The great Bu's up – and playing at a 3022 level!

by ChessBase
1/30/2008 – Bu Xiangzhi of China is 22 years old. He became a grandmaster when he was 13 years, 10 months, 13 days old – which made him the youngest GM in history (at the time). After eight rounds of the 6th Gibtel Chess Festival in Gibraltar Bu is leading with 7½/8, and a Elo 3022 performance. Which led BCM editor John Saunders to come up with one of the most atrocious puns in chess history.

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The 6th edition of Gibraltar's Gibtelecom Chess Festival takes place from 22-31 January 2008 at the Caleta Hotel, one of Gibraltar's best hotels.

Gibraltar, according to Nigel Short, is a place which you either love or hate. It’s a rock, a British naval base which was very important for controlling the entrance to the Mediterranean. From here you can see Africa, even with the naked eye, and so you could see any ships entering the Mediterranean. Historically it was just a garrison town, now the military presence has been wound down quite significantly. It has a population that numbers in the tens of thousands.

The Caleta Hotel is on the east side of the rock, the main town is on the other side, so that the players are a bit isolated. But everything is in walking distance. The runway of the airport is actually longer than the width of the peninsular, so it actually extends out into the sea.

The Great Bu's Up

Round eight report

1.Nf3! Round eight game by The Great Bu against Victor Bologan [photo by Manuel Weeks]

Bu beat Bologan in a great rook and bishop ending to score his fifth consecutive win in the Gibtelecom Masters. After eight rounds (and two rounds to go) he has played seven grandmasters, scoring 7½/8 with a truly phenomenal rating performance: Elo 3022! Here are his individual results:

Standings after eight rounds


The most important games are being broadcast live on If you are not a member you can download ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use it to read, replay and analyse the PGN games.

Picture Gallery

Leading, with a 3022 performance: Bu Xiangzhi, 22, 2691, China

Bu learnt chess at the age of six, and was intensely trained when his talent became apparent. His first chess book was a translation of Bobby Fischer’s My 60 Memorable Games. At the age of twelve he won the Under-14 World Youth Champion. In autumn 1999 Bu made three Grandmaster norms in a space of two month, the last in September 1999, when he was 13 years, 10 months, 13 days old – which made him the youngest GM in history (at the time).

In second place: Ni Hua, 24, rated 2680, from Shanghai

Equal second: Wang Yue, 20, Chinese GM with a 2698 rating

5th-11th: Antoaneta Stefanova, 2464, Bulgaria

The former Women's World Champion is playing very well in Gibraltar, performing 400 points better than her nominal rating. That will give her a great boost on the next FIDE rating list.

Tigran L. Petrosian (no relative), 23, 2606, Armenia

Hikaru Nakamura, 20, 2670, USA

Anna Muzychuk, 17, 2460, Slovenia (but originally from Lviv, Ukraine)

Viktorija Cmilyte, 24, 2475, Lithuania

Leonid Kritz, 23, 2592, Germany

And now for the Great Chess Pun

In his round eight report John Saunders, editor of 'British Chess Magazine', who is acting as blog master for Gibtel, wrote: "Fans of the British TV comedy series Blackadder will probably recall the wonderful scene in which the eponymous hero Edmund Blackadder finds himself throwing a drunken party in one part of his house whilst playing host to his strictly teetotal uncle and aunt elsewhere in his home. Edmund’s attempts to impress his relatives with a display of moral rectitude and religious observance (with a view to inheriting their enormous wealth) are suddenly thrown into jeopardy when a reveller from the party suddenly bursts into the room where his aunt and uncle are staying and exclaims “Great booze-up, Edmund!” before reeling out again. Edmund attempts to explain this away to his shocked relatives by concocting a long story about a tribal chief called ‘Great Bu’ whom he says is staying elsewhere in the house, is suffering from sleeping sickness but has just risen from his bed. Hence his ludicrous interpretation of the drunken reveller's exclamation as 'Great Bu’s Up'."

The Old Testament prescribes stoning for puns like these, we believe.

Click at your own risk: Blackadder, Great Bu's up!

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