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Vishy Anand in Gibraltar!

by Sagar Shah - 25/01/2016

When was the last time you saw Vishy Anand play in an open tournament. Well, you will be seeing him in action starting 26th of January 2016 at the Gibraltar Masters 2016. Anand will face a stiff challenge from the likes of Nakamura and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave for the first place. We also have a lot of top Indians in the field - Harikrishna, Ganguly, Gujrathi, Sethuraman, Gupta and many more! We bring you an introductory article. 

Pictures by Amruta Mokal

The Tradewise Gibraltar, one of world's best open tournament, and by all means an open tournament as there are no rating barriers, begins from the 26th of January 2016. The new trend these days is the elite players playing in the open events. Kramnik and Giri did it for two years now in Qatar, Topalov and Nakamura played in last year's Gibraltar. In 2015 we also saw Carlsen playing in the Qatar Masters Open. In the year 2016 we see another big name in the world of chess deciding to dip his foot in the open tournament waters. He is none other than the five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand.

Anand will be playing in this year's Gibraltar Masters

 So when was the last time Vishy played in an open tournament? We urge our readers to use the comments section below to let us know the answer to this.

But Anand with a rating 2784 is not the highest rated player in the field. He is the third seed with Hikaru Nakamura and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave being the top two.

Hikaru Nakamura (2787) and Maxime Vachier Lagrave (2785) are the top two seeds 

Other top Indian players in the fray are:

Harikrishna (2755) who is the fourth seed, right behind Anand!

Surya Shekhar Ganguly (2660) is the 21st seed
Vidit Gujrathi (2642) is the 23rd seed

Sethuraman (2639) is the 25th seed
Harika is the top Indian female player in the event. However, for the first prize in women's section she will have a tough fight from the Muzychuk sisters and Alexandra Kosteniuk
Other top Indian grandmasters in the fray are Abhijeet Gupta, Sandipan Chanda, Lalith Babu, G.N.Gopal, Vishnu Prasanna, Sundararajan Kidambi and Aravindh Chithambaram.
Tania Sachdev will be at the event as the host for the day's play video. You can see the teaser video below:

Starting rank

No.   Name FideID FED Rtg
1 GM Nakamura Hikaru 2016192 USA 2787
2 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 623539 FRA 2785
3 GM Anand Viswanathan 5000017 IND 2784
4 GM Harikrishna P. 5007003 IND 2755
5 GM Li Chao B 8604436 CHN 2751
6 GM Yu Yangyi 8603820 CHN 2747
7 GM Jakovenko Dmitry 4122356 RUS 2732
8 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw 1118358 POL 2727
9 GM Rapport Richard 738590 HUN 2721
10 GM Fressinet Laurent 608742 FRA 2700
11 GM Bacrot Etienne 605506 FRA 2697
12 GM Ni Hua 8601160 CHN 2697
13 GM Naiditsch Arkadij 4650891 AZE 2696
14 GM Ragger Markus 1610856 AUT 2689
15 GM Howell David W L 410608 ENG 2685
16 GM Almasi Zoltan 702293 HUN 2684
17 GM Short Nigel D 400025 ENG 2684
18 GM Bruzon Batista Lazaro 3503739 CUB 2666
19 GM Kamsky Gata 2000024 USA 2665
20 GM Duda Jan-Krzysztof 1170546 POL 2660
21 GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar 5002150 IND 2660
22 GM Sutovsky Emil 2802007 ISR 2647
23 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 5029465 IND 2642
24 GM Anton Guijarro David 2285525 ESP 2639
25 GM Sethuraman S.P. 5021596 IND 2639

Complete players list of 248 players

The beautiful rock of Gibraltar

The airport passes right through the city and when there are no flights, you can see that the cars move across the runway! Unbelievable isn't it!
The Gibraltar Masters will be a great tournament to follow! There are many exciting battles that we can look forward to. Particularly interesting for Indian fans will be the potential duel between India number one and two: Vishy Anand and Pentala Harikrishna! As on today the two have played three games against each other - one classical, one rapid and one blitz. While the blitz and rapid games ended in Anand's favour, the classical game from Wijk Aan Zee 2013 ended in a draw. We present that game to you with annotations by GM Mihail Marin.
[Event "Tata Steel-A 75th"]
[Site "Wijk aan Zee"]
[Date "2013.01.18"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Harikrishna, Penteala"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A11"]
[WhiteElo "2698"]
[BlackElo "2772"]
[Annotator "Marin,M"]
[PlyCount "82"]
[EventDate "2013.01.12"]
[EventType "tourn"]
[EventRounds "13"]
[EventCountry "NED"]
[EventCategory "20"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.14"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 c6 4. O-O Bf5 5. d3 h6 6. c4 e6 7. Qb3 Qb6 8. Nd4
$146 {The Reti Openng is highly transpositional, which makes it possible that
games contain more than just one novelty! This is such a case and White's last
move is only the first (but also the most important) new move.} (8. Be3 Qxb3 9.
axb3 {Speelman,J (2605)-O'Cinneide,M (2285)/Bunratty 1998/CBM 062 ext/
[Speelman,J] (1-0, 42)}) (8. cxd5 Qxb3 9. axb3 exd5 10. Nd4 Bd7 $5 11. Nc3 Na6)
8... Bh7 9. cxd5 exd5 ({One important point behind the novelty is that here
Black has no time for the intermediate exchange of queens:} 9... Qxb3 $2 10.
dxc6 $3 $16) 10. Qxb6 {I find this to be a concession, strengthening Black's
queenside..} (10. Nc3 Qxb3 11. Nxb3 ({Or else} 11. axb3 Nbd7 12. Nc2 a6 13. b4
Rc8 14. Be3) 11... Nbd7 12. e4 {in both cases with chances for an enduring
pressure.}) 10... axb6 11. Nc3 b5 $1 $146 {Black's novelty over a not very
relevant game, which had reached this position via a different move order.
Black immediately puts his pawns into motion, restrcting the white minor
pieces.} (11... Bd6 {Dossett,C-Murtagh,D (1889)/Port Erin 2004/CBM 102 ext (1/
2, 15)}) 12. Bd2 b4 13. Nd1 Bc5 14. Nc2 Na6 15. Rb1 O-O {As in many other Reti
lines, White has managed to keep the h7-bishop somewhat out of play, but the
situation on the queenside is not too promissing for him. There is simply no
minority's attack available!} 16. a3 Rfe8 17. Bf3 bxa3 18. bxa3 Ra7 {The
pressure along the b-file is easy to neutralize for the time being. A slow
manoeuvring phase follows.} 19. Nc3 Nc7 20. Rb2 Ne6 21. Rfb1 Re7 22. Bg2 Bf5
23. h3 g5 24. Bf1 Bg6 25. Na2 Nh5 26. Bb4 f5 27. Nc1 {Black's progresses
certainly look more notable than Black's, but decision making is not easy.} Rf7
(27... f4 $5 28. g4 Nf6 29. Bg2 h5 30. Bf3 hxg4 31. hxg4 Bxb4 32. axb4 (32.
Rxb4 Nc5 33. Kg2 Na4) 32... Be8) 28. Bxc5 Nxc5 29. Nd4 $1 {White decides that
he had enough of passivity and sacrifices a pawn in order to get some dedent
coordination.} Rxa3 30. Nf3 (30. Rc2 $5 $44 Na4 (30... Ra5 31. Nb5) (30... Na6
31. Rb6) 31. Ncb3 f4 32. g4 Nf6 33. Na5) 30... Re7 31. d4 f4 $1 (31... Ne4 32.
Rxb7 $16) 32. g4 (32. dxc5 Bxb1 33. Rxb1 fxg3 $17) 32... Bxb1 33. Rxb1 Ne4 34.
gxh5 Nf6 35. h4 Nxh5 36. hxg5 hxg5 $15 {Black retains a minimal material
advantage, but White's position remains very compact.} 37. Nd3 Nf6 38. Nc5 Ne4
39. Nxe4 dxe4 40. Ne5 c5 41. Nc4 Ra4 (41... Ra4 42. e3 Rb4 (42... cxd4 43. exd4
) 43. Rd1 cxd4 44. Rxd4 b5 45. Rd8+ Kh7 (45... Kg7 46. Nd6) 46. Nd2 Re5 47. Rd4
Rxd4 48. exd4 Rd5 49. Nxe4 Kg6 50. Nc3 Rxd4 51. Nxb5 $11) 1/2-1/2
Official tournament website
ChessBase India will be covering this event extensively and you can look forward to some in-depth reports and game analysis.