxe7 Nxa3 41.Rxe6 Bd5 42.Rd6 Be4 43.c6 Nb5 44.Rd8+ Kh7 45.c7 1–0

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

PRESS RELEASE No. 22 31, January 2012

Historical moments

Round 7 Report 30 January 2012 by Stewart Reuben

GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2747 5 ½ 5 GM Negi Parimarjan 2641
GM Adams Michael 2724 5 1 - 0 5 GM Howell David  2603
GM Sasikiran Krishnan 2700 5 ½ 5 GM Gopal G N 2566
GM Short Nigel D 2677 5 ½ 5 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2535
GM Almasi Zoltan 2717 1 – 0 GM David Alberto 2598
GM Le Quang Liem 2714 1 – 0 GM Nabaty Tamir 2563
GM Hou Yifan 2605 1 – 0 GM Polgar Judit 2710
GM Felgaer Ruben 2571 0 – 1 GM Movsesian Sergei 2700
GM El Debs Felipe De Cresce 2497 ½ GM Bologan Viktor 2680
GM Salem A R Saleh 2505 ½ GM Akobian Varuzhan 2617

Today the 17 year-old Chinese Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan played against the highest rated woman player of all time, Judit Polgar, from Hungary. They had never played against each other before, indeed not even taken part in the same section of a tournament.

Today there was a visit to the congress by His Excellency, the Governor of Gibraltar, Sir Adrian Johns. He has been other years, but this visit in particular celebrates the 10th Gibraltar Chess Festival.

Yifan Hou (China) vs Judit Polgar (Hungary)
Yifan Hou (China) vs Judit Polgar (Hungary)

Today, of the 8 players in the lead there were 6 from the British Commonwealth, 3 English and 3 Indian. Thus this could be the round that decides the destination of the £5000 special prize being awarded to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Today, for the first time in 10 years I was persuaded this evening to go for dinner to Spain. When I returned to the Caleta Hotel, three games were still in progress. In fact 4 games exceeded 100 moves. Should we really be subjecting people to such exquisite torture? The alternatives are often even less palatable; such as adjournments, quickplay finishes or time controls that don’t give a player time to think.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov AZE v Parimarjan Negi IND
Although this game rapidly petered out into a draw, it had a great deal of chess in its brief life.
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Be3 0–0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0–0–0 Qd6 10.Nb5 Qd7 11.f4 Qe6 12.Nc3 Rd8 13.Nf3 Nc4 14.Qe2 (Instead, after 14 d5 White would stand somewhat better.) 14...Nxe3 15.Qxe3 Nb4 16.b3 Qb6 17.a3 Nc6 18.Na4 Qa5 19.d5 Nb8 (Although Black is behind in development, he is ahead in attacking potential.)  20.Qc5 Qxc5+ 21.Nxc5 c6 22.Bc4 b6 23.dxc6 Rxd1+ 24.Rxd1 Nxc6 25.Bd5 Bg4 26.Bxc6 Rc8 (A most ingenious series of moves to establish equality.) 27.Kb1 bxc5 28.Bd5 Bxf3 29.gxf3 Bh6 30.f5 gxf5 ½–½

Michael Adams ENG v David Howell ENG
A mere 115 moves, for much of which David had a theoretically drawn position. But he was in time trouble for what must have seemed like a lifetime. Michael is a specialist at eking out small pluses. 110…Bb3 rather than 110...Be8 was the losing blunder.

Krishnan Sasikiran IND v G N Gopal IND
Initially this was a quiet game without much going on. It then erupted into a most unusual unbalanced position where White had Queen and 2 Pawns for Bishop, Knight and Rook. Both players said they didn’t know what was going on. But Fritz initially felt the position was equal and later that White had about a one pawn advantage. Heterogeneous positions are notoriously difficult to assess.
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.Bd3 0–0 8.0–0 dxc4 9.Bxc4 b5 10.Bd3 Bb7 11.e4 e5 12.Rd1 Qc7 13.h3 a6 14.dxe5 Nxe5 15.Nxe5 Bxe5 16.a4 Rac8 17.Be3 Rfe8 18.Rac1 c5 19.axb5 c4 20.bxa6 cxd3 21.Qxd3 Ba8 22.Nd5


22...Nxd5 23.Rxc7 Nxc7 24.f3 Bxb2 25.a7 Ne6 26.Qb5 Bf6 27.Kh1 h6 28.Rc1 Rxc1+ 29.Bxc1 Rd8 30.Be3 Nd4 31.Qa6 Nc6 32.f4 Be7 33.Bb6 Re8 34.Qd3 Rf8 35.Qd7 Bb4 36.Kh2 h5 37.e5 h4 38.e6 fxe6 39.Qxe6+ Kh8 40.Qd5 Be1 41.Kg1 Bg3 ½–½

Nigel Short ENG v Nana Dzagnidze GEO
The game suddenly erupted into one that was hard to evaluate, although White seemed to stand better. Although White was a pawn up late in the game, this was a negligible advantage in the bishops of opposite colour endgame.

Zoltan Almasi HUN v Alberto David LUX
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be3 a6 7.Qd2 Nf6 8.0–0–0 Bb4 9.f3 Ne5 10.Nb3 b5 11.Qe1 Rb8 12.Qg3 0–0 13.Bd4 Bd6 14.Qf2 Be7 15.g4 d6 16.g5 Nfd7 17.f4 Nc4 18.Rg1 b4


19.Rd3!? (Computers are notoriously materialistic so Fritz thinks Black stood much better after this sacrifice. This game wasn’t on the life feed so Simon was unable to commentate on this encounter. Thus I am left alone with this wonderful game.) 19...bxc3 20.Rxc3 d5 21.exd5 (Is this best? It lets the Bc8 cover kingside entry points. 21 f5, Qh4 or Rg4 can be considered.) 21...exd5 22.Rh3 Nc5 23.Rxh7! (Wow. This second sac has the computer's blessing.) 23...Kxh7 24.Qh4+ Kg6 (24...Kg8 25 Bxg7 and White is better.) 25.Be2 (25 Bxg7 has the considerable merit of ensuring at least equality.) 25...Rh8 26.Qxh8 Nxb3+ 27.axb3 Qxf4+ 28.Kb1 Nd2+ 29.Ka2 Qxd4 30.Qh5+ Kf5 31.Qxf7+ Bf6 32.gxf6


32...g5 (32... Qxg1 was better. The mate threat on b1 gives Black hope. But over the board could you bring yourself to allow the king to be so exposed?) 33.Qh7+ Kf4 34.Rd1 (34 Qc7+ Qe5 35 Qxe5+ is OK.) 34...Ke3 (I doubt that would have occurred to me. But anyway I would have been mated long go. 34...Qc5 holds the position together.) 35.Bd3 (35 Bh5 is better.) 35...Qb4 (35...Qc5 covering c7 and f8 is much better.) 36.Re1+ Kf3 (I was hoping the king would reach the other side.) 37.Qc7 Qh4 38.f7 Bf5 39.Rf1+ 1–0 (Worthy of a ‘Most Exciting Game' Prize.)

Liem Le Quang VIE v Tamir Nabaty ISR
Black got himself in a tangle on the queenside and never recovered.

Hou Yifan CHN v Judit Polgar HUN
This game was moved to Board 3 to cope better with the throng of spectators and media people. I don’t know whether either player felt under particular pressure. Nor did the other pundits, who nonetheless waxed lyrically about the dramatic encounter.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 Nge7 7.Bf4 Ng6 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.Bd6 Bxd6 10.Qxd6 Qe7 11.0–0–0 Qxd6 12.Rxd6 Ke7 13.Rhd1 Nf4 14.Bf3 Rb8


The two rooks look very menacing, bearing down on d7. But the Rd6 is going to have to retreat, otherwise it may get cut off.) 15.R6d2 g5 16.Na4 d5 17.g3 Ng6 18.Re1 Kf6 19.Bh5 Rb4 20.Nc3 d4 21.e5+ Nxe5 22.Ne4+ Ke7 23.Nxg5 h6? (After the game, Judit admitted that through trying to be too clever she made an oversight here. 23...f6 would still leave Black with problems though.) 24.Nxe6 Bxe6 (24...Kxe6 might have been a better defensive try. So perhaps 24 Rxe5 would have been easier.) 25.Rxe5 Rd8 26.f4 Rb5 27.Rde2 Kf6 28.Bf3 c5 29.a4 Rb4 30.Rxc5 Rxa4 31.b3 Rb4 32.Be4 Bg4 33.Re1 Rd6 34.Bd3 Bd7 35.Ree5 Be6 36.Kd2 Rbb6 37.Ra5 Rbc6 38.Ra4 Rb6 39.Re4 Bf5 40.Rexd4 Re6 41.Bc4 Rec6 42.Ra5 Bc8 43.Bd3 Be6 44.Rd8 Bc8 45.Rad5 Be6 46.Rh5 Kg7 47.f5 1–0

Ruben Felgaer ARG Sergei Movsesian CZE
White went wrong in the early middlegame and never recovered.

El Debs Felipe De Cresce BRA v Viktor Bogan MLD
Neither player seemed to play with much ambition until late in the game which is well worthy of inspection.

Saleh Salem UAE v Varuzhan Akobian USA
This seemed a well-fought game where both sides played accurately.

Thus Michael Adams became the lone leader with 6/7 and is the only person who can score as much as 9/10. Nigel Short commented that last year Vassily Ivanchuk scored 9/10 and he 8½/10. But we were aware then of what extraordinary results these were.

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

PRESS RELEASE No. 22 31, January 2012

Governor of Gibraltar visits Tradewise

The Governor of Gibraltar Sir Adrian Johns
Director of the tournament Stuart Conquest talking to the Governor
of Gibraltar Sir Adrian Johns as he sees the games in action in hall 2 at the Caleta Hotel

The Governor of Gibraltar Sir Adrian Johns visited the 2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival today. Sir Adrian was met by organiser Brian Callaghan and director Stuart Conquest. Also there to meet him was John Isola from Anglo Hispano one of the main sponsors of the Festival, and Joe Hernandez from the Gibraltar Sport Authority which has always supported the event.

The Governor of Gibraltar Sir Adrian Johns
Governor of Gibraltar Sir Adrian Johns in the main hall of the Masters tournament.
He was shown around by organiser Brian Callaghan and director Stuart Conquest.
Also watching the action is one of the main sponsors John Isola from Anglo Hispano,
and Joe Hernandez from the Gibraltar Sport Authority which supports the festivals.

Sir Adrian was shown around both chess halls at the Caleta Hotel. He paused to view the main boards and especially the historic game between Hou Yifan and Judit Polgar. He was also interviewed in the studio live on the official website by Stuart Conquest.

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

PRESS RELEASE No. 21 30, January 2012

Round 6 Report 29 January 2012 by Stewart Reuben

Today there were several games which were really exciting. They aren't necessarily going to win the Best Game Prize as usually there were many errors on both sides. Personally I like chess which is full of action in which nobody knows what is going on until months or years later.

  Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts.   Name Rtg
GM Gopal G N 2566  ½ GM Adams Michael 2724
GM Dzagnidze Nana 2535  ½ GM Sasikiran Krishnan 2700
GM Erdos Viktor 2634 4 0-1 4 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2747
GM Akobian Varuzhan 2617 4  ½ 4 GM Le Quang Liem 2714
GM Polgar Judit 2710 4  ½ 4 GM Felgaer Ruben 2571
GM Howell David 2603 4 1-0 4 GM Sutovsky Emil 2703
GM David Alberto 2598 4  ½ 4 GM Bologan Viktor 2680
GM Koneru Humpy 2589 4 0-1 4 GM Short Nigel D 2677
GM Negi Parimarjan 2641 4 1-0 4 GM Rapport Richard 2543
GM Laznicka Viktor 2704  ½ 4 GM El Debs Felipe De Cresce 2497

You will note all the players on the leading scores were grandmasters. In fact all the players on 3½ or better were GMs except for a handful of women IMs and one male IM.

GN Gopal IND v Michael Adams ENG
This was a very fair and very correct game which ended in a draw. There have been many Ruy Lopez games in this event which ended similarly.

Nana Dzagnidze GEO v Krishnan Sasikiran IND
White went seriously wrong in the opening and got no compensation for the c4 pawn lost. It was surprising that the experienced Indian player was unable to capitalise on his good fortune. But we must admire the Georgian’s ability to defend for many hours.

Viktor Erdos HUN v Shakhriyar Mamedyarov AZE
There was an abrupt reverse of fortune in this game, so I won’t include a spoiler to ruin your enjoyment of this sporting encounter.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 0–0 5.Bg2 d6 6.Nc3 c6 7.0–0 Qa5 8.e4 Bg4 9.h3 Bxf3 (To my mind, to relinquish the bishop pair is a surprising choice.) 10.Bxf3 Nfd7 11.Be3 c5 (11...Qb4  12 Qd3 Qxb4 13 Rab1 favours White.) 12.dxc5 dxc5 13.e5 Qc7 14.Nd5 Qd8 15.e6 fxe6 16.Nf4 Qb6 17.Bg4 Rf6 18.b4!? (Around about here Black should consider Rxf4.) 18...Qc6 19.b5 Qc8 20.Nd3 a6 21.a4 axb5 22.cxb5 b6 23.Bg5 Nf8 24.Ne5 Ra7 25.Nc4 Rf7 (25...h5 is best.) 26.Nxb6 Qb7 27.Qd8 Bxa1 28.Bxe6 Bd4


29.Bh6 (29 Qe8 is the best way to realise White's assets. But it isn't as easy as all that. 29...Kh8! continues to offer resistance.) 29...Nbd7! (White was very short of time and this must have come as a bolt from the blue.) 30.Nxd7 (30 Qe8 was still best. But most of White's advantage has been dissipated.) 30...Ra8 31.Qb6 (31 Bxf7+ Kxf7 32 Nxc5 Bxc5 33 Qd3 was probably best. But what a tragedy for White.) 31...Qf3 32.Bxf7+ Kxf7 33.Qc6 Qxg3+ 34.Kh1 Qxh3+ 35.Kg1 (White is busted, but doesn't have time to consider resigning.) 35...Rxa4 36.Nxf8 Qxh6 37.Qf3+ Bf6 38.Qb3+ c4 39.Qxa4 Qg5+ 40.Kh1 Qh4+ 41.Kg1 Qg4+ 42.Kh2 Be5+ 43.f4 Bxf4+ 44.Rxf4+ Qxf4+ 45.Kg2 Qd2+ (Resigns is probably best here!)  46.Kh3 Qc3+ 47.Kg2 Kxf8 48.Qa8+ Kg7 49.Qe4 e5 50.b6 Qb2+ 51.Kh1 Qb5 52.Qb7+ Kh6 53.Qe7 Qb1+ 54.Kh2 Qc2+ 55.Kg3 Qd3+ 56.Kg2 Qe4+ 57.Kg3 Qf4+ 58.Kh3 c3 59.b7 c2 60.b8Q c1Q 61.Qbf8+ Qxf8 62.Qxf8+ Kh5 63.Qf3+ Kg5 64.Qg2+ Kh6 65.Qf3 Qf4 66.Qa8 e4 67.Qe8 Kh5 68.Qg8 Kh6 69.Qe8 e3 70.Kg2 Qf2+ 71.Kh1 Qf3+ 72.Kg1 e2 73.Kh2 Qf2+ 74.Kh3 e1R (Presumably that was the Azerbayani's little joke. Promoting to a queen would have been identical.) 0–1

Varuzhan Akobian USA v Liem Le Quang VIE
If White is not too ambitious in this opening it tends to head inevitably towards a draw.

Judit Polgar HUN v Ruben Felgaer ARG
Black could have tried to nick a pawn with 13…Qxa2, but 14 Qb4 would be fine. Both players played dynamically in the endgame and it was a hard, well-fought, draw.

Alberto David LUX v Viktor Bologan MDA
This was another draw where both players strived for something more. I have noticed that people think 100 points difference in rating means a great deal. In one particular game it is very little, especially when the lower rated player has the white pieces.

Humpy Koneru IND v Nigel Short ENG
I wonder if either player was aware that this game might have considerable impact on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee £5000 Commonwealth prize? Nigel tends to play a number of more off-beat openings these days, presumably to avoid intensive opening theory. Thus 1 d4 Nc6.
1.d4 Nc6 2.c4 e5 3.d5 Nce7 4.Nc3 Ng6 5.g3 a5 6.Bg2 Bc5 7.Na4 Bb4+ 8.Bd2 d6 9.Bxb4 (Obviously White planned to allow her a-pawn to become backward on a semi-open file. But why allow such aggro?) 9...axb4 10.b3 Bd7 11.Nb2 Ra3 12.Nf3 Qa8 13.Qb1 Nf6 14.0–0 Bg4 15.Nd1 (Intending Ne3-c2. The ensuing battle is extremely complex.) 15...0–0 16.Ne3 Qa5 17.Nc2 Bf5 18.Nfe1 Ra8


19.e4 (In the Commentary Room Simon Williams saw his way through the complications very rapidly. Black stands better at this stage.) 19...Bxe4 20.Bxe4 Nxe4 21.Nxa3 Nd2 22.Qc2 bxa3 23.b4 Qxb4 24.Nd3 Qa5 25.Rfd1 Nf3+ 26.Kg2 Nd4 (Black has emerged with knight and 2 pawns for rook. His Nd4 is firmly anchored and it is unclear whether a3 is an asset or a liability.) 27.Qd2 Qa6 (It is natural to keep the queens on the  board when you have knights.)  28.Nb4 Qxc4 (A surprising choice. Now White's rooks become more active and Black has no advantage.) 29.Rac1 Qb5 30.Rxc7 h6 31.Qc3 Ra4  


32.Rxd4 (White takes the fight to Black. Eventually  though Black’s passed d pawn becomes very strong.) 32...exd4 33.Qf3 Qe8 34.Rxb7 Ne5 35.Qb3 Ra8 36.Na6 Qd8 (37...d3 seeking to capitalise on his assets is perhaps better.) 37.Nc7 Rc8 38.Nb5 d3 39.Nxa3 d2 40.Nb1 Nc4 (The move order with 40...Qa5 was perhaps more accurate.) 41.Qd3 Qa5 42.Re7 Qb4 43.Qf5 Rf8 44.Qc2 Rb8 45.Nc3 Qb2 (Humpy's position is in ruins due to the passed d pawn.) 0–1

Parimarjan Negi IND v Richard Rapport HUN
A battle between two former child prodigies. I don’t know how much of this was theory, but surely 23…Rxc4 was essential? However, even then White stands much better.

Viktor Laznicka CZE v El Debs Felipe De Cresce BRA
The Brazilian is rated over 200 points below the Czech and had the Black pieces. Yet he never seemed to be in trouble.

So we now have 8 players tied with 5/7. Mamedyarov has made a fine comeback after losing to Nigel Short. Only(!) 3 of the 8 players are rated over 2700.


This has been one of the traditional events of the festival since the very start. The pairs are not allowed to have a total rating higher than 4600. The effect of this is that high rated players and lower rated ones often pair up. Thus Simon Williams 2504 and Sebastian Mihajlov 1974. The delight on the lad’s face when I suggested the team name of ‘Simon Says’ or, if he preferred, ‘Simon Sebs’ was a joy to see. That didn’t win the Best Team Name prize of £25 which went to ‘Scandelicious’, Jovanka Houska plus Mikael Helin. Usually the winning team is one, not of a 2600+ GM paired with a 1900 player, but two players closer together in strength.

I am a bit disappointed that this event has not been copied more widely elsewhere.

1-2 Vigo Masters (Martin Boado Rodriguez 2164/Alex Lopez Astaneh 2414); Kalhona (Adel Choukri 2115/Mokhliss Abnanai 2386) with 9 match points from 5 games. Each pair receiving £175.
3-5 Sweden Badass, Johan and Rick, Knight 8/10. £25 each.
Best score by a team of mixed gender Give us the Money, Stefaraiiser 7/10 £12.50 each.

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

PRESS RELEASE No. 20 30, January 2012

History in the making!

17 year old Hou Yifan, the reigning Women's World Chess Champion has today scored an historic victory in the 2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival against the strongest female player of all time, Judit Polgar.

The game looked fairly even for a long time, but gradually the Chinese girl took control. Under increasing pressure the Hungarian superstar lost first one pawn, and then another. Both players have been in great form in this event, but with this victory, sure to go all around the world, Hou Yifan has demonstrated a maturity beyond her years.

This fine win (in just over four and a half hours) categorically means that this young rising star, still at the start of her career, has overturned the women's game.

"Hou Yifan is now equal first in the race for the top female award of £10,000 in the 2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Masters. But no doubt her eyes will also be focused on the overall top prize of £20,000 – after today's game, she must feel that her chances are as good as anyone's, male or female," said tournament director Stuart Conquest.

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

Historic clash

There will be an historic clash at the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Masters in Round 7 on 30 January 2012 at the Caleta Hotel starting 3pm today (Gibraltar time).

Women's World Champion Yifan Hou (China) rated 2605 will play white against Judit Polgar (Hungary) 2710, the highest-ever rated woman player in the history of the game.

They have never previously met as Judit doesn't play in women only events and it is some years since she played in an open tournament. Both players have 4.5/6.

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

PRESS RELEASE No. 19 30, January 2012

Happy Birthday Boris from Gibraltar!

Happy Birthday Boris from Gibraltar!
The photograph is of GM Boris Spassky when he visited the tournament in 2009

We would like to send birthday wishes from all of us here at the 2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival to GM Boris Spassky on his 75th birthday. Boris, one of the greatest chess players of all time, is of course a special friend of the Festival and has visited us on two previous occasions. Happy Birthday Boris! Organiser of the Festival Brian Callaghan, who has met with him on several occasions, sends special birthday greetings to him and wishes him well.

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

PRESS RELEASE No. 18 30, January 2012

Master Classes at the Tradewise Chess Festival

Master Classes at the Tradewise Chess Festival

The Master Class has become a major feature of the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival. This year has been no exception. So far there have been four Master Classes broadcast from our studio at the Caleta Hotel which have again attracted a global audience of high numbers.

Perhaps the most anticipated Master Class this year was given by the strongest female player in history Judit Polgar proving a huge success and lasting almost one and half hours. A well-attended master class she presented her R2 game against Vyacheslav Ikonnikov.

In a relaxed and friendly atmosphere she chatted to tournament director Stuart Conquest on various aspects of her game and career. Spoke openly about her sisters Susan and Sofia and 'Polgar Chess Day' in which all three participate to further promote the game of chess. Judit said she was enjoying her time in Gibraltar and spoke highly of the organisation. She spoke about her new book and she also showed an endgame study which was inspired by a game she played against Alexey Shirov some years ago. Her Master Class provided entertainment and education for players of all strengths where she also took questions from the audience.

The first Master Class of 2012 was given by GM David Howell where he showed his 1 and 2R wins over Gislason and Javakhishvili. GM Emil Sutovsky in his Master Class presented his game against Vladimir Kramnik in Dortmund in 2005. That same night GM Michael Adams, a former winner in 2010, analysed his win over Natalia Zhukova from R1.

There are still have a further two Master Classes to look forward to in this years programme.

Master Classes at the Tradewise Chess Festival

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival


PRESS RELEASE No. 17 29, January 2012

Round 5 report by Stewart Reuben, Saturday 28 January 2012

They are off and running. But wait a moment; is not the event halfway over? Well, that is perfectly true, but Challengers B and Amateur B started today. There are 83 players in Challengers B, 3 less than the first half and 38 in Amateur B which is

8 more. Several players had entered for two morning events and the Masters, but withdrew from the B tournament. They found 20 games in 11 days too much.

  Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts.   Name Rtg
GM Adams Michael 2724 1 - 0 GM Brunello Sabino 2581
GM Short Nigel D 2677 ½-½ GM Le Quang Liem 2714
GM Gopal G N 2566 1 - 0 GM Laznicka Viktor 2704
GM Dzagnidze Nana 2535 1 - 0 GM Movsesian Sergei 2700
GM Sasikiran Krishnan 2700 1 - 0 GM Hou Yifan 2605
GM Almasi Zoltan 2717 3 ½-½ GM Rapport Richard 2543

Michael Adams ENG v Sabino Brunello ITA
Black's concept of 15…c4 was a very interesting one. Michael obtained a minimal advantage which he nursed for many moves. Eventually Black's position fell apart. We have seen the Englishman win many games in this manner before.

Nigel Short ENG v Liem Le Quang VIE
Nigel did not join us in the Commentary Room to explain this one but he did turn up later after the first time control and participated in the discussions.

G N Gopal IND v Viktor Laznicka CZE
This game was anything but dull. There were a number of errors.

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 Ne7 6.0–0 c5 7.c4 Nbc6 8.Na3 dxc4 9.Nxc4 Nd5 10.Bg5 Qd7 11.Rc1 h6 12.Be3 b5 (12...Nxe3 or cxd4 seem more circumspect) 13.Na3 a6 14.dxc5 Be7 15.Nc2 Nxe3 (Why wait until now to capture the bishop?) 16.Nxe3 Be4 17.a3 Qc7 18.Bd3 Bxd3 (18...0–0–0 19 Bxe4 Rxd1 20 Rfxd1 Nxe5 is approximately equal.) 19.Qxd3 Nxe5 20.Nxe5 Qxe5 21.Ng4 Qf4 22.Qe2 Rd8 23.c6 h5 24.Ne3 Bd6 25.g3 Qe4 26.Rfd1 h4 27.Qc2 Qxc2 28.Rxc2 Ke7 29.Rcd2 f5 30.Re1 Kf6 31.Rc1 h3 (A pawn so deep in the heart of the enemy territory can be either a weapon or a liability.) 32.Kf1 Be5 33.Rxd8 Rxd8 34.Rc2 Bc7 35.f4 g5 36.fxg5+ Kxg5 37.Ke2 Kf6 38.Nd1 Bb6 39.Nf2 Bxf2 (If White can create an outside passed pawn he will surely win. Black's strategy was flawed.) 40.Kxf2 Rc8 41.Kf3


[position after 41.Kf3]

(At about this time Nigel asked, 'How can Black possibly manage to draw?) 41...Ke5 42.g4 Kd6 43.g5 Kc7 44.Kf4 Rh8 45.g6 Rh4+ 46.Kg5 Rg4+ 47.Kf6 f4 48.g7 e5 49.Rc5 f3 50.Rxe5 Rf4+ 51.Kg5 f2 52.g8Q f1Q 53.Re7+ Kb6 54.Qd8+ Kc5 55.Re5+ Kxc6 56.Re6+ Kc5 57.Qd6+ 1–0

Nana Dzagnidze GEO v Sergei Movsesian CZE
This was a very exciting endgame, but you need the clock times to fully appreciate it. Many games can be played through years later and nothing is lost. But this was not one of them. It was still an interesting encounter. Nana has done very well here. She is now the player most likely to win both the top prize and the top women's prize.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 a6 5.Bd2 e6 6.a4 c5 7.cxd5 exd5 8.Bc3 Nc6 9.Be2 Be6 10.a5 Ne4 11.0–0 Be7 12.dxc5 0–0 13.Bd4 Nxc5 14.Nc3 Rc8 15.Nd2 Bd6 16.Qb1 Re8 17.Rd1 Nxd4 18.exd4 Ne4 19.Ndxe4 dxe4 20.d5 Bf5 21.Ra4 Qg5 22.Nxe4 Bxh2+ 23.Kxh2 Qh4+ 24.Kg1 Bxe4 25.Bf3 f5 26.d6 Rcd8 27.Qa2+ Kh8 28.d7 Re7 29.Rad4 Qf6 30.Qb3 h6 31.Bxe4 fxe4 32.Qxb7 e3 33.fxe3 Rxe3 34.Qb6 Qe7 35.Qxa6 Re2 36.Qd3 Rxb2 37.Re4 Qc5+ 38.Qe3 Qxe3+ 39.Rxe3 Rbb8 40.a6 Kh7 41.Rc3 Ra8 42.Rc7 Kg6 43.a7 Kf6 44.Re1 Kf7 45.Rb7 h5 46.Re8 1–0

Krishnan Sasikiran IND v Hou Yifan CHN
1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.Nf3 0–0 6.0–0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.Qxc4 b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bd2 Be4 11.Qc1 Bb7 12.a3 h6 13.Rd1 Qc8 14.b4 Nbd7 15.Nc3 Ne4 16.Qc2 Nxc3 17.Qxc3 Bd6 18.Rac1 Nb6 19.Ne1 Nc4 20.Rb1 Rd8 21.e4 e5 22.Be3 Re8 23.Nc2 Nxe3 24.Qxe3 exd4 25.Nxd4 Qg4 26.h3 Qg6 27.Nf5 Qe6 28.Nxd6 cxd6 29.Qf4 Rad8 30.Re1 Qa2 31.Ra1 Qb2 32.Qc1 Qf6 33.Qc7 Bxe4


[position after 33…Bxe4]

(In an endgame two rooks are often much better than a queen. 33...Qe7 would have been better.) 34.Bxe4 Rxe4 35.Qxd8+ Qxd8 36.Rxe4 Qc8 37.h4 Qc3 38.Rd1 Qxa3 39.Rxd6 Kh7 40.Rdd4 Qc1+ 41.Kg2 Qc6 42.Kh2 h5 43.Re5 g6 44.Rf4 Qd7 45.Re3 Kg7 46.Ref3 Qd5 47.Rf6 Qa2 48.Kg2 Kg8 49.Rxf7 Qxf7 50.Rxf7 Kxf7 51.Kf3 Ke6 52.Ke4 Kd6 53.f3 Kc6 54.g4 Kc7 55.gxh5 gxh5 56.f4 Kd6 57.f5 Kd7 58.Ke5 Ke7 59.f6+ 1–0

Zoltan Almasi HUN v Richard Rapport HUN
Sadly the game fizzled out into a draw by repetition. Richard became a grandmaster at 13 years 11 months and 6 days, the 5th youngest GM in history.


The reason for the precision is that being the youngest is commercially valuable. Thus Sergey Karjakin still trades on the fact he is the youngest-ever GM, although he is now a married man.

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

PRESS RELEASE 16 28, January 2012

Chief minister of Gibraltar supports Tradewise Chess Festival

Chief Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo and his wife Justine at the 2012 Tradewise
Chess Festival pausing at the game between Judit Polgar and Meelis Kanep.

Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo accompanied by his wife Justine visited the 2012 Tradewise Chess Festival on day six of the competition. Saturday was the first time ever a Chief Minister of Gibraltar made an official visit in the history of the festival. Speaking live on the tournament's website Mr Picardo commented the festival was impressive on many different levels. He committed his Government to giving its full support to help make the festival even bigger and better in future. Gibraltar he said “could always go one step further”.

Mr Picardo also stated: “The pride that the people of Gibraltar must feel seeing something like this happening must be reflected in our pride at what has been established here at the Caleta Hotel. This great event which we can now all see with a degree of permanence could not have been imagined when Brian (Callaghan) first started this process.”

The Chief Minister and Mrs Picardo in the second tournament hall

Mr and Mrs Picardo, accompanied by organiser Brian Callaghan and director of the festival Stuart Conquest, first took a moment to see 12 year old Stephen Whatley in action.  Stephen is the only Gibraltarian playing in the Masters this year. Mr Picardo briefly shook his hand wishing him well in his game.

In the main hall husband and wife viewed the games with great interest. The couple both play chess but he admitted she was a much better player.

Speaking to Stuart Conquest in the broadcast studio Mr Picardo said Gibraltar was lucky to have visits from people from around the world but to have them continually coming back, from such a diverse group of nations, playing a particular sport or discipline like chess in this festival “is what Gibraltar has done best”.

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo being interviewed by tournament
director Stuart Conquest on the official website

“I know that Mr Callaghan has worked very hard, with you (Stuart Conquest) and with others, to have  this great success occurring on the Rock. It is a testament to his tenacity that the chess festival is now going from strength to strength,” he stated.

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

PRESS RELEASE 14   27, January 2012

Thursday 26 January 2012 report by Stewart Reuben on Round 3 of the Masters

GM Nigel Short vs GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
GM Nigel Short vs GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Participation of female players in this congress is very important to the whole ethos of this congress. Our webmaster, Steve Connor, reminded me I intended to comment on the passing of Elaine Pritchard, who died very recently and whose career spanned a major period in women’s chess. In a way, it is fortuitous that the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival can be regarded as a memorial to her. She was a child prodigy in the late 1930s (which must have been very unusual for a girl in that period). She remembered sitting on Vera Menchik’s knee. Vera was the first-ever Women’s World Champion and won the World Girls title the same year. Elaine won the World Girls in 1936 at the age of 10 and again in 1937. She was British Ladies Champion in 1939, 1946, 1955 and 1965. Her last FIDE Rating was 2150. In her period, women mainly played separately from men. For more details, see:

Nigel Short ENG v Shakhriyar Mamedyarov AZE

Nigel won a very nice, easy game. It was predicted he would reach the Commentary Room by 6.15pm, but he made it by 6.01pm.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0–0 9.h3 Nb8 10.d3 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 Bb7 12.Nf1 Nc5 13.Bc2 Re8 14.Ng3 Bf8 15.b4 Ne6
(15 Ncd7 is more common)
16.d4 g6 17.Bd2 Nd7 18.Bb3 Qf6 19.d5 Nf4
(Although Black has a nicely placed knight, Nigel felt the rest of his pieces were just in a tangle. The pressure on the c file was unbearable for Black.)
20.c4 Nb6 21.Rc1 bxc4 22.Bxc4 Nxc4 23.Rxc4 Rac8 24.Qc2


24...Be7 (24...Nxh6ch seems attractive. But there follows 25 gxh6 Qxf6 26 Bg5 trapping the queen.)  25.Bxf4 exf4 26.Ne2 Bd8 27.Ned4 Rb8 28.Qa4 Kf8 29.Nc6 Bxc6 30.Rxc6 Qb2 31.a3 f5 32.e5 1–0
In the final position, Black’s queen is all dressed up with nowhere to go.

Michael Adams ENG v Daniel Fridman GER

It is heart-warming to see the two leading English players on the top two boards in the Masters. Even better, they both won. What could be more appropriate in this extremely patriotic setting? Michael sacrificed a pawn in return for weakening Black’s kingside, a very long-term plan indeed. His handling of the delicate endgame put Black under so much pressure that he eventually won. 53 move games don’t usually win the £1000 Best Game Prize, but this could be the exception.

Hou Yifan CHN v Zoltan Almasi HUN

Another elegant game played by Hou Yifan, the 17 year old Women’s World Chess Champion. The Berlin Wall is regarded as virtually impregnable, but she chipped away at its foundations.

Le Quang Liem VIE v Mircea-Emilian Parligras  ROU

Basically they shuffled around until the music stopped. But doing nothing extremely well is a characteristic of very strong players.

Alexei Shirov LAT v Mariya Muzychuk UKR
Alexei again came to the Commentary Room as did Emanuel Berg. Thus we got three master classes that afternoon. He was very surprised by 24…Kf8. It was a nice positional crush.

Peter Svidler RUS v Anna Muzychuk SLO
She took the fight to the Russian, sacking a pawn early on. This was returned and it then came down to a drawn endgame.

David Howell ENG v Judit Polgar HUN
Black seemed better initially, but not after the mutual time scramble. The fortunes of the game ebbed and waned and it concluded after 82 moves with only kings on the  board.

Gabriel Sargissian ARM v Sabino Brunello ITA
100 rated points difference isn’t all that much, so Black’s win was not a shocking surprise. The Armenian went wrong with 38 bxa6 and after this was unable to recover.


This traditional event attracted 20 teams of 4 players in 6 rounds. They played at the rate of 4 minutes per game plus 4 seconds cumulatively for each move. That works out at about 8 minutes for the whole game for each player, or an average of 8 seconds per move. This is considered quite leisurely for such an event.

The team USSR Mixed Team were red hot favourites. It consisted of Peter Svidler 2749 RUS, Viktor Bologan 2680 Moldova, Nadezhda Kosintseva woman 2537 RUS, Natalia Zhukova 2426 UKR.

USSR Mixed 20½ game points, 12 match points
Arabic Dragon 15½ game points, 8 match points
Linares Team 15 game points, 9 match points

In addition to the 3 hours of this event some people also played 4 hours in the morning and 5 hours in the evening.

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

Playing chess in the Sunshine


Excellent weather on the Rock of Gibraltar has made it possible for players to play the game of chess in the open air. In the gardens of the Caleta Hotel Grandmaster Pablo La Fuente and Alexander Kromhout were relaxing and playing a friendly game ahead of the main event. La Fuente from Argentina played in the Masters last year but is back in Gibraltar as coach to the South African players. All smiles both coach and player enjoyed their game in glorious sunshine. Kromhout said it was simply “amazing”.

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

'This is impressive' says Gibraltar's Mayor Julio Alcantara

This is impressive' says Gibraltar's Mayor Julio Alcantara

Mayor Julio Alcantara paid a visit to the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival yesterday at the start of the Masters competition. Organiser Brian Callaghan, tournament director Stuart Conquest and arbiter Laurent Freyd, showed him round the main hall where the 256 players were already making their moves in the second round of the competition. As he left the hall having paused for a moment to see GM Michael Adams, GM Victor Korchnoi, the number one board with Peter Svidler and Artur Jussuupow, World Champion Hou Yifan, he remarked, "this is impressive."

Mr Alcantara who also took a few minutes in the broadcast suite to catch up with the analysis of the games by presenter Simon Williams, commented how "the sheer numbers, the spread of countries and the overall set up at the Caleta Hotel is indeed impressive".

"When something like this works well, and this obviously does, we all tend to forget the hard effort behind an organisation such as this," he emphasised.

Happy with what he had witnessed, he added, it was great to see that Gibraltar was "out there" putting its mark on the world of chess all over the world in a very positive way.

A chess player himself he admitted he did not play any more but had followed the Daily Telegraph chess column. He also recalled how as a former teacher of the secondary school in Gibraltar, Bayside Comprehensive, he had organised a chess club for his pupils as far back as 1972 (incidentally, the year that Boris Spassky played Bobby Fischer for the World Championship in Reykjavik). Remembering their surnames, he said, today they were doing very well in their chosen professions.

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival


PRESS RELEASE - 25 January 2012

Tuesday 24 January 2012 report by Stewart Reuben

Monday evening there was the usual very pleasant ceremony to start the congress fully. The Minister for Sports, Leisure, Culture and Heritage Steven Linares was introduced by Stuart Conquest and then made a short speech. Miss Gibraltar, Michelle Pedersen, then did the Drawing of Lots for the first round in the Masters. This is a somewhat more elaborate affair than in most other countries. There then followed a buffet laid on by the Caleta Hotel with their customary hospitality. The highlight of the subsequent evening in the bar was Maria Jose Rescaglio Yarur, who plays in the Amateur, singing, accompanying herself on a stringed instrument.

Continuing on that theme, Tuesday evening there was a dinner at the official residence – the Convent - of His Excellency, the Governor of Gibraltar to mark the 10th anniversary of the festival. It became clear why he is referred to as His Excellency, when he gave a most polished speech.

The Convent

Tuesday morning I found myself in the not-unusual role as filler in the second round of the Challengers. This was the first time I had ever played in a rating restricted tournament. We believe people mostly come to the event to play chess, not to secure a win by default. You may have noticed one of our arbiters, Priscilla Morris, has already played two games in Amateur A.

Several people over the years have come to the congress despite being in very poor health. Daniel Yarur of Chile suffered an extremely bad skiing accident one year. He said one of the most important things that gave him the will to get better was that he couldn't miss the Gibraltar Congress. One of the players this year had pneumonia. He said that he felt he had to come as he couldn't let Brian Callaghan down. Eric Schiller is in very poor physical health. That he has come from California is a triumph of will.

This year there are 256 in the Masters. 59 people played in the first event in 2003 and 232 last year. There are 60 federations represented, including Gibraltar, which is regarded as part of England in FIDE. Thus more federations than there were players at the inaugural event.

Due to the Accelerated Pairings, many of the top players had to face opponents over 2400 in the first round. As Nigel Short said, 'it is hardly surprising that we didn't find it easy'. Tennis legend Pat Cash made an interesting comment concerning this very subject and the Australian Open. He said seeding 32 players out of 128 protects the stronger players too much and leads to uninteresting first rounds.

It is tempting to look only at the big upsets in the first round. I have been bribed by the Swedes to say that Alexei Shirov LAT 2710 was under siege in his game against Patrik Lyrberg 2435. Emil Sutovsky ISR 2703 played rather wildly against air-traffic controller Craig Hanley ENG 2421. Jovanka Houska ENG 2414 defended well against Peter Svidler RUS 2749. 17…Nc4 was a star move. But she eventually buckled under pressure.

Svidler,Peter (2749) - Houska,Jovanka (2414) [A00]

Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2012, 24.01.2012
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 Nd7 6.0–0 Ne7 7.Nbd2 Nc8 8.c3 Be7 9.Ne1 Bg6 10.Nd3 c5 11.Nf4 cxd4 12.cxd4 Ncb6 13.Nxg6 hxg6 14.Bd3 Rc8 15.Qe2 Nb8 16.f4 Nc6 17.Nf3 [diagram] 17… Nc4  18.b3 Na3 19.Bb2 Qb6 20.Rac1 a6 21.g4 Kd7 22.Kh1 Nb5 23.f5 gxf5 24.gxf5 Nb4 25.Bb1 Rxc1 26.Rxc1 Rc8 27.Rxc8 Kxc8 28.Qg2 exf5 29.Bxf5+ Kb8 30.Qxg7 Nxa2 31.Qxf7 Qd8 32.Qh7 Nac3 33.h4 Ne2 34.h5 Bg5 35.Bd3 Nbc3 36.Bxc3 Nxc3 37.Qg7 Be7 38.h6 Bf8 39.Qg8 Qc8 40.h7 Qh3+ 41.Nh2 1–0

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival


Michael Adams vs Natalia Zhukova

Michael Adams - Natalia Zhukova

One of the pairings from today on one of the top six boards in round one of the Gibraltar Masters, between Adams v Zhukova, is an exact repetition in both names and colours as that featured on the new 30p chess stamp from 2012 issued by the Gibraltar Philatelic Bureau this week.

The stamps were launched on Monday night at the first night reception where the pairings for day one were drawn by Miss Gibraltar 2011 Michelle Gillingwater Pedersen. The stamp is a set of four commemorating 10 years of international chess in Gibraltar.

The collection is available as a Set of 4 stamps, First Day Cover and Presentation Pack

Chess stamps

These are available from the Gibraltar Philatelic Bureau online at and

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival


Gibraltar 2012

256 chess players from more than 60 countries have made their opening moves this afternoon in the Masters section of the 2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival. In both cases the tournament has set new records. There are 56 Grandmasters and 36 International Masters.

The top four women in the world are playing in the tournament: Judit Polgar, Hou Yifan, Humpy Koneru and Anna Muzychuk.

There are Grandmasters and players from as far afield as China, Vietnam and India. Most South American countries are represented and almost all European countries.  

At precisely 3pm James Humpreys head of Tradewise Gibraltar and the main sponsor in this event, made the first move on the top board with top seeded player and previous winner in Gibraltar Peter Svidler (Russia) playing against Jovanka Houska (British Women's Champion).

Live streaming with commentary is available every afternoon with commentator GM Simon Williams. Once again the tournament boasts the latest technology installed by Gibtelecom.

These commentaries are broadcast live on the congress website

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival


At the opening reception on Monday night Gibraltar Culture and Sports Minister Steven Linares weclomed all the players and thanked them for coming to the Rock to play in the tournament. Mr Linares wished all well in their game and hoped all would enjoy the festival.

Tournament director, Stuart Conquest, addressed the familiar faces in the gathering in the main hall by opening with well wishes for a successful tournament from the current World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand. In a e-mail sent by Anand he described the tournament as  a "marquee event". (see full quote below)

Conquest then said that numbers this year have reached a record high.

"There is," he said, "something very special abut the ambience created over these 10 days of chess where everyone feels very much at home."

It was then up to Miss Gibraltar 2011 Michelle Gillingwater Pedersen to draw the pairings for the opening top six games.

First up was Peter Svidler from Russia, a former winner in Gibraltar, and a huge cricket fan. So it was not surprising that he drew a white cricket ball received with much approval from the players. He plays Jovanka Houska in the opening round from UK. 

The other top boards today are: Junio Molina v Mamedyarov, Michael Adams (former Gib winner) v Natalia Zhukova, Robert Aloma Vidal v Zoltan Almasi, Ismael Karin v Liem Le Quang, and Judit Polgar v Alex Astaneh Lopez.

Meanwhile Monday evening also saw the launch of the first Gibraltar stamps featuring chess. One of the pairings for yesterday between Adams and Zhukova, was an exact repetition in both names and colours as that featured on the 30p stamp.

FULL QUOTE FROM: Reigning World Champion Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand

"I would like to wish the organisers of the Tradewise Chess Festival a very successful 10th anniversary. The event has grown in stature and popularity over the years and has become a marquee event attracting the best names in chess including a lot of players from my country.

"On this special occasion I was happy to note that a special prize would be given as a Commonwealth prize to commemorate  Her Majesty The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.  I would personally like to congratulate Brian Callaghan who has been awarded the prestoigious O.B.E. for his services to tourism and chess.  I would certainly like to visit the event in own of its future editions.  Once again all the best for many more good years of chess.
Regards  Viswanathan Ananad”

Alice Mascarenhas
Tradewise Chess Press Officer

Press Office
2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

Años Anteriores:

2010 | 2011

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