Gibraltar: Ladykiller Nigel Short leads with 5.0/5

by ChessBase
1/30/2011 – After four rounds two players, Nigel Short and Nadezhda Kosintseva were leading with 4.0/4. They met in round five, and Nigel bead Nadezhda, after having disposed of her GM sister Tatiana two rounds earlier. That gave the British GM the sole lead. The Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Congress has the deliberate policy of encouraging leading women to take part. Big illustrated report.

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The 2011 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival is taking place from Monday, 24 January to Thursday, 3 February 2011 at the Caleta Hotel in Gibraltar. The event, which is open to all, is the ninth in the series held on the Rock, but the first one to be sponsored by Tradewise Insurance. 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. There is a special women's award for the hightest performance by a female player, with a prize of £10,000. In addition there are a number of subsiduary tournaments. Details can be found here.

Tradewise Gibraltar Statistics

The total number of players is 306, with 115 titled (53 GMs, 30 IMs, 2 WGMs, 1 WIM, 22 FMs, 3 WFMs, 4 CMs). The players come from 51 different nations. The top ten federations are represented by 232 players: 27 from England, 23 from Germany, 21 from Spain, 18 from Norway, 14 from Sweden, 13 from France, 10 from the USA, nine from India and Switzerland, five from Denmark.

Round three wrap-up by John Saunders

Quite a number of the top games ended in draws, but the game between Nigel Short and Tatiana Kosintseva stood out. This was partly because, as always, Nigel came into the commentary room after his game to give a blow by blow account of what happened. His opponent Tatiana also joined us. Emanuel Berg versus Victoria Cmilyte was an engrossing game, which the strong female grandmaster from Lithuania won, joining Nigel in the lead with 3/3. Two others have reached maximum points, Nadezhda Kosintseva, sister of Tatiana, and Deep Sengupta of India.

Viktorija Cmilyte, grandmaster from Lithuania

Indian GM Deep Sengupta

Indian GM Krishnan Sasikiran

The Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Congress has the deliberate policy of encouraging leading women to take part here. It was a particularly good day for the women players. As well as Victoria Cmilyte’s and Nadezhda Kosintseva’s wins against higher-rated GMs, Irina Krush beat former world championship finalist Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, Nana Dzagnidze beat Juan-Manuel Bellón and Monica Calzetta beat Jean-Pierre Le Roux – which was incidentally Monica’s second GM scalp and Jean-Pierre’s second disaster against a lower-rated opponent. It wasn’t all one-way traffic, however, with former women’s world champion Antoaneta Stefanova falling victim to a much lower rated amateur player, Francisco Javier García Jiménez of Spain. There are now two men and two women in the lead.

GM Tatiana Kosintseva, Russia

Tatiana's sister IM Nadezhda Kosintseva

US IM Irina Krush

US IM Anna Zatonskih

IM Salome Melia of Georgia

Indian IM Harika Dronavalli

Former Women's World Champion GM Zhu Chen of China

IM Inna Gaponenko of Ukraine

Former Women's World Champion GM Stefanova Antoaneta (BUL )

WGM Natalija Pogonina of Russia

Natalia gave a master class in the commentary suite Gibraltar. As well as being a very talented player, Natalia runs a popular website (unsurprisingly called – where, amongst other things, she plays games against the World (similar to the famous game Garry Kasparov played against all-comers played some years ago).

She showed us this entertaining game she won against the World and also her game with Tatiana Kosintseva from the Russian Women’s Super final at the end of 2010. The master class was recorded and can still be found on the tournament website.

WFM Hana Itkis, USA

Yerazik Khachatourian of (really!) Norway

Incidentally, those of us Brits who have been away from our newspapers and TV screens for a few days have only just become aware that there has been a big scandal in the UK about well-known TV football commentators who have made disparaging remarks about female officials involved in their sport, resulting in them being sacked. Of course, we chess commentators would never do such a thoughtless and insensitive thing (he wrote, fingering his one-year contract nervously). Perhaps the muddied oafs and blinkered pundits of the round-ball game can learn something from the world of chess, where women have acted as chief arbiters at Olympiads and nobody thinks it remotely unusual.

Round four wrap-up by Stewart Reuben

The all-female encounter between Victoria Cmilyte and Nadezhda Kosintseva went back and forth. When the music stopped, the elder of the two Kosintseva sisters emerged as the winner. This set her up for a fifth round encounter against Nigel Short, who beat the young Indian, Deep Sengupta, very convincingly. Ivanchuk seemed to have a completely blocked position against the Hungarian GM Viktor Erdos. But he was permitted to play a rook sacrifice that had been on the cards for several moves.

A normal game of chess has one victor but this afternoon we had a game that started with two victors but ended with none [I worked together with John Saunders on this elaborate wordplay]: Viktor Korchnoi played a great game against Viktor Bologan, but let it slip at the end so it petered out into a draw.

Perennial: former World Championship challenger Viktor Korchnoi

GM Viktor Bologan of Moldova

Here’s a bizarre game from Challengers A which we have turned into a quiz for readers.

Zygouris,Hristos - Zanetti,Bruno
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e5 4.0-0 d6 5.c3 a6 6.Bxc6+ bxc6 7.d4 exd4 8.cxd4 cxd4 9.Qxd4 Qf6 10.Qb6 d5 11.e5 Qe6 12.Nd4 Qd7 13.Nxc6 Ne7 14.Nd4 g5 15.Nc3 h5 16.Bxg5 Rg8 17.f4 Rg6 18.Qa5 Bb7 19.Rad1

In this position Black played the illegal move 19...0-0-0!? but neither player noticed that the black king had passed across an attacked square and the game continued: 20.Na4 Kb8 21.Rc1 Rc8 22.Nb6 Qd8 23.Bf6 Rxc1 24.Rxc1 Bh6 25.Qb4 Ka7 26.Bxe7 Qg8 27.Rc2 Bxf4 28.Bd6 Be3+ 29.Kh1 Rxd6 30.exd6 Qg4 31.Nc6+ Bxc6 32.Qxg4 hxg4 33.Rxc6 Bxb6 34.d7 1-0.

Going back to the illegality: the penalty for making an illegal move is that your opponent receives two extra minutes and you must make a move with the piece you touched. However, in this example two pieces were touched in making the illegal move 19...0-0-0. Black has no legal move with the king but he has with the rook. Assuming the illegality had been identified at the time, could Black have been obliged to make a rook move instead? We’ll give you the answer in tomorrow’s bulletin.

Round five wrap-up by John Saunders

And then there was one. Nigel Short is the sole leader of the Gibraltar Masters tournament at the halfway stage with 5/5. Yesterday he defeated the second Kosintseva sister, Nadezhda, after beating her younger sister in round three. This puts the English grandmaster half a point ahead of top-rated Vassily Ivanchuk and Daniel Fridman going into round six.

Key game: Nigel Short vs Nadezhda Kosintseva

Friday we had Viktor against Viktor but yesterday the game of the day was Vasilios against Vassily, i.e. Kotronias versus Ivanchuk. Vassily was the clear rating favourite but it was far from one-way traffic as the Greek grandmaster played positively from the start and was arguably winning at one stage. But it was very complex and later in the middlegame Vasilios went astray and blundered. Vassily (often known by his true Ukrainian name Vasyl) joined the audience in the commentary room immediately after his game and treated them to another entertaining session. He was very complimentary about Vasilios’s play. This could be a strong candidate for the best game prize.

Top seed in Gibraltar: GM Vassily Ivanchuk, Ukraine

GM Vasilios Kotronias of Greece

You may recall that we featured an amusing illegal move in one of the games from the Challengers yesterday and set a little quiz question concerning illegal castling when the king has no legal move is: does the rook have to be moved? The answer is no: this is because castling is deemed to be a move of the king.

Would you believe it, yesterday we had a second illegal move, this time in the Masters. Here is the game.

Round five: Fier,Alexandr (2571) - Getz,Nicolai (2334) [C10]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bd7 5.Nf3 Bc6 6.Neg5 Nd7 7.Nxf7!? Kxf7 8.Ng5+ Ke8 9.Bc4 Qe7?! The first sign that Black is having an off day but this is nothing compared to what is to come. 10.0–0

At this point the young Norwegian FM attempted to play 10...0-0-0, apparently forgetting that two of his previous three moves had been with the king. As oversights go, this was a pretty big one. Unlike the game in the Masters, his GM opponent noticed the illegality and Nicolai found himself obliged to move his king... 10...Kd8 11.Re1 Nb6 12.Bxe6 Nh6 13.Bh3 1-0.

There was a slight mix-up during the prizegiving at first and Norwegian player Armin Gholami was surprised not to hear his name read out as a prizewinner. He stood up and calmly explained to the organisers in perfect English that his name had not been read out and that he should have received a share of the second prize for the Challengers. He was quite right and the error swiftly rectified.

An unremarkable incident, perhaps, but for the fact that Armin is just eleven years old. His calmness, logic and assertiveness were impressive for one so young and a sign of great character. I suspect we may hear more of him.

Photos by Zeljka Malobabic and John Saunders

Top standings after five rounds

Rk.  Ti. Name FED Rtg Pts.
1 GM Short Nigel D ENG 2658 5.0
2 GM Ivanchuk Vassily UKR 2764 4.5
3 GM Fridman Daniel GER 2655 4.5
4 GM Sengupta Deep IND 2530 4.0
5 GM Adams Michael ENG 2723 4.0
6 GM Roiz Michael ISR 2649 4.0
7 GM Akobian Varuzhan USA 2618 4.0
8 GM Kacheishvili Giorgi GEO 2585 4.0
9 IM Kosintseva Nadezhda RUS 2552 4.0
10 GM Gopal Narayanan IND 2597 4.0
11 GM Ikonnikov Vyacheslav RUS 2580 4.0
12 GM Mikhalevski Victor ISR 2579 4.0
13 GM Rapport Richard HUN 2531 3.5
14 GM Korchnoi Viktor SUI 2544 3.5
15 GM Buhmann Rainer GER 2572 3.5
16 GM Kulaots Kaido EST 2577 3.5
17 GM Sasikiran Krishnan IND 2690 3.5
18 GM Vallejo Francisco ESP 2698 3.5
19 GM Harikrishna Pentala IND 2667 3.5
20 GM Lafuente Pablo ARG 2551 3.5
21 GM Sandipan Chanda IND 2641 3.5
22 GM Kotronias Vasilios GRE 2599 3.5
23 GM Dzagnidze Nana GEO 2550 3.5
24 GM Caruana Fabiano ITA 2721 3.5
25 GM Bologan Viktor MDA 2693 3.5
26 GM Georgiev Kiril BUL 2669 3.5
27 GM Berg Emanuel SWE 2627 3.5
28 GM Onischuk Alex. USA 2689 3.5
29 GM Nisipeanu Liviu-D. ROU 2678 3.5
30 GM Edouard Romain FRA 2634 3.5
31 IM Melia Salome GEO 2449 3.5
32 GM Speelman Jon S ENG 2524 3.5
33 GM Lemos Damian ARG 2553 3.5
34 GM El Debs Felipe BRA 2499 3.5
35 IM Harika Dronavalli IND 2520 3.5
36 GM Soffer Ram ISR 2489 3.5
37 GM Gallagher Joseph G SUI 2501 3.5
38 IM Vaibhav Suri IND 2421 3.5
39 IM Bellaiche Anthony FRA 2458 3.5
40 IM Das Arghyadip IND 2479 3.5
41 GM Fier Alexandr BRA 2571 3.5
42 IM Battaglini Gabriel FRA 2437 3.5
43 IM Vernay Clovis FRA 2446 3.5
44 GM Cabrera Alexis ESP 2518 3.5
45 Szuper Paul USA 2174 3.5


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