Tradewise Gibraltar: Four-way tie

by André Schulz
1/31/2018 – The quartet at the Tradwise Masters in Gibraltar became a quartet. Rapport beat Howell and drew with Nakamura after he played only a draw against Wang Hao. Daniil Dubov and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave also score 6.5 points. | Photo: Sophie Triay

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Four fight for first

Hikaru Nakamura lost momentum at the Tradwise Gibraltar Open and made his third draw — with Black against Wang Hao — in yesterday's round eight of the Masters, after a fairly uneventful and short game. His co-leader David Howell was defeated in a one-sided match against Richard Rapport.

 

Rapport played 36.b4! — an ingenious move to activate his bishop, which swings over to h5 with check — giving him a winning position. Now the Hungarian Grandmaster has caught up with Nakamura.

Richard Rapport

Rapport-Howell

In a French derby, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave defeated the surprising Jules Moussard, who was in fifth place after seven rounds, and thus also comes to 6½ points. The fourth in the group is Daniil Dubov after his victory over Mikhail Antipov. Dubov now has 6½ points and completes the quartet.

Oparin vs Aronian

Oparin-Aronian | Photo: Sophie Triay

Trying to make his way up as well is top seed Levon Aronian. But with the black pieces he did not get more than a draw in the seventh round against Grigoriy Oparin. Aronian played a rare variation, not for the first time, and the Russian GM forced Black to a new move to a draw.

 

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Vassily Ivanchuk suffered another setback in the eighth round. He lost against Abhijeet Gupta, when a victory would have brought him in striking distance to the top group. Now the Ukrainian legend has to win his remaining two games to finish anywhere near the top.

Ju Wenjun

Ju Wenjun | Photo: Sophie Triay

Ju Wenjun dealt a blow in the fight for the special prize for the best woman in the tournament. Boris Gelfand proved to be a powerful stumbling block. The Israeli top grandmaster, born in 1968 in Minsk (Belarus), Vice World Champion of 2012, who will turn 50 in June. Four years ago, in January 2014, Gelfand was still number eight in the world. Currently, his Elo rating is just under 2700. However, Gelfand had in previous years, phases in which he underperformed, but then recovered and climbed up in the world rankings once again.

 

Gelfand on his win over Ju Wenjun | Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival YouTube

Who will be the best woman?

After the defeat of Ju Wenjun, Nino Batsiashvili is currently the most promising candidate for the first women's prize. The Georgian beat the Hungarian Grandmaster Gabor Papp yesterday and is the only woman in the field with 5½ points. She's pursued by a number of women in the group of players with 5 points: Pia Cramling, Mariya Muzychuk, Ju Wenjun, Lei Tingjie, Katerina Lagno, Valentina Gunina, Anna Muzychuk, Alexandra Kosteniuk and also Elisabeth Pähtz. Of course, they all still have chances for the special prices. 

To results of round eight

Name Pts. Res. Pts. Name
Wang Hao ½ - ½ 6 Nakamura Hikaru
Rapport Richard 1 - 0 6 Howell David W L
Oparin Grigoriy ½ - ½ Aronian Levon
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 1 - 0 Moussard Jules
Dubov Daniil 1 - 0 Antipov Mikhail Al.
Tregubov Pavel V. 5 ½ - ½ 5 Navara David
Vitiugov Nikita 5 1 - 0 5 Gledura Benjamin
Gupta Abhijeet 5 1 - 0 5 Ivanchuk Vassily
Narayanan S. L. 5 ½ - ½ 5 Duda Jan-Krzysztof
Adams Michael 5 ½ - ½ 5 Sandipan Chanda
Ju Wenjun 5 0 - 1 5 Gelfand Boris
Sutovsky Emil 5 ½ - ½ 5 Vocaturo Daniele
Saric Ivan 5 ½ - ½ 5 Epishin Vladimir
Esipenko Andrey 5 ½ - ½ 5 Akobian Varuzhan
Lagno Kateryna 5 0 - 1 5 Grandelius Nils
Sethuraman S.P. 5 1 - 0 5 Praggnanandhaa R

All games

 

Standings after eight rounds (top 25)

Rg. Name Pts.  Wtg1 
1 Nakamura Hikaru 6,5 2850
2 Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 6,5 2784
3 Rapport Richard 6,5 2767
4 Dubov Daniil 6,5 2696
5 Howell David W L 6,0 2776
6 Gupta Abhijeet 6,0 2744
7 Wang Hao 6,0 2739
8 Grandelius Nils 6,0 2736
9 Oparin Grigoriy 6,0 2717
10 Vitiugov Nikita 6,0 2707
11 Aronian Levon 6,0 2706
12 Gelfand Boris 6,0 2696
13 Sethuraman S.P. 6,0 2678
14 Antipov Mikhail Al. 5,5 2738
15 Duda Jan-Krzysztof 5,5 2699
  Mikhalevski Victor 5,5 2699
17 Moussard Jules 5,5 2694
18 Batsiashvili Nino 5,5 2672
19 Grigoriants Sergey 5,5 2662
20 Adams Michael 5,5 2661
21 Esipenko Andrey 5,5 2656
22 Navara David 5,5 2650
23 Vocaturo Daniele 5,5 2648
24 Sutovsky Emil 5,5 2645
25 Saric Ivan 5,5 2637

...275 players

Translation from German: Macauley Peterson


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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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JoshuaVGreen JoshuaVGreen 2/2/2018 03:01
@malfa, I considered that, but the comment "Also playable, but barely" still seems unjustified by the game continuation.
malfa malfa 2/1/2018 03:23
@JoshuaVGreen

Maybe the evaluation of 6...bxc6 takes into account the game situation: Aronian is one of the favorites, has had a slow start and is therefore supposed to play for a win even with Black, especially against an opponent who in theory is rather weaker than him. Given such conditions, it seems correct to mark as dubious an opening choice which practically forced him to a quick draw, even if that variation is objectively worth more than its subjective value in this specific game.
JoshuaVGreen JoshuaVGreen 2/1/2018 03:00
It seems odd to give Aronian's 6. ... bxc6 (against Oparin) a mark of "?!" with the comment "Also playable, but barely" when White's supposedly excellent move 11. e5 (adorned with "!") only leads to a quick forced draw.
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