Monkey Men Berg & Hillarp Persson

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This morning Ian & Cathy Rogers, Tiger Hillarp Persson, Emanuel Berg and I went up the Rock of Gibraltar. Especially known for its ape colony. I did an interview with the two Swedish players and the apes (watching them).

Gibraltar is actually just a big city, built around the Rock. Which is very imposing, and so it's no surprise that it was the subject of many battles in the past. The Castilians and the Moors already fought for it in the 14th century and since 1704 it's been occupied by the British. The inhabitants are mostly of Andalusian culture and speak Spanish to each other, but English to British people and tourists. The funny thing is that if you'd hold a plebiscite and ask if they want to become part of Spain, probably a big majority would say no.
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The Barbary apes or Macaques (Macaca sylvanus) that live on the rock (but can be seen throughout the city) can't really be native because their DNA is too similar to that of African monkeys. The legend goes that whenever the monkeys leave the Rock, it will mean the end of British ruling.

So how's the tournament going? Well, after seven of the ten rounds, the terribly strong Chinese player Bu Xiangzhi leads with 6.5 points. Yesterday he beat current title holder Kiril Georgiev. Wang Hao was the first male Chinese to lose in the tournament yesterday (against Efimenko) and dropped to 4th place.

Stefanova had started with 4 out of 4 but then she became victim of the Kramnik Gambit (she caught a cold). Well, she wasn't affected too much by it, since she kept on playing very well and had good winning chances in a wild game against Bologan yesterday.

The Australian IM Zong-Yuan Zhao is rapidly becoming a GM. For a while, he had been stronger than his title suggested, but didn't have much time to play. This month he already scored two norms and in this tournament he seems to be on route for his third, beating Nakamura for instance. It would mean that not David Smerdon, but Zong-Yuan would become the next GM in Australia, after Ian Rogers and Darryl Johansen.

On the left, you'll find a selection of interesting games played so far in Gibraltar.


[TABLE=139]

Full standings and pairings here.

Not long ago the 8th round has begun, with e.g. Bu Xiangzhi-Bologan, Efimenko-Socko, Malakhatko-Wang Yue and Agdestein-Petrosian. Live games can be followed here.

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