The 10th edition of the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival, by far the strongest yet was as ever a tremendous event and it was great to hear that Brian Callaghan had received an OBE for services to tourism and chess in the New Year Honours List. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
After my London debacle it was good to complete a solid tournament, I had to work for it as game after game ended up in tricky endgames. Strangely with White I three times ended up on the better side of rook and opposite coloured bishop endgames, every time I had the dark squared bishop. I managed to win 2 although in probably the most promising I was foiled by careful defence by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.
With Black things were less happy as I managed to survive rook and knight endgames by the skin of my teeth against Zoltan Almasi and Viktor Bologan in the last 2 rounds ( I finished sub-optimally with a double Black). To continue the sense of déjà vu both games began with the same Lopez system . I was so busy I didn’t even get to check out the apes and although our room was ‘RockSide’ this year they didn’t swing down to visit the hotel. I wouldn’t be terribly distressed by some shorter games in the future.