Gibraltar Chess Festival: Hou Yifan leads with a 2900 performance

1/28/2012 – After four rounds of the tenth Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival and a lot of exciting chess there are eleven players in the lead with 3.5/4 points. They do not include the top two seeds, but instead a 17-year-old girl from China, who appears to be in top form. It is, you might have guessed, Women’s World Chess Champion Hou Yifan. You can follow the event in hours and hours of video reports.

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The 2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival is taking place from Tuesday, 24th January to Thursday, 2nd February 2012 at the Caleta Hotel in Gibraltar. The event is 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.


Second seed Shakhriyar Mamedyarov from Azerbaijan

Born in 1985, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is currently ranked number fourteen in the world with an Elo rating of 2747. In 2003 he won the World Junior Chess Championship. He repeated his victory in 2005 (thereby becoming the only two-time champion), achieving an incredible 2953 performance rating after eight rounds. This gained him an invitation to the Essent Tournament 2006 in Hoogeveen, and by winning this one and also the 2007 edition, Shakhriyar achieved world fame.In 2010, he tied for first place with Vladimir Kramnik and Gata Kamsky in the President's Cup in Baku, followed by joint first place in the Mikhail Tal Memorial. In May 2011, Mamedyarov was tournament organisers' nominee, qualifying him for the Candidates tournament for the World Chess Championship 2012 but he lost to finalist Boris Gelfand in the quarterfinal.

[Event "Gibraltar Open"] [Site "Caleta ENG"] [Date "2012.01.25"] [Round "2.2"] [White "Mamedyarov, S."] [Black "Nabaty, T."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E11"] [WhiteElo "2747"] [BlackElo "2563"] [PlyCount "53"] [EventDate "2012.01.24"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 Qe7 5. a3 Bxd2+ 6. Qxd2 d5 7. Nc3 O-O 8. e3 Nbd7 9. cxd5 exd5 10. Bd3 c5 11. O-O c4 12. Bc2 Rb8 13. Rfe1 Qd6 14. Ng5 Ng4 $6 {A splendid idea, which unfortunately does not quite work.} 15. Bxh7+ Kh8 16. f4 f5 {Going after the white bishop...} 17. h3 Nh6 18. Qf2 Rf6 19. g4 g6 20. Qh4 Kg7 21. Bxg6 Kxg6 22. gxf5+ {... which ends with three pawns for the minor piece and a winning attack for White.} Kg7 23. e4 dxe4 24. Ncxe4 Qxd4+ 25. Kh1 Nf8 26. Nxf6 Qxf6 {Tournament reporter Stewart Reuben writes: We had problems understanding why the Israeli resigned. The late, great Danish grandmaster, Bent Larsen, once said, "You should never resign until all the audience understands why." Even the commentator Simon Williams was puzzled.} 27. Re7+ ({Basically} 27. Re7+ $1 Qxe7 (27... Kg8 28. Rg1) 28. Ne6+ Qxe6 29. fxe6 Bxe6 30. Rg1+ {forces} Ng4 {and Black's position is in ruins.}) 1-0

"There isn’t time in the commentary room, Reuben writes, "to look at all the jewels on display. Should we ask the players to slow down so that we can keep up?"


Judit Polgar of Hungary: a 2727 performance after four rounds

Judith is by far the strongest female chess player of all time. On the January 2012 FIDE list her rating has risen to 2710. Judith excels at tactics and is known for an aggressive playing style, striving to maximise the initiative and actively pursuing complications. She has spoken about the psychological aspect of chess. In her 2002 victory over Kasparov, she deliberately chose a line he used against Kramnik, employing the strategy of forcing him to "play against himself". In September 2011 Judith took part in the the FIDE World Cup at Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia reaching the quarter finals before losing to Peter Svidler.

The following game Judit Polgar 2710 (HUN) vs Vyacheslav Ikonnikov 2531 (RUS) from round two in Gibraltar exploded into tactics in a manner we have grown accustomed to for the great Hungarian woman. She took time to annotate it in the press room:

Judit also conducted an indepth interview with tournament organiser Stewart Conquest. You can find many video reports on each round here. They are produced by freelance mediamaker Macauley Peterson, and some are up to two hours long! Here is one with Nigel Short which we found particularly entertaining:

"It' was a good day, actually," says Nigel, whose worst result in Gibraltar was a second place. He went on to play the following jewel against one of the top seeds in the tournament. You can replay the game on our JavaScript board.

[Event "Gibraltar Open"] [Site "Caleta ENG"] [Date "2012.01.26"] [Round "3.1"] [White "Short, N."] [Black "Mamedyarov, S."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C94"] [WhiteElo "2677"] [BlackElo "2747"] [PlyCount "63"] [EventDate "2012.01.24"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Nb8 10. d3 Nbd7 11. Nbd2 Bb7 12. Nf1 Nc5 13. Bc2 Re8 14. Ng3 Bf8 15. b4 Ne6 (15... Ncd7 {is more common.}) 16. d4 g6 $146 17. Bd2 Nd7 18. Bb3 Qf6 19. d5 Nf4 {Although Black has a nicely placed knight, Nigel felt the rest of his pieces were just in a tangle. The pressure on the c file was unbearable for Black.} 20. c4 Nb6 21. Rc1 bxc4 22. Bxc4 Nxc4 23. Rxc4 Rac8 24. Qc2 Be7 ( 24... Nxh3+ {seems attractive. But there follows} 25. gxh3 Qxf3 26. Bg5 { trapping the queen.}) 25. Bxf4 exf4 26. Ne2 Bd8 27. Ned4 Rb8 28. Qa4 Kf8 29. Nc6 Bxc6 30. Rxc6 Qb2 31. a3 f5 32. e5 {"In the final position, Black's queen is all dressed up with nowhere to go," says the tournalment bulletin.} 1-0

The hero of the first four rounds is a 17-year-old girl from China, who is leading the field with 3.5/4 point and a performance of 2900. It is, you might have guessed, Women’s World Chess Champion Hou Yifan, who scored an elegant victory over Super-GM Zoltan Almasi in round three. Watch Yifan chip away at the foundations of the "Berlin Wall" defence, which is regarded as virtually impregnable, in this elegant little game.

[Event "Gibraltar Open"] [Site "Caleta ENG"] [Date "2012.01.26"] [Round "3.3"] [White "Hou Yifan"] [Black "Almasi, Z."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C67"] [WhiteElo "2605"] [BlackElo "2717"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2012.01.24"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Nc3 Bd7 10. h3 h6 11. b3 c5 12. Nd5 g5 13. Bb2 Be6 14. Rad1 Kc8 15. c4 b6 16. Nd2 Bg7 17. Ne4 Kb7 18. Rd2 a5 19. f4 a4 20. g4 Nd4 21. b4 a3 22. Ba1 Ra4 23. bxc5 Rxc4 24. Nxc7 Kxc7 25. cxb6+ Kc6 26. Bxd4 Rd8 27. Rfd1 Bf8 28. f5 Bc8 29. Bf2 Rxd2 30. Nxd2 Rc3 31. Ne4 Rc2 32. Rd8 Bb7 33. Rxf8 Rxa2 34. e6 1-0


Yifan with the Barbary Macaque monkeys which are a tourist attraction in Gibraltar

Gibraltar is home to around 230 Barbary Macaque or "rock apes", descended from North African populations. They occupy the area of the Upper Rock and live apparently on tourist gifts. They are considered Gibraltar's unofficial national animal, and a photo op with the macaques is a must for the chess tournament participants.

Photos: Zeljka Malobabic © Tradewise Insurance Ltd.

Top standings after four rounds

Rk.  Ti.  Name FED Rtg
Pts.
Perf
1 GM Hou Yifan CHN 2605
3.5
2900.0
2 GM Adams Michael ENG 2724
3.5
2896.0
3 GM Short Nigel D ENG 2677
3.5
2892.0
4 GM Le Quang Liem VIE 2714
3.5
2875.0
5 GM Laznicka Viktor CZE 2704
3.5
2867.0
6 GM Sasikiran Krishnan IND 2700
3.5
2864.0
7 GM Movsesian Sergei ARM 2700
3.5
2858.0
8 GM Brunello Sabino ITA 2581
3.5
2851.0
9 GM Gopal G N IND 2566
3.5
2684.0
10 GM Rapport Richard HUN 2543
3.5
2676.0
11 GM Dzagnidze Nana GEO 2535
3.5
2654.0
12 GM David Alberto LUX 2598
3.0
2736.0
13 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2747
3.0
2733.0
14 GM Koneru Humpy IND 2589
3.0
2729.0
15 GM Polgar Judit HUN 2710
3.0
2727.0
16 GM Almasi Zoltan HUN 2717
3.0
2714.0
17 GM Svidler Peter RUS 2749
3.0
2699.0
18 GM Howell David W L ENG 2603
3.0
2697.0
19 GM Bologan Viktor MDA 2680
3.0
2678.0
20 GM Felgaer Ruben ARG 2571
3.0
2668.0
21 GM Shirov Alexei LAT 2710
3.0
2665.0
22 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2699
3.0
2665.0
23 FM Kuipers Stefan NED 2391
3.0
2653.0
24 GM Negi Parimarjan IND 2641
3.0
2633.0
25 GM Akobian Varuzhan USA 2617
3.0
2623.0
26 IM Dvirnyy Daniyyl ITA 2492
3.0
2617.0
27 GM Erdos Viktor HUN 2634
3.0
2616.0
28 GM Sutovsky Emil ISR 2703
3.0
2563.0
29 GM El Debs Felipe De Cresce BRA 2497
3.0
2529.0
30 GM Gallagher Joseph G SUI 2505
3.0
2515.0
31 GM Baron Tal ISR 2498
3.0
2504.0
32 IM Huschenbeth Niclas GER 2518
3.0
2489.0
33 GM Kosintseva Nadezhda RUS 2537
3.0
2459.0
34 GM Kanep Meelis EST 2509
3.0
2443.0
35    Freuler Roman SUI 2077
3.0
2427.0
36    Herman Jean BEL 2077
3.0
2402.0
37    Ungureanu Sandu ROU 2039
3.0
2349.0
38    Choukri Adel MAR 2115
3.0
2244.0
39    Duport Nicolas SUI 2200
3.0
2238.0
40    Carlsten Peter SWE 2030
3.0
2199.0

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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