2011 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival
Round 4 Report
Stewart Reuben reports: Today we were treated to some exciting chess, but the weather had deteriorated. I don’t believe there is a correlation here; good weather means less exciting chess and vice versa. No, I am not superstitious; basically the line-up of over 50 grandmasters and the selection of whom to offer hospitality by our main organisers, Brian Callaghan and Stuart Conquest, means that there is a feast every day.
Truly, chess is a game of three halves (unlike football that never seems to manage more than two). Thus the all-female encounter between Victoria Cmilyte and Nadezhda Kosintseva went back and forth. When the music stopped, the elder of the two Kosintseva sisters emerged as the winner. This set her up for a fifth round encounter against Nigel Short, who beat the young Indian, Deep Sengupta, very convincingly.
Ivanchuk seemed to have a completely blocked position against the Hungarian GM Viktor Erdos. But he was permitted to play a rook sacrifice that had been on the cards for several moves.
Both players had manoeuvred for many moves behind their respective barriers and a draw was the expected result, but now Black left open a sacrificial possibility. We don't know whether this was by design or accident. 39...Qa7 40.Rxd5! There was a cry of "bravo" in the commentary room when Vassily played this enterprising move. It is probably the only move which could lead to a decisive result - though not necessarily a win for White. 40...exd5 41.e6+ Kh6 42.Rxd5 Rbd8 43.Rxd8 Rxd8 44.Bxf5 It gradually becomes clear that the sacrifice is sound, though Black might have put up a better defence to this point. 44...Qc7 45.g3 Rd1+ 46.Kf2 Qd8 47.Bc2 Now f5+ is a devastating threat, so Black has to give up the exchange. 47...Rd3 48.Bxd3 Qxd3 49.f5+! Qxe3+ 50.Kxe3 Ne7 51.Ke4 Bc6+ 52.Ke5 Nd5 53.b5! Nxc3 54.bxc6 Nb5 55.e7 Nc7 56.Kd6 Ne8+ 57.Kd7 Nf6+ 58.Ke6 Ne8 59.Kf7 Nc7 60.e8Q 1–0
A normal game of chess has one victor but this afternoon we had a game that started with two victors but ended with none (SR and JS worked together on this elaborate wordplay - some may think they could have been better occupied doing something else). Viktor Korchnoi played a great game against Viktor Bologan, but let it slip at the end so it petered out into a draw.
10 teams of four entered the team blitz on Thursday 27 January. The team of Berg, Jones, Williams, Rudd scored 17½ points to win £240. Second were Bologan, Onischuk, Gaponenko, Zhukova with 16½, netting £120. Best scores each board were as follows: Board 1: Bologan (Moldova), Soffer (Israel) 4/6. Board 2: Onischuk (USA) 5/6. Board 3: Williams (England) 5½/6. Board 4: Rudd (England) 5/6.
CHALLENGERS A and AMATEUR A last round
Challengers A (54 players) under 2250: Ivan Elishev (RUS) and Johan Henrikssen (SWE) scored 4½/5, each winning £1500.
Amateur A (30 players) under 1800: Vegard Stene (NOR) 5/5. Geoffrey Bishop (ENG), Alvaro Cardano Gonzalez (ESP), Armin Gholami (NOR) all scored 4/5.
Here’s a bizarre game from Challengers A which we have turned into a quiz for readers.
Gibraltar Challengers A, Round 5
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e5 4.0–0 d6 5.c3 a6 6.Bxc6+ bxc6 7.d4 exd4 8.cxd4 cxd4 9.Qxd4 Qf6 10.Qb6 d5 11.e5 Qe6 12.Nd4 Qd7 13.Nxc6 Ne7 14.Nd4 g5 15.Nc3 h5 16.Bxg5 Rg8 17.f4 Rg6 18.Qa5 Bb7 19.Rad1 … what happened next was surprising…
In this position Black played the illegal move 19...0–0–0!? but neither player noticed that the black king had passed across an attacked square and the game continued: 20.Na4 Kb8 21.Rc1 Rc8 22.Nb6 Qd8 23.Bf6 Rxc1 24.Rxc1 Bh6 25.Qb4 Ka7 26.Bxe7 Qg8 27.Rc2 Bxf4 28.Bd6 Be3+ 29.Kh1 Rxd6 30.exd6 Qg4 31.Nc6+ Bxc6 32.Qxg4 hxg4 33.Rxc6 Bxb6 34.d7 1–0
Going back to the illegality: the penalty for making an illegal move is that your opponent receives two extra minutes and you must make a move with the piece you touched. However, in this example two pieces were touched in making the illegal move 19...0-0-0. Black has no legal move with the king but he has with the rook. Assuming the illegality had been identified at the time, could Black have been obliged to make a rook move instead? We’ll give you the answer in tomorrow’s bulletin.
The Challengers B and Amateur B start 30 January and, after a couple of rounds, we may know the precise number of players in the whole congress. That will not tell us the number who have been brought to Gibraltar; some people have come specially to see the action and other family members have also taken the opportunity to have a break.
POGONINA MASTER CLASS
Russian woman grandmaster Natalia Pogonina gave a master class in the commentary suite in the evening. As well as being a very talented player, Natalia runs a popular website (unsurprisingly called pogonina.com) - where, amongst other things, she plays games against the World (similar to the famous game Garry Kasparov played against all-comers played some years ago). She showed us this entertaining game she won against the World and also her game with Tatiana Kosintseva from the Russian Women’s Super final at the end of 2010. The master class was recorded and can still be found on the tournament website.
Best game prize - there is a best game prize of £1,000, with the winner being decided by GM Simon Williams. Players who wish to enter their game for this prize should write ‘Best Game Entry’ on top of their scoresheet when they hand it in.
Tournament Leaders: 1-2 Nigel Short (England), Nadezhda Kosintseva (Russia) 4/4, 3-6 Vasilios Kotronias (Greece), Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine), Richard Rapport (Hungary), Daniel Fridman (Germany) 3½.