The 6th edition of Gibraltar's Gibtelecom Chess Festival took place from 22-31 January 2008 at the Caleta Hotel, one of Gibraltar's best hotels.
Winner Hikaru Nakamura, flanked by Manuel Weeks and Gibtelecom CEO Tim Bristow
Brian Callaghan acclaims Hikaru, while Bu Xiangzhi is given a massive
round of applause by the audience at the prize-giving
(note: moves of first game have been corrected by Hikaru Nakamura himself)
Game 1: Hikaru Nakamura close to victory to make it 1-0
Game 2: Bu Xiangzhi has Q for R+N but he can't break into 'Fortress Nakamura'
John Saunders summarises: We've been treated to the most dramatic of finales this afternoon. Starting at 15:00 (GMT+1), Hikaru Nakamura and Bu Xiangzhi played off to decide who would win the £12,000 first prize and title of 2008 Gibtelecom Master, with £8,000 going to the loser. Hikaru made a great start with an assured win with the white pieces. But Bu Xiangzhi seemed likely to hit back in the second game when he produced a tactic to win Nakamura's queen for rook and knight. The computer predicted a win for the Chinese GM but he failed to break down the fortress position set up by the American. Eventually, despairing of the win, he even allowed himself to be mated when his chances of victory had clearly ebbed away and he was well down on the clock. So, to Hikaru Nakamura, the big cheque and the plaudits. Congratulations to him!
7½: Bu Xiangzhi, Zahar Efimenko
7: Viktor Bologan, GN Gopal, Hikaru Nakamura, Ni Hua
PLAY-OFF SITUATION... Bu Xiangzhi and Ni Hua drew in 27 moves, played in 22 minutes. With Efimenko's defeat, there will be either a two-way or three-way tie-break this afternoon at 15:00 (GMT+1).
Possible two-way tie-break: it would consist of two games played at 10m + 10s. If these are tied 1-1, then the player with the highest average of opponents' ratingsin the tournament having the choice of White or Black in an Armageddon game played at 5m v 4m (which would be Bu Xiangzhi).
Possible three-way tie-break: the two players with lower averages of opponents' ratings during the tournament must play-off (10m + 10s, then Armageddon) and the winner then meets Bu Xiangzhi in the final (two more games at 10m + 10s, with Bu having choice of colour in the final...
... Complicated? Certainly! Fun? Very probably...
(drawn in 27 moves, lasting 22 minutes)
Staring down the gun-barrel of defeat: Zahar Efimenko's
next move in this position was "Resigns"
India's GN Gopal only narrowly failed to win his dramatic game against
Viktor Bologan so both of the players miss out on the play-off for first prize.
GM: Zong-Yuan Zhao (AUS, final norm); Robert Bellin (ENG); Viktorija Cmilyte (LTU)
IM: Max Devereaux (ENG), Shen Yang (CHN), Zhao Xue (CHN), Joachim Thomassen (NOR), Ismael Karim (MAR).
Round 9: Bu Xiangzhi (Black) vs Zahar Efimenko
If Bu won, first prize would be his...
... but he didn't win - he lost. This is the scene at 7.15pm as Bu Xiangzhi surveys his ruined position. A few minutes later he resigned, so he and Efimenko lead on 7½/9 going into the last round.
Zong-Yuan Zhao of Australia completed his final clinching norm today when he beat Gildas Goldsztein. Congratulations to him.
Viktorija Cmilyte leads the race for the women's prize with 6/8
In 2008, the line-up includes four top Chinese players: Wang Yue, rated 2698 and Bu Xiangzhi, rated 2691, Ni Hua, rated 2680, and Wang Hao, rated 2665. In fact, practically the full Chinese squad (which beat Russia and the UK in 2007) is playing in Gibraltar! The challenge to the top Chinese players is headed by the USA's Hikaru Nakamura, rated 2670 and Viktor Bologan, rated 2663.
Usually the Masters field includes at least 30 grandmasters. The list of entrants for 2008 is regularly updated (also check the What's New page for other changes to this website).
Live Boards and Commentary!
There are live board displays and live commentary from GM Stuart Conquest throughout the event. All the control team are currently getting he venue ready for the tournament kick-off. Just for amusement, you can watch the venue getting set up through the web cams! Click here for the webcam in the tournament hall and here for the live webcam where GM Stuart Conquest is giving his live commentaries.
We are planning to broadcast a master class, live from the Caleta Hotel in the next few days. Watch this space.
Hey, hey, we're the Monkees...
You can't miss a great video clip, contributed by Zeljka Malobabic, our Monroi operator. It is about 3.5 minutes long and features some play, interview with GM Stuart Conquest and ... completely unmissable... a piece to camera by GM Ian Rogers which features a most unusual interruption which almost, but not quite, knocks Ian out of his stride. Go to our video page...
Not Just Chess...
Click here for a list of contact details relating to the 2008 Gibtelecom Chess Festival.