The Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival is underway in Gibraltar and will run until February 2nd. The main event is the Gibraltar Masters, round one of which will be played today, Tuesday 24th January. It is a ten round Swiss format, with play-offs if needed. As well as the Masters event, the tournament also has two Challengers groups and two groups for amateurs. These are played over five rounds.
Top seed for this year’s Masters event, is Fabiano Caruana (2827), world #2 in FIDE’s January ratings. Caruana will not have things his own way, however, with the tournament absolutely packed with big and established names. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2796), defending Champion Hikaru Nakamura (2785), Vassily Ivanchuk (2752) and Michael Adams (2751) are Caruana’s main rivals on paper; however, the likes of Peter Svidler, Veselin Topalov, Boris Gelfand, Ivan Cheparinov, Nigel Short, David Howell, Sam Shankland, and last but by no means least, Yifan Hou, are certainly not showing up to make up numbers.
And when one considers that the tournament has a top prize of £23,000 ( €26,732 / $28,722 ), this is not surprising!
Celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, the festival has come a long way since its inception and is firmly on the map of top chess events. With the Tata Steel Chess Tournament just beginning its final week in Wijk aan Zee, chess fans are being really spoiled!
I will be bringing you reports throughout the tournament, so watch this space!