Gibraltar: Most GMs unscathed

by Alejandro Ramirez
1/29/2014 – The Masters section has been inaugurated in Gibraltar and in spectacular fashion. A lovely gala was held in the famous Saint Michael's cave. Round one went with almost no upsets, but things started to change in round two. A few of the grand masters were held to draws, though most won their games. Eljanov had a close call, however almost losing to Elizabeth Paehtz.

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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.

Opening Ceremony

One of Gibraltar's top tourist attractions, St Michael's Cave, a large cave of natural beauty inside the rock was the venue for one of the main social events of this year’s 2014 Tradewise Chess Festival. Gibraltar’s Minister for Tourism, Commercial Affairs, Public Transport and the Port, Neil Costa, hosted a dinner in this beautiful and unique setting in the Cathedral Chamber of St Michael’s Cave located within the Upper Rock Nature Reserve.

Bela Khotenashvili and Lela Javakhishvili, both from Georgia, arrive to the ceremony

The Cathedral Cave opened to visitors has since the 1960’s been used as an auditorium with a seating capacity of 400 and has staged countless classical and rock concerts and large drama, musicals and dance productions and Son et Lumière shows. On many occasions it has been the setting for the Miss Gibraltar Pageants and the Gibraltar Song Festival. In his address Minister Costa spoke of how prestigious it was for Gibraltar to host the most important open chess tournament in the world in its shores.

Representing the players, top chess journalist, Leontxo Garcia, spoke of the benefits of chess as a very powerful educational tool. He praised the magnificent organisation. He said: “I am not talking only about how well this Tradewise chess congress is organised from the technical point of view, but also about the social atmosphere around the tournaments, and the parallel activities. For this reason, I think this is the world’s best organised chess festival. This is not just my personal opinion, but the general opinion. And this wonderful evening in such a splendid surrounding is a clear example of it.” The evening was filled with music provided by the band of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment and the Corps of Drums who gave a magnificent display. As the night began there was a guard of honour provided by the members of the Gibraltar Re-enactment Association.

Inside the cave the guests were greeted with music by the
Royal Gibraltar Regiment and more members of the Re-enactment Association

Presently St Michael’s Cave is one of Gibraltar's top tourist attractions and is open daily to the public receiving almost 1,000,000 visitors a year. The cave formations are colourfully lit and visitors can read displays documenting the caves' history. St. Michael's Cave can be reached by car, taxi, cable car or by foot. Tickets include entrance to two of the other major tourist sites on The Rock: the Moorish Castle and the Great Siege Tunnels. Thought to be bottomless and first mentioned in the writings of Roman travel writer Pomponius Melia in 45CE, St Michael's has seen millions of visitors since then though not all with tourism in mind. During the Second World War the cave was prepared as an emergency hospital, but was never used.

Main table with (l to r) Tara MacGowran, Brian Callaghan, Minister Neil Costa, Tamara Stewart-Wilson, James Humphreys. Also at the table was top seeded player Michael Adams

Rounds one and two

Tomashevsky was one of many top GMs held to a draw today

Round one in the Masters section started with very few surprises. You have to go all the way down to board 19 to find an upset, where Badrakh Galmandakh, rated only 2225, held Viktor Bologan to a draw. The biggest upset of the dayw as probably Sarai Sanchez's win over Kiril Georgiev. The following gives you a pretty good idea of how the day went:

Bo.   Name Rtg Pts.
Result
Pts.   Name Rtg
1 FM Sanchez Jerez Emilio Miguel 2287 0
0 - 1
0 GM Adams Michael 2754
2 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2745 0
1 - 0
0   Lombaers Peter 2255
3 IM Lederman Leon 2257 0
0 - 1
0 GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2739
4 GM Vitiugov Nikita 2737 0
1 - 0
0 IM Haugli Petter 2278
5   Gukhvat Peter 2268 0
0 - 1
0 GM Eljanov Pavel 2733
6 GM Tomashevsky Evgeny 2715 0
1 - 0
0   Deac Bogdan-Daniel 2289
7   Sos Andreu Eric 2285 0
0 - 1
0 GM Kamsky Gata 2709
8 GM Vallejo Pons Francisco 2707 0
1 - 0
0 WGM Maisuradze Nino 2279
9 FM Proudian Armen 2273 0
0 - 1
0 GM Harikrishna P. 2706
10 GM Navara David 2702 0
1 - 0
0   Hommerson Paul 2255
11   Rindlisbacher Jan 2250 0
0 - 1
0 GM Rapport Richard 2691
12 GM Short Nigel D 2683 0
1 - 0
0 WIM Nicolas Zapata Irene 2249
13   Gajic Mladen 2246 0
0 - 1
0 GM Rodshtein Maxim 2682
14 GM Li Chao B 2680 0
1 - 0
0   Martinez Pedro Ramon 2246
15   Gandrud Vegar Koi 2242 0
0 - 1
0 GM Movsesian Sergei 2677

Round two was however far more interesting. Already many grandmaster vs. grandmaster duels were seen and some of them were absolutely crazy. Take the following game for example:

[Event "Tradewise 2014 - Masters"] [Site "Gibraltar"] [Date "2014.01.29"] [Round "2"] [White "Eljanov, Pavel"] [Black "Paehtz, Elisabeth"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D94"] [WhiteElo "2733"] [BlackElo "2458"] [PlyCount "90"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [EventCountry "GGB"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 g6 {The Schlecter system, always a solid defense against any 1.d4 system, but especially against the Slav variation where White commits to an early e3.} 5. Nf3 Bg7 6. Bd3 O-O 7. O-O Bg4 8. h3 Bxf3 9. Qxf3 e6 {Black has lost the pair of bishops but her position is so solid that it is difficult to imagine White doing something tangible with it any time soon. These games usually require quite a bit of patience.} 10. b3 Re8 11. Bb2 Nbd7 12. Rfd1 Rc8 13. Rac1 Qe7 14. Bf1 Nb6 15. Qe2 Rcd8 16. Qc2 Nbd7 17. a3 Rc8 18. Rd2 Red8 19. Qd1 Ne8 20. b4 a6 21. Qb3 Nd6 22. c5 Nf5 23. Bd3 Qg5 24. Qd1 h5 25. Qe2 h4 26. Qg4 Qe7 27. a4 Nh6 28. Qe2 e5 {After a million maneuvering moves White is ready for e4 and Black is ready for e5, she strikes frist - but White has something up his sleeve.} 29. e4 $5 {anything else would admit that Black has solved all her problems.} exd4 $1 (29... dxe4 30. Nxe4 Nf5 31. dxe5 Nxe5 {is just fine for Black, but Paehtz is even more ambitious.}) 30. exd5 $1 {The counter point of Eljanov!} dxc3 $1 {Forced} (30... Qe5 31. Ne4 $1 Qxd5 32. Bc4 Qf5 33. Bxd4 {and White's bishops are wrecking Black's position.}) (30... Qxe2 31. Nxe2 cxd5 32. Nxd4 {is simply unpleasant for the second player. }) 31. Qxe7 cxd2 {The pawn keeps munching pieces. Here Eljanov had a few alternatives, surprisingly enough} 32. Rd1 (32. dxc6 Bxb2 {transposes} (32... dxc1=Q+ 33. Bxc1 bxc6 34. Bxh6 Bxh6 35. Bc4 {is not pleasant for Black at all, despite the material advantage.})) (32. Qxh4 Bxb2 33. Rd1 Kg7 34. dxc6 Bf6 35. Qf4 Rxc6 36. Qxd2 {was possible but White's compensation is probably not sufficient.}) 32... Bxb2 33. Rxd2 $6 (33. dxc6 $1 {was more exact first, to avoid Bf6 resources.}) 33... Bc3 $6 {unfortunately hasty.} (33... Bf6 34. Qe3 Kg7 {was certainly stronger. Here White has problems solving his queen situation!} 35. d6 $2 Re8 36. Qf3 Bc3 $1 {And Eljanov's structure would have collapsed very quickly.}) 34. dxc6 bxc6 35. Rc2 Bf6 36. Qe2 Rb8 37. Rd2 $2 (37. Qe1 {was necessary to retain the pawn on b4.}) 37... Rxb4 (37... Re8 $1 {was an exact intermediate move.} 38. Qf3 Bg5 $1 $19) 38. Bxg6 $1 {Keeping White in the game, but Black is still better} fxg6 39. Rxd7 Rxd7 40. Qe8+ Kg7 41. Qxd7+ Nf7 42. Qxc6 Rb1+ 43. Kh2 Be5+ (43... Rf1 $1 $17 44. Qf3 $2 Be5+ 45. g3 hxg3+ $19) 44. g3 Rb2 45. Kh1 hxg3 {Surprisingly here a draw was agreed. Although White probably can defend with very exact play, Black was in no real chance of losing!} 1/2-1/2

Top 15 results:

Bo.   Name Rtg Pts.
Result
Pts.   Name Rtg
1 GM Adams Michael 2754 1
1 - 0
1 GM Al-Sayed Mohammed 2476
2 GM Flear Glenn C 2471 1
0 - 1
1 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2745
3 GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2739 1
½ - ½
1 GM Larino Nieto David 2465
4 GM Galego Luis 2465 1
0 - 1
1 GM Vitiugov Nikita 2737
5 GM Eljanov Pavel 2733 1
½ - ½
1 IM Paehtz Elisabeth 2458
6 IM Docx Stefan 2458 1
½ - ½
1 GM Tomashevsky Evgeny 2715
7 GM Kamsky Gata 2709 1
1 - 0
1 WGM Guo Qi 2450
8 IM Pardo Simon David 2450 1
0 - 1
1 GM Vallejo Pons Francisco 2707
9 GM Harikrishna P. 2706 1
1 - 0
1 GM Akesson Ralf 2447
10 GM Zhukova Natalia 2449 1
0 - 1
1 GM Navara David 2702
11 GM Rapport Richard 2691 1
½ - ½
1 IM Tania Sachdev 2442
12 IM Porper Edward 2446 1
½ - ½
1 GM Short Nigel D 2683
13 GM Rodshtein Maxim 2682 1
1 - 0
1 IM Kohlweyer Bernd 2437
14 IM Munguntuul Batkhuyag 2438 1
0 - 1
1 GM Li Chao B 2680
15 GM Movsesian Sergei 2677 1
1 - 0
1 IM Javakhishvili Lela 2430

Ivanchuk was in a tough game definitely against the young Spaniard player Larino Nieto. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave had the opinion that Larino Nieto was even better at some point and could have caused more problems against his higher rated opponent had he played more accurately. Despite the few draws on the top boards most results did go according expectations. Porper can definitely count his lucky stars drawing Short from a pawn down position, while Rapport tried for over 120 moves to beat Sachdev in a rook and knight vs. rook endgame, but to no avail.

Top women are already facing each other:
Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine) beat Judith Fucs (Germany) in a tense Caro-Kann

Sophia Milliet held Zhao Xue to a draw

Pogonina could not beat her 2304 rated opponent in round two and has 1.5/2

The man, the legend: Ulf Andersson active and with 1.5/2

Khotenashvili was upset by WGM Jovana Vojinovic from Serbia in round 2!

Zhukova was paired against Navara who played a spectacular game to beat her

Sachdev put a solid defense against Rapport and held a long draw

Round three pairings, top 15 boards:

Bo.   Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts.   Name Rtg
1 GM Fier Alexandr 2572 2   2 GM Adams Michael 2754
2 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2745 2   2 GM Salem A.R. Saleh 2564
3 GM Vitiugov Nikita 2737 2   2 GM Gopal G.N. 2550
4 GM Lenderman Aleksandr 2562 2   2 GM Kamsky Gata 2709
5 GM Vallejo Pons Francisco 2707 2   2 GM Spraggett Kevin 2544
6 GM Anton Guijarro David 2557 2   2 GM Harikrishna P. 2706
7 GM Navara David 2702 2   2 GM Libiszewski Fabien 2533
8 GM Oparin Grigoriy 2517 2   2 GM Rodshtein Maxim 2682
9 GM Li Chao B 2680 2   2 IM Muzychuk Mariya 2503
10 GM Gordon Stephen J 2516 2   2 GM Movsesian Sergei 2677
11 GM Xu Jun 2510 2   2 GM Cheparinov Ivan 2672
12 GM Edouard Romain 2658 2   2 GM Popilski Gil 2492
13 GM Agdestein Simen 2627 2   2 WGM Tan Zhongyi 2483
14 GM Wei Yi 2607 2   2 IM Henrichs Thomas 2477
15 GM Debashis Das 2494 2   2 GM Van Kampen Robin 2602

 

Links

The games will be 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 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


Topics Gibraltar

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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