Zhao Jun On 6.0/6 In Hastings

Zhao Jun On 6.0/6 In Hastings

| 8 | Chess Event Coverage

Will he do a Caruana? Chinese GM Zhao Jun won his first six games at the Hastings Masters.

Next week the 77th Tata Steel Chess Tournament starts — the second longest running chess tournament in the world. The oldest is the Hastings Chess Congress.

The first edition, which was held in the summer of 1895, was famously won by Harry Nelson Pillsbury ahead of all the top players: Steinitz, Lasker, Chigorin, Tarrasch, Schlechter, Blackburne, Janowski, and others.

The first Christmas Congress was held in 1920-1921. It was a four-player double round-robin of British Champions, won by Frederick Yates.

Every World Champion before Garry Kasparov except Bobby Fischer played at Hastings. The great days are over, but the tradition is still there and many GMs find their way to the small English coast town each year.

This year there are 14 GMs playing in the top group, called Hastings Masters. Three of them are over 2600.

The top seeds are Maxim Rodshtein (2676) of Israel, Romain Edouard (2659) of France, Aleksander Mista (2614) of Poland and Alexandr Fier (2592) of Brazil.

Because the tournament uses accelarated pairings during the first three rounds, the grandmasters needed to work for their points from the start. Nonetheless, there were no surprises on the first twenty boards in round 1.

A very tough battle was the following:

In the second round top seed Rodshtein dropped half a point against Glenn Flear, but Edouard did get to 2.0/2. On board three, however, Mista went down against the 15-year-old Hungarian IM Benjamin Gledura:

A nice win for 15-year-old IM Benjamin Gledura. | Photo Brendan O'Gorman.

The upset of the day was John Anderson (2180) beating GM Danny Gormally:

In round 3, played on the last day of 2014, Edouard was held to a draw by the young Uzbek player Jahongir Vakhidov. A great fight, worth replaying:

Jahongir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan. | Photo Brendan O'Gorman.

Rodshtein suffered a crushing loss on New Year's Day. His 5...Qe7 already looks a bit funny, and after making too many pawn moves he just got crushed.

The top seed: 25-year-old Maxim Rodshtein of Israel. | Photo Brendan O'Gorman.

Deep Sengupta and Zhao Jun played a great game on top board in round 5. The win in this coffee-house fight went to Zhao, 28 years old and China's 12th player:

28-year-old GM Zhao Jun. | Photo Brendan O'Gorman.

By then Zhao was in sole first place, and he cemented his lead with another win on Saturday against Edouard — his sixth straight win!

Three more rounds to go. Who will stop the Chinese GM?

2014 Hastings Masters | Round 6 Standings

Rk. SNo Title Name FED Rtg TB1
1 6 GM Zhao Jun CHN 2585 6
2 10 GM Hebden Mark L ENG 2523 5
3 2 GM Edouard Romain FRA 2659 4,5
4 3 GM Mista Aleksander POL 2614 4.5
5 4 GM Fier Alexandr BRA 2592 4.5
6 5 GM Bogner Sebastian SUI 2586 4.5
7 7 GM Lagarde Maxime FRA 2576 4.5
8 13 GM Arkell Keith C ENG 2489 4.5
9 15 IM Kjartansson Gudmundur ISL 2451 4.5
10 16 IM Gledura Benjamin HUN 2450 4.5
11 30 WIM Olsarova Tereza CZE 2302 4.5
12 1 GM Rodshtein Maxim ISR 2676 4.5
13 8 GM Sengupta Deep IND 2566 4.5
14 11 GM Vakhidov Jahongir UZB 2502 4.5
15 17 IM Hunt Adam C ENG 2437 4.5
16 18 IM Galyas Miklos HUN 2428 4
17 9 GM Hawkins Jonathan ENG 2552 4
18 25 FM Wallner Joachim AUT 2340 4
19 12 GM Gormally Daniel W ENG 2499 4
20 23 IM Bates Richard A ENG 2349 4

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