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20th Anniv Chess Festival
20th Anniv Chess Festival (view technical specs)
The Gibraltar International Chess Festival is a highly regarded chess tournament played over 11 days from late January to early February each year since its inaugural edition in 2003 when 59 competitors took part, of whom 24 held the FIDE Grandmaster title.The main event, the Masters, is open to all, and was voted the best open event in the world by the Association of Chess Professionals in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.An annual Gibraltar Junior International Chess Festival was also organised as from 2011, lasting 5 days every August. It comprises two events: under-16 and under-12.After 18 editions of the Gibraltar Masters between 2003 and 2020, the pandemic made it impossible to organize the 19th tournament in early 2021. The organizers took care of a FIDE Women’s Grand Prix instead, although it had to be moved to May 2021. In 2022 chess was back on the Rock!A ‘Battle of the Sexes’ Chess Tournament was played from 23rd January-3rd February at Gibraltar’s historic Garrison Library. This is a team event with evenly paired men and women on opposing sides.
It was named the Battle of the Sexes, after the evening event that was part of the festival each year with a giant chess board inside a boxing ring, also between men and women. In the new format, two teams played a Scheveningen match on regular chess boards!, meaning that each member of one team played each member of the other once. The total prize fund was £100,000 $135,800, of which £75,000 $101,850 went to the winning side and £25,000 $33,950 to the runners-up.The team of women’s players, dubbed “Team Pia” after their captain, GM Pia Cramling, started with two consecutive wins over Team Sabino, captained by GM Sabino Brunello , scoring 6.5-3.5 twice against their male adversaries.Only in round three, the men hit back with a 7-3 victory and continued with another 5.5-4.5 the next day, but after a 5-5 tie in round five, the women were still leading by a single point halfway through the tournament.After that, the men took a commanding lead of five points as they won rounds six, seven, and eight. The women’s team kept hopes alive with a 6-4 win in the penultimate round, but with another 6.5-3.5 victory in the final round, the men emerged victoriously with a six-point margin: 53-47.
|Illustration / Photography:||Stephen Perera|
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