Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2013
Monday 21 January - Thursday 31 January 2013
MASTERS ROUND 6: 28 JANUARY 2013
PRESS RELEASE: FORTY SOMETHINGS ON THE RAMPAGE by John Saunders
The story as we left it ... Le Quang Liem of Vietnam and Nikita Vitiugov were the last remaining players on a 100% score, so were fated to meet in the sixth round. It was a keenly contested encounter, with Le Quang Liem pressing for a win, first with an extra pawn and later, more improbably, with rook and knight against rook. Of course it was a draw, opening up the possibility of them being joined in the lead by others.
The next two boards promised much, indeed delivered much (in terms of entertaining chess) but failed to produce a decisive result. Vassily Ivanchuk and Vladislav Tkachiev, both on 4½/5, drew a tough game where the naturalised Frenchman held a pawn advantage for much of the game but was unable to capitalise on it in the face of some stout play from the mercurial Ukrainian, who managed to reach an opposite-coloured bishop endgame which meandered on unproductively for some time before Tkachiev decided enough was enough.
David Navara let a pawn go for some active piece play against Gawain Jones. This was good enough to get him upgraded from a pawn deficit to a pawn advantage but Jones obtained two good bishops in exchange. A very interesting knight versus bishop but, again, a draw resulted.
I’VE GOT YU, BABE
We’ve seen a lot of wins from the Carlsen generation in this tournament but the older players can still play a bit and hit back with a vengeance in this round, as amply demonstrated by two-times Gibraltar winner Kiril Georgiev, from Bulgaria, who caught Yu Yangyi in a deadly snare. This win took Georgiev into a three-way tie for the lead on 5½/6. Once again, the run-up to the time control was crucial and this is when the Chinese teenager cracked under pressure and lost. (This reporter is desperately hoping Yu makes a speedy return to the leader board as he has stockpiled several more ‘Yu’ puns to deploy in future reports.)
OH MICKEY, YOU’RE SO FINE
I hesitate slightly to include Mickey Adams amongst the ‘oldies but goldies’ who beat up younger players in this round as he still looks absurdly young to my eyes, but the fact remains he also has passed the age of 40. Mickey is renowned for his calm positional style of play but he is as aggressive and attacking as the next man when the situation demands it. Nana Dzagnidze was unlucky enough to find him in a more overtly violent frame of mind this round. That said, he followed up his piece sacrifice by tying up Nana Dzagnidze’s pieces in knots in typical Mickey fashion, rather than doing anything so vulgar as delivering checkmate. A very stylish game by the English number one.
Nigel Short’s reaction to his second round defeat has been impressive. Four straight wins! His sixth round game bore testament to the former world championship runner-up’s grit and determination. Facing a tough Polish GM who had matched him blow for blow, he dreamt up a tremendous bishop for two pawns sacrifice that your analysis engine of choice will disdain – wrongly. This is practical, risk-taking tournament chess at its finest, with a player stamping his will on the game in order to gain the desired result.
Official website: www.gibraltarchesscongress.com