The 10-round Masters tournament (with a top prize of £20 000) is definitely one of the strongest open tournaments in the world. At the top of the player list, there are ten 2700+ GMs – including English GM Mickey Adams, Ukranian GM Vassily Ivanchuk, and American GM Gata Kamsky – followed by another seventeen 2600+ GMs – including GM Nigel Short (2683) and 14-year-old Chinese GM Wei Yi (2603) – but at the bottom of the list, there are unrated players and players with ratings in the 1500s.
With sizeable women’s prizes (the top prize is £15 000), the event also attracts some of the world’s strongest women players: Anna and Mariya Muzychuk, Bela Khotenashvili, Viktorija Cmilyte, Tan Zhongyi, and Natalija Pogonina, among others.
Rounds in the main event start at 15:00 CET (09:00 EST) each day. In the mornings, there are parallel “Amateur” (U1900) and “Challenger” (U2250) events.
The Canadian contingent
Canada is represented at Gibraltar by GM Kevin Spraggett, GM Eric Hansen, IM Aman Hambleton, IM Edward Porper, David and Jason Kenney (father and son duo from Nova Scotia), and Lali Agbabishvili – from Hart House Chess Club!
In Round One, Lali Agbabishvili (1939) – 8th top woman player in Canada – scores a nice upset as she gets a draw against Italian IM Alessio Valsecchi (2418) in a Symmetrical English.
Then in Round Two, IM Edward Porper (2446) scores a draw against GM Nigel Short (2683) from the white side of a Nimzo-Indian.
In Round Four, GM Kevin Spraggett destroys GM Nigel Short (2683) in 22 moves after Nigel plays a “dodgy” variation of the modern Steinitz. Check Kevin’s interview with GM Irina Krush (starting at around 2:48:00).
In Round Five, Jason Kenney (2112) beats his first IM, winning from the black side of a Caro Kann against Israeli IM Leon Lederman (2257).
In Round Six, GM Eric Hansen wins convincingly from the white side of a French McCutcheon against Norwegian GM Simen Agdestein (2627). His interview with GM Irina Krush starts around 3:47:00. Hansen has 5.0/6 going into Round 7, where he’ll have white against Hungarian GM Richard Rapport (2691) on board 6.
In Round Seven, GM Eric Hansen draws GM Richard Rapport (2691), while IM Aman Hambleton draws GM Emil Sutovsky (2663).
In Round Eight, GM Eric Hansen draws Indian GM Pendyala Harikrishna (2706). Hansen has 6.0/8, and he’s white against Chinese GM Li Chao (2680) on board 7 in Round Nine. Good luck, Eric!
In Rounds Nine and Ten, Hansen finishes with two draws for a final score of 7.0/10, undefeated (!) with +4 -0 =6 record, good for 14th place. Nice work, Eric!!
Round Ten also sees Lali score her third win against 2100+ opposition. Lali finishes with an even 5/10, +3 -3 =4. Seems like you’ve got to be over 2200 FIDE to beat her these days! Way to go, Lali (picking up almost 50 FIDE rating points)!!