2011 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival
Round 7 Report
John Saunders reports:
BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK
Everything went black on the Rock this evening. Play was interrupted for just over an hour in the Gibraltar Masters as there was an electricity outage over a large area of Gibraltar. At 7.45pm clocks were stopped as players (still playing nearly five hours into their game) remained seated at their boards in near blackness as the emergency lights in the hotel came into operation.
Arbiters and hotel staff took control of the situation and within minutes torches were flashing and candles found. This at least allowed players some movement around the hotel. Play resumed shortly after 9pm when the electricity was restored.
Of course, it was all Stewart Reuben’s fault. After all, yesterday he tempted fate by making a joke about “rainbow stopped play”, didn’t he? It was the curse of the chess commentator, whereby all predictions and whimsical observations inevitably come back and kick you in the teeth. Stewart, who is the UK’s most experienced tournament director, tried to deflect criticism but he was impaled on the iron logic of IM Jack Rudd who told him: “[the electricity outage] could be deemed an act of God - so you were responsible.”
Today’s audience enjoyed some excellent fare, with various distinguished guests appearing alongside regular commentator GM Simon Williams. Stuart Conquest, Ray Keene, Paco Vallejo Pons and Nigel Short all provided illuminating commentary, and Irina Krush came in for the evening session.
The black-out did influence a couple of peace treaties amongst the top boards but as far as can be ascertained there were no obvious injustices done by one player having an extra hour’s thinking time. On the top boards the decisive results were all battles of the sexes. The men beat the women 2-1 in this unofficial match. Israeli GM Michael Roiz gradually harried Nadezhda Kosintseva into an untenable position with his advantage of the two bishops.
GN Gopal’s win against Nana Dzagnidze was more tactical but achieved much the same objective. Salome Melia struck back with a win against her fellow countryman Giorgi Kachesihvili. As with Vallejo Pons’ game the previous day, this looked to be a case of a bad choice of opening by the stronger player and demonstrated how quickly even a strong grandmaster can find himself in a desperate straits.
The Gibraltar Masters is not all about super-GMs and top ten women stars. It provides the opportunity for sub-2200 rated players to show that they can score points against more exalted opposition. Several players in this category have good scores but we’ll single out just two. Philip Wheldon, 2106, of England is on 4½/7, having drawn with IM Eesha Karavade and defeated GM Juan Manuel Bellon. More impressive still has been Paul Szuper, 2174, of the USA, who in his last four games has drawn with IM Gaponenko and GM Ikonnikov, and beaten WGM Pogonina and GM Lemos for a score of 5/7. You might say that Wheldon has done well but the American has been szuper-duper.
18.b4! This bold move establishes the two white bishops on the two diagonals a4-e8 and a3-f8 and sets up strong threats. 18...axb4 19.Bxb4 Qxd4 Black is damned if he does capture, and damned if he doesn't. 19...Be6 20.Qa3 Qd8 21.Re2 Rc8 22.Rae1 and White is contemplating a knight sacrifice on f7. 20.Qa3! Bxe5 21.Rad1 Qb2 22.Rxe5! Qxe5 22...Qxa3 23.Bxa3 and Black must lose at least the exchange. 23.Bc3 d4 24.Bxd4 Qxd4 25.Rxd4 Nf5 26.Rd1 Kg8 27.Qf3 h5 28.h3 Rb8 29.Bc4 Ng7 A blunder in what is a lost position anyway. 30.Bxf7+ 1–0
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bd3 d5 8.0–0 Nf6 9.Re1 Rb8 10.Qf3!? Something a little unusual. 10...d4 11.Ne2 c5 12.c3 Bb7 13.cxd4 cxd4 14.Nf4 Another off-beat move by Gopal. It is not at all obvious where this knight is headed. 14...Qa5 15.Re2 Bd6 16.Qh3 There are big threats of 17 e5 and 17 Nxe6 but they are easily countered - or so it seems. 16...e5 17.Nd5 Nxd5 Perhaps not the best. 17...Nxe4!? 18.Bxe4 Bxd5 seems very solid for Black, even though he is still some way from castling. 18.exd5 Qxd5 19.f4 Kf8 19...Qe6!? 20.Bf5 Qc4 21.Rc2 Qd5 22.fxe5 leads to a minimal edge for White. 20.fxe5 Bxe5
21.b3! White is close to deploying his remaining pieces but the h8 rook is far from becoming involved in the game. 21...Bd6 Black might like to try and find a refuge for his king with 21...g6 but 22.Bh6+ Bg7 23.Rf1! sets up unstoppable threats of 24 Bc4, etc. 22.Bc4 Qa5 23.Qd7 Qc7 24.Qxc7 Bxc7 25.Ba3+ Kg8 26.Re7 1–0 White has threats of Rxfc7 as well as a capture on f7.
Leaders after seven rounds: 1 Vassily Ivanchuk 6/7, 2-7 Nigel Short, Daniel Fridman, Michael Roiz, GN Gopal, Victor Mikhalevski, Salome Melia (women’s leader) 5½, 8-28 comprises 21 players on 5, including Michael Adams, Fabiano Caruana, Krishnan Sasikiran, Pentala Harikrishna, etc.
CASTLING QUEENSIDE IS OK!
Challengers B, Round 2
Two recent issues of the bulletin have featured instances of illegal queenside castling, so we thought it appropriate to redress the balance and show you an example where castling queenside is a very, very good move indeed. Take a look at this: White threatens (a) mate on e7, (b) to take the rook on g8 and (b) f7+ forking king and rook. But fortunately Black has not yet moved either his king or the a8 rook, so 24...0–0–0! ... and all his problems are solved. If this were a 'How Good is Your Chess?' article (as featured in CHESS magazine), we would now say 'deduct 1,000 points if you chose any other move'. The game ended 25.Kb1 c3 26.b3 Qa3 0–1