Friday 3 February 2017

2017 Gibraltar Masters - Day 10

The 2017 Gibraltar Masters had two dramatic finishes on the final day, one almost at the start of the round, and one at the end. Women's World Champion Hou Yifan (CHN) decided to protest her pairings in an unusual way, by losing against GM Lalith (IND) in 5 movers. 1.g4, 2.f3 were her starting moves, and the game was all over soon after. She was unhappy about being paired with so many female opponents in the tournament (7 from 10 games) and felt that their was something not right about how the pairings were determined. The general consensus at the event was that it was a silly protest, her claims were easily disprovable (and have been by independent sources), and that now this is what the 2017 event will be remembered for (NB The Gibraltar Masters has the largest prize pool for female players in any open in the world)
With that out of the way, interest turned to who would survive the final round. GM Michael Adams (ENG) drew with GM David Anton (ESP) to leave Anton on 8/10. Wins by Nakamura and Yangyi Yu also left them on 8, while Gelfand, Vachier Lagrave and Cheperinov fell short after drawing their games. This meant there was to be a playoff, with Yi and Nakamura playing first with the winner then playing Anton (who had the best tie-break). Nakamura and Yi drew the first 2 rapid games, before Nakamura won the blitz tie break 2-0. Then in the final Nakamura and Anton drew the first rapid games, before Nakamura claimed first prize by winning the second.
This is Nakamura's 4th win of this event, including wins last year and this. The tournament concluded with a well attended prize giving dinner, and lots of supportive speeches from the tournament sponsors, and the Gibraltar government. So for those thinking about playing this wonderful event, it will be on next year, but if you want to play in the Masters, you need to get your entry in early.


Anonymous said...

I was amazed the Gib founder was so benevolent in his comments about Hou, saying there was no difficulty in the end.
If I had set up a tournament that is so promotional of women's chess, it would be a slap in the face to see her actions.

Unknown said...

Hi thanks for your interesting blog which I've been following silently for years.

When you say " her claims were easily disprovable (and have been by independent sources)" does this mean that the pairings were left as produced by the program or that they were legal (colour, up and down float, etc..)?

It's understandable that a pairing like women WC against women n°3 or american n°2 - n°3 gives a better story, but do the FIDE Swiss rules really allow it? My understanding was always that given a certain participant list and round results, one and only one pairing can be produced when the pairing alogrithm laid out in the rules is followed.

Shaun Press said...

The pairings that were generated followed the official swiss pairing rules as implemented by the JaVaFo pairing engine (which is used in Swiss Manager).
It is a simple process to independently check the pairings, by feeding the exact results into a different copy of the pairing software used (thereby ruling out manual intervention). I believe this has already been done, as was reported on the 'No more cheating in chess' group on facebook (although I don't have the exact details). The only variances from the official swiss pairing rules at this tournament that I am aware of were a slightly randomised pairing of the top 6 boards in round 1 and a change in the pairing to avoid an Israel v Iran pairing in a later round (and I am only re-reporting what others have said in that case).

Anonymous said...

She's one of the nicest people in the chess world, but this was a dumb protest. She should apologize to the organizers, this isn't the kind of publicity they wanted for the event.