Gibtel Masters – Adams, Fressinet, Gustafsson lead

1/29/2010 – An Englishman, a Frenchman and a German – sounds like the start of a tired old music-hall joke – are in the lead with 3.0/3 points in the Masters group of the 8th Gibtelecom Chess Festival in Gibraltar. They are Michael Adams, Laurent Fressinet and Jan Gustafsson. Notworthy: Super-GM Ivan Cheparinov drew after a queen-sac brilliancy by Norwegian amateur Victor Havik. Round three report.

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And then there were three

By John Saunders – with photos by Zeljka Malobabic

The pace hotted up in the third round of the 2010 Gibtelecom International Chess Festival as the leaders were whittled down to three, consisting of an Englishman, a Frenchman and a German (sounds like the start of a tired old music-hall joke but we’re being deadly serious here).


On the way up: British GM Michael Adams

The Englishman is Michael Adams, who was the long-time English number one – and indeed the world number four for some time in the 2000s. Nigel Short took back the English number one spot a few months ago but Michael Adams’ recent fine run of form may seem him regain the top spot and also his 2700 rating status. In the tournament so far Michael has beaten Woman Grandmaster Dagne Reizniece, Indian International Master (and also Woman Grandmaster) Harika Dronavalli and now Greek Grandmaster Stelios Halkias.


French GM Laurent Fressinet

The Frenchman is Laurent Fressinet, who has beaten Belgian International Master (and Woman Grandmaster) Anna Zozulia, German Grandmaster Sebastian Siebrecht and Greek International Master Spyridon Kapnisis. 28-year-old Laurent was to come to Gibraltar with his chess (and poker) playing wife Almira Skripchenko but Almira unfortunately had to drop out. Laurent seems to be doing very well in her absence.


German GM Jan Gustafsson

The German Grandmaster sharing the lead with Michael Adams and Laurent Fressinet is Jan ‘Gusty’ Gustafsson, who only entered the tournament field very late in the day. So far Jan has beaten Gordon Andre, also of Germany, International Master Drasko Boskovic of Serbia and Georgian Grandmaster Nana Dzagnidze who, incidentally, won the Gibtelecom Festival women’s first prize in 2009. In tomorrow’s fourth round games Laurent Fressinet will have the advantage of the white pieces against Michael Adams, while Jan Gustafsson will have the black pieces against Grandmaster Paco Vallejo Pons, who heads the Spanish contingent in Gibraltar.

Top standings after three rounds

# Player Pts Nat. Gen Rtng Perf W-We
1 GM Adams, Michael 3.0 ENG
M
2694 3195 +0.66
2 GM Fressinet, Laurent 3.0 FRA
M
2670 3168 +0.64
3 GM Gustafsson, Jan 3.0 GER
M
2627 3158 +0.74
4 GM Bacrot, Etienne 2.5 FRA
M
2713 2662 -0.11
5 GM Movsesian, Sergei 2.5 SVK
M
2708 2692 -0.02
6 GM Vallejo Pons, Francisco 2.5 ESP
M
2705 2732 +0.11
7 GM Kamsky, Gata 2.5 USA
M
2693 2718 +0.11
8 GM Fridman, Daniel 2.5 GER
M
2654 2704 +0.19
9 GM Sandipan, Chanda 2.5 IND
M
2622 2694 +0.25
10 GM Koneru, Humpy 2.5 IND
F
2614 2643 +0.11
11 GM Edouard, Romain 2.5 FRA
M
2608 2684 +0.26
12 GM Lopez Martinez, Josep 2.5 ESP
M
2593 2532 -0.14
13 GM Geetha Narayanan Gopal 2.5 IND
M
2584 2643 +0.19
14 GM Felgaer, Ruben 2.5 ARG
M
2573 2515 -0.13
15 GM Lemos, Damian 2.5 ARG
M
2556 2563 +0.06
16 GM Malakhatko, Vadim 2.5 BEL
M
2549 2627 +0.27
17 GM Stefanova, Antoaneta 2.5 BUL
F
2545 2714 +0.63
18 GM Cramling, Pia 2.5 SWE
F
2528 2537 +0.06
19 GM Naumann, Alexander 2.5 GER
M
2525 2510 -0.02
20 GM Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2.5 RUS
F
2523 2704 +0.66
21 GM Bindrich, Falko 2.5 GER
M
2512 2689 +0.65
22 GM Hoffmann, Michael 2.5 GER
M
2508 2667 +0.59
23 IM Javakhishvili, Lela 2.5 GEO
F
2493 2481 -0.02
24 IM Shankland, Samuel L 2.5 USA
M
2491 2576 +0.28
25 IM Cmilyte, Viktorija 2.5 LTU
F
2489 2670 +0.67
26 IM Cori, Jorge 2.5 PER
M
2483 2901 +0.27
27 WGM Zhukova, Natalia 2.5 UKR
F
2462 2641 +0.66
28 IM Hirneise, Tobias 2.5 GER
M
2421 2731 +1.16

One of the joys of open competition is the element of surprise when an unfancied player stands up to a seasoned grandmaster. The third round of the Gibtelecom Festival had a wonderful example of this (in fact, it was quite reminiscent of the third round of the English FA Cup which also throws up amazing upsets). Ivan Cheparinov is a very strong grandmaster from Bulgaria who has been rated above 2700 and spends most of his time seconding former FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov at major events. In a few months he will almost certainly be the leading figure in Topalov’s support team when he challenges current World Champion Vishy Anand for the World Chess Championship.


Bulgarian GM Ivan Cheparinov

But today Cheparinov faced a humble amateur – 31-year-old Victor Havik from Norway. Victor doesn’t have a chess title and his rating (whisper it softly) is even lower than the current writer. And I haven’t pushed a pawn for a few years now. With a 567 rating difference this should have been a walk in the park for the higher rated player. But maybe the Norwegian amateur had one thing going for him – the Magnus Carlsen factor. Norwegian chess has had an almighty shot in the arm with the advent of the teenaged genius.


Untitled Norwegian amateur Victor Havik

It was a very long game but Victor kept Ivan at bay for more than six hours. Even so, wise heads were still predicting ultimate victory for the Bulgarian when Victor found an improbably beautiful queen sacrifice. It didn’t win the game (that would have been too much of a fairy story) but it did hold a draw.

Cheparinov,I (2660) - Havik,V (2093) [C95]
8th Gibtelecom Masters Caleta ENG (3), 28.01.2010
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Nb8 10.d4 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 Bb7 12.Bc2 c5 13.d5 g6 14.Nf1 Nh5 15.Bh6 Re8 16.Ng3 Nxg3 17.fxg3 Bf8 18.Bg5 Qc7 19.Qd2 Bg7 20.Rf1 f6 21.Be3 Nb6 22.b3 Rf8 23.Rf2 a5 24.Nh2 Bc8 25.Raf1 a4 26.Bd1 axb3 27.axb3 f5 28.Bc2 Ra2 29.Qd1 Qb7 30.Qb1 Qa7 31.exf5 gxf5 32.Bxf5 Rxf2 33.Bxh7+ Kh8 34.Bxf2 Nxd5 35.c4 bxc4 36.bxc4 Nc3 37.Qc2 e4 38.Bxe4 Rxf2 39.Rxf2 Bd4 40.Nf3 Qa1+ 41.Kh2 Bxf2 42.Bf5 Bxf5 43.Qxf5 Nd1 44.Qf8+ Kh7 45.Qf7+ Qg7 46.Qh5+ Qh6 47.Ng5+ Kg7 48.Qf7+ Kh8 49.h4 Be3 50.Qe8+ Kg7 51.Qe7+ Kg8 52.Qf7+ Kh8 53.Qe8+ Kg7 54.Qd7+ Kg8 55.Qc8+ Qf8 56.Qe6+ Kh8 57.Nf7+ Kh7 58.Nxd6 Nf2 59.Qd7+ Kg6 60.Qe6+ Kh7 61.h5

61...Qxd6!! In fact, other moves should also hold a draw but super-grandmasters have a way of playing on and winning if you allow them to play on and on. The beauty of this move is that it is forcing. 62.Qxd6. Some incredulous spectators, watching the game on the electronic chess displays scattered around the hotel, though that Black had taken leave of his senses and thrown away the game.

62...Ng4+ 63.Kh3 Nf2+ 64.Kh2 Ng4+ 65.Kh3. If 65.Kh1, Black simply plays a perpetual check with 65...Nf2+, etc, and if White were rash enough to try escaping the checks with 66.Kg1?? then Black would even win with 66...Ne4+, discovering a check on the king and winning the queen for nothing. 65...Nf2+ 66.Kh4. Now for the clever sting in the tail...

66...Bg5+!! ½–½. Now White has no choice but to play 67.Kxg5 when 67...Ne4+ forks king and queen. Then, after 68.Kf4 Nxd6 69.Ke5 Nxc4+ 70.Kd5, the king eliminates the final pawn and secures a draw. [Click to replay]


Guest of honour: tenth World Champion Boris Spassky


French Super-GM Etienne Bacrot


World's number two ranked female player Koneru Humpy, India


Former women's world champion Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria


Maidens fair: IM Tania Sachdev, India and GM Nana Dzagnidze, Georgia


Women's world champion GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, adoring fan

The Gibtelecom International Chess Festival is taking place in the Caleta Hotel in Gibraltar. The Festival is now the leading tournament of its type in the world, with a prize fund of over £100,000 and is sponsored by the Gibraltar Government Sports and Leisure Authority, Gibtelecom, Anglo Hispano Co. Ltd., Bentley Property Services Ltd., Canillas, Casais, Gibmaroc Ltd., Deloitte, Gibro Group, Isolas, Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch, Party Gaming, Saccone & Speed, The Caleta Hotel and Tradewise Insurance Company Ltd.


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