Gibraltar Rd02: Top players face tough resistance

by Sagar Shah
1/26/2017 – There was some high voltage drama in the second round of the Gibraltar Masters 2017. Four super-GMs: Caruana, MVL, Topalov and Svidler were held to a draw. Meanwhile, Vassily Ivanchuk lost in a completely better position against IM Ori Kobo. 37 players including Hikaru Nakamura, Mickey Adams, Yu Yangyi, Nikita Vitiugov and Arkadij Naiditsch are on 2.0/2. In this report we bring to you didactic analysis, Topalov's instructive Masterclass and some lively video interviews by Tania Sachdev.

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Photos by Sophie Tray and John Saunders

Gibraltar R2: Top players face tough resistance

The playing hall in Hotel Caleta

IM Leandro Krysa played a fine game to draw against Fabiano Caruana. It must be said that the Argentinian IM was clearly better at some point in the game.

[Event "Gibraltar Masters 2017"] [Site "Caleta ENG"] [Date "2017.01.25"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Krysa, Leandro"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D15"] [WhiteElo "2491"] [BlackElo "2827"] [Annotator "Sagar,Shah"] [PlyCount "51"] [EventDate "2017.01.24"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 a6 5. c5 g6 6. g3 Bg7 7. Bg2 O-O 8. O-O Bg4 9. Ne5 Bf5 (9... Be6 {was a better move, because on f5 the bishop can be attacked with h3-g4.}) 10. h3 Nfd7 11. f4 Nf6 12. Qb3 Qc8 (12... Ra7 $1 13. g4 Be4 {was better than what happened in the game for Black.}) 13. g4 Be4 14. Nxe4 Nxe4 15. Bxe4 dxe4 16. f5 $1 gxf5 17. gxf5 (17. Rxf5 {was a very strong move.} e6 18. Rg5 (18. Rf4 Nd7 $11) 18... f6 (18... Nd7 19. Nc4 $16) 19. Rxg7+ $1 Kxg7 20. Nc4 $1 Nd7 21. Nd6 Qd8 22. Qxe6 $18 {A very interesting variation.}) 17... Nd7 18. Kh1 (18. Ng4 $5 Bxd4+ 19. Kh1 $40) 18... Nxe5 19. dxe5 Bxe5 20. Bh6 Rd8 21. f6 $5 {Everything would lose for Black except the rook sacrifice that Fabiano now plays!} (21. Rg1+ Kh8 22. Qxf7 {was an obvious candidate and it seems that White is just crashing through, until you see} Rg8 $14 {And Black holds on.}) 21... Rd3 $1 (21... Bxf6 22. Rxf6 exf6 23. Qg3+ $18) 22. Rg1+ Kh8 23. Bg7+ Kg8 24. Bh6+ Kh8 25. Bg7+ Kg8 26. Bh6+ {A great result of Leandro Krysa, but somewhere one gets the feeling that he could have beaten the World number two!} 1/2-1/2

Leandro Krysa: I am very happy and it's incredible for me!

World Rapid Champion Vasily Ivanchuk lost on time against his Israeli opponent IM Ori Kobo

It was not one of those moments where Ivanchuk let his time run out on deciding his move. In fact he thought that they had reached the time control on 40th move. But he had missed writing the 24th move and hence, he was one move away from completing 40 moves. The final position was pretty much winning for the Ukrainian.

You know that the game was interesting when each and every pawn in the position is either isolated or doubled!

[Event "Gibraltar Masters 2017"] [Site "Caleta ENG"] [Date "2017.01.25"] [Round "2.4"] [White "Ivanchuk, Vassily"] [Black "Kobo, Ori"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C11"] [WhiteElo "2752"] [BlackElo "2482"] [Annotator "Sagar,Shah"] [PlyCount "78"] [EventDate "2017.01.24"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 dxe4 5. Nxe4 Be7 6. Bxf6 gxf6 7. Nf3 a6 8. a4 f5 9. Nc3 Bf6 10. Qd2 Qd6 11. g4 $5 {A very interesting move by Ivachuk.} Bd7 (11... fxg4 12. Ne4 Qe7 13. Nxf6+ Qxf6 14. Ne5 $44 {And White has excellent compensation.}) 12. Qh6 Be7 13. gxf5 exf5 14. Qxd6 Bxd6 {The endgame is similar to the one we see in Queen's Gambit Declined where Black goes Bf5, Qf3 Bg6, Bxf6 Qxf6, Qxf6 gxf6. We get a structure of doubled f-pawns in return for the bishop pair. Here, it's the same case. Who's better? The player who plays better!} 15. O-O-O Nc6 16. Bc4 Kf8 17. Kb1 Rg8 18. Ne5 Bxe5 $1 {A good decision by Ori.} 19. dxe5 Be6 20. Bd5 (20. Bxe6 fxe6 21. Rd7 Rg7 $15 {is already better for Black.}) 20... Rg4 (20... Bxd5 21. Rxd5 Rg2 $1 $11) 21. b3 Ke7 22. Kb2 Rag8 23. Rd2 Rd8 24. Rhd1 Nxe5 $6 (24... Rh4 $11) 25. Bxb7 $1 { It seems like Black made a bad trade winning the e5 pawn for the b7 one, but he has a trick up his sleeve.} Nc4+ $1 26. bxc4 Rb8 27. Nd5+ Bxd5 28. Rxd5 Rxb7+ 29. Kc3 {A unique case on the board: each and every pawn is either isolated or doubled!} Kf6 (29... Rf4 $11) 30. Rc5 Rh4 31. Rc6+ Ke7 (31... Kg5 32. Rxa6 Rxh2 $11) 32. Re1+ Kd7 33. Rf6 Rb6 34. Rxf5 Rc6 35. Rxf7+ Kc8 36. f4 Rh3+ 37. Kb4 Rxh2 38. Re8+ Kb7 39. Rff8 Rch6 $2 {After this move White is just winning with Rb8+ Kc6 Ra8. Ivanchuk had missed the move number 24 on his score sheet and hence thought that he had reached the 40th move. In fact they had made only 39. He let his time run out and this resulted in a loss. Quite a heart breaking defeat.} (39... Rb6+ 40. Kc3 Rh3+ 41. Kd4 Rd6+ 42. Kc5 Rc6+ 43. Kb4 a5+ 44. Kxa5 Ra6+ 45. Kb4 Rb6+ 46. Kc5 Rc6+ 47. Kd4 Rd6+ 48. Ke5 Re3+ 49. Kf5 Ra3 {The position is still playable for Black, but he has to defend accurately in order to make a draw.}) (39... Rch6 40. Rb8+ Kc6 41. Ra8 $18) 0-1

Ori Kobo: "Doesn't feel good to win such a game."

Michael Adams played a beautiful endgame to down Indian GM Debashis Das

[Event "Gibraltar Masters 2017"] [Site "Caleta ENG"] [Date "2017.01.25"] [Round "2.5"] [White "Debashis, Das"] [Black "Adams, Michael"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D36"] [WhiteElo "2472"] [BlackElo "2751"] [Annotator "Sagar,Shah"] [PlyCount "136"] [EventDate "2017.01.24"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 c6 6. Qc2 h6 7. Bh4 g6 8. e3 Bf5 9. Qb3 g5 10. Bg3 Qb6 11. Nf3 Nbd7 12. Nd2 Nh5 13. Be2 Nxg3 14. hxg3 Nf6 15. a3 Qxb3 16. Nxb3 a5 17. Kd2 Bd6 18. Bd3 Bg6 19. Rae1 Kd7 20. Re2 h5 21. Kc2 b5 22. Nd2 Rhb8 23. Ra1 b4 24. Bxg6 fxg6 25. Na4 Kc7 26. axb4 axb4 27. b3 g4 28. Kd3 Rf8 29. Rc1 Rf7 30. e4 dxe4+ 31. Nxe4 Nxe4 32. Kxe4 Re8+ 33. Kd3 Rxe2 34. Kxe2 Rf5 35. Nb2 Ra5 36. Nc4 Ra2+ 37. Kf1 g5 38. Nxd6 Kxd6 {Black has a small edge in this position. Mainly because he can create an outside passer with h4. However, like all rook endgames this position too has a tendency to be drawish.} 39. Rc4 h4 (39... Ra1+ 40. Ke2 h4 {was perhaps slightly more accurate.} 41. gxh4 gxh4 42. d5 $1 c5 43. Rxg4 Rb1 44. Rxh4 Rxb3 {Black pawns are much more advanced, but the white king is near. White should be able to hold this one.}) 40. gxh4 $2 (40. Kg1 $1 $15 {was the correct move as now Black cannot weave a mating net around the white king like he did in the game.} ) 40... gxh4 41. Kg1 g3 $1 42. fxg3 hxg3 43. Kf1 Rf2+ 44. Ke1 (44. Kg1 Rb2 $19) 44... Rxg2 45. Kf1 (45. Rxb4 Rf2 46. Rb8 Kd5 47. Rg8 Rf3 48. b4 Kxd4 49. Ke2 Re3+ 50. Kf1 Rb3 51. Rg6 {This should end in a draw.}) 45... Rf2+ 46. Kg1 Kd5 47. Rxb4 Rc2 48. Rb8 (48. Ra4 {is better and maybe holds.}) 48... Kxd4 49. b4 $2 (49. Rb6 Kd5 50. Rb8 Rb2 51. Rd8+ Kc5 52. Rb8 {It's not so easy for Black to win.}) 49... Rb2 50. Rb6 Kd5 51. Rb8 Ke6 52. Rb7 Kd6 53. Kf1 Rf2+ $1 { Adams find a nice idea to draw.} 54. Kg1 Re2 55. Kf1 (55. b5 c5 $19) 55... g2+ $1 56. Kg1 Re7 $1 {The rook is transferred behind the pawn with a tempo.} 57. Rb8 Rg7 58. Rd8+ (58. b5 Kc7 $19) 58... Kc7 59. Rd4 Rg8 60. Rc4 Kb6 61. Rf4 Kb5 62. Re4 Rg3 63. Rf4 Rb3 64. Kxg2 Rxb4 {The white king is just too far away.} 65. Rf1 Rb2+ 66. Kf3 c5 67. Ke3 Kb4 68. Rf8 c4 0-1

Hou Yifan played an excellent positional game and got the better of...

...Natalia Zhukova, in a complicated French Winawer

The position was complicated and within three moves the highest rated woman player in the world was left with a beautiful knight against Zhukova's sick looking bishop. How did the Chinese outwit her strong opponent? Let's see the critical phase of the game:

[Event "Gibraltar Masters 2017"] [Site "Caleta ENG"] [Date "2017.01.25"] [Round "2.19"] [White "Hou, Yifan"] [Black "Zhukova, Natalia"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C19"] [WhiteElo "2651"] [BlackElo "2447"] [Annotator "Sagar,Shah"] [PlyCount "95"] [EventDate "2017.01.24"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 Ne7 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. Nf3 Qa5 8. Bd2 Qa4 9. Qb1 c4 10. h4 Nbc6 11. h5 h6 12. g3 Bd7 13. Bh3 O-O-O 14. O-O Rdf8 15. Qb2 b6 16. Rae1 Kb7 17. Re2 Nf5 18. Ne1 g6 19. Ng2 Nce7 20. Bg4 Rh7 21. Qc1 Rfh8 22. Nf4 Rg8 23. Kh2 Bc8 24. Rh1 Bd7 25. Kg1 Bc8 26. hxg6 fxg6 27. Bf3 Rf7 28. Bg2 h5 29. Nh3 Nc6 30. Kh2 Rgf8 31. Bg5 Rh7 32. Nf4 Nce7 33. Bh3 {[#] The position is complicated. However, more often than not top players always get the better minor piece on the board after the complications. This is what happened in this game as well.} Rg8 $2 {A careless move by Zhukova that lets Hou Yifan get what she wanted. Natalia had to ask what her opponent wanted.} ( 33... Qe8 $1 {This keeps the rook on the f-file.} 34. Bxe7 Rxe7 35. Bxf5 Rxf5 $15 {Now the position is not so simple anymore as the f4 square is not an outpost. The knight can be kicked anytime with g5.}) 34. Bxe7 $1 Rxe7 35. Bxf5 $1 gxf5 36. Kg2 $16 {And just like that we see that it is Hou Yifan who is left with a clearly superior minor piece and a weakness on h5 to attack. This was a result of Zhukova not being prophylactic and not understanding what her opponent's threats were.} Rh7 37. Rxh5 Rgh8 38. Rxh7+ Rxh7 39. Re1 Qe8 40. Rh1 Qh8 41. Rh3 Kc6 42. Ng6 Qg7 43. Qg5 Kb5 44. Rxh7 Qxh7 45. Qf6 f4 46. g4 f3+ 47. Kg3 a5 48. g5 1-0

Hou Yifan: I am playing some sort of a women's tournament!

Riff Jean-Noel drew his game against Veselin Toplalov

The second round game was not the only work that Topalov did on Wednesday!

Veselin gave a Master Class for one hour after the game. He dealt with the topic of mistakes made when certain moves are taken for granted. Don't miss this highly instructive material coming from an ex-FIDE World Champion!

Marc Esserman lost to Yu Yangyi

Italy's number one Daniele Vocaturo drew his game against Yuliya Shvayger

Valentina Gunina drew her game with Omar Noaman and is on 1.5/2

David Howell is on 2.0/2 and takes on Sergey Grigoriants in round three

1.e4!? Maybe I should try that too! Bela Khotenashvili watches Hou Yifan, as the Georgian slumped to a defeat against Iturrizaga

Nitzan Steinberg played a strong game with the black pieces to draw his game against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Peter Svidler drew his game against IM Johan Saloman

Johan Saloman: I was never really thinking about the result

Kateryna Lagno beat Aramkhamia Grant-Ketevan and is on 2.0/2. She now faces Vadim Zviaginsev in round three.

Cecile Haussernot from France

Interview with Sam Shankland: Working with Magnus was an eye opening experience!

An amazing compilation of rapid fire questions to players like Caruana, MVL, Nakamura, Adams, Short, Svidler, Paehtz and many more!

Results of Round 2

Ti Name Rtg
Res.
Ti. Name Rtg
IM Krysa Leandro 2491
½-½
GM Caruana Fabiano 2827
GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2796
½-½
IM Steinberg Nitzan 2486
IM Santos Ruiz Miguel 2484
0-1
GM Nakamura Hikaru 2785
GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2752
0-1
IM Kobo Ori 2482
GM Debashis Das 2472
0-1
GM Adams Michael 2751
GM Svidler Peter 2748
½-½
IM Salomon Johan 2470
GM Riff Jean-Noel 2468
½-½
GM Topalov Veselin 2739
GM Yu Yangyi 2738
1-0
IM Esserman Marc 2468
IM Paehtz Elisabeth 2468
0-1
GM Vitiugov Nikita 2724
IM Ider Borya 2463
0-1
GM Naiditsch Arkadij 2702
GM Matlakov Maxim 2701
½-½
IM Almagro Llamas Pablo 2466
IM Javakhishvili Lela 2455
0-1
GM Cheparinov Ivan 2689
GM Kovalenko Igor 2684
½-½
IM Kantans Toms 2456
IM Cheng Bobby 2452
0-1
GM Zvjaginsev Vadim 2679
IM Kantor Gergely 2448
0-1
GM Shankland Samuel L 2674
GM Fressinet Laurent 2660
½-½
GM Cramling Pia 2454
GM Howell David W L 2655
1-0
IM Khademalsharieh Sarasadat 2452
GM Khotenashvili Bela 2430
0-1
GM Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo 2652
GM Hou Yifan 2651
1-0
GM Zhukova Natalia 2447
IM Wemmers Xander 2424
0-1
GM Piorun Kacper 2651
GM Anton Guijarro David 2650
1-0
GM Womacka Mathias 2435
GM Sethuraman S.P. 2637
1-0
GM Sundararajan Kidambi 2420
IM Karavade Eesha 2418
0-1
GM Akobian Varuzhan 2633
GM Sutovsky Emil 2628
1-0
IM Kuipers Stefan 2414
IM Carlstedt Jonathan 2413
½-½
GM Maze Sebastien 2613
GM Vocaturo Daniele 2606
½-½
WIM Shvayger Yuliya 2413
FM Pustovoitova Daria 2407
½-½
GM Fridman Daniel 2594
GM Lagarde Maxime 2594
1-0
IM Vega Gutierrez Sabrina 2406
IM Docx Stefan 2405
½-½
GM Istratescu Andrei 2593
GM Gledura Benjamin 2589
½-½
FM Perez Garcia Alejandro 2398
IM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs 2390
1-0
GM Lalith Babu M R 2587
GM Ju Wenjun 2583
1-0
FM Guerra Rivera Salvador 2389
IM Milliet Sophie 2387
0-1
GM Antipov Mikhail Al. 2580
GM Gopal G.N. 2579
1-0
FM Ladron De Guevara Paolo 2386
FM Garriga Cazorla Pere 2386
½-½
GM Blomqvist Erik 2574
GM Deac Bogdan-Daniel 2572
1-0
IM Herman Matthew J 2383
GM Vazquez Igarza Renier 2572
½-½
IM Godart Francois 2381
FM Jessel Stephen 2382
0-1
GM Grigoriants Sergey 2564
GM Donchenko Alexander 2559
1-0
IM Nomin Davaademberel 2378
  Henderson Lance 2380
0-1
GM Muzychuk Anna 2558
GM Huzman Alexander 2557
1-0
WGM Gara Ticia 2378
IM Szabo Bence 2378
0-1
GM Mastrovasilis Athanasios 2551
GM Schroeder Jan-Christian 2550
1-0
WGM Soumya Swaminathan 2375
FM Kozak Adam 2376
½-½
GM Spraggett Kevin 2542
GM Lagno Kateryna 2530
1-0
GM Arakhamia-Grant Ketevan 2370
FM Shachar Ehud 2374
½-½
GM Del Rio Salvador 2527
GM Gunina Valentina 2524
½-½
IM Omar Noaman 2369
IM Derakhshani Dorsa 2370
½-½
GM Lemos Damian 2516
GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2512
1-0
WIM Pratyusha Bodda 2247
FM Thavandiran Shiyam 2367
½-½
GM Narciso Dublan Marc 2508
FM Buchenau Frank 2274
½-½
IM Aryan Chopra 2503
IM Kollars Dmitrij 2500
1-0
FM Smith Andrew Philip 2152
FM Sanchez Jerez Emilio Miguel 2257
0-1
IM Liang Awonder 2496
IM Bellahcene Bilel 2493
1-0
  Finsterwalder Sebastian 2130
  Aroven Mikael 2172
0-1
GM Cuenca Jose Fernando 2492
IM Batsiashvili Nino 2492
1-0
  Newbry Benjamin J 1879
  Herzwurm Robert 2143
0-1
IM Dragnev Valentin 2492
GM Gelfand Boris 2721
1-0
FM Lombaers Peter 2314
GM Short Nigel D 2675
1-0
IM Bellin Robert 2353
  Gluhovsky Mark 2263
0-1
GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar 2657
GM Edouard Romain 2613
1-0
  Mueller-Dehn Christian Dr. 2170
FM Tate Alan 2309
1-0
GM Kaidanov Gregory S 2572
  Galmandakh Badrakh 2215
0-1
GM Muzychuk Mariya 2546
GM Libiszewski Fabien 2545
½-½
FM Plotkin Victor 2253
  Semprun Martinez Fernando 2174
0-1
IM Sarkar Justin 2428
  Amgalanbaatar Ravdan. 1988
0-1
WGM Tsolakidou Stavroula 2387
FM Mihajlov Sebastian 2384
1-0
  Vanheirzeele Daniel 2154
WFM Gamboa Olga Leticia 1913
½-½
IM Lazarne Vajda Szidonia 2364
GM Mikhalevski Victor 2504
1-0
  Minnema Rens 1893
WFM Haussernot Cecile 2108
0-1
GM Gupta Abhijeet 2645

Get the complete results

Top pairings of round 3 on 2017/01/26 at 15.00

Ti. Name Rtg Pts. Res. Pts. Ti. Name Rtg
GM Nakamura Hikaru 2785 2   2 GM Gopal G.N. 2579
GM Adams Michael 2751 2   2 GM Deac Bogdan-Daniel 2572
GM Antipov Mikhail Al. 2580 2   2 GM Yu Yangyi 2738
GM Vitiugov Nikita 2724 2   2 GM Donchenko Alexander 2559
GM Naiditsch Arkadij 2702 2   2 GM Huzman Alexander 2557
GM Cheparinov Ivan 2689 2   2 GM Schroeder Jan-Christian 2550
GM Zvjaginsev Vadim 2679 2   2 GM Lagno Kateryna 2530
GM Shankland Samuel L 2674 2   2 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2512
GM Grigoriants Sergey 2564 2   2 GM Howell David W L 2655
GM Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo 2652 2   2 IM Kollars Dmitrij 2500
GM Muzychuk Anna 2558 2   2 GM Hou Yifan 2651
GM Piorun Kacper 2651 2   2 IM Bellahcene Bilel 2493
GM Mastrovasilis Athanasios 2551 2   2 GM Anton Guijarro David 2650
IM Liang Awonder 2496 2   2 GM Sethuraman S.P. 2637
GM Akobian Varuzhan 2633 2   2 IM Batsiashvili Nino 2492
GM Cuenca Jimenez Jose Fernando 2492 2   2 GM Sutovsky Emil 2628
IM Dragnev Valentin 2492 2   2 GM Lagarde Maxime 2594
IM Kobo Ori 2482 2   2 GM Ju Wenjun 2583
GM Caruana Fabiano 2827   2 IM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs 2390
IM Salomon Johan 2470   GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2796
IM Steinberg Nitzan 2486   GM Svidler Peter 2748
GM Topalov Veselin 2739   IM Krysa Leandro 2491
IM Almagro Llamas Pablo 2466   GM Gelfand Boris 2721
IM Kantans Toms 2456   GM Matlakov Maxim 2701
GM Cramling Pia 2454   GM Kovalenko Igor 2684
IM Zatonskih Anna 2443   GM Short Nigel D 2675
IM Sarkar Justin 2428   GM Fressinet Laurent 2660
GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar 2657   GM Riff Jean-Noel 2468
WIM Shvayger Yuliya 2413   GM Edouard Romain 2613
GM Maze Sebastien 2613   FM Pustovoitova Daria 2407

Get the complete pairings

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Sagar Shah is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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calvinamari calvinamari 1/26/2017 10:42
In the situation that Ivanchuk's opponent faced, I have always given some signal that the other player's move counting may be mistaken. It may not be possible in a scramble, but I would not let someone either blithely get up from the board or manifest some other indication that the control was satisfied. Briefly holding up or simply pointing to my scoresheet and the clock usually suffices to plant the requisite seed of doubt.
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