Gibraltar Chess Festival

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Vassily Ivanchuk at the Gibraltar Chess Festival in 2013 (he was the highest ranked player there that year)

The Tradewise Gibraltar 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 its current name when Tradewise Insurance Company Ltd became the new primary sponsor.[1]

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,[2] 2012,[3] 2013[4] and 2014.[5] 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 Tradewise Gibraltar 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.[6]

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.[7] During this event Hou Yifan defeated Judit Polgar, number one rated female chess player in the world from 1989 to her retirement as a professional player in 2014.[8]

The highest score achieved in a Gibraltar Masters event has been 9 points from a possible 10, by Vassily 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 Nora 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 Cmilyte
Sweden Pia Cramling
Poland Iweta Radziewicz
France Almira Skripchenko
2006 Bulgaria Kiril Georgiev China Zhu Chen
Bulgaria Antoaneta Stefanova
Ukraine Natalia Zhukova
2007 Armenia Vladimir Akopian England Jovanka Houska
Bulgaria Antoaneta Stefanova
2008 United States Hikaru Nakamura Scotland Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant
Lithuania Viktorija Cmilyte
India Harika Dronavalli
Bulgaria Antoaneta Stefanova
2009 Russia Peter Svidler Georgia (country) Nana Dzagnidze
Bulgaria Antoaneta Stefanova
Sweden Pia Cramling
2010 England Michael Adams Ukraine Natalia Zhukova
India Humpy Koneru
2011 Ukraine Vassily Ivanchuk Georgia (country) Nana Dzagnidze
Georgia (country) Salome Melia
2012 England Nigel Short China Hou Yifan[9]
2013 Russia Nikita Vitiugov China Zhao Xue
2014 Bulgaria Ivan Cheparinov Ukraine Mariya Muzychuk
China Zhao Xue
Ukraine Natalia Zhukova
2015 United States Hikaru Nakamura China Hou Yifan
2016 United States Hikaru Nakamura Ukraine Anna Muzychuk
2017 United States Hikaru Nakamura China Ju Wenjun

References[edit]

External links[edit]