Levon Aronian (ARM, 2797) became the Winner of the Tradewise Gibraltar 2018 after passing the long path through the tie breaks.
One of the strongest open tournaments over the years didn’t get a sole leader and a Winner after 10 regularly played rounds, since seven players tied for the first place with the same score of 7.5 points each. Additional criteria determined four players who continued the fight for the top in the tie break matches which were played by the blitz time control. According to the final ranking order first matches of the playoffs were played between Rapport Richard (HUN, 2700) and Aronian Levon (ARM, 2797), while the second playoff match was played between Nakamura Hikaru (USA, 2781) and Vachier-Lagrave Maxime (FRA, 2793).
Aronian Levon was the first one who qualified for the super final match by defeating Richard Rapport with a result 2-0. Four times winner and the last three years Champion of the Tradewise Gibraltar Open, Nakamura Hikaru, dropped down the third game of the tie break match, what Vachier-Lagrave Maxime used to keep cold and to finish the fourth game in a peaceful manner-draw, eliminate Hikaru Nakamura, and become the second super finalist.
Aronian Levon and Vachier-Lagrave Maxime continued the intense struggle for the throne which started very equal with 3 games played without a decisive result. In the fourth game, Aronian managed to use the white pieces advantage, to win the game, and to be crowned as the Tradewise Gibraltar 2018 Winner.
The best female player was Cramling Pia (SWE, 2449) who won the prize worth 15.000£ with the same score of 6.5 points, but better tie breaks than Lagno Kateryna (RUS, 2556) who finished as the second women.
The very strong line-up of this high leveled competition composed: last three years winner of the event and world #8Nakamura Hikaru (USA, 2781), top seeded and World #4Aronian Levon (ARM, 2797), #5Vachier-Lagrave Maxime (FRA, 2793), #17Navara David (CZE, 2749), #20Harikrishna P (IND, 2745), #23Le Quang Liem (VIE, 2737), #25Vitiugov Nikita (RUS, 2732), #27Ivanchuk Vassily (UKR, 2726) together with entry of seven of the ten top world women players: #2Ju Wenjun (CHN, 2572), #3Muzychuk Anna (UKR, 2571), #4Alexandra Kosteniuk (RUS, 2561), #5Lagno Kateryna (RUS, 2556), #7Muzychuk Marya (UKR, 2540), #8Lei Tingjie (CHN. 2531), #10Dzagnidze Nana (GEO, 2522).
Traditionally, Tradewise Gibraltar took place at Caleta Hotel, Gibraltar and consisted of five main events: Masters, Challengers A, Challengers B, Amateurs A and Amateurs B competitions, which gathered 600 players coming from 60 federations. Besides the main events, various evening activities were organized, such as Masterclasses with top players, two Blitz events and Battle of Sexes with top women and men players playing against each other.
This year, the organizers increased the total prize fund of the event which reached 200.000£, with 25.000£ reserved for the Winner of the Master event, and 50.000£ reserved for the best women players.
Photos: Sophie Triay and John Saunders