Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2014
Gibraltar Chess Festival is taking place from the 27th of january to the 6th of february, 2014.
Gibraltar's tournament is unique in several respects.
Firstly because it's organized on a huge rock where only witty players will not be stolen from kleptomaniac monkeys.
Secondly, it is one of the strongest opens in the world. Prices attract among the world's best, and also from the top women players, as a price structure is reserved for the best of them.There is also a beauty prize for each round.
Moreover, the playing conditions are excellent as participants play in a luxury hotel overlooking the Mediterranean sea.
Tournament's link : http://www.gibraltarchesscongress.com/
Chess Anyone has selected and reviewed several games of the tournament. After a brief description, you will find its analysis by clicking on the highlighted link.
- Round 1 : Vachier-Lagrave, M. (2745) – Lombaers, P. (2255), 1-0, C98, by IM Jean-Noël Riff
Jean-Noël analyzes for us the subtelties of the spanish defense via this lovely game of Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (aka MVL). A nice way to start a tournament for the French number 1 who finishes the game by a checkmate on the board ! (Click here to see the analyzed game)
- Round 2 : Roeder, M. (2423) – Edouard, R. (2658), 0-1, A33, by IM Jean-Noël Riff
Very nice game of Romain Edouard who outplayed his strong opponent. Jean-Noël tells us how, after taking the edge after the opening, Romain converted it with an impeccable technique. (Click here to see the analyzed game)
- Round 3 : Fier, A. (2572) – Adams, M. (2754), E20, 1/2 par MI Quentin Loiseau
Draws between GM, who prefer to relax instead of going for blood, are often condemned. The annotated game analyzed by Quentin (a new columnist!) demonstrates that there is also fighting draws. Some we could call "beauty draws". (Click here to see the analyzed game)
- Round 4 : Gopal, G.N (2550) – Vallejo Pons (2707), C00, 0-1, by IM Gildas Goldsztejn
By trying too hard to think outside of the box to unsaddle his opponent, the Indian Geetha Gopal Naranayan falls in a complicated situation which the active play of Vallejo Pons from Spain takes full advantage of.
According to Gildas, white played passively probably due to their excessive caution related to their opponent's ranking. It seems hard to win in chess when we're afraid - or is it because our opponent is just too strong ?
(Click here to see the analyzed game)
- Round 5 : Vachier-Lagrave, M. (2745) – Maresco, S. (2582), B48, 1-0, by IGM Yannick Gozzoli
This game reveals how a simple unprecise move in the opening can lead to a disaster against a top level player as Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
Yannick explains to us the different thematical plans occuring in a direct attack in a sicilian position and enlighten us in this very tactical game won brilliantly by the french number 1. (Click here to see the analyzed game)
- Round 6 : Nakar, E. (2398) – Wei, Y. (2607), B90, 0-1, by IM Quentin Loiseau
The Sicilian opening is double-edged. Quentin appreciates the risks taken by black to complicate the matters - by often keeping most of the pieces on the board - but they could have lost the exchange on the 15th move, with minimal compensation.
Though, the risk-taking by the young Chinese prodigy of 14 years old was quickly rewarded as white went wrong right away and lost the thread of the game.
(Click here to see the analyzed game)
- Round 7 : Pogonina, N. (2495) – Short, N. (2686), B12, 1/2, by IM Jean-Noël Riff
The former candidate for the world title against Garry Kasparov in 1993, Englishman Nigel Short, is a regular guest at Gibraltar's tournament. He has already won it twice in 2004 and in 2012, and was really close to win it again last year. We remember his superb rapid games last year under the tiebreaker which took place between Vitiugov, MVL, Sandipan and him. After eliminating MVL during the semifinals he stumbled during the final against Russian's Vitiugov impeccable technique.
In this game, Short faces one of top women players in the world, the Russian Pogonina. Although this game ended in a draw, Jean-Noël decided to annotate it because it reflects the excellent fighting spirit shown by top players when they try to outplay their opponents. (Click here to see the analyzed game)
- Round 8 : Ivanchuk, V. (2739) - Ganguly, S. (2619), D41, 1-0, by IGM Yannick Gozzoli
Ivanchuk has never been world chess champion but from time to time, he plays like one and can beat anybody. The real issue is that in some games he can play like a genius for 39 moves and lose with a single mistake on the 40th or forget about the clock in a winning position. That's how he is and it's probably what makes him a fabulous and interesting player.
In this game, the Ukrainian plays perfectly in Yannick's point of view. As usual, Yannick gives an insightful perspective on the opening and on the different levers available for both players. (Click here to see the analyzed game)
- Ronde 9 : Vachier-Lagrave, M. (2745) - Rapport, R. (2691), A35, 1-0, by IM Quentin Loiseau
During his early years, Maxime Vachier Lagrave played exclusively e4 and often oriented his games into complicated and very tactical positions. His style is now more universal and Quentin points out that MVL is able to play anything in the opening. This is probably why MVL is gradually and surely approaching the Top 10.
In this section, Quentin analyzes the fine surgical precision demonstrated by MVL after the 14th bad move of his opponent. But as Carlsen explained once, a single mistake in the opening is rarely decisive... except that in chess, an error often precedes another and the young Hungarian prodige, Richard Rapport, won't withstand the pressure of his opponent after his 21st bad move. (Click here to see the analyzed game)
- Round 10 : Cramling, P. (2525) - Navara, D. (2702), E90, 0-1, by IM Jean-Noël Riff
Swedish Pia Cramling staked one's all to win the first women price of £ 15,000 against the Czech David Navara. The issue was that he was also in a combative mood.
Jean-Noël measures the merit of the former European woman chess champion in 2003 and 2010, but it seems that she didn't choose the best line against a player of this caliber. Her plan to counter Navara's King's Indian was severely punished.
To win without peril brings no glory... Pia Cramling however had to resign on her 43rd move and finished 66th in a game where she demonstrated, though, an excellent fighting spirit. (Click here to see the analyzed game)