Reports Jan 26, 2018 | 2:22 PMby Colin McGourty

Gib Chess 1-3: Naka and Duda among perfect 7

Defending champion Hikaru Nakamura and 19-year-old Jan-Krzysztof Duda were the only 2700+ players to come through the opening rounds of the Tradewise Gibraltar Masters intact, though Hikaru needed 135 moves and almost 8 hours to beat Valentina Gunina. Top seed Levon Aronian came perilously close to losing to IM Anita Gara in the first round, while David Navara, Nikita Vitiugov, Wang Hao, Ivan Cheparinov and Daniil Dubov are among the players who did lose to lower-rated opposition.

The start of a 135-move marathon! | photo: John Saunders, Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

If you only watch one video on the 2018 Tradewise Gibraltar Masters make it the one below, featuring enjoyable quick-fire answers from players at the opening ceremony. The first question Tania Sachdev poses is for the players to describe themselves in three words. If you haven’t seen it yet, try and first match the following 10 players to the answers below: Aronian, Nakamura, Adams, Howell, Short, Zhukova, Harikrishna, Saduakassova, MVL, Stefanova

  • Aggressive
  • Good, handsome, smart
  • Chess, music, sport
  • Handsome, intelligent, witty
  • Funny
  • Intelligent, optimistic, humorous
  • Lazy, impatient, aggressive
  • Not good at this
  • Confident, dynamic, professional
  • Confused

Here’s the video:

You can check all the results, pairings and games using the selector below - simply click on a game to open it with computer analysis, or hover over a player's name to see all his or her results. Note that the first 50 games are live each day, but we’ve been adding the moves of the other games when they’re uploaded by the arbiters at some point over the next day:

Favourites suffer

The story of the start of big open tournaments is always about shock results, but frankly you usually don’t get too many. For instance, in the 2017 Gibraltar Masters Round 1 you had to go down to board 10 for a game in which the favourite didn’t win, with Robert Bellin holding Boris Gelfand to a draw. There were other surprise draws on boards 16 and 19, but you had to go all the way down to board 25 for a favourite actually losing, with Frank Buchenau beating 2645-rated Abhijeet Gupta.

Anita Gara came close to starting the tournament with a sensational win over the top seed Levon Aronian | photo: John Saunders, Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

In 2018, though, the top 24 boards saw 8 draws and shock defeats for Ivan Cheparinov and Daniil Dubov, and among those drawing were 2745-rated Harikrishna, 2737-rated Le Quang Liem and of course the player a lot of chess fans were there to see, Levon Aronian, who was held to a draw on board 1 by 34-year-old 5-time Hungarian Champion Anita Gara. It could have been worse, since after failing to force a draw when things began to go wrong Levon felt he was simply lost:


Here Aronian recommended 27.f4! when Black’s knight is forced to retreat, since 27…exf3? loses to 28.Nxc8 and the e5-knight is attacked twice. Instead Anita played 27.Nxc8 immediately and it came down to a technical ending a pawn up which Levon was able to hold with relative ease. It had still been a wonderful day for Anita:

It was made better by the fact that her younger sister Ticia Gara, also a Hungarian Champion, managed to hold Nigel Short to a draw.

Ticia Gara made it a perfect family day out in Gibraltar | photo: John Saunders, Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

A man from the 19th century chimed in:

Gary Quillan beat Russian rising star Daniil Dubov | photo: John Saunders, Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

The star of the round, though, was 47-year-old Liverpudlian IM Gary Quillan, who had the sheer pleasure of playing a successful “caveman” attack against super-talented Russian GM Daniil Dubov. Gary felt he was two tempi up when he was allowed to play 18.Qh4!, couldn’t see a defence after 22.f5!, and got to crash through in style:


25.Rxh5! gxh5 26.Rd2 d5 27.Nxd5 Rfe8 28.Rg2 Ng6 29.Nf6+ Kf8 30.Nh7+ Kg8 31.Qxg6:

Afterwards he summoned up the courage to be interviewed by Tania and talked about how nervous he’d been in the final stages:

I thought, if I do get a winning position I didn’t believe I would get nervous, but I did, I got very nervous, but thankfully I didn’t have to do too much at the end, because I had little time and was starting to shake – I could barely move the pieces! I came away from the board. I thought great, but I don’t want to be interviewed, because I was so nervous.

Gary couldn't escape the public eye as he was paired with Praggnanandhaa next - the game ended in a draw | photo: John Saunders, Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

The giant killing didn’t die down in Round 2 but intensified, with two Indian Grandmasters, Debashis and Gagare beating the highly seeded Navara and Vitiugov respectively, while former Women’s World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova beat Wang Hao. Another noteworthy result was Norwegian GM Johan Salomon beating David Anton, who had previously only lost single games to Veselin Topalov and Hikaru Nakamura in his last four appearances in the tournament! (counting 2018 as well) Of course that didn’t mean we didn’t get to see some grit and class from the top stars.

There were fewer surprises in Round 3, but Nino Batsiashvili pulled off one upset by beating Grigoriy Oparin to join the group on 3/3 | photo: John Saunders, Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

Winning on demand

Levon Aronian found himself playing catch-up, but he did it in style, beating Indian IM Hemant in 28 moves in Round 2 and then German WGM Sarah Hoolt in Round 3. The manoeuvring stage ended with 33…Kh8?


34.Nf6! Just when you thought you'd side-stepped that move! This was the start of tactical trickery that would last to the end of the game. If 34…gxf6 35.Qxf6+ Rg7 White attacks the pinned rook with his own rooks on g3 and c7 and the b7-bishop will fall.

Levon Aronian and MVL sat side by side and both reached 2.5/3 with convincing wins | photo: John Saunders, Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

Levon afterwards talked about how chess has changed since he last played an open tournament (which may be when he tied for first at the 2005 Gibraltar Masters!):

Any time I win I’m pleased! I think generally the level of opening preparation and the class of the players has raised by a mile. The last open I played wasn’t that difficult.

Levon also commented that playing badly in the opening round is something he shares with Mikhail Tal, though he called his performance “beyond bad”. He was enjoying the unpredictable pairings after years of playing mainly round-robins:

Every time I play somebody new I haven’t played before, so it’s kind of a challenge, and I love challenges!

Top seed, 4-time Champion and winner for the last three years in a row Hikaru Nakamura knows exactly what it takes, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. To reach a perfect 3/3 he needed to beat Valentina Gunina in Round 2 in a position where he had two rooks against a queen by move 38. He summed up what he learned from the game as, “The main take was that rooks are just terrible pieces!” As late as move 114 Valentina could still draw, but it helped to be a computer rather than a human being having played chess for over 7 hours:

With 7 pieces or less we can see how God would play chess | source: k4it.de

114...Kg7! is the only move still objectively a draw, but after 114…Qc2 115.Rd7+ Nakamura went on to win in 135 moves.

Duda leads the junior charge

In our preview we mentioned that this was 19-year-old Polish GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda’s time to shine, and so far he’s doing just that as the only other 2700+ player to have a perfect 3/3. He showcased the range of his talent perfectly with a brilliant attacking win in Round 2, where his h-pawn blasted a path towards the black king before he unleashed a killer move:


17.Qg5!, threatening Nf6+, and the end was swift: 17…f5 18.Qe7+ Kg8 19.Nd6 Rf7 20.Qxe5 Bd2+ 21.Kf1 (avoiding the cheapo 21.Kxd2 Qxb2+ and it’s only a draw) Black resigns

Luca Moroni and JK Duda compete to provide the day's most menacing stare | photo: Sophie Triay, Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

Then in Round 3 Duda showed his endgame prowess by outplaying talented 17-year-old Italian GM Luca Moroni in what looked to be a drawn rook ending. In Round 4 Duda faces 18-year-old Hungarian GM Benjamin Gledura.

A 40-year age gap between former & current prodigies | photo: John Saunders, Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

The junior most eyes are focussed on is 12-year-old Praggnanandhaa from India, who’s started with a win and two draws. One of those was against Nigel Short, a player 40 years his senior! Nigel was talking up the fight before it began…

…but although he had an edge he was unable to convert it into a full point, citing Raymond Keene’s 70th birthday party the night before as a factor (“I had to attend and drink copious amounts of alcohol”). A lot of the focus is on whether Praggnanandhaa can beat Sergey Karjakin’s record as the youngest ever grandmaster, but as Nigel put it, “In my book anyone over 2500 is a GM – he’s already considerably stronger than a number of grandmasters”. He was asked whether it was disconcerting to play such a young player:

I was a prodigy myself once upon a time, and it doesn’t bother me that much. He’s obviously a very strong player. I was looking at his games and he has what I would call a mature style of playing. Sometimes these kids don’t have too much understanding and he has a very good feel of where to put the pieces. Actually I think his strength is his strategic understand rather than tactics. Youngsters tend to excel in tactics. Of course he can play a good tactical game, but I think his real ability is his understanding.

Young Praggnanandhaa also gave his view on the game, giving his aim as "to play good chess and achieve a GM norm":

The seven players at the top are as follows (with Aronian, MVL and Adams among no less than 36 on 2.5/3!): 

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1 
13GMNakamura Hikaru27813,03279
29GMDuda Jan-Krzysztof27243,03267
316GMHowell David W L26823,03246
424GMGrandelius Nils26473,03236
530GMGledura Benjamin26123,03222
638GMAntipov Mikhail Al.25883,03201
778IMBatsiashvili Nino25043,03119

There are seven rounds to go and no rest days, so we can expect a feast of chess ahead! Tune into the live games from 15:00 each day. You can also follow the games in our free apps:

         

See also:


Sort by Date Descending Date Descending Date Ascending Most Liked Receive updates

Comments 3

Guest
Guest 4506066014
 
Join chess24
  • Free, Quick & Easy

  • Be the first to comment!

Register
or

Create your free account now to get started!

I am aged 16 or older.

By clicking ‘Register’ you agree to our terms and conditions and confirm you have read our privacy policy, including the section on the use of cookies.

Lost your password? We'll send you a link to reset it!

After submitting this form you'll receive an email with the reset password link. If you still can't access your account please contact our customer service.

Data Consent Details

We respect your privacy and data protection guidelines.

Using chess24 requires the storage of some personal data, as set out below. You can find additional information in our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, Disclaimer and Terms of Website Use. Please note that your data settings can be changed at any time by clicking on the Data Settings link in the footer at the bottom of our website.

data details

Necessary Data

Some data is technically necessary to be able to visit the page at all. A so-called cookie stores identifiers that make it possible to respond to your individual requests. It contains a session ID - a unique, anonymous user ID combined with an authentication identifier (user_data). A security identifier (csrf) is also stored to prevent a particular type of online attack. All of these fields are alpha-numeric, with almost no relation to your real identity. The only exception is that we monitor some requests with the IP address that you are currently using, so that we are able to detect malicious use or system defects. Additionally, a technical field is stored (singletab) to ensure that some interactions are only processed in the browser tab that is currently active. For example, a new chess game will not be opened in all your current tabs. We use your local storage to save the difference between your local clock and our server time (serverUserTimeOffset), so that we are able to display the date and time of events correctly for you. You can also enable more data fields, as described in the other sections. Your personal decision on which data storage to enable is also stored as necessary information (consent).

Settings Data

We offer a range of personal settings for your convenience. Options include which opponents you prefer to be paired against, your preferred chessboard and pieces, the board size, the volume setting of the video player, your preferred language, whether to show chat or chess notation, and more. You can use our web page without storing this data, but if you would like to have your individual settings remembered we recommend enabling this feature. For logged-in registered users this setting is mandatory to store information about your privacy settings, users you have blocked and your friendship settings. As a registered user we also store your data consent in these settings.

Social Media Data

We embed a Twitter feed showing activity for the hashtag #c24live and also make it possible to share content in social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. If you enable this option social networks are able to store data in your cookies or local storage for the purpose of these features.

Statistics Data

We would like to measure how our page is used with Google Analytics, so that we can decide which features to implement next and how to optimize our user experience. If you enable this feature Google will store your device identifiers and we will send tracking events (such as page requests) to Google Analytics. These have no direct relationship to your person except for the IP address currently being used.

Marketing Data

To help cover the cost of free services we would like to show you advertisements from our partner networks. Members of these networks store data on the banners shown to you and try to deliver ads that are relevant. If you choose not to allow this kind of data we have to show more anonymous advertisements and will be more limited in the free services we can offer.

Other Data

For registered users we store additional information such as profile data, chess games played, your chess analysis sessions, forum posts, chat and messages, your friends and blocked users, and items and subscriptions you have purchased. You can find this information in your personal profile. A free registration is not required to use this application. If you decide to contact the support team a ticket is created with information that includes your name and email address so that we can respond to your concern. This data is processed in the external service Zendesk. If you subscribe to a newsletter or are registered we would like to send you occasional updates via email. You can unsubscribe from newsletters and as a registered user you can apply several mail settings to control how your email address is used. For newsletters we transfer your email address and username to the external service MailChimp. If you buy content or subscriptions on chess24 we work with the payment service provider Adyen, which collects your payment data and processes information about the payment such as fraud protection data.