Jan 30 Chess Festival - Masters Round 8

Chess Festival GibraltarJohn Saunders reports: England’s Nigel Short, three times winner of the Tradewise Gibraltar Masters, fought back from a second round defeat to share the lead with Nikita Vitiugov of Russia at the end of round eight at the Caleta Hotel. The two players have 7/8 and lead Gata Kamsky of USA, Yu Yangyi of China and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France by half a point with two rounds remaining.

“What is it about Nigel Short and Gibraltar?” asked tournament director Stuart Conquest on Twitter (@stuthefox). He is not the only chess expert to be amazed by the form Short always shows here, year after year. Nigel Short was ninth in the start of tournament rankings in the Masters but he always raises his game at this tournament and thrives on the atmosphere at the event. He is currently on a run of six wins in a row in pursuit of the £20,000 first prize.

The clash between Kamsky and Vitiugov was hard fought but drawn, and allowed Short his chance to catch up with the erstwhile leader Vitiugov. He achieved this by inflicting a first defeat on Le Quang Liem of Vietnam after exploiting a small advantage well into the seventh hour of play. Short is more than twice as old as his victim but his stamina and determination remain undimmed by the passing years.

England number one Michael Adams was held to a draw by Spanish grandmaster Iván Salgado López and remains a point off the lead. The third member of England’s trio of top players, Gawain Jones, attacked hard against teenage Grandmaster Yu Yangyi of China but he met strong resistance and was defeated.

Three players are currently leading the chase for the £12,000 women’s prize. Nana Dzagnidze of Georgia, Anna Muzychuk of Slovenia and Zhao Xue of China all have six out of eight points.

Gibraltar Masters 2013, Round 8

Al-Sayed - Iturrizaga

Chess Festival Gibraltar 

White to play - and make a big blunder!


The eighth round contained a rare example of a big blunder by a high-ranking grandmaster. All club players know how heartbreaking it is to miscalculate and ruin a game but it is unusual to see a top grandmaster make such a spectacular error. Mohammed Al-Sayed, on the excellent score of 5/7 and having played excellently in the game to reach a won position, thought he saw a beautiful finish, based on sacrificing his queen and using his two bishops and knight to checkmate the black king. So he played 1 Qxd7 and his opponent captured with 1...Qxd7. At this point  White realised that in the line 2 Bf6+ Kg8 3 Bc4+, Black’s king plays to f8 and will be perfectly safe. He had suffered a complete hallucination and had to resign. If instead of 1 Qxd7 he had played a move such as 1 g4, it is quite likely that it would have been Black, and not White, who would have resigned.

Round nine, the penultimate round, of the Masters takes place at the Caleta Hotel at 3.00pm on Wednesday afternoon.

Official website: www.gibraltarchesscongress.com

Chess Festival Gibraltar