Monkey business in Gibraltar

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Gibraltar 2010The Masters section of the Gibtelecom festival enters an exciting final phase, as no less than 11 players are on shared 1st place with 5.5 points out of 7 games. Meanwhile, some famous names decided to climb the Rock and meet its famous residents.

Photo © Zeljka Malobabic

The 2010 Gibtelecom International Chess Festival takes place January 26-February 4 at the Caleta Hotel in Gibraltar. The rate of play in this 9-round Swiss is 40 moves in 100 minutes plus 20 moves in 50 minutes plus 15 minutes for all remaining moves with 30 seconds per move added from the start. Draws by mutual agreement in under 30 moves are not allowed, but genuine draws by repetition or stalemate are acceptable.

Rounds 5-7

In round 5, Michael Adams and Jan Gustafsson took the lead in the Masters group. Both profited from early slips by their Indian opponents (Humpy Koneru and GN Gopal respectively) to win in some comfort. After the next round there was a a four-way tie for the lead as the top six pairings all ended in draws. Two players who had been on 4/5 took the opportunity to catch up with Adams and Gustafsson by winning their games: Indian grandmaster Chanda Sandipan defeated Nana Dzagnidze, and Ukrainian woman grandmaster Natalia Zhukova beat French GM Romain Edouard.

After several more draws, the round 7 standings table has a 'dream team' of eleven players topping the standings: Sergei Movsesian (SVK), Paco Vallejo Pons (ESP), Michael Adams (ENG), Gata Kamsky (USA), Laurent Fressinet (FRA), Jan Gustafsson (GER), Chanda Sandipan (IND), Humpy Koneru (IND), Stelios Halkias (GRE), Alex Lenderman (USA), Natalia Zhukova (UKR) all have 5½/7. The player who was closest to breaking clear of the pack was Michael Adams, who played some very enterprising chess against Natalia Zhukova and seemed likely to win. However, some active defence by the Ukrainian woman grandmaster saved the day for her and kept her amongst the leaders.

Thanks to John Saunders who writes for the official site



Gibraltar 2010 | Round 7 Standings (top 30)
Gibraltar 2010 | Round 7 Standings (top 30)


Selection of games



Game viewer by ChessTempo


Again, we'd like to mention the live commentary by Stuart Conquest during the rounds, starting at 15.30 CET every day. The older sessions can still be watched at livestream. Here's yesterday's show:




As I know from personal experience, one hasn't really visited Gibraltar until one has been up to the top of the Rock to meet the monkeys. Together with resident photographer Zeljka Malobabic, some parties of players climbed the Rock to meet its most famous residents and here are some photos.

Gibraltar 2010

The residents of the Rock, around 230 Barbary Macaques, commonly known as apes, the only wild monkeys found in Europe



Gibraltar 2010

Did it just take the chess queen's king? Let's hope Alexandra Kosteniuk got a nice pic in return



Gibraltar 2010

Irina Krush seems to be missing a nice shot here



Gibraltar 2010

Anna Zatonskih posing, with our little friend closeby



Photos © Zeljka Malobabic, more here



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