Gibraltar Chess Festival
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. Beginning in 2019 Tradewise no longer sponsored the tournament and the name was changed to the Gibraltar International Chess Festival.
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, 2012, 2013 and 2014. 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.
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. 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.
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
Since 2007, ties for first place in the Masters have been resolved by a tie-break.
Year Winner(s) Leading Female(s) 2003 Vasilios Kotronias
Nora Medvegy 2004 Nigel Short Pia Cramling 2005 Levon Aronian
2006 Kiril Georgiev Antoaneta Stefanova 2007 Vladimir Akopian Jovanka Houska 2008 Hikaru Nakamura Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant 2009 Peter Svidler Nana Dzagnidze 2010 Michael Adams Natalia Zhukova 2011 Vassily Ivanchuk Nana Dzagnidze 2012 Nigel Short Hou Yifan 2013 Nikita Vitiugov Zhao Xue 2014 Ivan Cheparinov Mariya Muzychuk 2015 Hikaru Nakamura Hou Yifan 2016 Hikaru Nakamura Anna Muzychuk 2017 Hikaru Nakamura Ju Wenjun 2018 Levon Aronian Pia Cramling 2019 Vladislav Artemiev Tan Zhongyi 2020 David Paravyan Tan Zhongyi
- Crowther, Mark (2011-02-03). "Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2011". The Week in Chess. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
- "New Name for Chess in 2019: 'Gibraltar International Chess Festival'". Gibraltar Chronicle. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
- Gibraltar Tradewise Chess is the Tournament of the Year 2014. ACP. 2015-04-16
- ChessBase News: Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival, Chessbase News, accessed 21 September 2014
- ChessBase News: Hou Yifan, Short win Gibraltar, Short wins play=off
- ChessBase News: Hou Yifan beats Judit Polgar in an historic encounter
- 2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Festival Hou Yifan ties, Nigel Short wins