Reports | January 31, 2012 8:32

Gibraltar: Hou Yifan beats Polgar in historical clash, Adams in sole lead

Gibraltar: Hou Yifan beats Polgar in historical clash, Adams in sole lead

Hou Yifan, reigning World Champion, defeated Judit Polgar, the best female chess player ever, in their first over-the-board encounter on Monday in Gibraltar. The two ladies faced each other in the 7th round of the Tradewise Chess Festival's Masters tournament and the Chinese grandmaster won an endgame that started from a Sicilian, Taimanov variation. Mickey Adams in leading the tournament with 6 points out of 7 games.

Hou Yifan and Judit Polgar meet in Gibraltar | Photos in this report by Ray Morris-Hill, more here

Event Tradewise Chess Festival | PGN via TWIC
Dates January 24th-February 2nd, 2012
Location Gibraltar, UK
System Swiss, different groups
Players Top players in the Masters include Peter Svidler, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Michael Adams, Zoltan Almasi, Le Quang Liem, Judit Polgar and Alexei Shirov
Rate of play 100 minutes for 40 moves followed by 15 minutes for the remaining moves with 30 seconds increment for each move starting from the first move.

Last Friday we already reported on the first three rounds of the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival, which celebrates its 10th edition this year. At that point Nigel Short, Mickey Adams, Hou Yifan, Sabino Brunello and Ruben Felgaer were still on a 100% score, while top seeds Peter Svidler and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov were already a point behind.

In round 4 Hou Yifan of China drew quickly with Mickey Adams on board 1. In a Marshall Ruy Lopez, The Women's World Champion played white and quickly gave back the extra pawn, but her bishop pair offered no winning chances. Sabino Brunello and Nigel Short also drew quickly and so did Judit Polgar and Humpy Koneru. Viktor Laznicka's opponent fell into a trap he should have seen:

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Sergei Movsesian handled Artur Jusspow's Petroff like a hot knife through butter:

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Traditionally the Gibraltar organizers invite many women to their tournament. Nana Dzagnidze of Georgia played a splendid game with Black against Brazil's Alexandr Fier:

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At the end of the round Hou Yifan, Adams, Short, Le Quang Liem, Laznicka, Sasikiran, Movsesian, Brunello, Gopal, Rapport and Dzagnidze were all on 3.5/4.

In round 5 Adams faced the Jaenisch/Schliemann and won an ending with rooks and opposite-coloured bishops, as he got the enemy king in a mating net. Two rounds later he would do exactly the same! (See below.)

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Nigel Short played the Closed Sicilian and drew with Vietnam's Le Quang Liem. India's Gopal did something that not many manage these days: beat the solid Czech GM Viktor Laznicka in his Caro-Kann. Dzagnidze continued playing well:

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Sasikiran beat Hou Yifan in an instructive manner:

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In the same round, 2700+ players Zoltan Almasi and Peter Svidler dropped half points, playing white against Richard Rapport (Israel) and Nadezhda Kosintseva (Russia) respectively.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave tried an original way of handling the Hedgehog, but it backfired completely:

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Gopal and Adams drew a somewhat boring game in round 6 and with some more excitement the same result was seen in Dzagnidze-Sasikiran. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov had a narrow escape against Hungarian GM Viktor Erdos:

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Nigel Short won a nice game with Black against Humpy Koneru:

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Sergey Movesian allowed Anna Zatonskih to get a second queen because he had found a nice checkmate:

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In Monday's 7th round, Mickey Adams won in a similar manner as in round 5:

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Nigel Short kept playing originally with White, and Nana Dzagnidze kept playing strongly:

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Nana Dzagnidze is having an excellent tournament thus far

The following game was arguably the most spectacular of the tournament so far:

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Video Almasi-David

Macauley Peterson is producing live streaming commentary and videos in Gibraltar. Here are both Almasi and David looking at this marvelous game afterwards:

We finish this report with the game that made the headline: the first clash ever between Hou Yifan and Judit Polgar. The Hungarian used less time than her Chinese opponent, but miscalculated somewhere:

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Hou Yifan won her historical first clash with Judit Polgar

Video Hou Yifan-Polgar

Macauley Peterson is producing live streaming commentary and videos in Gibraltar. Here are highlights from the Hou Yifan-Polgar game with GM Simon Williams:

Viktor Korchnoi is again playing in Gibraltar. The living legend is on 4/7.

Tradewise Chess Festival | Masters | Round 7 standings (top 40)

Rk. Title Name FED Rtg Pts. TB1
1 GM Adams Michael ENG 2724 6.0 2879.0
2 GM Hou Yifan CHN 2605 5.5 2823.0
3 GM Short Nigel D ENG 2677 5.5 2810.0
4 GM Le Quang Liem VIE 2714 5.5 2803.0
5 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2747 5.5 2795.0
6 GM Sasikiran Krishnan IND 2700 5.5 2775.0
7 GM Almasi Zoltan HUN 2717 5.5 2768.0
8 GM Movsesian Sergei ARM 2700 5.5 2759.0
9 GM Gopal G N IND 2566 5.5 2733.0
10 GM Dzagnidze Nana GEO 2535 5.5 2708.0
11 GM Negi Parimarjan IND 2641 5.5 2700.0
12 GM Laznicka Viktor CZE 2704 5.0 2688.0
13 GM Howell David W L ENG 2603 5.0 2679.0
14 GM Svidler Peter RUS 2749 5.0 2677.0
15 GM Parligras Mircea-Emilian ROU 2650 5.0 2672.0
16 GM Bologan Viktor MDA 2680 5.0 2662.0
17 GM El Debs Felipe De Cresce BRA 2497 5.0 2647.0
18-19 GM Shirov Alexei LAT 2710 5.0 2646.0
18-19 GM Koneru Humpy IND 2589 5.0 2646.0
20 GM Jussupow Artur GER 2569 5.0 2617.0
21 GM Akobian Varuzhan USA 2617 5.0 2609.0
22 GM Gustafsson Jan GER 2643 5.0 2608.0
23 GM Sutovsky Emil ISR 2703 5.0 2599.0
24 GM Zhu Chen QAT 2472 5.0 2589.0
25 GM Rapport Richard HUN 2543 5.0 2582.0
26 GM Salem A R Saleh UAE 2505 5.0 2563.0
27 GM Fier Alexandr BRA 2603 5.0 2537.0
28 GM Del Rio De Angelis Salvador G ESP 2531 5.0 2477.0
29 GM Polgar Judit HUN 2710 4.5 2648.0
30 GM David Alberto LUX 2598 4.5 2640.0
31 GM Brunello Sabino ITA 2581 4.5 2622.0
32 GM Felgaer Ruben ARG 2571 4.5 2599.0
33-34 GM Fridman Daniel GER 2660 4.5 2583.0
33-34 GM Cramling Pia SWE 2491 4.5 2583.0
35 GM Kulaots Kaido EST 2581 4.5 2579.0
36 GM Erdos Viktor HUN 2634 4.5 2575.0
37 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2699 4.5 2572.0
38 IM Arnold Marc T USA 2482 4.5 2568.0
39 GM Nabaty Tamir ISR 2563 4.5 2565.0
40 IM Muzychuk Anna SLO 2580 4.5 2562.0


Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Sarunas's picture

No more speculation on who is the best woman in chess. The Queen has made her title to be respected and opened many blind eyes, which saw ilusion of dream rather than reality. Women chess remains-viva! Must have been bright sunny day at the Rock.

Am_b_2's picture

Based on just 1 game, how can you decide "No more speculation on who is the best woman in chess." ???

jan van der marel's picture

Correct me if I'm wrong, but has Judith Polgar gained weight?

Remco G's picture

She's a 35 year old mother of two. Are you comparing her with herself at age 18 or so?

jan van der marel's picture

No, i'm not, i'm just looking at a picture i see; but in those days she looked awesome. She still has the irresistable smile though!

By the way, strange you never hear about secret love affairs in chess tournaments and in the chess community. As far as that is concerned, chess has NOTHING to do with real life.

jan van der marel's picture

Since I'm not a chess expert, I would like to read that, for example, 'Peter Svidler in the night left his hotel room and gave Jovanna H. a visit.' Just to make those chess players more HUMAN.

fen's picture

I wouldn't. Svidler is married with kids. Could you please troll someplace else?

jan van der marel's picture

It was only an example. What about: 'While analysing their game, Nigel Short couldnt keep his hands off Antoaneta S.'?

Remco G's picture

In the past, there used to be stories of Van Wely and Shirov going after the same women, and the rest day (+party) during the Olympiad is also often the source of some gossip, like when Gormally punched Aronian over Arianne Caoili.

jan van der marel's picture

Yeah, Kingloek found out very soon that marriage wasnt his cup of tea. A girlfriend in every city, thats real life! He and Shirov as womanizers, thats the kind of story i like to here! No offence to married people, of course.

Thomas's picture

Quite a few relationships or marriages fail, why should this be different for (professional) chess players? It may also have to do with the life they live, spending lots of time away from home.
Another old story (from the 1990's) is Gelfand "stealing" the girl-friend of Michael Adams. A bit later they played a candidates match, in one game a queen exchange turned out to be in Gelfand's favor.

anonymous's picture

Gormally should be banned for chess from that - Aronian could
have lost some of his genius from getting punched in the head!

MJul's picture

After 2 kids and been 35 yo, probably.

pat j's picture

you get the ' stupid comment of the week ' award, which is saying something on chessvibes.

Harish Srinivasan's picture

The 50 move rule mentioned in Adams-Howell game seems strange. A pawn has moved on the 60th move, so the 50 move rule should take the game at least unto 110. But Adams moved another pawn at move 108. So how can Howell claim a draw? May be you meant he could have claimed a draw based on a three fold repetition. I have not checked but I think there may have been one.

Aditya's picture

He meant that Howell could have claimed a draw on move 110 if the pawn was not played for two more moves.

Harish Srinivasan's picture

Right thanks. Language ambiguity :)

Chess Fan's picture

Wow, just wow.
Not to say You Hifan is better, but the fact that she can "stay" and beat Judith proves we all already know - she is the real deal, AND she is second only to Mickey in this tournament after seven rounds?!
Incredible You Hifan.

Anthony Migchels's picture

That's indeed quite an achievement by Hifan!

After all the politically correct nonsense on Chessbase about the oh so strange situation that women can't play chess it's indeed nice to see an exception to the rule!

Thomas's picture

Hou Yifan isn't even an exception to the rule, or at least not the only one: Dazgnidze is also mentioned in the report, Zhu Chen beat Gupta and drew against male GMs Erdos and Kulaots, Khurtsidze had four draws against GMs who were about 200 points higher-rated (Erdos, Sargissian, Gustafsson, Iturrizaga). Or, from the point of view of some favorites: Svidler with white had to concede draws against Anna Muzychuk and Nadezhda Kosintseva, Shirov couldn't beat Stefanova with black. Makes me wonder if these women are a bit underrated from playing mostly women-only events?
Anyway, what does "can't play chess" mean? I guess we all (commenting here) play worse chess than many female GMs, even those who are just WGM.

Anthony's picture

Well, it means there performance is of a much lower standard than male chess.

And their numbers are no explanation: far more women cook than men, but the best cooks in the world are mostly male.

This whole feminism thing is such a ruse. We don't love women for their achievements. We don't like to compete with them either: most men don't like to play women.

We have other and better reasons to appreciate them.

Hughbertie's picture

Adams you wily old fox...well done mr cool. People that moan saying its a dead draw are fools. If ir=ts a draw let the kid Howell prove it on the board....which he couldnt do. A lesson learn for the mongrel.

Also maybe the Polgar sisters will stop blowing hot air up their sisters behind now, 0-5/2 for the supposed all conquering woman!!
Humble pie tasts nice sometimes.
She was completlty ouyplayed by Hou. Looks like Polgar needs to go back and play with the other women, shes finished in open tourneys.

anonymous's picture

She's not "finished in open tourneys" because she lost a game to a great player like Hou. Judit is 2710 which is in the top 40 of MALE grandmasters. Hou is on her way up, that's all. However it would be nice to see Judit play a match for the Women's World Championship - they both have exciting styles.

Lee's picture

Seems to me that it's the other way around.

Rather than Judit being relegated to playing in all female tournaments, the women - who are being shown as playing extremely well here, should spread their wings and perform in more difficult open events. Makes me think the women might be a little underrated.

Xeno's picture

Hou has been playing dozens of open tournaments, it's just that the opposition has been too strong for her and her results haven't been impressive. Maybe she can do a Polgar and only play open tournaments in the future but she still has a long way to go to reach 2650

MJul's picture

Judit haters came out from shadows!

columbo's picture

She got a new scalpt today ! she is really an incredible player, watch out !

JeroenKK's picture

Giri must look out, or else Hou Yifan will overtake him in the 2700 live ratings !!!!!! :)

Juan Castillo's picture

She will do if she keeps playing like this tournament, she had beaten 3 2700+ opponents (Almasi Zoltan, Judith Polgar and Le Quang Liem). How ever I really think that she is "just" having a very well tournament.

In my opinion the game against Almasi was very good, but against Polgar to find the objective seemed rather easy (of course, it is very easy to say that from my desk with computer engine ON), also Le Quang Liem blundered trying to avoid perpetual.

Round 9 will be against Shirov if she wins tomorrow and Adams doesn't she will be the sole winner, in case of a tie rapid (or blitz?) will be played.

Andre From Outkast's picture

The tournament is ten rounds long.

Juan Castillo's picture

Oh! my bad, I thought it was 9, thanks.

columbo's picture

she was born in 1994 and she " just " got the scalp of 3 +2700 ... euh !

Thomas's picture

Of course a draw or a loss against Shirov will be a more "normal" result - not just because she has black (and all her wins against 2700ers were with the white pieces). And she should get another black in the 10th and final round. So (sole) first place overall still seems unlikely, but - with a 1-point lead over several other female players - Women's first prize (10000 GBP) is very likely.

Adams had another slightly favorable ending with rooks and opposite-colored bishops, but this time there was no mating net in sight, the opponent Mamedyarov didn't blunder and maybe Adams didn't try quite as hard or long.

Zorglub's picture

Le Quang Liem blundered trying to avoid perpetual...False! he played Bc5 and white had many options to take the draw so he just didn't see...

Morley's picture

Yes, it seems rather that Le was desperately trying to find "only" moves against a very dangerous attack, and was not up to the task. It was either a White win or a perpetual after her Rxh6 sacrifice, and to say that Le blundered while trying to avoid a perpetual detracts from her achievement.

Morley's picture

Hou Yifan just beat Shirov, after thoroughly outplaying him in the endgame. Sole lead of the tournament!

Charles Foster Kane's picture

Hou wins against Shirov! I think these guys are guilty of not taking her seriously. Great Play!

columbo's picture

4 scalp ! ! ! ! Holla Juan no dice nada ???

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