Hou Yifan continues to beat 2700s, now in sole lead in Gibraltar

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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0 | Chess Event Coverage

Reigning Women's World Champion Hou Yifan is showing very impressive chess in Gibraltar. After beating Judit Polgar and earlier Zoltan Almasi, in the last two rounds the Chinese grandmaster added two more 2700 scalps: Le Quang Liem and Alexei Shirov. With one round to go, she is in sole first position with 7.5/9. 

Hou Yifan grabbed the lead in round 9 in Gibraltar | Photos in this report by Ray Morris-Hill, more here

EventTradewise Chess Festival | PGN via TWIC
DatesJanuary 24th-February 2nd, 2012
LocationGibraltar, UK
System10-round Swiss, different groups
PlayersTop players in the Masters include Peter Svidler, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Michael Adams, Zoltan Almasi, Le Quang Liem, Judit Polgar and Alexei Shirov
Rate of play100 minutes for 40 moves followed by 15 minutes for the remaining moves with 30 seconds increment for each move starting from the first move.

There's still one round to go, but at the moment the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Masters is dominated by one name: Hou Yifan. The Chinese, who will turn 18 at the end of this month and is in Gibraltar with her mother, seems to be in the middle of a new breakthrough in her career. Not only is she is the clear favourite in any women's event she participates in, and not only did she manage to beat Judit Polgar, but she's capable of beating more than one 2700 in one event! After her win against Polgar, Hou Yifan beat Le Quang Liem on Tuesday and Alexei Shirov on Wednesday.

Round 8

[Event "Gibraltar Open"]
[Site "Caleta ENG"]
[Date "2012.01.31"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Hou Yifan"]
[Black "Le Quang Liem"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B93"]
[WhiteElo "2605"]
[BlackElo "2714"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "5rk1/6p1/p3R2p/5pN1/r2b4/q7/2P1Q1PP/5R1K w - - 0 34"]
[PlyCount "13"]
[EventDate "2012.01.24"]

34. Rxh6 $1 gxh6 35. Qe6+ Kg7 36. Qd7+ Kg6 37. Ne6 Bc5 $2 (37... Rf7 38. Nf4+
Kg7 39. Nh5+ Kg8 40. Qe8+ Rf8 41. Qg6+ Kh8 42. Qxh6+ Kg8 {
and White must give perpetual.}) 38. Qg7+ Kh5 39. Nxf8 Bxf8 40. Qf7+ 1-0

Thanks to this (slightly lucky) win, Hou Yifan caught Mickey Adams in the standings. For the third time in a row, the Englishman reached a rooks + opposite-coloured bishops ending with White, but this time it was an easy draw for the opponent: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

Nigel Short also drew his game, with Zoltan Almasi, starting with 1.b3.

[Event "Gibraltar Open"]
[Site "Caleta ENG"]
[Date "2012.01.31"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Short, N."]
[Black "Almasi, Z."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A01"]
[WhiteElo "2677"]
[BlackElo "2717"]
[PlyCount "80"]
[EventDate "2012.01.24"]

1. b3 d5 2. Bb2 Nf6 3. e3 c6 4. c4 Bf5 5. Be2 e6 6. Nc3 Nbd7 7. Nf3 h6 8. O-O
Bd6 9. cxd5 exd5 10. d3 O-O 11. e4 Bg6 12. exd5 Nxd5 13. Nxd5 cxd5 14. Qd2 Re8
15. Rfe1 Qb6 16. Bf1 Bb4 17. Rxe8+ Rxe8 18. Qf4 Bc5 19. Qg3 Nf8 20. Rc1 Ne6 21.
h4 d4 22. Qe5 Bd6 23. Qd5 Rd8 24. Qc4 Bf4 25. Re1 Qa5 26. b4 Qd5 27. Qxd5 Rxd5
28. g3 Bd6 29. a3 a5 30. bxa5 Rxa5 31. Nxd4 Bxa3 32. Nxe6 Bxb2 33. Nf4 Bd4 34.
Nxg6 fxg6 35. Re8+ Kf7 36. Rd8 Ra4 37. Rd7+ Kf6 38. Rxb7 Ra2 39. Bg2 Rxf2 40.
Be4 Rb2+ 1/2-1/2

Peter Svidler and Alexei Shirov came a bit closer to the top of the leaderboard. In Svidler's case, the Russian was just much more familiar with the intricacies of the opening, his favorite Grünfeld.

[Event "Gibraltar Open"]
[Site "Caleta ENG"]
[Date "2012.01.31"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Dzagnidze, N."]
[Black "Svidler, P."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D82"]
[WhiteElo "2535"]
[BlackElo "2749"]
[PlyCount "40"]
[EventDate "2012.01.24"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Bf4 Bg7 5. Rc1 Nh5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 c5 8. e3 (
8. Nxd5 Nc6 9. e3 Be6 $1 10. Be2 cxd4 11. exd4 Bxd5 12. cxd5 Qxd5 13. Bxh5 gxh5
14. Nf3 Nxd4 $17 {Kortschnoj,V-Vaganian,R/Reggio Emilia 1987}) 8... cxd4 9.
exd4 (9. Nxd5 Nc6 10. exd4 Bxd4 11. Qd2 g5 12. Be2 Nf6 {
Sokolov,I (2706)-Svidler,P (2747)/Wijk aan Zee 2004}) 9... dxc4 10. Nf3 $5 (10.
Bxc4 O-O 11. d5 Nf4 $1 12. Qf3 Qc7 13. Bb3 {
Biliskov,V (2305)-Rade,M (2255)/Budapest 1993} Nxg2+ $1 14. Qxg2 Qf4 $17) 10...
O-O 11. Bxc4 Bg4 12. O-O Nc6 13. d5 Nd4 14. Re1 Bxf3 15. gxf3 Qc7 16. Bf1 Qf4
17. Bg3 Nxf3+ 18. Kh1 Qf6 19. Re3 Nxg3+ 20. fxg3 Nd4 {
and Black was a healthy pawn up.} 0-1

Shirov won a tactical slugfest against former World Championship Candidate Artur Jussupow.

[Event "Gibraltar Open"]
[Site "Caleta ENG"]
[Date "2012.01.31"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Jussupow, Ar"]
[Black "Shirov, A."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A48"]
[WhiteElo "2569"]
[BlackElo "2710"]
[PlyCount "72"]
[EventDate "2012.01.24"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bg5 Bg7 4. Nbd2 O-O 5. c3 d5 6. e3 Nbd7 7. Bd3 Re8 8.
O-O e5 9. e4 exd4 10. cxd4 dxe4 11. Nxe4 h6 12. Qb3 Re7 13. Ne5 hxg5 14. Nxf7
Nc5 15. Nxf6+ Bxf6 16. dxc5 Rxf7 17. Bxg6 Qf8 18. f4 g4 19. f5 Bd7 20. Rf4 Bc6
21. Kh1 Rd8 22. Rxg4 Bd5 23. Qh3 Rg7 24. Bh7+ Kf7 25. Bg6+ Ke7 26. Qa3 Kd7 27.
Rd1 Kc8 28. Qxa7 c6 29. Qa8+ Kc7 30. Qa5+ Kb8 31. Ra4 Be5 32. h3 Kc8 33. Re1
Bxg2+ 34. Kxg2 Qxf5 35. Rg4 Rxg6 36. Qb4 Rd4 0-1

In the video below, produced by Macauley Peterson, Shirov explains this game:

And in this video there are excerpt from the round 8 live commentary: the exciting climax with dual-game commentary on Hou Yifan vs. Le Quang Liem and Artur Jussupow vs. Alexei Shirov. GM Simon Williams comments.

Round 9

In Wednesday's 9th round Hou Yifan grabbed sole lead, thanks to a win with Black against Alexei Shirov. It was a great fight in an ending that started as a Poisoned Pawn:

[Event "Gibraltar Open"]
[Site "Caleta ENG"]
[Date "2012.02.01"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Shirov, Alexei"]
[Black "Hou, Yifan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B97"]
[PlyCount "106"]
[EventDate "2012.01.24"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Qb6 8. Qd2
Qxb2 9. Rb1 Qa3 10. e5 h6 11. Bh4 dxe5 12. fxe5 Nd5 13. Nxd5 exd5 14. e6 Bxe6
15. Nxe6 fxe6 16. Be2 Be7 17. Bh5+ Kd8 18. Bxe7+ Qxe7 19. O-O Nd7 20. Rxb7 Qc5+
21. Kh1 Rb8 22. Rxb8+ Nxb8 23. Qe2 Qb5 24. Qxb5 axb5 25. Rf7 Nc6 26. Rxg7 Rf8
27. Kg1 Nb4 28. Rb7 Nxc2 29. Rxb5 Ke7 30. a4 Ra8 31. Rb2 Ne3 32. Kf2 Nc4 33.
Rb7+ Kd6 34. Bd1 e5 35. Rh7 Nb2 36. Rxh6+ Kc5 37. Bc2 Nxa4 38. h4 Nc3 39. Bf5
Ra2+ 40. Kf1 Ra1+ 41. Kf2 Ra2+ 42. Kf1 Nd1 43. g4 Ne3+ 44. Ke1 Kd4 45. Bc8 Ng2+
46. Kd1 e4 47. h5 e3 48. Ba6 Nf4 49. Rb6 Nd3 50. Bxd3 Kxd3 51. Rb3+ Ke4 52. h6
d4 53. h7 Rh2 0-1

The video below shows 15 minutes from the 5 hour live show, with excerpt from GM Simon Williams commentary, with Alexei Shirov vs. Hou Yifan, Michael Adams vs. Zoltan Almasi, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov vs. Varuzhan Akobian, David Howell vs Sergei Movsesian, and Judit Polgar vs. Kaido Kulaots.

The final round of the Masters starts at 11.00am (GMT+1), 05.00am (EST) on 2 February followed by a play-off for 1st Prize if required. Top pairings:

1 25 GM Hou Yifan 2605 7 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2747 2
2 14 GM Bologan Viktor 2680 7 7 GM Adams Michael 2724 3
3 11 GM Sasikiran Krishnan 2700 7 7 GM Short Nigel D 2677 15
4 10 GM Movsesian Sergei 2700 GM Svidler Peter 2749 1
5 21 GM Gustafsson Jan 2643 GM Almasi Zoltan 2717 4
6 22 GM Negi Parimarjan 2641 GM Le Quang Liem 2714 5
7 23 GM Erdos Viktor 2634 GM Sutovsky Emil 2703 9
8 27 GM Howell David W L 2603 6 GM Shirov Alexei 2710 7
9 6 GM Polgar Judit 2710 6 6 GM Korchnoi Viktor 2558 37
 
All eyes will be on Gibraltar to see if Hou Yifan can claim the first prize of £20,000 - as well as the top female award of £10,000!

Tradewise Chess Festival | Masters | Round 9 standings (top 40)

Rk.TitleNameFEDRtgPts.TB1
1GMHou YifanCHN26057.52892.0
2GMAdams MichaelENG27247.02826.0
3GMMamedyarov ShakhriyarAZE27477.02808.0
4GMShort Nigel DENG26777.02807.0
5GMSasikiran KrishnanIND27007.02776.0
6GMBologan ViktorMDA26807.02740.0
7GMLe Quang LiemVIE27146.52744.0
8GMAlmasi ZoltanHUN27176.52740.0
9GMHowell David W LENG26036.52727.0
10GMMovsesian SergeiARM27006.52707.0
11GMSvidler PeterRUS27496.52701.0
12GMNegi ParimarjanIND26416.52692.0
13GMErdos ViktorHUN26346.52633.0
14GMSutovsky EmilISR27036.52624.0
15GMGustafsson JanGER26436.52618.0
16GMGopal G NIND25666.02669.0
17GMPolgar JuditHUN27106.02668.0
18GMDzagnidze NanaGEO25356.02658.0
19GMLaznicka ViktorCZE27046.02656.0
20GMDavid AlbertoLUX25986.02642.0
21-22GMShirov AlexeiLAT27106.02635.0
21-22GMParligras Mircea-EmilianROU26506.02635.0
23GMBrunello SabinoITA25816.02633.0
24GMKulaots KaidoEST25816.02619.0
25GMAkobian VaruzhanUSA26176.02614.0
26GMRapport RichardHUN25436.02605.0
27GMZhu ChenQAT24726.02604.0
28GMFridman DanielGER26606.02603.0
29GMVachier-Lagrave MaximeFRA26996.02601.0
30GMJussupow ArturGER25696.02600.0
31GMCramling PiaSWE24916.02595.0
32GMEl Debs Felipe De CresceBRA24976.02585.0
33GMSalem A R SalehUAE25056.02583.0
34GMStefanova AntoanetaBUL25236.02565.0
35GMSargissian GabrielARM26836.02560.0
36GMBerg EmanuelSWE25506.02552.0
37GMAl-Sayed MohammedQAT25246.02547.0
38GMGupta AbhijeetIND26526.02527.0
39GMDel Rio De Angelis Salvador GESP25316.02517.0
40GMIturrizaga EdoardoVEN26496.02511.0

Photographer Ray Morris-Hill got this nice shot of Hou Yifan running Wednesday morning in the Gibraltar sunshine

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