Nigel Short may have reached the veritable chess age of 51, but it’s never too late to beat the world no. 2! He overcame Fabiano Caruana in Round 6 and was spared by Peter Svidler in Round 7 to move to 5.5/7, half a point behind the leading quartet. That includes Hikaru Nakamura and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, with the latter toppling Mickey Adam’s Berlin Wall. Spain’s David Anton and China’s Yu Yangyi are yet again performing well in Gibraltar to join them. Hou Yifan, meanwhile, posted a strong contender for Game of the Tournament with a brilliant queen sac and subsequent play.
Nigel Short and Fabiano Caruana were teammates in the Battle of the Sexes the night before, but Nigel showed no mercy in Round 6. Although Caruana’s Caro-Kann got Short thinking for 15 minutes on move 5 it was Fabiano who was soon in deep, deep trouble:
Fabi saw nothing better than to jettison the d-pawn immediately and enter a miserable ending with 16…Ne7 17.Qxd4 Qxd4 18.Nxd4. The conversion wasn’t simple, with Short explaining that with Top 10 guys you really need to drive a stake through their hearts to win. He managed, taking some inspiration to win the ending from a game he won against Ivan Cheparinov in Wijk aan Zee 2008 after a famous handshake incident.
Nigel couldn't stop laughing...
...especially when he saw Garry Kasparov's tweet:
Nigel has led a charmed life in Gibraltar this year, surviving a dead-lost position against Peter Lombaers in Round 1.
Against a better-known Peter – Peter Svidler – he also escaped the executioner’s blade. This time, though, it was anything but easy: