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Hou Yifan, Short win Gibraltar, Nigel wins playoff

2/3/2012 – The final round at the 2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival was as exciting as they can get. Seventeen-year-old Women's World Champion Hou Yifan finished in first place at 8.0/10, which Nigel Short catching her in points (but not performance). There was a playoff for the title, which the older, more experienced player won. Illustrated report with pictures by Ray Morris-Hill.
 

The 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)

Rk.
 Ti.
Name
FED
Rtg
Pts.
Perf 
1
GM
Hou Yifan
CHN
2605
8.0
2872.0
2
GM
Short Nigel D
ENG
2677
8.0
2838.0
3
GM
Adams Michael
ENG
2724
7.5
2807.0
4
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
AZE
2747
7.5
2783.0
5
GM
Bologan Viktor
MDA
2680
7.5
2734.0
6
GM
Sutovsky Emil
ISR
2703
7.5
2669.0
7
GM
Le Quang Liem
VIE
2714
7.0
2733.0
8
GM
Almasi Zoltan
HUN
2717
7.0
2730.0
9
GM
Howell David W L
ENG
2603
7.0
2725.0
10
GM
Sasikiran Krishnan
IND
2700
7.0
2717.0
11
GM
Movsesian Sergei
ARM
2700
7.0
2711.0
12
GM
Svidler Peter
RUS
2749
7.0
2700.0
13
GM
Negi Parimarjan
IND
2641
7.0
2694.0
14
GM
Polgar Judit
HUN
2710
7.0
2693.0
15
GM
Laznicka Viktor
CZE
2704
7.0
2681.0
16
GM
Fridman Daniel
GER
2660
7.0
2632.0
17
GM
Gustafsson Jan
GER
2643
7.0
2628.0
18
GM
Jussupow Artur
GER
2569
7.0
2625.0
19
GM
Salem A R Saleh
UAE
2505
7.0
2621.0
20
GM
Berg Emanuel
SWE
2550
7.0
2603.0
21
GM
Sargissian Gabriel
ARM
2683
7.0
2594.0
22
GM
Kanep Meelis
EST
2509
7.0
2556.0
23
GM
Cabrera Alexis
ESP
2504
7.0
2544.0
24
GM
Gopal G N
IND
2566
6.5
2647.0
25
GM
Shirov Alexei
LAT
2710
6.5
2629.0
26
GM
Brunello Sabino
ITA
2581
6.5
2617.0
27
GM
Kulaots Kaido
EST
2581
6.5
2604.0
28
GM
Erdos Viktor
HUN
2634
6.5
2601.0
29
GM
Zhu Chen
QAT
2472
6.5
2598.0
30
GM
Cramling Pia
SWE
2491
6.5
2591.0
31
IM
Muzychuk Anna
SLO
2580
6.5
2586.0
32
GM
El Debs Felipe De Cresce
BRA
2497
6.5
2582.0
33
GM
Nabaty Tamir
ISR
2563
6.5
2575.0
34
GM
Stefanova Antoaneta
BUL
2523
6.5
2571.0
35
IM
Dvirnyy Daniyyl
ITA
2492
6.5
2530.0
36
GM
Del Rio Salvador G
ESP
2531
6.5
2528.0
37
GM
Gupta Abhijeet
IND
2652
6.5
2525.0
37
IM
Muzychuk Mariya
UKR
2483
6.5
2525.0
39
GM
Iturrizaga Edoardo
VEN
2649
6.5
2510.0
40
IM
Zatonskih Anna
USA
2506
6.5
2502.0
41
GM
Kosintseva Nadezhda
RUS
2537
6.5
2498.0
42
IM
Hunt Adam C
ENG
2462
6.5
2481.0
43
GM
Ikonnikov Vyacheslav
RUS
2531
6.5
2468.0
44
  
Graf Felix
GER
2367
6.5
2437.0
45
GM
Pavlovic Milos
SRB
2531
6.5
2413.0

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:

2003 =1st-2nd with Krotonias
2004 Clear first
2005 did not participate
2006 =2nd-3rd with Sutovsky (Winner) Kiril Georgiev 
2007-2010    did not participate
2011 clear 2nd (Winner Ivanchuk)
2012 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, "Коммерсантъ, 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 ray@rmhphoto.eu for further information.


Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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