THE reputation of Gibraltar’s chess festival as the ‘best in the world’ was re-affirmed after a week of world class play.
Armenian Levon Aronian triumphed in the men’s Masters category at the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival, after first drawing with American Hikaru Nakamura in Round 10 of the competition.
Aronian was then able to secure his victory by beating Richard Rapport and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave through the nail-biting playoff system.
As well as receiving the honour of becoming the Masters winner, Aronian also received a £25,000 cash prize.
“It’s an honour,” Aronian said.
“The tiebreaks were tough for me, it took me some time to get used to them but I pulled through.
The women’s Masters was won by the Swede Pia Cramling.
Cramling, 54, last took the crown in Gibraltar back in 2004.
“I’m overwhelmed, surprised and very, very happy,” Cramling said.
“I’ve been coming here for so many years and this is my favourite place to play.
“I’ve had quite a tough time over the past few years in Gibraltar and I certainly didn’t do anything special when I was here last year.”
The talk of the tournament however, was 14-year-old Spaniard Lance Henderson de la Fuente.
Not simply satisfied with winning the Junior prize, he also beat last year’s womens Masters champion Ju Wenjun in an exhibition match.
The Deputy Chief Minister gave a speech as the tournament drew to a close, praising the high standard of competition.
Garcia also pledged his government’s commitment to the tournament, revealing it would be taking over sponsorship of a re-branded ‘Gibraltar International Chess Festival’ until 2021.