Gibraltar 04: Anna's tournament

by Alejandro Ramirez
2/1/2014 – With tough fights in the top boards Gibraltar is,looking to be a complete slugfest to the end. Li Chao, Rodshtein and Mareco are the surprise leaders with 4.0/4, none of them above 2700. However the horde of players with 3.5 is very scary and will try to catch them soon. We bring you a special report of a player who has had her first win in Gibraltar on her 12th time there!

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The traditional Gibraltar Chess Congress has begun! The 12th edition of this event is under way, but the main attraction - the Masters Section, will begin tomorrow. The Masters section entries are closed and the pairings are ready for the tournament to begin.

A beautiful view of the playing site!

Anna's Favourite Chess Festival

Anna Cramling Bellon, here pictured with tournament director Stuart Conquest (left)
and tournament organizer Biran Callaghan (right). Pic: Sophie Tray

From a babe in arms to a first time winner at the 2014 Tradewise Chess Festival.  11 year old Anna Cramling Bellon has grown up into a fine chess player alongside the Gibraltar international chess festival. In week one of this year’s Festival she won the top female prize in the Amateurs A competition. Her rating currently stands at 1514.

Presenting Anna with her prize, tournament organiser Brian Callaghan, could not help the smile on his face knowing how much a part of the festival’s history this young girl has become. 

Anna on her way to win the top female prize in the first amateur section Pic: Sophie Tray

“Her win is just amazing when you think she has been playing in this Festival from the day she was first able to move the pieces on the board. It is truly encouraging to see a young player start and slowly grow. I think she will one day be a very good player,” he said reinforcing the benefits of chess for children and young people.

< Anna first came to the tournament with her parents, Pia Cramling and Juan Manuel Bellon Lopez, whilst still in her carry cot. She has been coming every year since then.  As a baby she slept right through the tournaments, always next to one of her parents, who have participated every year in the Gibraltar Masters in its 12 year history.  Anna will be 12 in April this year, so it is safe to say she was already here even before she was born. She speaks three languages fluently – Spanish, Swedish and English. She enjoys reading in all three languages, playing her guitar, listening to Katie Perry and Rhianna, and drawing.   

Gibraltar and the 10 day Festival are a must for her, she says, always enjoying playing here and having fun on the Rock – “everybody knows me in the hotel,” she says. “They recognise me and tell me how much I have grown from one year to the next. I have many friends and I like being in Gibraltar,” she adds.

For her, Gibraltar feels like home, and she very much looks forward to coming every year. Gibraltar is a great tournament which also hosts a number of events, says Anna who tries to participate in all – the Blitz, the Simul, etc. 

“It is always fun here!”

The family lived in Fuengirola, Malaga, but last year moved to Stockholm, Sweden, where Ana who has ambitions of becoming a Grand Master in the future, now has her own coach.

Obviously influenced by both her parents, she says, she has learnt much from them and enjoys playing with both of them. This does not happen often but she does get to play chess at home two or three times a week but admits sometimes things don’t go the way she would wish it to go.

Anna aged seven in her first Gibraltar Festival in 2009. Pic: Zeljka Malobabic

“If I play my mum she lets me win all the time and that’s not fun. But if I play my dad he never lets me win,” she says. But playing chess is not just about her parents wanting her to do so but the fact that she also wants to play. Winning for the first time in the Tradewise Chess Festival, the young player says she feels really good about her win. “It means I have improved a lot since I began playing at the age of seven and I feel very good,” she smiles. With ambitions of playing the current World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, Anna Cramling Bellon would like to one day become a Grand Master. But even at such a young age she understands this may not happen and is looking towards a career in design. An architect, perhaps? But for now she is hooked on chess.

“It’s really entertaining and very good for you too! Everyone and especially young people should play chess because it is really fun and you can meet a lot of people and you are always making new friends,” she emphasises.

And there is no doubt in her mind, she will be returning to the Rock again next year, and in future years for her favourite chess festival.

Report by John Saunders

Round Four

The most important results at the top were certainly the wins by Sandro Mareco over David Navara, Maxim Rodsthein over Danyyil Dvirnyy and Li Chao againt Thomas Henrichs. With these results only those three players have a perfect 4.0/4, but they are of course followed very closely by a series of strong players.

Bo.   Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts.   Name Rtg
1 GM Movsesian Sergei 2677 3 ½ - ½ 3 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2745
2 GM Harikrishna P. 2706 3 ½ - ½ 3 GM Edouard Romain 2658
3 GM Mareco Sandro 2582 3 1 - 0 3 GM Navara David 2702
4 GM Rodshtein Maxim 2682 3 1 - 0 3 IM Dvirnyy Danyyil 2574
5 IM Henrichs Thomas 2477 3 0 - 1 3 GM Li Chao B 2680
6 GM Adams Michael 2754 ½ - ½ GM Lenderman Aleksandr 2562
7 GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2739 1 - 0 GM Fier Alexandr 2572
8 GM Vocaturo Daniele 2582 0 - 1 GM Vitiugov Nikita 2737
9 GM Eljanov Pavel 2733 ½ - ½ GM Maze Sebastien 2536
10 GM Hansen Eric 2559 ½ - ½ GM Tomashevsky Evgeny 2715
11 GM Kamsky Gata 2709 ½ - ½ GM Xu Jun 2510
12 GM Gopal G.N. 2550 0 - 1 GM Vallejo Pons Francisco 2707
13 GM Rapport Richard 2691 1 - 0 GM Gallagher Joseph G. 2495
14 GM Spraggett Kevin 2544 1 - 0 GM Short Nigel D 2683
15 GM Cmilyte Viktorija 2515 ½ - ½ GM Dreev Aleksey 2673

Vachier drew his game against Movsesian and is now half point behind the leaders

Rodshtein won this game and is now 4.0/4

Eljanov was unable to best Maze in a very long game

Both of these players lost. Gallagher (left) against Rapport and Short against Spragget

Ivanchuk Master Class

This was the second Masterclass of the tournament and it proved quite lively as elite-GM Vassily Ivanchuk gave an inspiring display of games and analysis. Vassily showed five games he played in a match in Riga, 1991, versus Leonid Yudasin, and then took questions from the audience.

GM Stuart Conquest and GM Vassily Ivanchuk, always a lively character

The Masterclass presented by tournament director Stuart Conquest lasted 1hr 40 minutes, and was shown on the official website where the entire show can be viewed again. It was recorded live in the unique, built-for-purpose webcasting suite at the Caleta Hotel.

GM Ivanchuk a former Champion of the Gibraltar Maters has a FIDE rating of 2739. 'Chucky' is a regular visitor to the Gibraltar Festival and enjoys returning every year. More master classes will be held on Monday 3 Feb and Tuesday 4 Feb. They will also be broadcast LIVE on the internet and simultaneously in the Catalan Lounge at the Caleta Hotel.

Don't miss Ivanchuk's 1:40 lecture on the official website!

All Photos by John Saunders


The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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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