Gibraltar Rd9: Four GM norms!

by Alejandro Ramirez
2/4/2015 – Another day of successes in Gibraltar! Hikaru Nakamura keeps his lead, but shortened to half a point as David Howell beat Daniel Naroditsky on board two. Another half a point behind Howell are Hou Yifan, Nikita Vitiugov, Pentala Harikrishna and Axel Bachmann. Today the Minister of Tourism visited the event, in time to see that an amazing four players achieved their GM norms!

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Round Nine

Bo. Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts. Name Rtg
1 Bachmann Axel 2629 ½ - ½ Nakamura Hikaru 2776
2 Howell David W L 2670 1 - 0 Naroditsky Daniel 2622
3 Topalov Veselin 2800 6 ½ - ½ 6 Wei Yi 2675
4 Adhiban B. 2630 6 ½ - ½ 6 Svidler Peter 2739
5 Vitiugov Nikita 2735 6 1 - 0 6 Mareco Sandro 2583
6 Jakovenko Dmitry 2733 6 ½ - ½ 6 Bok Benjamin 2572
7 Yu Yangyi 2724 6 ½ - ½ 6 Wagner Dennis 2501
8 Harikrishna P. 2723 6 1 - 0 6 Padmini Rout 2388
9 Hou Yifan 2673 6 1 - 0 6 Rapport Richard 2716
10 Nakar Eylon 2419 6 ½ - ½ 6 Cheparinov Ivan 2681
11 Matlakov Maxim 2695 1 - 0 Muzychuk Anna 2544
12 Rodshtein Maxim 2680 ½ - ½ Ganguly Surya Shekhar 2595
13 Felgaer Ruben 2575 1 - 0 Motylev Alexander 2665
14 Lalith Babu M.R. 2537 0 - 1 Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo 2649
15 Sutovsky Emil 2637 1 - 0 Spraggett Kevin 2538
16 Venkatesh M.R. 2460 0 - 1 Bartel Mateusz 2631
17 Salgado Lopez Ivan 2628 ½ - ½ Xu Jun 2523
18 Bologan Viktor 2608 0 - 1 Kuipers Stefan 2390
19 Edouard Romain 2638 5 ½ - ½ Muzychuk Mariya 2520
20 Anton Guijarro David 2617 5 1 - 0 5 Svane Rasmus 2496

Gibraltar's new Minister for Tourism, Samantha Sacramento, was shown around the Festival today

With peace on board one, some people were able to reach 7.0/9 to put pressure on Nakamura going into the last round. The American has to draw to guarantee himself a share of first place, and a win to guarantee an outright win, but odds are still very much looking in his favor.

The minister checking out the top board

David Howell came through with a very important victory against Daniel Naroditsky. All of today's analysis is brought to you by IM Sagar Shah.

[Event "Gibraltar Masters 2015"] [Site "Caleta ENG"] [Date "2015.02.03"] [Round "9.2"] [White "Howell, David WL"] [Black "Naroditsky, Daniel L"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A29"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "85"] [EventDate "2015.01.27"] 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nb6 7. O-O Be7 8. a3 O-O 9. b4 Be6 10. d3 a5 11. b5 Nd4 12. Nxe5 $5 (12. Nd2 {is mainly played}) 12... Bf6 13. f4 (13. Nc4 Nxc4 14. dxc4 Bxc4 $15) 13... Nb3 {The exchange has to be sacrificed now because the threat is Qd4+ picking up the loose knight on c3.} 14. Be3 Nxa1 15. Qxa1 Nd5 (15... Bxe5 16. fxe5 Nd5 {was a much more solid way to continue. Black should not be worse.}) 16. Bd4 Bxe5 $6 17. Bxe5 $14 { White has excellent compensation here because of the latent attack on the g7 pawn.} f6 18. Nxd5 Bxd5 19. Bxc7 Qxc7 20. Bxd5+ Kh8 21. Kg2 Qd7 22. Qa2 Qxb5 23. Rb1 Qc5 24. a4 $1 {Keeping up the pressure.} (24. Rxb7 Rab8 {Would ease Black's defense.}) 24... Rab8 25. Rxb7 $6 {Now this makes no sense. If the pawn was to be taken on b7 why didn't White do it on the previous move itself?} (25. Rb5 {Could have been much tougher to deal with.} Qc3 26. Qc4 Qxc4 27. dxc4 $14 {The bishop on d5 is stronger than a rook in this position.}) 25... Qd4 26. Rxb8 Rxb8 27. Bc6 $11 Qe3 28. Bf3 Qd4 29. h4 Qb4 30. Qc2 Qb3 31. Qc7 Qb6 32. Qf7 Qd4 {This is the start of Naroditsky's problems. He underestimates the advance of the h-pawn.} (32... Rd8 33. h5 h6 $14 {looks scary, but holdable.} 34. Qg6 Qe6 $1 35. Be4 Kg8 {and as long as the Black queen can cover g8 after Qh7 and Qh8, Black is ok.}) 33. h5 Qd6 (33... h6 34. Qg6 {and Black's queen can't get to g8 in time!} Qb2 35. Qf5 $1 {with a weakness on a5.}) 34. h6 Qf8 35. Qa7 $1 gxh6 36. Qxa5 Qg7 37. Qf5 Rg8 38. g4 {Black is out of counterplay and the endgame without the queens is hopeless.} h5 39. Qxh5 Qd7 40. a5 f5 41. a6 fxg4 42. Qe5+ Rg7 43. Bd5 1-0

David Howell is the only person trailing Hikaru Nakamura by a mere half a point

The game between Adhiban Baskaran and Peter Svidler was absolutely nuts!

[Event "Gibraltar Masters 2015"] [Site "Caleta ENG"] [Date "2015.02.03"] [Round "9.4"] [White "Adhiban, Baskaran"] [Black "Svidler, Peter"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D85"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "43"] [EventDate "2015.01.27"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Bb5+ c6 8. Ba4 O-O 9. Ne2 b5 10. Bb3 Bb7 11. h4 $5 {It is tough to tell whether this is an over the board novelty by Adhiban or he had prepared it at home. One thing is sure, he is going for his opponent's throat.} c5 $1 {Svidler is not an opponent whom you can scare with rook pawn advances! He correctly adheres to the adage of meeting the flank attack with central play.} 12. h5 Bxe4 13. f3 Bd5 ({The variations below show that Black's position is not easy to defend and hence Svidler tries to exchange the light squared bishops.} 13... Bb7 14. hxg6 hxg6 15. Bh6 Bxh6 16. Rxh6 c4 (16... Kg7 17. Qd2 Rh8 18. Rxh8 Qxh8 19. Qf4 c4 20. Qe5+ Kg8 21. Qxb5 $16) (16... e6 17. Qd2 Qf6 18. Kf2 $40) 17. Bc2 e5 ( 17... Kg7 18. Qd2 Rh8 19. Rxh8 Qxh8 20. Qg5 Qh1+ 21. Kf2 Qxa1 22. Bxg6 $5 Kf8 ( 22... fxg6 23. Qxe7+ Kg8 24. Qxb7 $18) 23. Qf5 $40) 18. Qd2 $40) 14. hxg6 hxg6 15. Bh6 {White's attack develops naturally.} Bxb3 16. Qd2 $1 {A very nice intermezzo by White. The threat now is to take on g7 and get the queen into h6. } Bf6 (16... Bd5 17. Bxg7 Kxg7 18. Qh6+ Kf6 19. Qf4+ Kg7 (19... Ke6 20. Qe5+ $18) 20. Qh6+ Kf6 21. Qf4+ $11) 17. Bxf8 Bc4 18. Bh6 Nc6 19. Bg5 Bg7 20. Bh6 Bf6 21. Bg5 Bg7 22. Bh6 {A short but interesting game.} 1/2-1/2

The prodigy Wei Yi was able to hold Veselin Topalov to a draw, despite the first player playing a strong exchange sacrifice in the beginning of this Fianchetto Grunfeld:

[Event "Gibraltar Masters 2015"] [Site "Caleta ENG"] [Date "2015.02.03"] [Round "9.3"] [White "Topalov, Veselin"] [Black "Wei, Yi"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D71"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "74"] [EventDate "2015.01.27"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Nf3 Nb6 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. e3 O-O 9. O-O Re8 10. a3 a5 11. Ne1 Be6 (11... e5 12. d5 Nb8 13. e4 $14) 12. Nd3 Bc4 13. Nc5 $1 {excellent exchange sacrifice by Topalov.} Bxf1 14. Qxf1 $5 { Topalov goes for long term compensation. He doesn't even have a pawn for the exchange but with a knight on c5 and the bishop on g2 his compensation is not under any doubt.} (14. Nxb7 Qc8 15. Bxc6 Bh3 16. Nc5 $14) 14... Qb8 15. Qb5 ( 15. Nxb7 Qxb7 16. Qb5 Nxd4 $1 17. exd4 Qa6 18. Bxa8 Rxa8 19. Qxa6 Rxa6 $11 { The position is just equal.}) 15... e5 $1 {Playing in the center.} 16. Nxb7 exd4 $1 17. Ne2 $6 (17. Bxc6 dxc3 18. Bxe8 Qxe8 19. Qxe8+ Rxe8 20. bxc3 Nc4 $11 {Black has excellent compensation and the position is just equal.} (20... Bxc3 21. Ra2 $14)) 17... Na7 (17... d3 $5) 18. Qd3 dxe3 19. Bxe3 Bxb2 {Wei Yi is a little greedy and wins the pawn on b2. This gives White good chances to create counterplay.} (19... c6 $5 20. Nxa5 Na4 {Black has a good position.} 21. Nxc6 Nxc6 22. Bxc6 Nxb2 23. Qb1 (23. Qd2 Nc4) (23. Qc2 Rc8) 23... Rd8 24. Bxa8 Rd1+ 25. Qxd1 Nxd1 26. Rxd1 Qxa8 $15 {But this should most probably end in a draw.}) 20. Rb1 Bg7 21. Nf4 Qc8 22. Bxb6 cxb6 23. Nd6 Qc3 24. Qxc3 Bxc3 25. Nxe8 Rxe8 26. Rxb6 $11 {The position has petered out to a draw.} Bd4 27. Ra6 Nb5 28. Rxa5 Nc3 29. Bf1 Rb8 30. Ne2 Bb6 31. Re5 Nd1 32. Kg2 Bxf2 33. a4 Ba7 34. Rb5 Rd8 35. Rb7 Bc5 36. Rb5 Ba7 37. Rb7 Bc5 1/2-1/2

Harika Dronavalli missed a big opportunity to fight for the top women's prize by letting Alex Lenderman off the hook:

[Event "Gibraltar Masters 2015"] [Site "Caleta ENG"] [Date "2015.02.03"] [Round "9.21"] [White "Harika, Dronavalli"] [Black "Lenderman, Aleksandr"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B65"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "127"] [EventDate "2015.01.27"] 1. Nf3 d6 2. e4 Nf6 3. Nc3 c5 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 {Surprisingly after beginning from a Reti, going into a Pirc or a Philidor, the game has finally ended up being an open Sicilian!} Nc6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 Be7 8. O-O-O Nxd4 9. Qxd4 O-O 10. f4 Qa5 11. Bc4 Bd7 12. e5 dxe5 13. fxe5 Bc6 14. Bd2 Nd7 15. Nd5 Qd8 16. Nxe7+ Qxe7 17. Rhe1 Rfd8 18. Qg4 Nf8 19. Bd3 Rxd3 $5 {One might want to question why is this exchange being sacrificed. But then you click on the tab called reference and see that already 90 games have been played and you say to yourself, there must be some logic behind it! Let's leave it, it is all theory! But let us try to understand what is the exact nature of Black's compensation after making White's next move.} 20. cxd3 {The first thing we notice over here is the complete domination of Black on the light squares. The bishop on c6 is excellently placed and has no opponent. The knight on f8 can soon come into the game and has a wonderful square on d5. At the same time White's attacking prospects have vanished and the bishop on d2 lacks scope to some extent because of the e5 pawn. It is true that Bd2 has a nice home on d6 but What exactly will it control from those squares? b8 and f8 squares. Are they even important? So all in all Black has good compensation for an exchange. } Ng6 ({Ths is one of my favourite games. Of particular note in this game is the king manoeuvre with 34...Kh7!!-Kg6! by which Black activates his rook.} 20... Qd7 21. Kb1 Qxd3+ 22. Ka1 h5 23. Qxh5 Ba4 24. Bc3 Bxd1 25. Rxd1 Qe4 26. Qg5 a5 27. Qd2 Ng6 28. g3 Ne7 29. Qd7 Nd5 30. Bd4 Qe2 31. Rc1 b5 32. Bc5 Qd3 33. Qc6 Rd8 34. Bd6 Kh7 35. Qc5 Kg6 36. h4 Rh8 37. a3 Rh5 38. Qg1 Kh7 39. Rd1 Qb3 40. Rd2 Rf5 41. g4 Rf4 42. Qb1+ Kg8 43. g5 b4 44. Rd3 Nc3 45. axb4 Qa2+ 46. Qxa2 Rf1+ {0-1 (46) Oll,L (2595)-Hodgson,J (2625) Groningen 1993}) 21. Kb1 (21. Bb4 h5 $5 22. Bxe7 hxg4 $44) 21... Qc5 22. Bc3 Qf2 23. Re2 Qf4 24. Qg3 (24. Qxf4 Nxf4) 24... Rd8 25. Rf2 Qa4 (25... Qxg3 {Should have been played. This would have taken away all of White's attacking chances and steered the game into a technical phase where it's difficult for White to prove his material advantage.} 26. hxg3 Rd5 $44) 26. b3 Qb5 27. h4 h5 28. Kb2 Rd7 29. Qg5 a5 { White's counterplay is too slow.} 30. g4 $1 a4 31. gxh5 $18 {White is completely winning.} a3+ 32. Kc2 Qc5 33. Qg1 $2 {Allow Black a little back into the game.} (33. Qg3 $1 {Had the same idea, but defended the h4 pawn.}) 33... Nxh4 34. Rf4 Qxg1 35. Rxg1 Nf5 {The endgame is not trivial. The Black knight is very powerful on f5.} 36. Kd2 Kh7 37. d4 Kh6 38. Ke2 Kxh5 39. Rxf5+ exf5 40. Rxg7 {Now White doesn't have any real winning chances: the opposite colored bishops will keep the draw.} f4 41. e6 $6 (41. Kd3 $1) 41... Re7 42. Rxf7 Rxe6+ 43. Kf2 $11 Kg4 44. Bd2 Re4 45. Rg7+ Kh5 46. Rf7 Rxd4 47. Bxf4 Rd1 48. Be5 Rd2+ 49. Ke3 Rxa2 50. Rf2 Rxf2 51. Kxf2 Kg4 52. Ke3 Kf5 53. Bc3 Bd5 54. Kd2 Bxb3 55. Kc1 Ke4 56. Bb4 a2 57. Kb2 Kd3 58. Bf8 Bd5 59. Bg7 b5 60. Bh8 b4 61. Bg7 b3 62. Bh8 a1=Q+ 63. Kxa1 b2+ 64. Kxb2 1/2-1/2

Hou Yifan with another impressive Gibraltar: this time she beat
Richard Rapport and has clinched the top Women's prize of 15,000 pounds

Antoaneta Stefanova has a strong 5.5/9

Padmini Rout deep in concentration against her compatriot, Pentala Harikrishna

There are more good news from Gibraltar! Four (!) people have been able to obtain their GM-norm after nine rounds of play. Padmini Rout from India, Stefan Kuipers from the Netherlands, Dennis Wagner from Germany and Eylon Nakar from Israel.

Mariya Muzychuk from Ukraine can also get a GM-norm tomorrow with a victory.

Round Nine Standings

Rk. Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1 
1 Nakamura Hikaru USA 2776 8.0 2963
2 Howell David W L ENG 2670 7.5 2840
3 Vitiugov Nikita RUS 2735 7.0 2791
4 Hou Yifan CHN 2673 7.0 2788
5 Harikrishna P. IND 2723 7.0 2750
6 Bachmann Axel PAR 2629 7.0 2726
7 Svidler Peter RUS 2739 6.5 2735
8 Topalov Veselin BUL 2800 6.5 2733
9 Wei Yi CHN 2675 6.5 2725
10 Yu Yangyi CHN 2724 6.5 2723
  Wagner Dennis GER 2501 6.5 2723
12 Jakovenko Dmitry RUS 2733 6.5 2709
  Adhiban B. IND 2630 6.5 2709
14 Naroditsky Daniel USA 2622 6.5 2694
15 Cheparinov Ivan BUL 2681 6.5 2662
16 Matlakov Maxim RUS 2695 6.5 2650
17 Nakar Eylon ISR 2419 6.5 2635
18 Kuipers Stefan NED 2390 6.5 2632
19 Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo VEN 2649 6.5 2606
20 Sutovsky Emil ISR 2637 6.5 2591

Pairings Round Ten

Bo. Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts. Name Rtg
1 Nakamura Hikaru 2776 8   7 Harikrishna P. 2723
2 Hou Yifan 2673 7   Howell David W L 2670
3 Vitiugov Nikita 2735 7   7 Bachmann Axel 2629
4 Bartel Mateusz 2631   Topalov Veselin 2800
5 Svidler Peter 2739   Sutovsky Emil 2637
6 Naroditsky Daniel 2622   Jakovenko Dmitry 2733
7 Bok Benjamin 2572   Yu Yangyi 2724
8 Kuipers Stefan 2390   Matlakov Maxim 2695
9 Cheparinov Ivan 2681   Adhiban B. 2630
10 Wei Yi 2675   Felgaer Ruben 2575
11 Wagner Dennis 2501   Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo 2649
12 Rapport Richard 2716 6   Nakar Eylon 2419
13 Xu Jun 2523 6   6 Rodshtein Maxim 2680
14 Rasmussen Allan Stig 2526 6   6 Salgado Lopez Ivan 2628
15 Padmini Rout 2388 6   6 Anton Guijarro David 2617
16 Ganguly Surya Shekhar 2595 6   6 Sengupta Deep 2569
17 Popilski Gil 2522 6   6 Mareco Sandro 2583
18 Muzychuk Mariya 2520 6   6 Nabaty Tamir 2579
19 Hansen Eric 2574 6   6 Troff Kayden W 2541
20 Al-Sayed Mohammed 2516 6   6 Sandipan Chanda 2574

Hikaru Nakamura will have a big game tomorrow as he basically needs to not lose against Pentala Harikrishna. David Howell will not have an easy time as Black against Hou Yifan, who is on fire in this tournament. Also goign for the top places are Nikita Vitiugov and Axel Bachmann, while those in the 6.5 pack will need a win for a good prize.

Replay Masters games - Round Nine

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All photos by Sophie Triay and John Saunders from the Official Website

Links

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Topics Gibraltar

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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johnmk johnmk 2/5/2015 02:42
Plus, Hou Yifan has blown past Judit. No one can say "Hou dat?" anymore!
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