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"The Tradewise Gibraltar Open is the strongest and best-organised event of its kind in the world" - Financial Times

Viktor Korchnoi (1931 - 2016)

Viktor Korchnoi, who has died aged 85, twice participated in the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival: in 2011 and 2012. Both times he scored 6/10, and both times he won the Best Senior (over 60) prize of £1,000.



In 2011, then aged 79, he caused a sensation by beating third seed Fabiano Caruana, 18, and already one of the world's best players. The final position from this game featured on one of four stamps issued by the Gibraltar Post Office a year later, to commemorate the chess festival's tenth anniversary. In the same event Korchnoi drew with the fifth and sixth seeds, and it was only in the tenth and final round, facing Spanish number one Paco Vallejo, that Viktor suffered defeat. In this up-and-down struggle Korchnoi's luck finally ran out: at one moment he had a clearly won position.


In the 2012 festival Korchnoi's performance was less impressive, though still remarkable for a man of 80! Again he lost his last game, this time to all-time female number one Judit Polgar. In a characteristically tough fight, Viktor finally resigned after 66 moves and over six hours' play.


Replay the above games.


Photo © Zeljka Malobabic



Tradewise Festival 2017

The Festival will take place from Monday 23rd January - Thursday, 2nd February!


Hikaru Nakamura wins the 2016 Tradewise Gibraltar Masters

Congratulations to Hikaru Nakamura (USA), winner of the Tradewise Gibraltar Masters for a second consecutive year. He defeated Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 3-2 after a tense five game speed playoff. Anna Muzychuk from Ukraine has won the women’s award.



Hikaru Nakamura receives his winners cheque for £20,000 from Tradewise Chairman James Humphreys. Hikaru scored 8/10 (+6,=4) and then won a speed playoff 3-2 to take first prize.

 Final Standings | Prizewinners & Norms | Playoff Games | More photos here and here |

Photo © John Saunders

Farewell from Gibraltar 2016

Another fabulous Tradewise Chess Festival comes to an end so farewell again from Gibraltar for another year. We are proud to have a fabulous tournament, a unique venue, smart hard working people, great players and personalities and delightful weather. It's chess paradise! See you next year for the 15th Edition Monday, 23rd January - Thursday, 2nd February, 2017.

Sandy Beach, a stones throw from the Caleta Hotel, January 2016.

Round 10 Report - The Party's Over


John Saunders reports: Another Tradewise Gibraltar Masters tournament (the 14th) is over and I can't help feeling a little bit sad, as you do at the end of a really fantastic party spent with all your friends. That's exactly what this tournament is, actually.



An amazing two-week-long party thrown by the sponsors and organisers and people of Gibraltar for anyone who cares to show up , play some chess and have a good time. And, the miraculous thing is, in the midst of all that fun and jollity and socialising, there is a world-class chess tournament taking place.


Round 10 report in full | Photos | Replay Round 10 Games

The Day's Play - Episode 12




Thank you for following the action from the most exciting open chess tournament in the world.

In this final episode we see the spectacular prizegiving and hear the views of player rooting for their favourite in the playoff, and more.


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All the Right Moves - A Documentary about Life and Chess



Set in The Tradewise Chess festival in Gibraltar, a unique destination, as well as the people that take part; from Grand Masters to remarkable child prodigies to curious amateurs.


They all share a passion for chess. It’s in their blood. Everyone that takes part has one thing in common. They want to win, and anyone can.


The tournament is firmly established on the Chess global calendar and it attracts players from all over the world


Buy and stream anytime


The Day's Play - Episode 11


Follow the action from the most exciting open chess tournament in the world.

In episode 11 Tania takes a looks at possible outcomes for several players as we approach the final stages of this great event.


The Day's Play - All Videos


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Round 9 Report ... is not the last round


John Saunders reports: I thought it best to entitle the piece with that vital piece of information, just in case anyone is tuning in expecting to see a play-off. That may still happen, of course, but not just yet. There is the little matter of round ten to be got out of the way first.


And round ten kicks off on Thursday morning at 11am CET. That means some sleepy-headed grandmasters will have to break the habit of a lifetime and get out of bed before lunch. Yes, professional chess can be insupportably inhumane sometimes but, on the whole, marginally less so than working down a coal mine or in a sweat shop.


Round 9 report in full | Photos | Replay Round 9 Games

The Day's Play - Episode 10


Follow the action from the most exciting open chess tournament in the world.

In episode 10 we look at how this tournament has turned the tables on some top GMs and how to exploit your opponents weaknesses.


The Day's Play - All Videos


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Round 8 Report - Gibraltar Steeplechase Nears Its Finale


John Saunders reports: After round eight, there are four players sharing the lead and a large group a half point further back. So who is going to win? To be honest, I haven't the foggiest. In contrast to 2015, when Hikaru Nakamura strode majestically down the final furlong in imperious fashion, this year's tournament is like a steeplechase, with a dozen or so thoroughbreds currently jockeying for space as they attempt to negotiate the final two hurdles. (left: Current US women's champion Irina Krush).


Predictions and punditry are pointless, as we've already seen a couple of fancied runners come a cropper at the ever higher fences. 


Round 8 report in full | Photos | Replay Round 8 Games

Masterclass 4 - Tue 2 Feb


South African GM and regular Gibraltar Festival visitor Kenny Solomon provided detailed analysis of two fascinating games and later, took questions from the audience. Your host as usual was Tournament Director Stuart Conquest.


Watch the entire show recorded LIVE in the unique, webcasting suite at the Caleta Hotel.


All Masterclasses from 2016 can be viewed again here.


The Day's Play - Episode 9


Follow the action from the most exciting open chess tournament in the world.

In episode 9 Tania examines what it is that makes a good player become really great with insightful chats to strong players and how they believe the elite maintain or improve their levels.


The Day's Play - All Videos


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4th Battle of the Sexes

One of the most popular events in the Social Calendar, took place at the Caleta Hotel on Saturday 30 Jan. It turned out to be another hugely successful and unique experience with the men taking the spoils with a 2-1 win against the women. This year the Battle of the Sexes saw the presence of Gibraltar’s Equality and Tourism Minister Samantha Sacramento. The Master of Ceremonies, Tournament Director Stuart Conquest, added spice to the event in his own inimitable way. The arbiters were Margit Brokko (Estonia) and Ana Srebrnic (Slovenia).




 Photos here and here | Coverage from the Day's Play Ep. 7 | Press Release [10] | The Games

Round 7 Report - The Vishy Horror Show


John Saunders reports: Finally we have one leader – and only a very far-sighted pundit would have picked him out as a front-runner at the beginning of the tournament, given the strength in depth of the event.


David Antón Guijarro (pictured), 20 years old, from Murcia in Spain, is ranked 24th in the starting list in the Tradewise Gibraltar Masters. This evening he was the one player to win a game amongst the ten leaders on 5/6 who contested the seventh round, so he is currently in glorious isolation on 6/7. But this achievement was somewhat eclipsed by the sensation of Vishy Anand's second defeat of the tournament, this time at the hands of 16-year-old IM Benjamin Gledura of Hungary. 


Round 7 report in full | Photos | Replay Round 7 Games

Masterclass 3 - Mon 1 Feb


Top GM and France's No.1 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave gave our third Masterclass featuring a game played against Ding Liren with whom he's had 'many interesting fights'. The particular example was played in 2015.


Maxime later took questions and discussed his training methods, how to tackle tough opponents and much more. Your host as usual was Tournament Director Stuart Conquest.


Watch the entire show recorded LIVE in the unique, webcasting suite at the Caleta Hotel.


All Masterclasses from 2016 can be viewed again here.


The Day's Play - Episode 8


Follow the action from the most exciting open chess tournament in the world.

Episode 8 features a trip to the southern most tip of Gibraltar and chats to competitors about what the festival means to them and also, why they keep coming back!


The Day's Play - All Videos


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Tradewise helps take chess into the classroom


GIBRALTAR’S EDUCATION MINISTER Gilbert Licudi visited the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival.



Shown around the Augustus Suite where play again began at 3pm, the seventh round of the Gibraltar Masters, he also presented the prizes to the winners of last night’s Blitz Pairs event. Mr Licudi commented on how the tournament continued to be an enormous success and attracted the world’s top players.


The Minister will return to the Caleta Hotel this coming weekend for the Tradewise Chess Junior Tournament.


Photos of the visit | Press Release from Alice Mascarenhas

Round 6 Report - Multiple Pile-Up on the Rock


John Saunders reports: No fewer than ten players now share the lead on 5/6 after Sunday's sixth round.


Etienne Bacrot (France) was one of the four leaders on 4½/5, but he opted out by taking a half-point bye in round six, while Pentala Harikrishna and Abhijeet Gupta (both India) played a long but ultimately indecisive game.


Markus Ragger (Austria), the other player on 4½, had an interesting struggle with Hikaru Nakamura (USA) but they too drew. 


Round 6 report in full | Photos | Replay Round 6 Games

The Day's Play - Episode 7


Follow the action from the most exciting open chess tournament in the world.

Episode 7 features a discussion about why the festival is so popular with women and the much anticipated social event 'Battle of the Sexes'.


The Day's Play - All Videos


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Masters Round 6 summary by John Saunders

No fewer than ten players now share the lead on 5/6 after Sunday's sixth round. One of the four round five leaders on 4½/5, Etienne Bacrot (France), opted out of the round by taking a half-point bye, while Pentala Harikrishna and Abhijeet Gupta (both India) played a long but ultimately indecisive game. Markus Ragger (Austria), the other player on 4½, drew an interesting struggle with Hikaru Nakamura (USA).



Six players caught up with the leading pack: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France) ground out a win against Gawain Jones (England); Yu Yangyi (China) outplayed Romain Edouard (France); Richard Rapport (Hungary) refuted Adrien Demuth of France's speculative exchange sacrifice; Lazaro Bruzón (Cuba) (left) won what was probably the game of the day against Alexander Donchenko (Germany); Santosh Gujrathi Vidit (India) steadily outplayed Moulthun Ly (Australia); and Harika Dronavalli's great run of success was brought to an end by David Anton Guijarro (Spain).



In the race for the women's prize, Harika Dronavalli is still on 4/6 and has now been caught by Valentina Gunina (Russia), Irina Krush (USA), Padmini Rout (India), Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia), Alina Kashlinskaya (Russia) and Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine).

Masters Round 5 summary by John Saunders


Not much doubt about the talking point of the fifth round: the defeat of the 15th world champion Vishy Anand, at the hands of 24-year-old French grandmaster Adrien Demuth. Vishy seemed OK just before the time control but an extraordinary (for him) miscalculation led to a pawn race which was quite lost. His score of 3/5 leaves him well down the field and only a perfect finish will rescue his tournament. This poor start means he has slipped outside the world's top ten on the live rating list for the first time since 1990.



The leaders, Markus Ragger and Etienne Bacrot, seemed disinclined to fight today and their game resulted in a swift repetition. Bacrot decided to make this a long weekend break by also taking a bye in round six, so we won't see him play on Sunday. Harika Dronavalli versus Lazaro Bruzón was also a quick draw, though, with the 155 rating point deficit this wasn't a bad result for Harika, and it secured her the leadership in the race for the women's prize on 4/5. Pentala Harikrishna ground out an endgame win against fellow countryman Sethuraman, and Abhijeet Gupta did something similar against Zoltan Almasi, so that we now have four players on the top score of 4½/5.


Hikaru Nakamura played a powerful game against women's world champion Mariya Muzychuk, winning quickly with a piece for pawns sacrifice, so he is in a group of 22 players on 4. In the evening the top players let their hair down in the Battle of the Sexes match, with the men's team, captained by Nigel Short, losing the first game to the women's team, captained by Antoaneta Stefanova, but recovering to win the next two to close out a 2-1 victory. Full Round 5 report.

Round 4 Report - And Then There Were Two


John Saunders reports: Friday was another very full day at the Caleta Hotel, with the first week Challengers and Amateurs finishing their first-week tournament, round four of the Tradewise Gibraltar Masters, and finally a master class from Vishy Anand.


And what a master class... they don't come any more masterful. I am tempted to write solely about Vishy's evening session and forget about the round four games but perhaps that would be a bit unfair.


Round 4 report in full | Photos | Games |

The Day's Play - Episode 6


Follow the action from the most exciting open chess tournament in the world.

Episode 6 features Vishy Anand, five times World Champion, his thoughts about playing chess and comments from his keenest fans.


The Day's Play - All Videos


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Round 3 Report - Girls Just Wanna Have Points


John Saunders reports: At the Wimbledon tennis championships, they have something called 'Ladies' Day' (on the second Tuesday, I believe). I think Gibraltar now has its own Women's Day (I've updated the terminology) after three of the leading female competitors defeated much higher rated male opponents to take their place alongside eight fellow competitors on a maximum score of 3/3.


It really was rather special, particularly bearing in mind that the leading woman competitor in rating order appears at number 44 in the Masters entry list. Compare that with the number of 2700+ rated players who have a maximum score – also three.


Report in full | Photos from round 3 |

Upper Rock Tour


After yesterday's incredible thunderstorm we are happy to report that the sun is shining again in Gibraltar and with it temperatures soar.


When that happens there cannot be a much better way to spend a few hours than enjoying the visual feast of a rock tour. Some of our Chinese visitors took the opportunity to explore this special location and its spectacular views.


Stunning photo collections by Sophie Triay and John Saunders.

Masters Round 4 summary by John Saunders

The 11 overnight leaders were whittled down to two after the fourth round of the Tradewise Gibraltar Masters on Friday. Markus Ragger of Austria and Etienne Bacrot of France both now have 4/4 after beating Anna Muzychuk and Aleksandra Goryachkina respectively in a round where the men reasserted their dominance over the female players who had done so well in round three.



Nevertheless Harika Dronavalli of India maintained her remarkable challenge, drawing with Richard Rapport, rated more than 200 above her. Harika is now the leading female player, in the 12-player group on 3½, and she is the only player in this group rated below 2600. Her performance so far has gained her 14 rating points and moved her into the top ten women in the world on the live rating list.



The top three seeds, Nakamura, Vachier-Lagrave and Anand didn't make too much of an impression in their games and drew, which means that Nakamura and Anand are now on 3/4 and a full point off the speed.


There was a notable all-Indian clash between Pentala Harikrishna and the remarkable young talent Aravindh Chithambaram, but the older player ground him down in 115 moves, mating with bishop and knight against bare king. Nigel Short sustained another shock, losing his second successive game, beaten by IM Marc Esserman of the USA. Later in the evening a rapt audience was treated to an unforgettable master class by Vishy Anand. On the top board on Saturday Etienne Bacrot (above), ranked 11th in the tournament, has White against, Markus Ragger, ranked 14th, on top board.

Masterclass 2 - Fri 29 Jan


Five times World Champion Vishy Anand spoke about a complex game he had against Bareev in 2004. His fascinating insight into the variations captivated the audience.


Vishy later took questions and discussed many matters openly with great humour. Your host as usual was Tournament Director Stuart Conquest.


Watch the entire show recorded LIVE in the unique, webcasting suite at the Caleta Hotel.


All Masterclasses from 2016 can be viewed again here.


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