2011 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival under way

by ChessBase
1/27/2011 – This traditional and popular event is takeing place for the ninth time, from Jan. 24 to Feb. 3, 2011, at the Caleta Hotel in Gibraltar. There are 231 players in the Masters section: 53 grandmasters, three of whom are rated over the elite level of 2700, and 15 between 2600-2699. A special £10,000 prize will be awarded to the best female. After two round 22 players have perfect 2.0/2 scores. Report.

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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. Details can be found here.

Gibraltar, according to Nigel Short, is a place which you either love or hate. It’s a rock, a British naval base which was very important for controlling the entrance to the Mediterranean. From here you can see Africa, even with the naked eye, and so you could see any ships entering the Mediterranean. Historically it was just a garrison town, now the military presence has been wound down quite significantly. It has a population that numbers in the tens of thousands.

The Caleta Hotel is on the east side of the rock, the main town is on the other side, so that the players are a bit isolated. But everything is in walking distance. The runway of the airport is actually longer than the width of the peninsular, so it actually extends out into the sea.

Before the start of the tournament one of the star players, Hou Yifan, the current Women's World Chess Champion, had to pull out due to critical illness in her family. But the rest of the field was quite impressive and included...

...the Kosintseva sisters IM Nadezhda and GM Tatiana, here with GM Stewart Conquest

Top participants (rated 2500 or higher)

No. Ti. Name FED Rtg
1 GM Ivanchuk Vassily UKR 2764
2 GM Adams Michael ENG 2723
3 GM Caruana Fabiano ITA 2721
4 GM Vallejo Francisco ESP 2698
5 GM Bologan Viktor MDA 2693
6 GM Sasikiran Krishnan IND 2690
7 GM Onischuk Alexander USA 2689
8 GM Nisipeanu Liviu-D. ROU 2678
9 GM Georgiev Kiril BUL 2669
10 GM Harikrishna Pentala IND 2667
11 GM Short Nigel D ENG 2658
12 GM Fridman Daniel GER 2655
13 GM Roiz Michael ISR 2649
14 GM Sandipan Chanda IND 2641
15 GM Edouard Romain FRA 2634
16 GM Iordachescu Viorel MDA 2634
17 GM Berg Emanuel SWE 2627
No. Ti. Name FED Rtg
18 GM Akobian Varuzhan USA 2618
19 GM Kotronias Vasilios GRE 2599
20 GM Gopal Narayanan IND 2597
21 GM Erdos Viktor HUN 2593
22 GM Jones Gawain C B ENG 2593
23 GM Felgaer Ruben ARG 2585
24 GM Kacheishvili Giorgi GEO 2585
25 GM Ikonnikov Vyach. RUS 2580
26 GM Andersson Ulf SWE 2579
27 GM Mikhalevski Victor ISR 2579
28 GM Kulaots Kaido EST 2577
29 GM Buhmann Rainer GER 2572
30 GM Fier Alexandr BRA 2571
31 GM Kosintseva Tat. RUS 2570
32 GM Lemos Damian ARG 2553
33 IM Kosintseva Nad. RUS 2552
34 GM Lafuente Pablo ARG 2551
No. Ti. Name FED Rtg
35 GM Le Roux Jean-P. FRA 2551
36 GM Dzagnidze Nana GEO 2550
37 GM Stefanova Ant. BUL 2546
38 GM Korchnoi Viktor SUI 2544
39 GM Robson Ray USA 2532
40 GM Kanep Meelis EST 2531
41 GM Rapport Richard HUN 2531
42 GM Sengupta Deep IND 2530
43 GM Cmilyte Viktorija LTU 2526
44 GM Speelman Jon S ENG 2524
45 IM Harika Dronavalli IND 2520
46 GM Cabrera Alexis ESP 2518
47 GM Cramling Pia SWE 2516
48 GM Hoffmann Michael GER 2506
49 GM Gallagher Joseph SUI 2501

Organiser Brian Callaghan, Tournament Director Stuart Conquest, Miss Gibraltar
2010 Larissa Dalli, and Gibraltar Sports and Leisure Minister Edwin Reyes

Mayor of Gibraltar Tony Lombard made the first moves with the top seeded player in
the tournament Vassily Ivanshuk, while Larissa Dalli looks on

Round one wrap-up by John Saunders

For the most part, round one of the Masters saw the big stars defeat their more modestly rated opponents. World number nine Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine, making his debut in Gibraltar, was too strong for French IM Jean-Baptiste Mullon, and a similar story continued down the list of boards, with only a handful of the lower-rated players escaping with results against their more illustrious rivals.

French IM Jean-Baptiste Mullon playing in round one against GM Vassily Ivanchuk

To find the first major casualty we have to track all the way down to board 28 where GM Alexandr Fier of Brazil lost to FM Tom Weber of Luxembourg. Brazil 0, Luxembourg 1 is not the sort of score you’d expect to see on a football pitch, is it? Elsewhere the theme of Europe beating the Americas continued with experienced Spanish woman international Monica Calzetta defeating 16-year-old US prodigy GM Ray Robson. One possible theory behind these results was jet lag – flying west-east is allegedly the worst form of this affliction. However, this may have been partially refuted by Canadian IM Leon Piasetski’s excellent win against French GM Jean-Pierre Le Roux.

The playing hall in the Caleta Hotel in Gibraltar

Round two wrap-up by Stewart Reuben

The game of the round in a competitive sense had to be that between the young Italian/American Fabiano Caruana and the veteran superstar Viktor Korchnoi. Viktor was puzzled as to why he was on board three against the 18-year-old, but surely he has played in many Accelerated Pairing Swisses that I have run, dating back as far as 1980. John Saunders suggested it was actually 1880, but I pointed out I wasn’t actually involved in international chess organisation then. By the time we spoke over dinner, Viktor was in good humour as you would expect. He told me his previous score was 0-4 with no draws against the boy. In what other sport is an encounter at all likely between two players 60 years apart in age? Well, perhaps bridge, but in that game it is difficult to find a player under 30.

18-year-old Fabiano Caruana against octogenarian Viktor Korchnoi: 0-1!

The other game I found time to kibitz was that between Pia Cramling and Nigel Short. The advantage of looking at Nigel’s games is that he is perfectly prepared to come and analyse his games in the commentary room afterwards. He explained that he got totally confused at the point where he played 10…Bxg3 followed by 11…Bxf3. This enabled Pia to respond 12 gxf3 giving her the better game. Had he first played 10…Bxf3, then no doubt she would have played 11 Bxf3. Why did he get confused? Because he needed a caffeine injection at that point. You don’t usually get this type of insight into the reasons for people’s moves. 23 b5 would have been far more active for White and she would probably have then stood somewhat better.

Pia Cramling vs Nigel Short: 0-1 in 44 moves

People often ask how many people are playing in Gibraltar and so on. This is currently impossible to answer correctly as more people are playing in Challengers B and Amateur B. Also it is not unknown for people to turn up late. Currently we have 231 players in the Masters, the biggest ever turn-out; 55 in Challengers A; and 30 in Amateur A. There are 53 grandmasters competing, three of whom are rated over the elite level of 2700; 15 are rated between 2600-2699; 31 between 2500-2599. There are 50 different federations in the congress, counting players from Gibraltar separately. There is no doubt this is the biggest and strongest of the series. To think, in 2003 there were just 66 entries.

Top standings after two rounds

Title Name FED Rtg Pts.
GM Ivanchuk Vassily UKR 2764 2.0
GM Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2698 2.0
GM Short Nigel D ENG 2658 2.0
GM Fridman Daniel GER 2655 2.0
GM Roiz Michael ISR 2649 2.0
GM Sandipan Chanda IND 2641 2.0
GM Berg Emanuel SWE 2627 2.0
GM Akobian Varuzhan USA 2618 2.0
GM Kotronias Vasilios GRE 2599 2.0
GM Gopal Geetha Narayanan IND 2597 2.0
GM Erdos Viktor HUN 2593 2.0
Title Name FED Rtg Pts.
GM Felgaer Ruben ARG 2585 2.0
GM Kulaots Kaido EST 2577 2.0
GM Buhmann Rainer GER 2572 2.0
GM Kosintseva Tatiana RUS 2570 2.0
IM Kosintseva Nadezhda RUS 2552 2.0
GM Korchnoi Viktor SUI 2544 2.0
GM Rapport Richard HUN 2531 2.0
GM Sengupta Deep IND 2530 2.0
GM Cmilyte Viktorija LTU 2526 2.0
GM Zhu Chen QAT 2495 2.0
FM Weber Tom LUX 2310 2.0


A selection of 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 the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!

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