Akopian wins GibTel Masters in Gibraltar

by ChessBase
2/4/2007 – The Fifth GibTelecom Chess Festival took place in Gibraltar from January 23rd to February 1st 2007. The Masters Section was a nine-round Swiss and was won with 7½/9 by Vladimir Akopian of Armenia, ahead of Areshchenko, Nakamura and Sutovsky. Report.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Draws by mutual agreement in under 40 moves were not allowed in the Masters without the agreement of the arbiter. No pre-arranged or tacit agreements to draw were allowed (of any length, by repetition or otherwise). Only genuine draws by repetition or stalemate were acceptable.

Gibraltar at night

Vladimir Akopian of Armenia won the Fifth Gibtelecom Masters outright, with 7.5 out of 9. It was a splendid success for the Armenian, who started the event with a surprise loss to Irina Krush, but then dropped just half a point in his remaining 8 games. He secured first place with a decisive last-round victory over co-leader, Yuri Kuzubov, of the Ukraine.

The decider: Vladimir Akopian vs Yuri Kuzubov

Akopian,Vl (2700) - Kuzubov,Y (2554) [B31]
Gibtelecom Masters Catalan Bay ENG (9), 01.02.2007

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Bg7 6.h3 b6 7.Nc3 Nh6 8.Be3 f6 9.Qd2 Nf7 10.0-0-0 e5 11.Nh2 Be6 12.f4 exf4. 12…Qe7 has been played previously, but there is nothing wrong with the text. 13.Bxf4 Qd7 14.Nf3 0-0-0 15.d4 cxd4 16.Nxd4 Kb7 17.Qe2 Qe7?

18.Nxc6 Kxc6 19.Nd5 Qe8. 19...Bxd5 leads to mate or loss of the queen after 20.exd5+ Kd7 21.Qb5+ Kc8 22.Qc6+ and mate next move. 20.Qa6 Bf8. And here too, capturing on d5 leads to a quick win for White, eg. 20 ..Bxd5 21 exd5+ Rxd5 22 Rxd5 Kxd5 23 Rd1+ , and mate soon follows. 21.Qxa7 Bc5. Or 21 ..Rb8 22 Rd3 winning. 22.b4 Qd7 23.Qa6 1-0.

Nakamura joined the second-placed group, by winning a long ending against Sulskis, whilst Areshchenko reached the same points tally, with a decisive win over Al Sayed.

Sokolov pressed for a long time against Efimenko, but could not capitalise on an extra pawn in a minor piece ending, whilst Adams likewise was unable to convert his extra pawn, in the face of opposite-coloured bishops.

Final standings (5.5 points and higher)

Pos Player Nat. Title Rtng
1 Akopian, Vladimir ARM GM 2700
2 Areshchenko, Alexander UKR GM 2644
3 Nakamura, Hikaru USA GM 2651
4 Sutovsky, Emil ISR GM 2629
5 Adams, Michael ENG GM 2735
6 Al-Modiahki, Mohamed QAT GM 2556
7 Efimenko, Zahar UKR GM 2616
8 Ehlvest, Jaan USA GM 2610
9 Gurevich, Mikhail TUR GM 2635
10 Kuzubov, Yuriy UKR GM 2554
11 Milov, Vadim SUI GM 2665
12 Pavlovic, Milos   GM 2521
13 Rendle, Thomas ENG IM 2366
14 Ris, Robert NED IM 2403
15 Roiz, Michael ISR GM 2605
16 Sandipan, Chanda IND GM 2561
17 Sokolov, Ivan NED GM 2652
18 Al Sayed, Mohammed N QAT IM 2460
19 Epishin, Vladimir RUS GM 2561
20 Georgiev, Kiril BUL GM 2661
21 Greet, Andrew ENG IM 2425
22 Grooten, Herman NED IM 2387
23 Houska, Jovanka ENG IM 2384
24 Jones, Gawain ENG IM 2509
25 Ramesh, R B IND GM 2483
26 Sengupta, Deep IND IM 2416
27 Stefanova, Antoaneta BUL GM 2483
28 Sulskis, Sarunas LTU GM 2525
29 Abergel, Thal FRA IM 2475
30 Bellaiche, Anthony FRA IM 2472
31 Bradford, Joseph USA FM 2442
32 Cramling, Pia SWE GM 2530
33 Harika, Dronavalli IND WGM 2421
34 Heinis, Vincent FRA   2156
35 Howell, David ENG IM 2501
36 Kaidanov, Gregory USA GM 2595
37 Krush, Irina USA IM 2449
38 Lahno, Kateryna UKR IM 2456
39 Mohota, Nisha IND WGM 2261
40 Revesz, Zoltan HUN   2245
41 Smerdon, David AUS IM 2460
42 Spraggett, Kevin CAN GM 2633
43 Tissir, Mohamed MAR IM 2482
44 Tregubov, Pavel RUS GM 2613
45 Vijayalakshmi, Subbaraman IND IM 2459
46 Wippermann, Till GER IM 2427
47 Zhu, Chen QAT GM 2518

All available games in zipped PGN


Aside from the main prizes, the other great interest of the day centred on title norms. Thomas Rendle needed a draw against Gurevich for his first GM norm, and made his intentions abundantly clear, when he chose 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 exd5. This opening choice must have brought back painful memories for Gurevich. One of the defining moments of his career came in the last round of the 1990 Interzonal in Manila, when he needed a draw as White against Nigel Short, to reach the Candidates Tournament. Gurevich also chose the Exchange French, but was outplayed and slowly pushed off the board by Short. Rendle had better luck, holding his powerful GM opponent, to secure the precious half point.

The other GM norm-seekers fared less well, with Sengupta, Krush and Salgado Allaria all losing. However, there were IM norms for Robin Swinkels of The Netherlands (his third and final norm) and Salgado Allaria himself, who had completed his IM norm with a round to spare.

GM Norms Achieved IM Norm Achieved WIM Achieved
Mohammed Al Sayed Carlos Salgado Allaria Margarida Coimbra
Thomas Rendle Robin Swinkels Katerina Nemcova
  Dronavalli Harika  


A major sponsor of the GibTelecom Masters was MonRoi, who manufactur a personal chess manager – a PDA-syle wireless input device for chess games. Players in the Masters were expected to use the Monroi device rather than a traditional scoresheet. The games were automatically broadcast live on the Monroi website.

Picture gallery

Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2651) with his step-father and trainer FM Sunil Weeramantry

Michael Adams with wife Tara

GM Gregory Kaidanov, 2595, and IM Irina Krush, 2449, finished 36th and 37th

GM Ian Rogers from Australia

Viktor (The Indefatigable) Korchnoi

Former women's world champion Zhu Chen

Former women's world champion Antoaneta Stefanova

Top Ukrainian talent Kateryna Lahno

India's Tanya Sachdev

IMs Elisabeth Pähtz and Nana Dzagnidze

All pictures by courtesy of MonRoi. You will find many more here...

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register