Gibraltar Rd8: One point lead

by Alejandro Ramirez
2/3/2015 – There are only two rounds left in Gibraltar, and today could not have gone better for Hikaru Nakamura. A nice win over Yu Yangyi combined with draws in the following six boards gives him a one point lead over three players and one and a half points over the main pack. A win tomorrow might seal the deal. Oh, and he also catapulted himself to his highest live rating ever.

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Round Eight

Bo. Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts. Name Rtg
1 Nakamura Hikaru 2776 1 - 0 6 Yu Yangyi 2724
2 Bachmann Axel 2629 6 ½ - ½ 6 Howell David W L 2670
3 Naroditsky Daniel 2622 6 ½ - ½ Vitiugov Nikita 2735
4 Svidler Peter 2739 ½ - ½ Hou Yifan 2673
5 Rapport Richard 2716 ½ - ½ Jakovenko Dmitry 2733
6 Cheparinov Ivan 2681 ½ - ½ Harikrishna P. 2723
7 Wei Yi 2675 ½ - ½ 5 Rodshtein Maxim 2680
8 Ju Wenjun 2547 5 0 - 1 5 Topalov Veselin 2800
9 Spraggett Kevin 2538 5 ½ - ½ 5 Matlakov Maxim 2695
10 Motylev Alexander 2665 5 ½ - ½ 5 Lalith Babu M.R. 2537
11 Xu Jun 2523 5 ½ - ½ 5 Sutovsky Emil 2637
12 Popilski Gil 2522 5 0 - 1 5 Adhiban B. 2630
13 Lenderman Aleksandr 2614 5 0 - 1 5 Wagner Dennis 2501
14 Muzychuk Mariya 2520 5 ½ - ½ 5 Bologan Viktor 2608
15 Mareco Sandro 2583 5 1 - 0 5 Vishnu Prasanna. V 2463
16 Padmini Rout 2388 5 1 - 0 5 Nabaty Tamir 2579
17 Hansen Eric 2574 5 0 - 1 5 Nakar Eylon 2419
18 Watson John L 2319 5 0 - 1 5 Bok Benjamin 2572
19 Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo 2649 1 - 0 5 Dragnev Valentin 2344
20 Edouard Romain 2638 ½ - ½ Harika Dronavalli 2496

Hikaru Nakamura extends his lead by a full point after a huge victory over Yu Yangyi. This catapults the American player to his highest live rating ever, and the 12th highest live rating ever achieved.

[Event "Gibraltar Masters 2015"] [Site "Caleta ENG"] [Date "2015.02.03"] [Round "8.1"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "Yu, Yangyi"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B22"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "77"] [EventDate "2015.01.27"] 1. e4 c5 2. c3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. Na3 Nf6 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. Bc4 Qd8 7. O-O a6 8. Nc2 Bg4 9. d4 e6 10. h3 Bxf3 11. Qxf3 Rc8 12. Rd1 cxd4 13. Bb3 Qc7 14. Nxd4 Nxd4 15. cxd4 Bd6 16. Bg5 Ke7 {You knwo something went wrong in the opening when you have to play Ke7 to defend your f6 knight.} 17. Re1 h6 18. Bxf6+ gxf6 19. Re3 h5 20. Rae1 Qd7 21. Qe4 Kf8 22. d5 e5 23. Rf3 Kg7 24. Bc2 {The situation is dangerous for Black: any position in which the king is weak and there are opposite colored bishops present gives the attacking chance a big advantage.} h4 25. Rf5 Rh6 26. Bd3 Qc7 27. Qg4+ Kf8 28. Rf3 {Black is holding on, but his position remains unpleasant. Yu Yangyi's next move opens him up to some tactical ideas.} Qc5 $6 29. Bxa6 {The bishop is taboo, but perhaps this was not the best move.} (29. Bh7 $5 {was also worth considering.}) 29... Rg6 $6 (29... bxa6 30. Rc3 $18 {the skewer down the c-file ends the game.}) 30. Qf5 Kg7 31. Bd3 Qb4 32. Rfe3 Rc5 33. Qd7 $1 {The queen coming into play is hard to stop.} Rc7 34. Qd8 Rg5 $2 (34... f5 35. Bxf5 Rf6 36. Bh7 $1 (36. Bb1 Qd2 { actually lets Black equalize as it is White's king that is in some trouble.}) 36... Qd2 37. Qg8+ Kh6 38. R3e2 Qg5 {and things are not so clear yet. The position with the opposite co lored bishops is not trivial to win.}) 35. Re4 $1 {Now the coordination of the queen and the rook on h8 is deadly.} Qd2 36. Bf1 Qxd5 37. Rxh4 Kg6 38. g4 f5 39. Qg8+ (39. Qg8+ Kf6 40. Rh6+ Rg6 41. Rxg6+ fxg6 42. Qxd5) 1-0

Boards 2-7 saw some fighting draws, some more exciting than others. Probably the biggest highlight of those was Hou Yifan's magic trick against Peter Svidler:

A miraculous resource saved Hou Yifan today against Peter Svidler

[Event "Gibraltar Masters 2015"] [Site "Caleta ENG"] [Date "2015.02.03"] [Round "8.4"] [White "Svidler, Peter"] [Black "Hou, Yifan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A18"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2N1k3/8/5R2/p1K1P3/8/2P5/2b5/3r4 b - - 0 45"] [PlyCount "16"] [EventDate "2015.01.27"] 45... a4 46. e6 {Svidler has been nursing an advantage since the middlegame, and now has a winning e ndgame. Black has no good way of stopping the e-pawn.} Bb3 47. e7 $6 (47. Rh6 $1 Bxe6 {is the only way of stopping mate.} 48. Rxe6+ Kd7 49. Rc6 {keeping the knight alive is, of course, important.} a3 50. Nb6+ Ke8 51. Rc8+ Kf7 52. Ra8 {and White stops the pawn without problems.}) 47... Bf7 $1 48. c4 $2 (48. Nd6+ Kxe7 49. Rxf7+ Ke6 {doesn't work as White will lose his knight on the next move, for example} 50. Rh7 Rd5+ $1 51. Kb4 Kxd6 $11) ( 48. Rf2 $1 {Was the only way to win} a3 49. Nd6+ Kxe7 50. Nxf7 a2 51. Rxa2 Kxf7 52. Re2 $1 {And the king is cut off too far from the pawn, White wins relatively easily.}) 48... a3 49. Nd6+ Kd7 $3 {This is the brilliant point Svidler must have missed.} (49... Kxe7 50. Rxf7+ Ke6 51. Ra7 Rxd6 52. Rxa3 {is a losing endgame.}) 50. Rxf7 (50. Nxf7 a2 51. Re6 Ke8 $1 52. Nd6+ Rxd6 53. Re1 Ra6 $11) 50... Rxd6 51. e8=Q+ Kxe8 52. Ra7 Rh6 53. Rxa3 {This particular endgame is very easy to draw. Refer to the Philidor Position in any endgame manual.} 1/2-1/2

With these many draws at the top Hikaru Nakamura sits relatively comfortably with 7.5/8. He plays Axel Bachmann with black tomorrow, who is one point behind and about 150 points lower rated. Also one point behind are Daniel Naroditsky and David Howell, who will face each other. 1.5 points behind comes a big crowd that includes Topalov, Svidler, V itiugov, Yu Yangyi and many others, but with only two rounds to go it doesn't seem as any of them have a chance of catching Nakamura.

Yu Yangyi falls far behind Nakamura with this loss

Is he up to the task? Paraguayan GM Axel Bachmann
will be White tomorrow against the leader.

Veselin Topalov regains some ground by beating Ju Wenjun,
who is having a good tournament regardless

Xu Jun is back in action at Gibraltar! Here he faces ACP President Emil Sutovsky

Round Eight Standings

Rk. Name FED Rtg Pts.  Perf. 
1 Nakamura Hikaru USA 2776 7.5 3054
2 Howell David W L ENG 2670 6.5 2811
3 Naroditsky Daniel USA 2622 6.5 2762
4 Bachmann Axel PAR 2629 6.5 2724
5 Vitiugov Nikita RUS 2735 6.0 2764
6 Svidler Peter RUS 2739 6.0 2760
7 Yu Yangyi CHN 2724 6.0 2757
8 Topalov Veselin BUL 2800 6.0 2747
9 Hou Yifan CHN 2673 6.0 2743
10 Harikrishna P. IND 2723 6.0 2741
11 Jakovenko Dmitry RUS 2733 6.0 2732
12 Wagner Dennis GER 2501 6.0 2729
13 Wei Yi CHN 2675 6.0 2722
14 Rapport Richard HUN 2716 6.0 2717
15 Adhiban B. IND 2630 6.0 2711
16 Cheparinov Ivan BUL 2681 6.0 2698
17 Padmini Rout IND 2388 6.0 2648
18 Nakar Eylon ISR 2419 6.0 2636
19 Mareco Sandro ARG 2583 6.0 2616
20 Bok Benjamin NED 2572 6.0 2552

Pairings Round Nine

Bo. Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts. Name Rtg
1 Bachmann Axel 2629   Nakamura Hikaru 2776
2 Howell David W L 2670   Naroditsky Daniel 2622
3 Topalov Veselin 2800 6   6 Wei Yi 2675
4 Adhiban B. 2630 6   6 Svidler Peter 2739
5 Vitiugov Nikita 2735 6   6 Mareco Sandro 2583
6 Jakovenko Dmitry 2733 6   6 Bok Benjamin 2572
7 Yu Yangyi 2724 6   6 Wagner Dennis 2501
8 Harikrishna P. 2723 6   6 Padmini Rout 2388
9 Hou Yifan 2673 6   6 Rapport Richard 2716
10 Nakar Eylon 2419 6   6 Cheparinov Ivan 2681
11 Matlakov Maxim 2695   Muzychuk Anna 2544
12 Rodshtein Maxim 2680   Ganguly Surya Shekhar 2595
13 Felgaer Ruben 2575   Motylev Alexander 2665
14 Lalith Babu M.R. 2537   Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo 2649
15 Sutovsky Emil 2637   Spraggett Kevin 2538
16 Venkatesh M.R. 2460   Bartel Mateusz 2631
17 Salgado Lopez Ivan 2628   Xu Jun 2523
18 Bologan Viktor 2608   Kuipers Stefan 2390
19 Edouard Romain 2638 5   Muzychuk Mariya 2520
20 Anton Guijarro David 2617 5   5 Svane Rasmus 2496

Besides the obvious must watch games in the top boards, some interesting duels will be Topalov-Wei Yi, Hou Yifan-Rapport and Harikrishna-Padmini Rout. WGM Padmini Rout, from India, is tearing this tournament apart. She has scored four consecutive victories, will probably obtain a GM norm even with a loss tomorrow and is currently tied for first for the female prize!

Replay Masters games - Round Eight

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All photos by Sophie Triay and John Saunders from the Official Website

Links

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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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Wastrel Wastrel 2/4/2015 10:10
"You know something went wrong in the opening when you have to play Ke7 to defend your f6 knight."
It's amusing to say "something went wrong" but it might be better to say what went wrong. I'm not so much an opening expert that I can explain it; perhaps someone else can help.
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