2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival took place from Tuesday, 24th January
to Thursday, 2nd February 2012 at the Caleta Hotel in Gibraltar. The event was
the tenth in the series held on the Rock, the second to be sponsored by Tradewise
Insurance with technical support by Gibtelecom.
The rate of play: 40 moves in 100 minutes plus 20 moves in 50 minutes plus 15
minutes for all remaining moves with 30 seconds per move added from the start.
The final round started with 17-year-old Hou Yifan, a.k.a. "our hero",
holding second seed Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, rated 2747, to a fairly
effortless draw. This meant that the women's world champion had 8.0/10 points
and was at least the co-winner of the tournament. Only a few players had the
possibility of catching up with her.
One of those was Viktor Bologan, who played a nice game against Mickey Adams
and had a winning position on the board. But Viorel, as he is really called,
messed it up in the end and had to concede a draw to Mickey's stubborn defence.
Another player with chances to catch the leading Hou was Nigel Short, who for
some unexplained reason always does unusually well in Gibraltar. Possibly it
is due to the fresh Mediterranean air that clears his lungs and brain, or maybe
it is the history of "the Rock" which he loves to wallow in. In the
final round Nigel had the daunting task of needing to beat Krishnan Sasikiran
with the black pieces, something he duly did. With that he was tied for first
with the girl who was still a foetus when he played his World Championship
match against Garry Kasparov in 1993.
Top final standings (after ten rounds)
Nigel won the first game of the playoff, in which both players had ten minutes
for the whole game and five seconds increment per move. It was a convincing
win in a Grand Prix attack, though we must mention that at one stage Yifan had
clear winning chances.
In the second game it was all Nigel, whose blitz skills, honed in over 32,000
games on the Playchess server, were clearly visible. With just seconds left on
her clock Yifan forced a draw by perpetual and gave Nigel the overall victory
in this tournament. The key games of the final round and the playoff are here
for you to replay or download:
Apart from her second prize of £12,000 Yifan picked up another £10,000
for the best female player – which everybody expected would go to Judit
Polgar. Oh, yes, and did we mention: the cool 34 points she has picked up for
the next rating list. That, incidentally, would make her the second highest
rated female in the history of the game.
Payday: Nigel Short receives his winners trophy and cheque for £20,000
from Tradewise CEO James Humphries. Nigel also won the Commonwealth prize of
£5000 which was awarded in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
All players from Commonwealth federations were eligible. Previous results of
Nigel Short in Gibraltar:
||=1st-2nd with Krotonias
||did not participate
||=2nd-3rd with Sutovsky (Winner) Kiril Georgiev
||did not participate
||clear 2nd (Winner Ivanchuk)
||1st winner of tie-break with Hou Yifan 1½-½
We would like to mention that all of the pictures on this page, including this
lovely one, are by Ray Morris-Hill.
Yifan dancing on the waterfront – well, actually she is simply on
her morning jog
Ray is a London based professional photographer, specialising in Chess, Portraits,
Sports, Fashion and Wildlife. He has published pictures in The Times, The Guardian,
Digital Photographer, Esquire, Time Out, Drapers, 220 Triathlon, Peon de Rey,
Chess Life, British Chess Magazine and of course, Chess and www.chessbase.com.
His main career has been as a marketing consultant for home shopping companies
in the UK. However, in the last three years, as his photography business has
grown rapidly, more of his time has been taken up behind the camera. "I
have been fortunate to combine my camera skills with my love of chess,"
he says. "I play Board one for Battersea Chess Club in the London League
Division Two, and my latest FIDE rating is 2005.
Photographer Ray Morris-Hill, whose works you can find here
Ray's photos are taken with Nikon Digital SLR cameras, specifically the D3S
and D300 bodies with an array of Nikon Professional lenses. You can contact
him at email@example.com for further information.