Reports | January 31, 2011 21:13

Ivanchuk leads in Gibraltar

Ivanchuk leads in GibraltarAfter six rounds Vassily Ivanchuk is leading the Masters tournament of the 2011 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival. Yesterday the Ukrainian beat English grandmaster Nigel Short, who had started with 5 out of 5. The playing field includes many top women, like both Kosintseva sisters, and the legendary Viktor Korchnoi plays as well. He's still undefeated, and beat Fabiano Caruana in round 2.

General info

The 2011 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival takes place from Monday 24 January to Thursday 3 February 2011 at the Caleta Hotel in Gibraltar. It is the ninth in the series of major international chess events held on "the Rock" but the first one to be sponsored by Tradewise Insurance.

This year there are 52 Grandmasters playing in the Open Masters with 298 players from 46 countries. The top five seeds in the men's are: Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine), Michael Adams (England), Fabiano Caruana (Italy), Paco Vallejo (Spain) and Victor Bologan (Moldova). In the women's they are: Tatiana Kosintseva (Russia), Nadezhda Kosintseva (Russia), Nana Dzagnidze (Georgia), Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) and Viktorija Cmilyte (Lithuania).

2011 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival, round 1

The Masters is played over 10 rounds. The rate of play 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 fewer than 30 moves are not allowed.

Live streaming with commentary is available every afternoon with the new commentator for the festival Grandmaster Simon Williams, who is joined by tournament director GM Stuart Conquest.

2011 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival, commentary

Unfortunately Hou Yifan, the current Women's World Chess Champion, had to pull out of the tournament at the eleventh hour. The young Chinese player informed the organizers of her decision, due to personal reasons because of critical illness in her family. Tournament organizer Brian Callaghan, obviously disappointed at the news, nonetheless said he understood her decision: “Here in Gibraltar like in many other countries family comes first; and we fully understand Hou Yifan’s decision not to travel. Our thoughts and best wishes are with her at this time.”

With very few surprises in the first round, already the next day the tournament had a splendid story to tell the world: Viktor Korchnoi, who will turn 80 in March, beat Fabiano Caruana with the black pieces. Before this game Korchnoi's score against Caruana was 0-4 with no draws. One might remember their encounter at the 2009 NH Chess Tournament, where Korchnoi wasn't too friendly after losing against the Italian. One and a half years later the grumpy legend finally got his win.

Gibraltar 2011


29...Bxd3! 30.Kg1 e4 and after many more complications Black won.

2011 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival, Caruana-Korchnoi

After three rounds GMs Viktorija Cmilyte, Deep Sengupta and Nigel Short and IM Nadezhda Kosintseva were still on a 100% score. In that round top seed Vassily Ivanchuk was held to a draw by GM Ruben Felgaer from Argentina.

Short nicely outplayed Tatiana Kosintseva in a Ragozin. "I'm old enough to play 1 d4! When I was a teenager, I told myself I would start playing 1 d4 when I was thirty but it didn't happen. It has now happened in my forties," said Short afterwards in the commentary room.

In the next round Nadezhda Kosintseva beat Viktorija Cmilyte. This meant she would be playing Nigel Short the next day, as the Englishman defeated Deep Sengupta. Against Viktor Erdos, Vassily Ivanchuk managed to break through with a rook sac:

Gibraltar 2011


Both players had manoeuvred for many moves behind their respective barriers and a draw was the expected result, but now Black left open a sacrificial possibility. We don't know whether this was by design or accident. 39...Qa7 40.Rxd5! There was a cry of "bravo" in the commentary room when Vassily played this enterprising move. It is probably the only move which could lead to a decisive result - though not necessarily a win for White. 40...exd5 41.e6+ Kh6 42.Rxd5 Rbd8 43.Rxd8 Rxd8 44.Bxf5 It gradually becomes clear that the sacrifice is sound, though Black might have put up a better defence to this point. 44...Qc7 45.g3 Rd1+ 46.Kf2 Qd8 47.Bc2 Now f5+ is a devastating threat, so Black has to give up the exchange. 47...Rd3 48.Bxd3 Qxd3 49.f5+! Qxe3+ 50.Kxe3 Ne7 51.Ke4 Bc6+ 52.Ke5 Nd5 53.b5! Nxc3 54.bxc6 Nb5 55.e7 Nc7 56.Kd6 Ne8+ 57.Kd7 Nf6+ 58.Ke6 Ne8 59.Kf7 Nc7 60.e8Q 1–0 [Notes by Stewart Reuben]

In the fifth round Nigel Short also beat the other Kosintseva sister, Nadezhda. This puts the English grandmaster half a point ahead of top-rated Vassily Ivanchuk and Daniel Fridman going into round six.

2011 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival, Short-Kosintseva

Ivanchuk had been on the verge of losing against the other "Vassyl": Vassilios Kotronias from Greece.

Gibraltar 2011


28.Kb1? 28.f4! was proposed by Simon Williams in the commentary room and Vassily agreed that this was excellent and maybe winning for White. 28...Ra6 29.Qf5 Now 29.f4 doesn't work because of 29...Nxe4 and the rook drops with check. 29...Qc4 30.Re1 Rc5!? 31.Rf2?! 31.f4! was still critical, according to Vassily. The problem is that 31...Rca5 (31...exf4 32.e5? (32.Qxf4) 32...Rxe5! 33.Rxe5 Qf1+ 34.Nc1 Qxc1+! 35.Kxc1 Ra1# is a beautiful mate.) 32.Nxa5 Rxa5 33.Rxd6 is winning for White. 31...Rca5!

32.Nxa5 Rxa5 33.f4 Qa2+ 34.Kc1 Qa1+ 35.Kd2 Qxb2; 32.f4 Ra1+ 33.Nxa1 Qa2+ transposes 32...Qd4! Suddenly White is lost. 33.Nxa5 Qd1+ 34.Ka2 Rxa5+ 35.Kb3 Qa1 36.c3 Qa4+ 37.Kc4 bxc3+ 0–1 [Notes by John Saunders]

In round six Nigel Short suffered his first defeat. With the black pieces he couldn't hold things together against Vassily Ivanchuk.

2011 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival, Ivanchuk-Short

This round included two wonderful games which you shouldn't miss below in the game viewer: Akobian-Mikhalevski and Dzagnidze-Vallejo.

We finish this first report on Gibraltar by noting that after six rounds Viktor Korchnoi hasn't lost a game yet. In rounds 3-6 he drew with a number of strong GMs: Akobian, Bologan, Sandipan and Sasikiran.

Here's a video created by Zeljka Malobabic, with highlights from the tournament so far.The musician in the video is Maria Yarur from Chile, who is playing in the Amateur competition.

Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival | Masters | Round 6 Standings

London Chess Classic 2010 | Pairings

Selection of games rounds 1-6

Game viewer by ChessTempo

During the tournament tournament photo/videographer Zeljka Malobabic together with tournament director Stuart Conquest, and a handful of players visited the top of the Rock and Gibraltar's most famous Rock Apes in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve.

Gibraltar Apes are a species of tailless monkeys called Barbary Macaques. These Macaques can be found in Morocco and Algeria, with those in Gibraltar being the only free-living monkeys in Europe today.

The group also took the opportunity to visit two other popular attractions. St Michael's Cave has interested visitors to Gibraltar ever since the Romans. The Cathedral Cave was long believed to be bottomless, probably giving birth to the story that Gibraltar was linked to Africa by a subterranean passage over 15 miles (24 Km) long under the Straits of Gibraltar. The Great Siege Tunnels meanwhile, a labyrinth of tunnels inside the Rock of Gibraltar, was used as a defence system devised by man.

Chess players Inna Gaponenko (Ukraine), Natalija Pogonina (Russia), Natalie Zhukova (Ukraine), Salome Melia (Georgia), Viktorija Cmilyte (Lithuania), Achim dr Illner (Germany), Yerazik Khachatourian (Norway), and Milad Memarian (Iran) all had a great time, before getting down to battle as play continued in the Gibraltar Masters.

Visiting Gibraltar's Rock

Inna Gaponenko (Ukraine)

Visiting Gibraltar's Rock

Yerazik Khachatourian (Norway)

Visiting Gibraltar's Rock

Salome Melia (Georgia)

Visiting Gibraltar's Rock

Viktorija Cmilyte (Lithuania)

Visiting Gibraltar's Rock

Natalija Pogonina (Russia)

Visiting Gibraltar's Rock

Natalijna Zhukova (Ukraine)

Visiting Gibraltar's Rock

Group photo with Stuart Conquest and these five ladies on the Rock

Photos © John Saunders & Zeljka Malobabic


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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.


Ben's picture

Wow, the USA's best performance so far is an untitled player who's barely over 2200 here and has been so for three years. That'll be cool if he gets a GM norm out of this.

Ivanchuk's games are always the best win or lose. He makes them worth watching. Hopefully he wins this and gets more invites to the elite events where he has many fans!

CAL|Daniel's picture

wait I thought this was a 7 round event? There is 9 rounds for a norm? Who is the player?

Ivanchuk turned down an invite to Tata to come here.

Ben's picture

The event is ten rounds, last round on Feb. 3rd.

His name is Paul Szuper (USCF 2208) of New York
Hopefully the chart below formats alright:

1 132 FM Lasinskas Povilas 2164 Loss
2 204 Jorgensen Line Jin 1892 Win
3 186 De Lillo Michele 1964 Win
4 58 IM Gaponenko Inna 2466 Draw
5 57 WGMPogonina Natalija 2472 Win
6 33 GM Lemos Damian 2553 Win
7 25 GM Ikonnikov Vyacheslav 2580 Draw
8 21 GM Erdos Viktor 2593 ???

So after six rounds he was at least 1/2-point ahead of every American GM. Not bad, and in the seventh round today he drew another GM.

Tylo's picture

nice live comments on

hanseman's picture

>> Caruana was 0-4 with no draws :)

CAL|Daniel's picture

go to seconds 30 in the video to skip the horrible musician and get to Ivanchuk!

Bert de Bruut's picture

On the contrary Daniel! I am gonna quit my job and emigrate to Chile for I have fallen desperately in love with Maria Yarur!

NBC's picture

Great video. Thanks Mr. Malobabic

Wouter Otto Levenbach aka Dave's picture

Hi Peter,

Here is the last communique published on Europe-Echecs:

The Biel International Chess Festival organizing committee took into account the Fédération française des échecs (FFE) communiqué of January the 21st 2011, in which it is announced that a disciplinary action had been initiated December the 22nd 2010 against the International Grandmasters Arnaud Hauchard and Sebastien Feller as well as against International Master Cyril Marzolo, on suspicion of "organized cheating, serious breach of sport ethics, undermining the image of the national Olympic team, at the World Team Chess Championship that took place in Khanty-Mansyik (Russia) from September 21 to October 3, 2010”.

In articles and interviews published on multiple internet sites, the Biel International Chess Festival of 2010 was mentioned, according to these sources, there as well a possible organized cheating took place by the three aforementioned players.

Ask to give expression on this case at multiple times from various direct or indirect actors, the Biel International Chess Festival releases the following official communiqué:

1.As for the FFE communiqué, the disciplinary action concerns the Khanty Mansiysk Olympiads. It is nowhere said that the Biel Festival is concerned. To this day, we didn’t receive any request from the FFE.
2.Indeed GMs Arnaud Hauchard and Sébastien Feller participated in the 2010 Biel Open. IM Cyril Marzolo was there at the Palais des Congrès for a few days but didn’t participate in the Open.
3.Never a formal and direct complaint from a player was addressed to one of the arbiters concerning the aforementioned players. However, the Festival Bureau recalls a player who complained about “suspicion of cheating”. Because the Bureau deals on a regular basis with such claims, often unfounded, the player had been told to contact an arbiter to share his suspicions. But no arbiters had been contacted as far as the principal arbiter and the organizing committee are aware of.
4.Of course, in the case of a serious complaint, one of the arbiters would have investigated on the case, with the tools set at his disposal.
5.It is only in September, about a month after the Biel Open that we received an e-mail, from a contact, of three anonymous testimonies of players accusing directly the aforementioned players of “organized cheating”. Those accusations are indeed very detailed. A sample game is displayed which could have been manipulated. But the victim GM didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary at the time.
6.Not knowing the identity of those three witnesses and considering the impossibility to initiate an investigation weeks after, without any evidence, the Festival wasn’t yet able to follow up on those suspicions.
7.Subsequently to this case, it has been already decided to reinforce the surveillance system for the next Biel festival, which will happen from July 16th to 29th 2011.

The Biel International Chess Festival
The organizing Commitee, 01.30.2011
Peter Bohnenblust, President
Peter Burri, Director
Olivier Breisacher, Public relations and Grand Masters Tournament Manager
Matthias Gallus, Principal Arbiter

Jason Jister's picture

Can we get some more information on the Giant Killer Paul Szuper (USCF 2208)
amazing performance!

Thomas's picture

What I could find out from his rating record:
- He was born in 1987, so he may still qualify as a rising star.
- As the name could also suggest, he may have some Polish roots or connections: most of his previous European events were in Poland. American events were in New York and (Foxwoods Open) Connecticut.
- It's his first overperformance, so he isn't yet another Matthew Herman. That US guy (now Elo 2392) gained 243 points for the January 2011 list, plus another 44 in Groningen counting for the March 2011 list.

The Devil's picture

Nigel Short seems like such a nice guy.

Nima's picture

Long live Viktor the Great.

Remco G's picture

Korchnoi has a 2733 TPR at 80 years old. Wow.

Rob Brown's picture

Every year I look forward to Stuart Conquest's excellent live commentary from Gibraltar. Simon Williams is a fine addition to the live site for his incisive commentary and because he frees up some time for GM Conquest to monkey around at the top of the rock with no fewer than five attractive young chess girls. 5 to 1! You must know all the best moves, Stu!

Jason Jister's picture

I am trying to find out how Paul Szuper did today.

Am I an idiot, or this information not available anywhere on the home site?

His game was not available live

The standings/pairings have not been updated??

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