Gibraltar Masters: Ivanchuk leads with a 2947 performance

2/2/2011 – Seven wins, two draws – Vassily Ivanchuk is marching through. After nine rounds the Ukrainian Super-GM is half a point ahead of his only serious rival, Nigel Short (performance 2849). IM Melia Salome of Georgia missed a clear win in round eight, but is with a 2612 performance still on course for a GM norm. The weather is splendid and we have pictures of topless GMs frolicking in the sea.

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The 2011 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival is taking place from Monday, 24 January to Thursday, 3 February 2011 at the Caleta Hotel in Gibraltar. The event, which is open to all, is the ninth in the series held on the Rock, but the first one to be sponsored by Tradewise Insurance. 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. There is a special women's award for the hightest performance by a female player, with a prize of £10,000. In addition there are a number of subsiduary tournaments.

Round eight wrap-up

By Stewart Reuben

Yesterday the sun shone beamishly. There was a wealth of competitive chess for the commentary room to consider: GM Simon Williams had the help there of GM Stuart Conquest, GM Nigel Short, GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Jon Speelman, IM Alex Wohl, IM Jack Rudd and others in the room from time to time. People online who made valuable contributions included GM Peter Wells, IMs Richard Bates, Lawrence Cooper and Thomas Rendle. Peter Purland went off as usual to teach chess to local schoolchildren. The special evening event was team pairs, that is alternate moves by the two members of the team and no consultation. This event was visibly and audibly enjoyed by all who participated. In other words, it was another day in chess paradise at the Caleta Hotel.

Ivanchuk (6) v Roiz (5½) was the top board game. 19...Nxf4 seemed to favour Black, in the view of Simon Williams. But White recovered, Black got sloppy and eventually lost. Many thought his resignation was premature.

Gopal (5½) v Short (5½) was a well-crafted game by the Englishman. Even so, he admitted he did not see 24…Qb4+ 25 Bd2 exd4! I must admit to a certain feeling of relish that even great grandmasters overlook things.

Gopal,G (2597) - Short,N (2658) [B16]
Gibraltar Masters Caleta ENG (8), 01.02.2011
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Nxf6+ gxf6 6.c3 Bf5 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.g3 Qa5 9.Bg2 Qb5 10.Nh4 Bg6. 10...Bd3!? 11.b3?! e5 12.c4 Qb4+ 13.Bd2 exd4! at this point Nigel exclaimed "I didn't see that at all" – otherwise he would have played this very sweet combination. In fairness, White has other options here, such as 11.Qb3. 11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.Qb3 a6 13.d5 Nc5 14.Qxb5 cxb5 15.Ke2 Na4 16.h4 Bh6 17.f4 f5 18.Rb1 Bg7 19.Be3 0-0-0 20.Rhd1 Kb8 21.Rd3 Rd7 22.Kd2 Rc8 23.Bd4 Bxd4 24.Rxd4 Nb6.

25.b3. 25.Ke2 may have been better hereabouts, planning to defend the d-pawn with a further rook. 25...Rcd8 26.c4 e6 27.Bf1 bxc4 28.bxc4 Ka7 29.Bg2 exd5 30.cxd5 Nxd5. Inexorably, White's position has worsened and a pawn has been lost. 31.Bxd5 Rxd5 32.Rxd5 Rxd5+ 33.Ke3 Ra5 34.Kd4. A desperate attempt to carry the fight back to Black but it falls well short. 34...Rxa2 35.Ke5 Ra3 36.g4 fxg4 37.Kf6 g3 38.Rg1. 38.Kxf7 g2 39.Rg1 Rg3 is hopeless. 38...Rf3 39.Kg5 a5 40.Kg4 Rc3 41.f5 a4 42.fxg6 fxg6 43.Kg5 Rc6 44.Rxg3 b5 0-1.

The one that got away – we think. Salome Melia missed a win near the end of her game with strong GM Daniel Fridman. Nonetheless she is still on course for a GM norm.

Fridman,D (2655) - Melia,S (2449) [E11]
Gibraltar Masters Caleta ENG (8), 01.02.2011
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 Bxd2+ 5.Nbxd2 d6 6.g3 0-0 7.Bg2 Re8 8.0-0 e5 9.Qc2 h6 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Nh4 c6 12.Rad1 Qe7 13.Ne4 Nxe4 14.Bxe4 Na6 15.Rd2 Nc5 16.Rfd1 a5 17.Bh7+ Kh8 18.Bf5 e4 19.Bxc8 Rexc8 20.Nf5 Qe5 21.Nd6 Rc7 22.Rd4 Re7 23.Qc3 Kg8 24.Qa3 Rd8 25.Nf5 Rxd4 26.Nxe7+ Kh7 27.Rxd4 Qxd4 28.Qxa5 e3 29.Nf5 exf2+ 30.Kf1 Qxc4 31.Ne3 Qc1+ 32.Kxf2 Ne4+ 33.Kg2

33...Qxe3? Allowing perpetual check. Black can win with 33...c5! when, for example, 34.Kf3 Qh1+ 35.Ng2 Ng5+ 36.Kf2 Nh3+ 37.Kf3 Qf1+ wins. 34.Qf5+ Kg8 35.Qc8+ ½-½.

On the beach and – in the water!


The beautiful sunny weather tempted chess players to the beach


GM Alexander Onischuk, USA, rated 2689


FM Andrie Zaremba, USA, 2339


They actually went for a swim in winter in the Mediterranean! As Ali G would say: Respek!

Photos by Zeljka Malobabic and John Saunders

GM Nigel Davies: Beating younger players

Although Victor Korchnoi probably hasn’t seen my DVD on beating younger players he does a good job of it in this recent game from Gibralter. In an earlier game between the two Korchnoi had played 5…b5 but lost the game. This time round he omits …b5 and then hits White’s bishop with the manoeuvre 8…Nd7 and 9…Nb6, which simultaneously prepares …f7-f5. When Caruana plays rather passively in reply Black manages to build a powerful king side attack.

Korchnoi is the most amazing example of chess longevity and I loved his remark to me after our game in the Staunton Memorial in London in 2009: “I played the same way against Leonid Stein in 1962 and he was lucky to escape with a draw!” He’s one of the main reasons I intend to play chess my whole life, it seems to be quite good for ones marbles! – Nigel Davies at The Chess Improver.


Going strong at 79: the indomitable Viktor Lvovich Korchnoi

Top standings after nine rounds

Rk.  Ti. Name FED Rtg Pt. Perf.
1 GM Ivanchuk Vassily UKR 2764 8.0 2947
2 GM Short Nigel D ENG 2658 7.5 2849
3 GM Fridman Daniel GER 2655 6.5 2732
4 GM Kulaots Kaido EST 2577 6.5 2715
5 GM Roiz Michael ISR 2649 6.5 2712
6 GM Gopal Narayanan IND 2597 6.5 2674
7 GM Bologan Viktor MDA 2693 6.5 2662
8 GM Harikrishna Pentala IND 2667 6.5 2653
9 GM Mikhalevski Victor ISR 2579 6.5 2633
10 IM Melia Salome GEO 2449 6.5 2612
11 GM Erdos Viktor HUN 2593 6.5 2601
12 GM Edouard Romain FRA 2634 6.5 2590
13 GM Sengupta Deep IND 2530 6.0 2718
14 GM Adams Michael ENG 2723 6.0 2680
15 GM Korchnoi Viktor SUI 2544 6.0 2670
16 GM Sasikiran Krishnan IND 2690 6.0 2665
17 GM Caruana Fabiano ITA 2721 6.0 2654
18 IM Kosintseva Nad. RUS 2552 6.0 2649
19 GM Lafuente Pablo ARG 2561 6.0 2635
 
Rk.  Ti. Name FED Rtg Pt. Perf.
20 GM Dzagnidze Nana GEO 2550 6.0 2629
21 GM Vallejo Francisco ESP 2698 6.0 2618
22 GM Buhmann Rainer GER 2572 6.0 2617
23 GM Georgiev Kiril BUL 2669 6.0 2612
24 GM Nisipeanu Liviu-D. ROU 2678 6.0 2600
25 GM Kacheishvili Giorgi GEO 2585 6.0 2573
26 GM Ikonnikov Vyacheslav RUS 2580 6.0 2570
  IM Bellaiche Anthony FRA 2458 6.0 2570
28 GM Berg Emanuel SWE 2627 6.0 2554
29 GM Cmilyte Viktorija LTU 2526 6.0 2534
30 IM Harika Dronavalli IND 2520 6.0 2530
31 GM Lemos Damian ARG 2553 6.0 2513
32 GM Kanep Meelis EST 2531 6.0 2510
33 GM Fier Alexandr BRA 2571 6.0 2507
34 GM Iordachescu Viorel MDA 2634 6.0 2499
35 IM Vernay Clovis FRA 2446 6.0 2472
36 IM Das Arghyadip IND 2479 6.0 2469
37 GM Cabrera Alexis ESP 2518 6.0 2466
38   Tate Alan SCO 2292 6.0 2413

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