Tradewise 2017 ‘strongest open in the history of the game’
In the modern political game of chess even the smallest can stand up to the biggest as long as one moves deftly on the board Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told the largest gathering of chess professionals ever on the Rock.
“Thank you for reminding us of that in this crucial time in our history and for continuing to support the festival,” he said to the 396 players at the closing ceremony and prize giving of the 2017 Tradewise Chess Festival on Thursday at the Caleta Hotel.
GM Hikaru Nakamura became the Gibraltar Champion for the third consecutive year, and the top woman’s prize went to Ju Wenjun from China.
20 17, said the Chief Minister had been the strongest tournament yet, and the strongest open in the history of the game but it was clear this was as a result of the great support of players from all over the world.
Gibraltar, he continued, had been mentioned positively in five continents for ten days in comments on social media.
“This fits in very well with Gibraltar’s image on the world stage, as a place of culture and development beyond the usual political headlines.”
He paid tribute to the magnificent support from Tradewise and its chairman James Humphreys which he described as the backbone of the sponsorship for the event.
The Gibraltar Chess Champion Hikaru Nakamura, having won £23,000, spoke of the diversity of nationalities at the tournament and how despite the problems facing the world chess players always returned to play chess.
It had been an honour, he said, and “always a pleasure” to return to the Rock to “such a well organised professionally run tournament and to so many familiar faces”. Nakamura did not discard returning to the Rock to defend his title for a fourth time.
“It is nice to have won here three years in a row but ultimately I want to beat the world championships,” he told the Chronicle.
Gibraltar continues to promote the women’s game, and Brian Callaghan who announced he would be taking a back seat next year, promised further development locally in women’s chess in future.
It was third time lucky for Ju Wenjun from China who took the top Women’s prize of £15,000. She was the outright women’s winner and was playing on the Rock for the third time having played here in 2013 and 2015.
“I never thought this would happen and it feels good,” she said shortly after she had finished round ten.
Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Joseph Garcia presented the Best Game, the Gibraltar Government prize, which went to Veselin Topalov from Bulgaria.
Meanwhile this weekend sees the Gibraltar Junior Championship Tournament. The 2017 edition will be held this Saturday and Sunday starting at 1pm on both days at the Caleta Hotel.