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Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2011 (9)

Ivanchuk on 8/9 half a point clear of Short going into the final round

Fabiano Caruana was defeated by Vassily Ivanchuk. Photo ©

Fabiano Caruana was defeated by Vassily Ivanchuk. Photo © |

Vassily Ivanchuk and Nigel Short continued their winning ways in round 9. Ivanchuk won on the black side of a Berlin against Fabiano Caruana and Nigel Short won as white against Victor Mikhalevski. This leaves Ivanchuk on 8/9 half a point clear of Short. The main chasing pack is a further point behind Short. John Saunders reports.

Vassily Ivanchuk and Nigel Short both won their games for the second successive day, so the tournament looks increasingly like a two-man shoot-out between the Ukrainian and the Englishman. Late in the round the darkness returned for the second time in three days as the power failed at 8.20pm, five hours twenty minutes into the session. It returned some forty minutes later but by then the few remaining games had been restarted in what had until now been the commentary room.

"Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the petunias as it fell was ‘Oh no, not again’.” (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams) These same words (or at least the final four of them) echoed around the Caleta Hotel as the power failed again as it had on Monday. The arbiters are evidently familiar with the same book as they heeded its well-known advice - ‘don’t panic’.

Fabiano Caruana against Vassily Ivanchuk. Photo © Gibraltar Website. 2011

Fabiano Caruana found Vassily Ivanchuk as much a handful as he had Viktor Korchnoi. The Ukrainian gradually outplayed his opponent who fell for the same mini-combination losing a pawn that Roiz had allowed against him in the previous round.

Round 9

Caruana, Fabiano (2721) - Ivanchuk,Vassily (2764)

Ruy Lopez

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.0–0 f6 6.d4 Bg4 7.c3 Qe7!?

This is an oddity. 7...Bd6 is the usual move of choice.

8.dxe5 fxe5 9.Re1 Nf6 10.Nbd2 0–0–0

Black castles as soon as possible - a move facilitated by White's last move.

11.Qe2 Qe6 12.h3 Bh5 13.Nf1 Bc5 14.Ng3 Rhf8 15.Be3

A difficult decision but perhaps White might have played 15.Nxh5 to be rid of the turbulent priest on h5. As played, the pressure against f3 becomes a problem.

15...Bxe3 16.Qxe3 Bxf3 17.Qxf3 Rd2

White has maintained the integrity of his pawn structure but Black has obtained a small but nagging initiative for his pieces.

18.Re2 Rfd8 19.Qe3 R2d3 20.Qa7 Qc4 21.Re3

21.Qa8+? Kd7 22.Qxb7 Rxg3! would lose.

21...Rxe3 22.Qxe3 g6 23.Qa7 Nd7 24.Qe3

If 24.Rd1, White sidesteps the problem of the d-file with 24...Rf8 and has a reasonable position.

24...Qb5 25.b3 Qc5 26.Qd3 Nf8 27.Qc2 Ne6

Vassily Ivanchuk


Fabiano Caruana

Position after 27...Ne6


White is on the defensive but this is a bad blunder. 28.Rc1 is an ungainly move but perhaps White can hang on.

28...Nd4! 29.Qd1

29.Qb2 is answered in exactly the same way. Curiously, this is virtually the same combination which Ivanchuk used to win his previous game against Roiz.

29...Qxc3 30.Rb1 h5 31.Ne3 b5

Ivanchuk deprives his opponent of further escape squares, leaving White with a miserable position.

32.Qf1 Qd2 33.a3 Rf8 34.Rd1 Qb2 35.b4 Ne2+ 36.Kh2 Nc3

It's all over.

37.Rc1 Rxf2 38.Qe1 Rd2 39.Qf1 Kb7 40.a4 Rf2 41.Qe1 Nxa4 0–1

Nigel Short against Viktor Mikhalevski. Photo © Gibraltar Website. 2011

On the second board, Nigel Short maintained his pursuit of the top seed with a win against the affable Israeli GM Victor Mikhalevski.

Round 9

Short, Nigel (2658) - Mikhalevski, Victor (2579)

Four Knights’ Defence

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Nd4 5.Ba4 Nxf3+ 6.Qxf3 c6 7.0–0 d6 8.h3 Be7 9.Ne2 0–0 10.c3 h6

10...d5 and 10...b5 have been played here previously.

11.d4 d5 12.exd5 e4 13.Qg3 Bd6 14.Qh4 cxd5 15.f3 Be7 16.Bb3 b6 17.Qf2 Ba6 18.Be3 Nh5 19.fxe4 Bh4

White tempted Black to try the immediate 19...Bxe2? 20.Qxe2 Ng3 21.Qg4! Nxf1 22.Bxh6 Bf6 23.Bxd5 when the knight will be captured and White will have more than sufficient compensation for the exchange.

20.Qf3 Bxe2 21.Qxe2 Ng3 22.Qg4

Deliberately provoking Black's next (which is probably forced) in order to weaken his kingside pawn structure.

22...h5 23.Qd1 Nxf1 24.Kxf1

Short felt that, with the two free-range bishops, he was better.

24...dxe4 25.Qxh5 Bg3 26.Bd5 Rc8

26...Qf6+ 27.Ke2 Rad8 28.Rf1 leads to a comfortable advantage for White.

27.Bxe4 g6 28.Qf3 Qh4 29.Ke2 Rce8 30.Kd3 Re7 31.Bc6 Kh7 32.Qg4 Qxg4 33.hxg4

Victor Mikhalevski


Nigel Short

Position after 33.hxg4


As in Ivanchuk's game, the player under pressure blunders. 33...Kg7 34.Rh1 Rh8 is tough but at least Black is alive.

34.Rh1+ Kg7 35.Bh6+ Kf7 36.Bd5+ Ke8 37.Bxf8 Kxf8 38.gxf5 gxf5 39.Rh8+

39.Rh8+ Kg7 40.Rg8+ wins more material.



When the daily tournament bulletin is looked at from a naturalist’s point of view, I would say it is divided roughly 90:10 between Homo sapiens and Macaca sylvanus (with perhaps a little more emphasis on the latter category when the GMs fail to strike sparks at the board). Intelligent readers that you are, you will have figured out that Macaca sylvanus is the formal species name of the Rock monkeys which gambol about the precincts of the hotel and provide living headwear for elite women chessplayers.

This loses sight of the fact that there are many other creatures to be found here within easy walking distance of the Caleta Hotel. Let’s start with the humble House Sparrow. These are less familiar than they were in Britain although there are still plenty around if you look for them. There is a large flock of them around the Caleta Hotel. They flit about the tables on the bar balcony, looking for scraps at tables. They are brave enough to perch on your hand if you hold out titbits, and even come into the bar itself to forage if someone leaves the balcony door open long enough.

Outside the hotel the range of birds becomes more exotic. Even in January it is quite possible to see swallows flying up and down, which we Brits would only see some months later in the year. Either side of the road leading south from the hotel, quite common species are the Sardinian warbler and the Redstart - both very elegant little birds which fly around the scrub near the road.

Look up towards the rock and there is one bird you cannot miss: the Herring gull. There must be countless thousands of them, wheeling above the rock and roosting on its slopes. Of course, they are found on the coast all over Britain too. I recall in Port Erin, Isle of Man, during the Monarch Assurance International some years, the late John Robinson sitting down to enjoy his well-earned lunch at the Cosy Nook Café. Suddenly there was a flurry of feathers and John’s lunch had been scooped up and carried off in its entirety by a herring gull. Slightly off topic, another Isle of Man tournament official who failed to observe the maxim ‘caveat arbiter’ was our own David Welch. David stooped down to stroke a Manx cat (for those who don’t know, these have no tail) and was rewarded for this friendly gesture by being bitten. However, the same cat treated another arbiter, Peter Purland, with rather more respect, submitting to being stroked without sinking his fangs into him. Perhaps the cat recognised that this was a man mountain of a physical education teacher who was not to be messed with.

I happened to be outside the hotel today for my lunchtime walk, looking up to see if there were any other interesting birds to spot. I bumped into arbiter Stephen Boyd whilst doing this but it was Stephen who first spotted a large shape gliding high up amongst the smaller herring gulls. Note that these gulls are not small themselves so we knew we looking at a substantial bird of prey. I think it might have been something like a Booted Eagle or perhaps an Osprey. I took a fuzzy photo of it but cannot be any more specific. I’m told there are plenty more eagles and large birds of prey to be seen in the vicinity. Gibraltar is a good place if you want to combine chess with bird-watching.

I shall refocus my gaze on the chessboard for the moment. I have the first few norm achievements to announce. Nadezhda Kosintseva yesterday completed her requirement for the GM title, so very well done to her. Also, IM norms (not sure which ones) have been achieved by Toomas Valgmae of Estonia, Espen Forsaa of Norway and Tom Weber of Luxembourg. Congratulations to them too. Of course there may be more norms to celebrate today.

As regards the last round, with a number of draws amongst the other leaders, there are now just two contenders for first place since Vassily Ivanchuk can no longer be caught by anyone other than Nigel Short. But Short is only half a point adrift so there is everything to play for. More fun tomorrow.

Leaders: Vassily Ivanchuk 8/9, Nigel Short 7½, Viktor Bologan, Pentala Harikrishna, Victor Mikhalevski, Kaido Kulaots, GN Gopal, Viktor Erdos, Michael Roiz, Romain Edouard, Salome Melia 6½, etc.

N.B. The final round starts at 10am (GMT+1) on Thursday 3 February.

Gibraltar Masters Caleta ENG Mon 24th Jan 2011 - Thu 3rd Feb 2011
Leading Round 9 (of 10) Standings:
1Ivanchuk VassilyGMUKR27648.02947
2Short Nigel DGMENG26587.52849
3Fridman DanielGMGER26556.52732
4Kulaots KaidoGMEST25776.52715
5Roiz MichaelGMISR26496.52712
6Gopal Geetha NarayananGMIND25976.52674
7Bologan ViktorGMMDA26936.52662
8Harikrishna PentalaGMIND26676.52653
9Mikhalevski VictorGMISR25796.52633
10Melia SalomeIMGEO24496.52612
11Erdos ViktorGMHUN25936.52601
12Edouard RomainGMFRA26346.52590
13Sengupta DeepGMIND25306.02718
14Adams MichaelGMENG27236.02680
15Korchnoi ViktorGMSUI25446.02670
16Sasikiran KrishnanGMIND26906.02665
17Caruana FabianoGMITA27216.02654
18Kosintseva NadezhdaIMRUS25526.02649
19Lafuente PabloGMARG25616.02635
20Dzagnidze NanaGMGEO25506.02629
21Vallejo Pons FranciscoGMESP26986.02618
22Buhmann RainerGMGER25726.02617
23Georgiev KirilGMBUL26696.02612
24Nisipeanu Liviu-DieterGMROU26786.02600
25Kacheishvili GiorgiGMGEO25856.02573
26Ikonnikov VyacheslavGMRUS25806.02570
Bellaiche AnthonyIMFRA24586.02570
28Berg EmanuelGMSWE26276.02554
29Cmilyte ViktorijaGMLTU25266.02534
30Harika DronavalliIMIND25206.02530
31Lemos DamianGMARG25536.02513
32Kanep MeelisGMEST25316.02510
33Fier AlexandrGMBRA25716.02507
34Iordachescu ViorelGMMDA26346.02499
35Vernay ClovisIMFRA24466.02472
36Das ArghyadipIMIND24796.02469
37Cabrera AlexisGMESP25186.02466
38Tate AlanSCO22926.02413
39Akobian VaruzhanGMUSA26185.52559
40Onischuk AlexanderGMUSA26895.52548
41Fernandez Romero ErnestoIMESP24535.52537
42Speelman Jon SGMENG25245.52536
43Krush IrinaIMUSA24835.52521
44Zatonskih AnnaIMUSA24935.52512
45Nezad Husein AzizIMQAT24205.52504
46Valgmae ToomasEST21905.52503
47Soffer RamGMISR24895.52495
48Gallagher Joseph GGMSUI25015.52449
49Robson RayGMUSA25325.52444
50Zhukova NataliaGMUKR24415.52433
51Battaglini GabrielIMFRA24375.52425
52Vaibhav SuriIMIND24215.52419
53Andersen MadsFMDEN24105.52402
54Jones Gawain C BGMENG25935.52401
55Le Roux Jean-PierreGMFRA25515.52400
56Karim IsmaelIMMAR23755.52393
57Stokke KjetilFMNOR24135.52364
58Sipila VilkaFIN22695.52355
59Zygouris HristosGRE22155.52344
60Daurelle HerveFRA22435.52335
61Bergstrom RolfFMSWE23075.52293
62Henriksson JohanSWE22435.52271
63Rapport RichardGMHUN25315.02595
64Zhu ChenGMQAT24955.02564
65Sandipan ChandaGMIND26415.02527
66Felgaer RubenGMARG25855.02497
67Forsaa EspenFMNOR23065.02481
68Weber TomFMLUX23105.02462
69El Debs Felipe De CresceGMBRA24995.02446
70Kosintseva TatianaGMRUS25705.02440
71Tscharotschkin MichaelGER21815.02419
72Zaremba AndrieFMUSA23395.02411
73Karavade EeshaIMIND23535.02410
74Szuper PaulUSA21745.02400
75Wohl Aleksandar HIMAUS24095.02395
76Boskovic DraskoIMSRB24125.02375
77Al-Sayed MohammedGMQAT24905.02370
78Jones Richard SFMWLS23615.02369
79Getz NicolaiFMNOR23345.02359
80Illner Achim DrFMGER23455.02351
81Estrada Nieto JulianIMMEX23095.02342
82Oberhofer AndreGER22705.02340
83Monroy CharlesIMFRA24215.02330
84Slavin AlexeiIMRUS24175.02325
85Stefanova AntoanetaGMBUL25465.02324
86Vogel JaapFMNED22075.02319
87Gaponenko InnaIMUKR24665.02311
88Navarrete Espi SamuelESP20955.02308
89Kolbus DietmarIMGER23325.02306
90Pogonina NatalijaWGMRUS24725.02295
91Kantans TomsFMLAT23425.02287
92Avalos Parra JoaoFMCHI22525.02276
93Malmdin Nils-AkeSWE22725.02266
94Montero Melendez RafaelESP22655.02223
95Wahlbom MagnusSWE23055.02211
96Chapman Terry P DENG22505.02147
97Calzetta Ruiz MonicaWGMESP22844.52418
98Thomassen JoachimIMNOR24044.52366
99Peek MarcelIMNED23424.52364
100Mullon Jean-BaptisteIMFRA24204.52353
Nuri KambezSUI23004.52353
102Vaarala EricSWE21524.52331
103Bellin RobertIMENG23674.52326
104Bellon Lopez Juan ManuelGMESP24044.52324
105Hoffmann MichaelGMGER25064.52323
106Dougherty MichaelFMCAN21834.52300
107Urbina Perez Juan AntonioCMESP21894.52296
108Garcia Jimenez Francisco JavieFMESP22744.52288
109Andreasen PerFMDEN22394.52286
110Meskovs NikitaLAT22434.52263
111Sanchez LouisFMFRA22624.52246
112Itkis HanaWFMUSA20844.52241
113Cramling PiaGMSWE25164.52237
Dittmar PeterFMGER23284.52237
115Seyfried ClausGER21734.52235
116Wheldon PhilipENG21064.52225
117Jaunooby Ali RENG22074.52202
118Scholzen WolfgangGER20574.52193
119Tabatt HendrikGER23424.52187
120Lochte ThomasGER21734.52183
121Daumen MichaelGER21304.52133
122Montabord ManuelFRA20634.52124
123Steil-Antoni FionaWIMLUX21184.52105
124Tari AryanNOR20974.52094
125Valhondo Morales RubenESP19484.52079
126Vinas Guerrero Carlos AESP21214.52059
127Lee Kai Jie EdwardSIN18334.52051
128Bous FlorianGER20884.52019
129Wilson AlexandraWFMSUI20374.51997
130Sarkar JustinIMUSA24184.02382
131Cummings David HIMCAN23664.02299
132Aerni AndiSUI21824.02270
133Nikolaidis KonstantinosFMGRE22844.02215
134Tozer Philip A AENG21404.02186
135Spence David JENG22314.02185
136Mckenna Jason PENG20624.02184
137Daoudi KamalMAR21554.02177
138Kandic MilanSRB21434.02156
139Sreeves ClementSCO20934.02155
140Hauge Lars OskarNOR19424.02131
141Lipecki AlexanderSUI21264.02130
142Arnott Jonathan WENG21764.02127
143Osuna Vega EnriqueCMESP21404.02125
144Groffen HansNED21694.02103
145Knudsen Jes WestDEN20004.02087
146Collier David OENG21084.02082
147Sommerhalder EricSUI20004.02079
148Hvenekilde JorgenFMDEN21214.02066
149Spanton Tim RENG20074.02059
150Dasaolu AdeoyeENG21074.02057
151Fairbairn StephenCAN20584.02053
152Suez-Panama GillesFRA20964.02048
Brown DavidENG19234.02048
154Becking Franz JosefGER20294.02045
155Winkler StefanGER18674.02035
156Stebbings Anthony JENG22854.02027
157Henderikse BertNED20584.01998
158Cebada Benitez FernandoESP19974.01979
159Ungureanu SanduROU20004.01965
160Henrichsen JensDEN19254.01961
161Becker ThomasGER21574.01943
162Marder SimonSWE19904.01932
163Phillips Owen SENG19924.01925
164Kotronias VasiliosGMGRE25993.52632
165Piasetski LeonIMCAN23033.52273
166Lacrosse MarcFMBEL21813.52160
167Carlsten PeterSWE21103.52105
168Memarian MiladIRI20283.52057
169Compton AlistairNZL20463.52048
170Hamer MartynENG20413.52035
171Eman LennartSWE03.52017
172Hegvik Leif TrygveNOR18143.52012
173Fomani MehdiESP20133.52006
174Salomon JohanNOR18363.51990
175Gillespie GarySCO18483.51981
176Freuler RomanSUI20923.51974
177Schweizer ManfredGER20753.51964
178Obiamiwe PaulNGR20153.51959
179Zanetti BrunoSUI20173.51956
180Georgieva EmiliaBUL19073.51947
181Kuenitz KlausGER16953.51946
182Sigamoney Cyril SUSA19783.51935
183Boesch HeinzGER18993.51933
184Shepherd MichaelSCO19993.51932
185Garcia de Lomas Guerrero CarloESP19403.51923
186Haga HalvorNOR20243.51903
187Flores Chico JorgeESP19993.51898
188Moreno Cervera Jose LuisESP19033.51877
189Kuehnast VolkerGER18993.51870
190Khachatourian YerazikNOR19963.51859
191Jorgensen Line JinNOR18923.51856
192Lasinskas PovilasFMLTU21643.02080
193Costello Colin AENG19753.01981
194Messam-Sparks LateefahENG19043.01961
195Perez Reisler JosePUR18933.01946
196Jameson DavidWLS20543.01942
197Helin MikaelSWE19143.01876
198Fogg MartinENG18903.01873
199Leimeister WinfriedGER19063.01813
200Reid VanessWFMAUS18413.01798
201Lochte SzilviaHUN20153.01797
202Forsa EliseNOR17263.01779
203Gonzalez Amaya MillanESP18173.01749
204Bihi MehdiFRA19363.01739
205Connor Stephen JENG20422.52106
206Martinez Gonzalez Francisco IiESP18702.51897
207Gholami ArminNOR17792.51879
208Neumanova MonikaCZE17122.51856
209Zaky TamirFRA18612.51848
210Berggren KlasSWE14632.51828
211Havik VictorNOR21072.51823
212De Lillo MicheleITA19642.51795
213Bishop PeterLUX17842.51759
214Lundback KarlSWE19692.51758
215Birkestrand OddNOR18942.51717
216Wright JonathanENG18952.51689
217Whatley StephenGIB15702.51656
218Vea Odin BlikraNOR22142.02162
219Byron Alan MENG21922.02037
220Kelly PaulWLS19462.01874
221Kympergr VojtechCZE16312.01720
222Grainger BenjaminENG18022.01694
223Matto ManuelGIB18382.01683
224Rough Robert ESCO17422.01647
225Siddiqui NidaPAK17392.01643
226Bauder HerbertGER20052.01581
227Stene VegardNOR16081.51946
228Rudd JackIMENG22971.51945
229Christiansen Johan-SebastianNOR19551.01684
230Andersson UlfGMSWE25791.00
231Veiga Rodriguez PabloESP15280.51411
232Jaime Montalvan Luis FelipeFMESP21860.00
232 players

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