Gibraltar Chess Congress 2014 starts!

by Alejandro Ramirez
1/28/2014 – The Association of Chess Professionals voted the 2013 Gibraltar Chess Congress as the best Open tournament of the year. The time has come for the 2014 edition to dazzle us! The festivities have begun with simultaneous exhibitions by Sachdev and Agdestein as well as the start of the Amateur section. However the Masters start tomorrow. Preview of a fantastic event.

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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.

The Masters

The tournament boasts a truckload of grandmasters, including 26 over 2600 and 9 over 2700! The winner of last year's edition, Nikita Vitiugov, returns to defend his title. He has very stiff competition including Adams, Vachier-Lagrave, Ivanchuk, Eljanov and many others, not to mention the second place finisher of last year's edition, Short who always seems to do well in this tournament.

What attracts these players to an open event? Well, besides the wonderful conditions provided in the tournament, including great weather, excellent organization and a high quality playing site, there are of course the prizes:

Open to all Prizes for best relative rating achievement
1st Prize £20,000 Rating Band 1st Prize 2nd Prize
2nd Prize £14,000 2550-2649 £3,000 £2,000
3rd Prize £12,000 2450-2549 £2,000 £1,000
4th Prize £10,000 2350-2449 £2,000 £1,000
5th Prize £6,000 2250-2349 £2,000 £1,000
6th Prize £4,000 2150-2249 £2,000 £1,000
7th Prize £3,000 2050-2149 £2,000 £1,000
8th Prize £2,500 Under 2050 £2,000 £1,000
9th Prize £2,000 A player may not win more than

one complete prize from this table.

10th Prize £1,000
11th Prize £1,000
12th Prize £1,000

How often do you find a under 2650 rating prize?

Gibraltar also attracts many of the top female players of the world. Famously the current World Women's Champion, Hou Yifan, scored a performance well over 2800 and finished second in the tournament two years ago. This year Zhao Xue, Muzychuk, Khotenashvili, Cramling, Cmilyte, Hoang Thanh Trang and many other top women are participating.

Zhao Xue and Muzychuk just finished their participation in the Challenger's section of Wijk Aan Zee, the Chinese with a less than successful event and the Slovenian with a solid fourth position. How will they do in the open format?

The women's prizes are very impressive as well:

Open to all Women
1st Prize £15,000
2nd Prize £10,000
3rd Prize £5,000
4th Prize £3,500
5th Prize £2,500
6th Prize £2,000
7th Prize< £1,500
8th Prize £1,000
9th Prize £600
10th Prize £400

Pia Cramling and Bellon Lopez are one of the strongest chess marriages: both hold the GM title!
Their daughter participated in the Sachdev simultaneous exhibition

ex-World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova (left) and the top Venezuelan
female Sarai Sanchez are two of the Masters section competitors

The official website will have live coverage of the tournament and will have commentary by the duo of GM Simon Williams and GM Irina Krush

The event doesn't only attract the top players in the world, it is also a festival to celebrate chess at all levels. The Amateur tournaments are already on their way with people from all over the world participating.

Irene Nicolas Zapata is the top u-18 female from Spain and is competing in the Amateurs

Maisa Nejanky (left) plays for far away Argentina!

Simultaneous Exhibition

To inaugurate the event a simultaneous exhibition was held for some of the players.

People lined up to play...

Stuart Conquest (left) is the tournament and festival organizer. Nothing would work without him.

Simen Agdestein showing off his skills in the exhibition...

he was joined by Indian super-star Tania Sachdev

the grandmasters in action!

both Cramling and Sachdev will be competing for the top female prize in the Masters

Finally we leave you with the incredibly tough first round for the top boards:

Bo.   Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts.   Name Rtg
1 FM Sanchez Jerez Emilio Miguel 2287 0   0 GM Adams Michael 2754
2 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2745 0   0   Lombaers Peter 2255
3 IM Lederman Leon 2257 0   0 GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2739
4 GM Vitiugov Nikita 2737 0   0 IM Haugli Petter 2278
5   Gukhvat Peter 2268 0   0 GM Eljanov Pavel 2733
6 GM Tomashevsky Evgeny 2715 0   0   Deac Bogdan-Daniel 2289
7   Sos Andreu Eric 2285 0   0 GM Kamsky Gata 2709
8 GM Vallejo Pons Francisco 2707 0   0 WGM Maisuradze Nino 2279
9 FM Proudian Armen 2273 0   0 GM Harikrishna P. 2706
10 GM Navara David 2702 0   0   Hommerson Paul 2255
11   Rindlisbacher Jan 2250 0   0 GM Rapport Richard 2691
12 GM Short Nigel D 2683 0   0 WIM Nicolas Zapata Irene 2249
13   Gajic Mladen 2246 0   0 GM Rodshtein Maxim 2682
14 GM Li Chao B 2680 0   0   Martinez Reyes Pedro Ramon 2246
15   Gandrud Vegar Koi 2242 0   0 GM Movsesian Sergei 2677
16 GM Dreev Aleksey 2673 0   0 FM Sanchez Botella Luis Javier 2241
17 FM Berry Neil 2227 0   0 GM Cheparinov Ivan 2672
18 GM Sutovsky Emil 2663 0   0   Semprun Martinez Fernando 2227
19   Galmandakh Badrakh 2225 0   0 GM Bologan Viktor 2661
20 GM Edouard Romain 2658 0   0 FM Scharrer Patrick 2220
21 IM Sanchez Castillo Sarai Caroli 2219 0   0 GM Georgiev Kiril 2653
22 GM Agdestein Simen 2627 0   0 CM Rowe Duane 2218
23   Vea Odin Blikra 2217 0   0 GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar 2619
24 GM Dubov Daniil 2614 0   0   Spence David J 2216
25   Stenzel Thomas 2216 0   0 GM Sandipan Chanda 2609
26 GM Wei Yi 2607 0   0   Zvarik Martin 2216
27   Al-Tamimi Hamad 2211 0   0 GM Van Kampen Robin 2602

The tournament is so tough that board 100 features a grandmaster!

Follow the games live on the official website or on


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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