Raymond Keene

Rocky 14

Rocky 14
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The 14th Tradewise tournament at Gibraltar ended in a triumph for the American grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura. Naka, as he is affectionately known, tied on points with the leading French representative, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, but in the obligatory playoff, the American nosed ahead to take the £20,000 first prize.

Gibraltar, under the auspices of chess-loving hotelier Brian Callaghan OBE, is noted for its promotion of female chess. Anna Muzychuk seized her chance to win the £15,000 reward for top woman competitor. With an enthusiastic female entry vying for record prizes, the social atmosphere at the Caleta hotel is unique.

Nakamura-Gupta: Gibraltar Masters 2016

17 g4 White plans to meet the natural 17 ... Bd7 with 18 g5 Nh5 19 Ne4 when White is in complete command and the black g7-bishop is suffocated. Therefore Black prefers a speculative sacrifice but Naka keeps control easily. 17 ... Rxc3 18 Qxc3 Rc8 19 Qe1 Bc2 20 Rc1 e4 21 Bd4 Qxd5 22 Bc3 Bd3 23 Nh3 Na4 24 Nf4 Qd6 25 Nxd3 exd3 26 Bxd3 Qb6 27 Bc2 Black resigns

Tari-Vachier-Lagrave: Gibraltar Masters 2016

(see diagram 2)

White’s central structure appears strong enough but Black now skilfully dismantles it with some tactical flourishes. 23 ... c5 24 dxc5 fxe5 25 fxe5 Bxe5 Now 26 Bxe5 Re8 regains the piece. 26 Bb5 Re7 27 Bxe5 Rxe5+ 28 Kd3 Rd8 Black is well on top as White’s king is exposed and his c-pawn vulnerable. 29 Kc3 Re3+ 30 Kd2 Rb3 31 Ba4 Rb4 32 b3 a5 32 ... Bxb3+ is met by 33 Kc3 so Black protects his rook. 33 Kc3 Rc8 The c-pawn falls. 34 Kb2 Rxc5 35 Rgc1 Rxc1 36 Rxc1 b5 37 Rc5 Bc4 White resigns An amusing final configuration.

The final extract sees Gawain Jones, the top-scoring British grandmaster in Gibraltar, in action. Here he demonstrates a classic endgame breakthrough.

Jones-Khotenashvili; Gibraltar Masters 2016

53 Qb4+! Qxb4 54 axb4+ Kxb4 55 g5! A beautiful move, though 55 f6 also works. After 55 g5 exf5 56 g6 forces promotion as does 55 ... hxg5 56 f6. Black resigns