Gibraltar: Battle Of The Sexes, Another Anand Loss

Gibraltar: Battle Of The Sexes, Another Anand Loss

The Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival has seen more wonderful side events, such as the traditional Battle of the Sexes. It is however turning into a nightmare tournament for Vishy Anand, who lost is second game and drops 20.5 Elo points in the live ratings.

We pick up the tournament after the fifth round — It wasn't the last event on Saturday.

In the evening the restaurant area of the Caleta Hotel was transformed into a boxing ring, with a giant chess set. Gibraltar regulars knew what was coming up: the Battle of the Sexes.

Held for the fourth time, this popular and social event was a match between two teams: one consisting of six male players, one with six females. They played three games, with the players alternating moves.

Episode 7 of the tournament's video series The Day's Play
(see all here) includes the Battle of the Sexes.

With team captain Antoaneta Stefanova, the women's team included Josefine Heinemann, Jovana Vojinovic, Bela Khotenashvili, Valentina Gunina, Natalia Zhukova, Tania Sachdev, Natalia Pogonina, and Alina Kashlinskaya.

With (playing) team captain Nigel Short, the men's team included Hikaru Nakamura, Laurent Fressinet, Yu Yangyi, Nigel Short, Surya Shekhar Ganguly, Richard Rapport, David Howell, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and Ni Hua.

Nakamura making a move; MVL, Ni Hua, Wojtaszek,
and Rapport watching. | Photo John Saunders.

Last year the ladies had lost without much of a fight, and so they were determined to do better. And they started off winning a fine game!

Khotenashvili, Gunina, Zhukova, Vojinovic, Pogonina, and
Kashlinskaya started with a win. | Photo John Saunders.

However, the men then won both games two and three to decide the match in their favor.

At the end of the event the captain of the men’s team Nigel Short presented a cheque for £1,000 to Shirley Callaghan (wife of organizer Brian) for the Neuroblastoma Society.

Round 6

On Sunday the sixth round of the tournament was played, and the two two boards ended in draws — in very different fashion though.

Indian GMs Pentala Harikrishna and Abhijeet Gupta played a long game (a Giuoco Piano) that resulted in a Queen and seven pawns vs two knights, a rook and five where neither side could make progress.

GMs Markus Ragger and Hikaru Nakamura played a truly spectacular game, but most of it was preparation. The line is a Ragger speciality.

Second seed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave didn't get much out of the opening against Gawain Jones, but ground down his opponent in the endgame. Perhaps Black shouldn't have moved his pawns on the queenside that much.

After a long period of almost non-stop chess from September onwards, David Howell is looking forward to a long break after this tournament. But even if he plays badly, he doesn't lose his grace: he allowed his opponent to complete the checkmate combination.

Round 7

In the seventh round Markus Ragger also held Vachier-Lagrave to a draw, in another theoretical variation (this time the Grünfeld). In fact all players on five points drew their game, except one. Spanish GM David Antón Guijarro is the surprising leader after refuting Rapport's play involving an early march of “Harry the h-pawn”:

Three more interviews were recorded in Chess.com-produced live broadcast in Gibraltar on this day: with Nils Grandelius, Gawain Jones and Sebastien Mazé. The French team captain defeated the strong Russioan GM Dmitry Jakovenko. Find all material from the live show here.

The shock of the round involved Viswanathan Anand, once again. The great Indian player might have second thoughts about playing an open by now; he lost to 16-year-old Hungarian IM Benjamin Gledura.

if the trend continues, Anand might drop below Harikrishna to become the #2 Indian player, for the first time in decades.

A struggling Vishy Anand in Gibraltar. | Photo John Saunders.

Last but not least, here's an extensively annotated game from round seven; a very interesting and instructive battle!

Annotations by GM Robert Hess

Three more rounds will be played in Gibraltar, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The winner receives 20,000 pounds (26,400, $28800) whereas the best female player earns 15,000.

Gibraltar Masters | Round 7 Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo Title Name FED Rtg Pts. TB1 rtg+/-
1 24 GM Anton Guijarro David ESP 2639 6 2777 10,6
2 14 GM Ragger Markus AUT 2689 5,5 2816 11,5
3 2 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2785 5,5 2805 2,1
4 11 GM Bacrot Etienne FRA 2697 5,5 2793 6,8
5 4 GM Harikrishna P. IND 2755 5,5 2769 1,7
8 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw POL 2727 5,5 2769 3,6
7 25 GM Sethuraman S.P. IND 2639 5,5 2760 10,9
32 GM Gupta Abhijeet IND 2613 5,5 2760 13,3
9 18 GM Bruzon Batista Lazaro CUB 2666 5,5 2749 7,1
10 6 GM Yu Yangyi CHN 2747 5,5 2741 0,5
43 IM Tari Aryan NOR 2556 5,5 2741 16,4
12 12 GM Ni Hua CHN 2697 5,5 2736 3,2
35 GM Maze Sebastien FRA 2591 5,5 2736 11,7
14 5 GM Li Chao B CHN 2751 5,5 2698 -3
15 26 GM Grandelius Nils SWE 2635 5,5 2696 5,9
16 23 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi IND 2642 5,5 2694 4,7
17 33 GM Lenic Luka SLO 2611 5 2762 12,5
18 57 IM Gledura Benjamin HUN 2515 5 2729 20,6
19 1 GM Nakamura Hikaru USA 2787 5 2712 -4,6
20 28 GM Jones Gawain C B ENG 2625 5 2690 7,1
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