Gibraltar Chess Festival

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Vasyl Ivanchuk at the 2013 edition

The Gibraltar International Chess Festival is a chess tournament held annually at the Caleta Hotel in Gibraltar. Its eleven days of competition usually run from late January to early February. The inaugural edition, then known as the Gibtelecom Gibraltar Chess Festival, took place in 2003, when fifty-nine competitors took part, of whom 24 held the FIDE Grandmaster title. In 2011 the festival was renamed to the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival when Tradewise Insurance Company Ltd became the new primary sponsor.[1] Beginning in 2019 Tradewise no longer sponsored the tournament and the name was changed to the Gibraltar International Chess Festival.[2]


The main event, the Masters, is open to all, and was voted the best open event in the world by the Association of Chess Professionals in 2011,[3] 2012,[4] 2013[5] and 2014.[6] Since 2011 an annual Gibraltar Junior International Chess Festival, also held at the Caleta Hotel, has been organised. It lasts five days and takes place in August and it comprises two events: under-16 and under-12.

The Director of the Gibraltar International Chess Festival has been Stuart Conquest since 2011.

In 2012, special stamps were issued by the Gibraltar Post Office to commemorate the tenth edition of the chess festival.[7]

In 2012 Chinese grandmaster Hou Yifan, at the time ranked number two female chess player in the world, scored 8 points from a possible 10 in the Masters, tying for first place with Nigel Short before losing a play-off match for the first prize.[8] During this event Hou Yifan defeated Judit Polgár, number one rated female chess player in the world from 1989 to her retirement as a professional player in 2014.[9]

The highest score achieved in a Gibraltar Masters event has been 9 points from a possible 10, by Vasyl Ivanchuk in 2011, with a performance rating of 2968.

In 2017, Hou Yifan caused controversy by intentionally throwing her final game of the tournament in 5 moves against Babu M.R. Lalith to protest the pairings. Hou had grown dissatisfied in recent years with playing in women-only tournaments, and had just dropped out of the Women's World Chess Championship cycle. In Gibraltar, she faced 7 women in her 10 games when the men/women ratio in the tournament was 4:1. The incident was resolved as an extremely unlikely series of computer-generated pairings which nevertheless actually happened, and the result of the protest game stood.

List of winners[edit]

Since 2007, ties for first place in the Masters have been resolved by a tie-break.

Year Winner(s) Leading Female(s)
2003 Greece Vasilios Kotronias
England Nigel Short
Hungary Nóra Medvegy
2004 England Nigel Short Sweden Pia Cramling
2005 Armenia Levon Aronian
Ukraine Zahar Efimenko
Bulgaria Kiril Georgiev
Spain Alexei Shirov
Israel Emil Sutovsky
Georgia (country) Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant
Lithuania Viktorija Čmilytė
Sweden Pia Cramling
Poland Iweta Radziewicz
France Almira Skripchenko
2006 Bulgaria Kiril Georgiev Bulgaria Antoaneta Stefanova
2007 Armenia Vladimir Akopian England Jovanka Houska
2008 United States Hikaru Nakamura Scotland Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant
2009 Russia Peter Svidler Georgia (country) Nana Dzagnidze
2010 England Michael Adams Ukraine Natalia Zhukova
2011 Ukraine Vasyl Ivanchuk Georgia (country) Nana Dzagnidze
2012 England Nigel Short China Hou Yifan[10]
2013 Russia Nikita Vitiugov China Zhao Xue
2014 Bulgaria Ivan Cheparinov Ukraine Mariya Muzychuk
2015 United States Hikaru Nakamura China Hou Yifan
2016 United States Hikaru Nakamura Ukraine Anna Muzychuk
2017 United States Hikaru Nakamura China Ju Wenjun
2018 Armenia Levon Aronian Sweden Pia Cramling
2019 Russia Vladislav Artemiev China Tan Zhongyi
2020 Russia David Paravyan China Tan Zhongyi


  1. ^ Crowther, Mark (2011-02-03). "Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2011". The Week in Chess. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  2. ^ "New Name for Chess in 2019: 'Gibraltar International Chess Festival'". Gibraltar Chronicle. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  3. ^ "ACP | Injustice done to one is a threat to all".
  4. ^ "ACP | Injustice done to one is a threat to all".
  5. ^ "ACP | Injustice done to one is a threat to all".
  6. ^ Gibraltar Tradewise Chess is the Tournament of the Year 2014. ACP. 2015-04-16
  7. ^ ChessBase News: Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival, Chessbase News, accessed 21 September 2014
  8. ^ ChessBase News: Hou Yifan, Short win Gibraltar, Short wins play=off
  9. ^ ChessBase News: Hou Yifan beats Judit Polgar in an historic encounter
  10. ^ 2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Festival Hou Yifan ties, Nigel Short wins

External links[edit]