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Friday, February 1, 2013

Gibraltar Chess Festival 2013: Nikita Vitiugov, Zhao Xue win Open, Women's Sections

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

GM Nikita Vitiugov has won the traditional Gibraltar Chess Festival that took place on 21-31 January, 2013, after defeating Nigel Short in a dramatic tiebreak in the last round. The tournament was intense with several players tied for first at half-time. Eventually, the title was decided by a tiebreak among four players after the final round.

In the knockout matches for the title, Vitiugov was paired against Sandipan and Short against Vachier-Lagrave. Both Vitiugov and Short won their first games with black and could advance to the final encounter without much trouble.

The final match between Nigel Short and Nikita Vitiugov started around 18:45 local time. These games would decide who takes home the first prize of £20,000 and who keeps the shared 2nd-4th place, so the stakes were quite high. In the first game, the Russian GM managed to win impressively, showing great technique with almost no time on his clock. The second game was very tense, but Nikita managed to keep cool and draw to get the sole first place in this strong event.

Congratulations also to Chinese GM Zhao Xue for winning the top female prize of £12,000. She drew her last round game after nearly five hours of play against Vassily Ivanchuk and achieved a score of 7½/10. In October 2011 Zhao Xue won the FIDE Women's Grand Prix tournament at Nalchik, Russia with the massive score of 9½/11. Her greatest success before Gibraltar 2013 in an individual event was winning the 2002 Under-20 World Junior Girls Chess Championship.

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