Gibraltar Masters: Ivanchuk wins with 9.0/10 and 2968 performance

2/5/2011 – It was an awesome performance by Ivanchuk showing just how big a difference there is when a Super-GM in form is lined up against the rest. Can you say 'target practice'? Short came back from his loss with 8.5/10 and also a remarkable 2883. No less incredible was 79-year-old legend Korchnoi, finishing with a 2634 performance, and nearly beating Vallejo in the end. Round 9 and 10 report.

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Gibraltar Masters: Ivanchuk leads with a 2947 performance

Seven wins, two draws and a score of 8.0/9 – 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.

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.


The playing hall

Round nine wrap-up

By John Saunders

Vassily Ivanchuk and Nigel Short both won their games for the second successive day, so the tournament looks increasingly like a two-man shoot-out between the Ukrainian and the Englishman. Late in the round the darkness returned for the second time in three days as the power failed at 8.20 p.m., five hours twenty minutes into the session. It returned some forty minutes later, but by then the few remaining games had been restarted in what had until now been the commentary room.

"Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the petunias as it fell was ‘Oh no, not again’.” (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams) These same words, or at least the final four of them, echoed around the Caleta Hotel as the power failed again as it had on Monday. The arbiters are evidently familiar with the same book as they heeded its well-known advice – ‘don’t panic’.

Fabiano Caruana found Vassily Ivanchuk as much a handful as he had Viktor Korchnoi. The Ukrainian gradually outplayed his opponent who fell for the same mini-combination losing a pawn that Roiz had allowed against him in the previous round. On the second board, Nigel Short maintained his pursuit of the top seed with a win against the affable Israeli GM Victor Mikhalevski.

Round ten - final report

By Stewart Reuben

There is often an end-of-term feel at the conclusion of chess tournaments. Players have made friends and agree quick draws. There was no air of this here. Perhaps that is because of the size and depth of the prize list, or perhaps because the organisers work so hard to encourage attractive players to attend the tournament. The last round started at 11am. This was partly to enable a play-off to take place if necessary (we don’t like a shared first place) and also to enable the venue to be re-set for the magnificent gala dinner at the Caleta Hotel.


"Can the next victims step forward please?" The two executioners Ivanchuk and
Short await their next opponents.

Vassily Ivanchuk had a very smooth win against Daniel Fridman. Viktor Bologan and Nigel Short went over their game in the commentary room. I thought this most sporting of the Moldovan after losing. Apparently White stood much better but went horribly wrong around move 39. Thus the Ukrainian and Englishman finished first and second respectively, both in an extremely convincing fashion. Nigel finished half a point behind Chucky, but a full point ahead of the nearest rivals. The veteran Viktor Korchnoi had a fleeting opportunity to defeat Paco Vallejo Pons with a brilliancy, but the moment passed and eventually he lost.

Vassily Ivanchuk’s rating performance was 2968 with 9/10. This shows how difficult it is to achieve a 3000 rating performance. Nigel Short’s was 2883 with 8½/10. The English hope is that this wonderful result will lead to a resurgence in form.

Nadezhda Kosintseva drew her last round game, thus cementing her GM norm (that is a performance of 2600 or higher) and she will be awarded the Grandmaster title after all the paperwork and bureaucracy is completed. Salome Melia drew her last round game and also achieved a GM norm. As far I know this was her first and she will need to repeat this twice in order to gain the title. I am old enough to remember the time when there were no female grandmasters. Perhaps it is time for FIDE to consider doing away with separate women’s titles. Is it not somewhat condescending?


Nadezhda Kosintseva

Other people who achieved international master norms (2400 or higher) included Toomas Valgmae (Estonia), Espen Forsaa (Norway) and Tom Weber (Luxembourg).

The Tradewise Gibraltar Masters has the highest rating prizes in the world. The top band is 2500-2599 and those players compete, not only for the main prizes, but also a first of £3000 and second of £2000 in that range. But even that pales into insignificance by comparison with the women’s prizes. There is a first of £10,000 and they can win a prize in open competition if good enough. We look forward to the day a woman sweeps the two top prizes and leaves everybody else green with envy. Salome Melia seemed likely to take the top prize but she was ousted from the top spot by her fellow countrywoman Nana Dzagndize in the final round. This was the second time she had won the top women's prize in the past three years.


Viktor Korchnoi, going on 80, performed at 2634 and still came within a hair of
beating Vallejo-Pons in the last round.

Top final standings (after ten rounds of play)

Rk.  Ti. Name FED Rtg Pt. Perf.
1 GM Ivanchuk Vassily UKR 2764 9.0 2968
2 GM Short Nigel D ENG 2658 8.5 2883
3 GM Kulaots Kaido EST 2577 7.5 2750
4 GM Roiz Michael ISR 2649 7.5 2743
5 GM Caruana Fabiano ITA 2721 7.0 2681
6 GM Dzagnidze Nana GEO 2550 7.0 2672
7 GM Gopal Narayanan IND 2597 7.0 2651
8 GM Vallejo Francisco ESP 2698 7.0 2648
9 GM Harikrishna Pentala IND 2667 7.0 2647
10 GM Georgiev Kiril BUL 2669 7.0 2641
11 GM Lafuente Pablo ARG 2561 7.0 2637
12 GM Nisipeanu Liviu-D. ROU 2678 7.0 2629
13 IM Melia Salome GEO 2449 7.0 2610
14 GM Kacheishvili Giorgi GEO 2585 7.0 2608
15 GM Erdos Viktor HUN 2593 7.0 2607
16 GM Ikonnikov Vyacheslav RUS 2580 7.0 2598
17 GM Iordachescu Viorel MDA 2634 7.0 2538
 
18 GM Fier Alexandr BRA 2571 7.0 2538
19 GM Fridman Daniel GER 2655 6.5 2695
20 GM Adams Michael ENG 2723 6.5 2665
21 IM Kosintseva Nad. RUS 2552 6.5 2654
22 GM Bologan Viktor MDA 2693 6.5 2623
23 GM Buhmann Rainer GER 2572 6.5 2598
24 GM Mikhalevski Victor ISR 2579 6.5 2595
25 GM Akobian Varuzhan USA 2618 6.5 2583
26 GM Onischuk Alexander USA 2689 6.5 2575
27 IM Bellaiche Anthony FRA 2458 6.5 2568
28 GM Edouard Romain FRA 2634 6.5 2550
29 GM Berg Emanuel SWE 2627 6.5 2548
30 IM Harika Dronavalli IND 2520 6.5 2537
31 IM Zatonskih Anna USA 2493 6.5 2530
32 GM Gallagher Joseph G SUI 2501 6.5 2482
33 IM Vaibhav Suri IND 2421 6.5 2472
34 GM Zhukova Natalia UKR 2441 6.5 2447
35 GM Jones Gawain C B ENG 2593 6.5 2440

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