Close to 300 professional and amateur chess players from every corner of the world lived 10 days of intense and highly competitive chess, in this year’s Gibraltar international chess festival which again attracted a lot of really top class players.
The 2011 Tradewise International Festival certainly proved a worthy precursor to the tenth edition which has already received the blessing of Judit Polgar, the best female chess player in the world, who will play in Gibraltar next year.
2011 winner, the tournament’s top seeded player GM Vassily Ivanchuk played at the top of his game. Seventh in the world, he described the Gibraltar Open as a unique chess event with a “different atmosphere and attitude to the game” urging organisers to make the field stronger so the tournament can attract more world champions. Ukranian Ivanchuck won nine out of his 10 rounds and in the final round played against Germany’s Daniel Friedman.
“What an amazing tournament we have had,” commented organiser Brian Callaghan at the prize giving ceremony at the end of the 10 days in the presence Gibraltar’s Minister for Sport Edwin Reyes, sponsors and players. The tournament also received visits from Gibraltar’s Governor Sir Adrian Johns, Deputy Chief Minister Joe Holliday and the Mayor Tony Lombard accompanied by Miss Gibraltar Larissa Dali.
On the final day Mr Callaghan spoke of the impressive field of play which had been lead by Ivanchuck, and the other top names: Fabiano Caruana, Michael Adams, Paco Vallejo and Nigel Short who finished a close second.
The women’s top prize went to Nana Dzagnidze, and the second to Melia Salome, both from Georgia. Mr Callaghan made special mention of the 35 women players who had supported the tournament, and re-affirmed organisers and sponsors would continue to give special support to the women’s game.
“I believe they contribute enormously to our tournament, and help to make this the foremost tournament in the world, and very few people would disagree with that,” he told B2B.
Closing the ceremony President of the English Chess Federation, CJ De Mooi, was well impressed with festival: “It is an incredible tournament, venue and place. I did not understand why people kept coming back year after year, now I do it is simple to explain, it is the warmth, generosity and genuine friendliness, which surrounds the tournament.”
James Humphreys, chairman of the main sponsor of the tournament Tradewise Insurance, said the comments in the press around the world on the tournament continued to “heap great praise on what has been accomplished for chess” over the years in Gibraltar. He assured that for next year the level of prize money would be higher than in any previous tournament.
Now as emphasis shifts to 2012 already work has begun to make it the best international chess festival yet.