The great Tata Steel tournament has come to a close, but in its place steps up a big-time open tournament, the Gibraltar Masters. I’ll have the best action from the first six rounds.
If you missed Hikaru Nakamura in Wijk aan Zee, don’t worry for him, he’s in a better place. Hikaru has the magic touch in Gibraltar, having won four titles, including the last three in a row. Counting the first seven rounds - where he leads with 6.0 - he has an undefeated streak of 53 games on the Rock, playoffs included.
GM Hikaru Nakamura (USA), leader after 7 rounds
Nakamura is playing with great confidence in Caleta, willing to challenge opponents in sharp theoretical duels. He won a nice one over Nils Grandelius in round four:
GM Mikhail Antipov, 21 years old Russian GM
Nakamura’s 7th round opponent, Mikhail Antipov, had an interesting early duel with Ylon Schwartz, a veteran of the NYC chess scene who became an accomplished poker player.
Indian GM Sandipan Chanda (2579)
The Indian Grandmaster Sandipan Chandra started 5/6 with a curious victory over Vassily Ivanchuk. I know from experience how difficult it is to prepare for Sandipan; when I played in in a critical last round World Open game, I discovered that half his games were under the surname Sandipan, and half of them were under Chandra! Anyway, Ivanchuk reacted poorly to a surprising opening novelty:
Next up, an intense theoretical battle comes to a surprising conclusion in the game between Argentine grandmaster Alan Pichot and Bulgarian Ivan Cheparinov.
GM Wang Hao (CHN)
Finally, Chinese grandmaster Wang Hao, who seems to be taking a bye in round 7, earned a rest with a start of 6/7, fueled by an interesting mating attack with limited forces:
I’ll let you all know how things finish in next week’s show. I have never been to Gibraltar, but it seems like a great place to play. They have special prizes for women, which creates a little better social atmosphere than most places. Someday I hope to make it out there. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed my reporting of the action in Gibraltar