7th Gibtelecom Chess Festival Kicks Off!


Round 1 Press Release


Report compiled by Sean Hewitt with games annotated by Sunil Weeramantry


The opening ceremony of the 7th Gibtelecom Chess Festival was special for two reasons.  Firstly, special guest was the 10th World Chess Champion Boris Spassky who was able to take a couple of days out to visit Gibraltar for the first time and enjoy the chess – this time as a spectator rather than as a player!


The second reason that the ceremony was special was the draw.  Usually the top player draws for colour to see if he will be white or black in the first round.  In Gibraltar, not only did the players draw for colour, but the top seeds also drew for opponents just as in football’s F A Cup!  The players came up on stage and drew their opponents out of a hat – or rather, a very large brandy glass!  Ladies first was the order of the day, and former world champion Antoaneta Stefanova was drawn against German FM Florian Armbrust and then Pia Cramling also drew a German FM, this time Stefan Fruebing.

Then the men came up and drew out their opponents for the following afternoon :


Quillan, Gary (ENG) v Gashimov, Vugar (AZE)

Svidler, Peter (RUS) v Van Eijk, Sander (NED)

Leniart, Arkadiusz (POL) v Nakamura, Hikaru (USA)

Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime (FRA) v Kharous, Ernest (RUS)


Drawing lots like this certainly added some excitement to proceedings and it will be interesting to see if this idea is extended in future, or indeed catches on elsewhere.

Now, onto the chess itself.  After the usual announcements, Florian Armbrust was ready to play Antoaneta  Stefanova.


Florian played 1. e4 and Antoaneta was perhaps taken by surprise, as she turned to see what the crowd thought she should do!


Fortunately, Boris Spassky was on hand and, without hesitation, the former world champion made his move!


A move that judging by her reaction, met with Antoaneta’s full approval!


Antoaneta was right to approve – she won the game in a ruthless fashion!

On top board, first out of the hat Gary Quillan (2357) was of course playing Vugar Gashimov who outrated him by nearly 400 points.


And so the position below was reached after black had played 23...Kg8. 


Gary pondered a while and then played the crushing 24 Re6!! The game continued hxg4 25.Rxd6 exd6 26.hxg4 Bxb3 27.axb3 Rxc3 to reach the following critical position



So, how does white win this position?  Stuart Conquest, commenting on the game in Gibraltar found the winning idea of g3!! followed by Kg2, Rg1 and black is lost as he is unable to defend the mating threat.  Unfortunately, Gary was unable to find this move and instead played 28 Re3 and now the game continued Nd5 29.Rxc3 Nxc3 30.Kf1 a5 31.f4 d5 32.f5 Rc6 33.Qf4 Ne4 34.Qb8+ Kg7 35.Qxb7 Rc1+ 36.Ke2 Rc2+ 37.Ke3 Rc3+ 38.Ke2 [Fritz prefers 38.Kf4 here but after g5+ 39.Ke5 Nf6 it's difficult to see how white can make progress] Rc2+ 39.Ke3 Rc3+ 40.Ke2 ½–½

In the must-win world of the open Swiss, experienced players playing with the Black pieces would rather face an aggressive strategy than rely on grinding out a win against a passive opponent.  American GM Hikaru Nakamura, the defending champion, had to face an attack that appeared at first to be quite dangerous.  Closer examination, however, revealed that White's lack of development seriously impaired his chances of success from the outset. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Bg5 One of a number of less common lines against the King's Indian. 4...c5 5.Nf3 [5.e3 is a good alternative.] 5...cxd4 6.Nxd4 0–0 7.Qd2 It appears that White may be intending a direct assault on Black's castled position. 7...Nc6 8.Nf3 d6 9.Bh6 White's intentions are now clear. 9...Bxh6 Black calmly draws White's queen away from the center before launching a counter-attack. 10.Qxh6 Be6 Black could have set a trap with 11...Qb6 hoping for 12...Qxf2+ followed by 13...Ng4+, but White could have handled this easily with 12. Qd2. 11.Ng5 Ne5 A strong defensive move which permits Black to support the knight on f6 with either ....Neg4 or ....Ned7. 12.f3 Qb6 13.Nce4 Qb4+ 14.Kd1 Ned7 15.h4


 The laws of chess which regulate order on the chessboard would be turned inside out if such naked aggression could succeed!15...d5 [This is not the most accurate plan. 15...Bxc4 wins more easily as the direct assault with 16.h5 Qxb2 17.Nxf6+ Nxf6 18.Rc1 Rac8 19.Nxh7 is refuted by 19...Bxa2.] 16.Nd2 dxc4 17.h5 Qxb2 18.Rb1 Qxa2 19.Rc1 c3 20.Nde4 Bf5 21.hxg6 Bxg6 White's attack is already spent.  White resigns. 0–1

Dutch IM Gerard Welling shows more patience with the white pieces in completing his development but is still tempted to launch a premature attack. 1.e4 c5 2.d3 Nc6 3.f4 d5 4.Be2 Nf6 5.e5 Nd7 6.c3 e6 The game which started as a Sicilian has taken on some characteristics of the French. 7.Nf3 Be7 8.0–0 b5 Black begins an immediate queen-side expansion as he is surrendering some space on the other flank. 9.Na3 b4 10.Nc2 bxc3 11.bxc3 Nb6 12.Qe1 Na4 Though not strictly an outpost, the knight is not vulnerable here. 13.Bd2 Rb8 14.Qg3 0–0

It is known that Welling has a predilection for direct assaults on the enemy king.  Black decides to encourage this aggressive streak.  15.f5?! White obliges and offers a pawn to enable his dark-squared bishop to enter the fray.  However, a more conventional move such as 15. Rab1 challenging Black's control of the open b-file is preferable. 15...exf5 16.Bh6 g6™ 17.Bxf8 Now, a simple recapture with ...Bxf8 would have provided Black with ample compensation for the exchange.  Sokolov decides instead to introduce a powerful intermediate move. 17...Nxc3 18.Bxe7? The point of no return.  Although definitely worse, White must be willing to admit his mistake and return his queen to e1. 18...Nxe2+ 19.Kf2 Nxg3 20.Bxd8 Nxf1 21.Bf6 Nxh2 22.Nxh2 Rb2 The extra piece will not last long. 23.Rc1 Nb4 24.e6 d4 25.e7 Bd7 26.Kg1 Rxc2 27.Rxc2 Nxc2 28.Nf3 Nb4 29.Ne5 Ba4 30.g4 Nd5 White sees that the queening square is being controlled and that his passed e-pawn is about to fall.  Despite the presence of opposite color bishops, he therefore chooses to resign. 0–1

Elsewhere, results went pretty well as one might have expected although there were a couple of shocks as FM Stefan Fruebing (GER) beat Pia Cramling with the black pieces and Hungarian FM Attila Istvan Csonka did the same to Jonathan Speelman whilst Jovanka Houska drew as black with Vadim Milov and Spanish GM's Josep Lopez Martinez (2540) and Gabriel Del Rio (2532) could only draw with lower rated opposition in Anthony Stebbings (ENG) and Benjamin Bok (NED) respectively. 


Caleta Hotel