Gibraltar: Hikaru Nakamura wins after tie-break

by André Schulz
2/4/2016 – Hikaru Nakamura won the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival last year and he won it this year. But not as smoothly as before. This year after nine of ten rounds Nakamura shared the lead with seven players. By winning the last round against David Anton, he qualified for a tie-break against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Here, after four draws Nakamura won the fifth game and the tournament.

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Pictures: John Saunders, Sophie Triay (Tournament page)

Before the tenth and last round no less than eight players had chances to win the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival: after nine of ten rounds Hikaru Nakamura, David Anton, Sebastien Maze, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Pentala Harikrishna, Li Chao, Etienne Bacrot, and Sethuraman S.P. all shared the lead with 7.0/9. A multi-player tie-break was looming. However, things turned out differently: two of the four games on the top boards were decided, two ended in a draw - and thus only two players made it to the tie-breaks.

Harikrishna and Li Chao shared the point as did Bacrot and Sethuraman.

Pental Harikrishna and Li Chao

India's number two, Pentala Harikrishna had a good tournament, scored 7.5/10, won 3.5 Elo-points and in the live-rating list he is now only 5 points behind Anand.

Hikaru Nakamura played energetic chess against David Anton, won his game and was the first to qualify for the tie-break.

Nakamura-Anton

 

Things were a bit more difficult for Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who was playing with Black against his countryman Sebastien Maze. The game was roughly balanced for a long time but then Vachier-Lagrave managed to exert some pressure and finally came up with a nice tactical surprise which gave him the game - and a tie-break duel against Nakamura.

Mazé vs Vachier-Lagrave

 

The tie-break between Nakamura and Vachier-Lagrave was close and exciting. After four draws the fifth game was played in Armageddon mode to force a decision: Nakamura won the game, the tie-break and the tournament.

And the winner is: ... Hikaru Nakamura

The fifth and decisive tie-break game

 

All tie-break games

 

With a score of 6.5/10 and a rating-performance of 2541 former World Champion Vishy Anand had a dismal tournament. However, he managed to end it with a fine win against Swedish GM Erik Blomqvist.

Anand won with Black against the Najdorf with Bc4 - a favorite of Bobby Fischer.

Grigoriy Oparin and Nigel Short drew

The best woman-player was Anna Muzychuk, who won in the last round against GM Salem A.R. Saleh to finish on 17th place with 7.0/10.

Results of round ten

Bo. No.   Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts.   Name Rtg No.
1 1 GM Nakamura Hikaru 2787 7 1 - 0 7 GM Anton Guijarro David 2639 24
2 35 GM Maze Sebastien 2591 7 0 - 1 7 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2785 2
3 4 GM Harikrishna P. 2755 7 ½ - ½ 7 GM Li Chao B 2751 5
4 11 GM Bacrot Etienne 2697 7 ½ - ½ 7 GM Sethuraman S.P. 2639 25
5 6 GM Yu Yangyi 2747 0 - 1 GM Jones Gawain C B 2625 28
6 7 GM Jakovenko Dmitry 2732 ½ - ½ GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 2642 23
7 26 GM Grandelius Nils 2635 ½ - ½ GM Ragger Markus 2689 14
8 22 GM Sutovsky Emil 2647 1 - 0 GM Bachmann Axel 2610 34
9 45 GM Lalith Babu M R 2553 0 - 1 6 GM Rapport Richard 2721 9
10 8 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw 2727 6 ½ - ½ 6 IM Tari Aryan 2556 43
11 37 GM Tregubov Pavel V. 2582 6 0 - 1 6 GM Fressinet Laurent 2700 10
12 38 GM Grigoriants Sergey 2580 6 ½ - ½ 6 GM Ni Hua 2697 12
13 39 GM Perez Ponsa Federico 2577 6 1 - 0 6 GM Howell David W L 2685 15
14 16 GM Almasi Zoltan 2684 6 1 - 0 6 GM Gopal G.N. 2525 51
15 42 GM Oparin Grigoriy 2565 6 ½ - ½ 6 GM Short Nigel D 2684 17
16 44 GM Muzychuk Mariya 2554 6 0 - 1 6 GM Bruzon Batista Lazaro 2666 18
17 116 WIM Shvayger Yuliya 2381 6 0 - 1 6 GM Kamsky Gata 2665 19
18 20 GM Duda Jan-Krzysztof 2660 6 ½ - ½ 6 WGM Tan Zhongyi 2504 62
19 55 GM Libiszewski Fabien 2515 6 ½ - ½ 6 GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar 2660 21
20 47 GM Muzychuk Anna 2537 6 1 - 0 6 GM Salem A.R. Saleh 2627 27

...

This year the first women's prize was 15,000 pounds and this convinced
almost all top-women players that Gibraltar was worth a trip and a try.

Anna Muzychuk

Bela Kotenashvili

Tan Zonqyi

Natalia Pogonina (left, with White) starts her battle
against Alexandra Kosteniuk, her colleague in Russia's national team.

Final standings after ten rounds

Rk. SNo   Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1  rtg+/-
1 2 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2785 8,0 2838 6,8
2 1 GM Nakamura Hikaru USA 2787 8,0 2811 3,4
3 11 GM Bacrot Etienne FRA 2697 7,5 2786 10,3
4 25 GM Sethuraman S.P. IND 2639 7,5 2781 19,4
5 4 GM Harikrishna P. IND 2755 7,5 2773 3,5
6 28 GM Jones Gawain C B ENG 2625 7,5 2730 14,2
7 5 GM Li Chao B CHN 2751 7,5 2721 -1,3
8 22 GM Sutovsky Emil ISR 2647 7,5 2628 -0,9
9 14 GM Ragger Markus AUT 2689 7,0 2737 7,6
10 32 GM Gupta Abhijeet IND 2613 7,0 2716 15,0
  35 GM Maze Sebastien FRA 2591 7,0 2716 16,9
12 7 GM Jakovenko Dmitry RUS 2732 7,0 2711 -1,1
13 24 GM Anton Guijarro David ESP 2639 7,0 2706 10,7
14 18 GM Bruzon Batista Lazaro CUB 2666 7,0 2703 5,9
15 26 GM Grandelius Nils SWE 2635 7,0 2692 9,5
16 9 GM Rapport Richard HUN 2721 7,0 2682 -3,6
17 47 GM Muzychuk Anna UKR 2537 7,0 2677 17,5
18 23 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi IND 2642 7,0 2675 5,7
19 16 GM Almasi Zoltan HUN 2684 7,0 2662 -1,9
20 30 GM Edouard Romain FRA 2617 7,0 2650 5,5
21 39 GM Perez Ponsa Federico ARG 2577 7,0 2628 8,0
22 10 GM Fressinet Laurent FRA 2700 7,0 2624 -7,7
23 19 GM Kamsky Gata USA 2665 7,0 2612 -5,3
24 33 GM Lenic Luka SLO 2611 6,5 2693 10,7
25 57 IM Gledura Benjamin HUN 2515 6,5 2691 24,2
26 43 IM Tari Aryan NOR 2556 6,5 2676 17,0
27 8 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw POL 2727 6,5 2670 -6,2
28 6 GM Yu Yangyi CHN 2747 6,5 2657 -9,2
29 12 GM Ni Hua CHN 2697 6,5 2643 -6,0
30 45 GM Lalith Babu M R IND 2553 6,5 2641 12,8
31 56 GM Stefanova Antoaneta BUL 2515 6,5 2637 17,0
32 38 GM Grigoriants Sergey RUS 2580 6,5 2629 6,7
33 42 GM Oparin Grigoriy RUS 2565 6,5 2608 6,5
34 62 WGM Tan Zhongyi CHN 2504 6,5 2600 13,8
35 34 GM Bachmann Axel PAR 2610 6,5 2592 -1,1
36 20 GM Duda Jan-Krzysztof POL 2660 6,5 2590 -7,9
  60 GM Bai Jinshi CHN 2507 6,5 2590 11,9
38 82 IM Kelires Andreas CYP 2444 6,5 2579 18,8
39 36 GM Sandipan Chanda IND 2583 6,5 2577 0,2
40 55 GM Libiszewski Fabien FRA 2515 6,5 2575 8,6
41 3 GM Anand Viswanathan IND 2784 6,5 2568 -21,9
42 17 GM Short Nigel D ENG 2684 6,5 2565 -13,0
43 130 IM Wemmers Xander NED 2352 6,5 2547 24,9
44 84 IM Shytaj Luca ITA 2443 6,5 2543 14,5
45 21 GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar IND 2660 6,5 2532 -14,1
46 112 IM Khademalsharieh Sarasadat IRI 2392 6,5 2528 17,6
47 53 GM Vishnu Prasanna. V IND 2518 6,5 2517 1,4
48 122   Herman Matthew J USA 2370 6,5 2454 13,3
49 40 GM Vazquez Igarza Renier ESP 2572 6,0 2640 8,1
50 58 GM Harika Dronavalli IND 2511 6,0 2617 15,1

... 250 players

I

ChessBase author Tania Sachdev follows the tournament as anchorwoman of "The Day's Play"

Episode 11

All videos from Gibraltar...


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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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Karbuncle Karbuncle 2/10/2016 08:36
@genem,

MVL resigned because the final position is in fact losing for white. The queen trade is forced, and black's rook is fully winning in that position. Check it with an engine.
genem genem 2/8/2016 07:05
RULES: "If the score is still tied a sudden death game will be played with obligation to win with white with
the time control – 4 minutes + 2 seconds per move for white and 3 minutes + 2 seconds per move
for black. Lots will be drawn just before this final game and the winner will choose his colour."
.
There have been enough of these Armageddon Chess games now to perhaps assess whether White and Black each "win" 50% of the games played: but unfortunately I have not seen any such compilation or assessment.
.
Unless the two players somehow bid for the amount of time that Black shall have in an Armageddon Game, the game is inherently unfair, in my judgment.
.
We are not told whether MVL ran out of time, or resigned, or what.
Offramp Offramp 2/8/2016 03:01
Nakamura is very good at blitz tiebreaks. He is a demon at speed chess. In normal time controls he is losing to Carlsen 12-0, with some draws. BUT I think he would be a good challenger for Carlsen, just as Alekhine was a good challenger for Capablanca. If he could hold the balance over 12 games, and it went to tiebreaks, well, who knows?
scoobeedo scoobeedo 2/7/2016 09:55
Again the armageddon ...
It reminds me on Las Vegas ...

Lets remember:
World cup 2015. GM Mateusz Bartel lost the armageddon against Armenian Grandmaster Gabriel Sargissian. As usual for armageddon games was black the winner.
How can he tell his friends that he did not lose any game and got still kicked out? It was extremely unfair. He lost because the FIDE invented casino rules for chess.

- - -

How can be the armageddon used to decide the winner of a big tournament or a match in a world cup???

It is very unfair.

The armageddon do not belong to chess.

Because it is the first time in the history of chess, that the FIDE and tournament organizer manipulate the way how a player play his game.

White is forced to win, that means that the have to use a game plan that he normal doesnt use. In my opinion have black a clear advantage, because the extra time from white, is also a extra time for black. The only difference is that White use the time active and black passive.

- - -

It is in my opinion more fair to play as a decider this:

After each game in the tie-break get the used times from both players on a time list.

If the tie-break does not have a winner, the total time from each player and from all games get added, this includes also the times from games which was not draw. And always for both sides.

The player who played in all games faster is the winner.
It is fair, because he used less time to get the same result as his opponent.
The faster brain wins ...

It is for sure not perfect, but it is maybe more fair as the armageddon

It is nearly the same as a armageddon, but it does not force the players to change their play style.

- - -

If my idea is not good then is it time for the FIDE to do some brain storming and find a better solution as a armageddon. The FIDE should not interfere with the way how are games played.
jasperjesus jasperjesus 2/7/2016 04:37
Congrats to nakamura !!
Karbuncle Karbuncle 2/5/2016 10:13
@Guioco, Actually the final position in that Armageddon game is lost for white. After the forced trade of queens, the rook is fully winning in that endgame. Check it with an engine if you don't believe me.
fightingchess fightingchess 2/5/2016 07:18
i agree that they should stop armageddon in tournaments. if tied after 4 games just look at their first tiebreak.
Shurlock_V Shurlock_V 2/5/2016 04:48
The armageddon stuff at the end is just horrible. Draws are a part of chess so ties for first should be a part of the landscape as well.

The obsession to have a clear winner is childish.
KevinC KevinC 2/5/2016 03:41
@Giuoco, stop trying to sugar-coat it. The 5th game was the Armageddon game, and he lost. There is no difference except that with your comments, you want to somehow make it less than it was. He lost, plain and simple.
DJones DJones 2/5/2016 01:20
Funny how we only hear complaints about TieBreaks when Nakamura wins them. I wonder what it could be...
peter frost peter frost 2/5/2016 12:02
Once again a great tournament marred only by a circus-like finish. As far as I am concerned, it was a tie for first place between Hikaru and Maxime. What followed bore no relationship to the chess that was played for 99.9% of the event. Will organisers please desist from their obsession to find a single winner? It isn't necessary.
fightingchess fightingchess 2/5/2016 11:56
i was surprised by how maxim played the last game but realizing it was an armageddon put everything in place.
i think in armageddon, the black side in top level has advantage because these guys know how to be super solid and it is tough to break them when they take no risks.
DJones DJones 2/5/2016 04:14
Yes I am sure if Maxime came out on top you would be saying just the opposite. *rollseyes* The truth is Nakamura blew at least two winning positions in their rapid and blitz encounters before holding in the armageddon game with black. He only was in danger ounce due to time pressure and deserved to win their playoff though Maxime probably had the better event overall in my opinion.
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 2/5/2016 02:58
congrats naka....congrats to the indian contingent with four of them finishing in the top 17 ....and for vishy making a comeback towards the end!
Rinzou Wilkerson Rinzou Wilkerson 2/5/2016 02:09
Maxime did lose game 5. How, when, where, or why is irrelevent
chilindix chilindix 2/5/2016 12:00
Maxime couldn't handle the Naka Bonsai Attack! :P
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