Hou Yifan the current Women’s World Chess Champion has had to pull out of the Gibraltar Tradewise Chess Festival 2011 at the eleventh hour. The young Chinese player informed the organizers of her decision, due to persona l reasons because of critical illness in her family, as she was about to travel to the Rock for the tournament.
Tournament organizer Brian Callaghan obviously disappointed at the news, nonetheless said,he understood her decision: “Here in Gibraltar like in many other countries family comes first; and we fully understand Hou Yifan’s decision not to travel. Our thoughts and best wishes are with her at this time.”
Throughout this weekend players from all over the world have been arriving on the Rock for what promises to be the best competitive tournament yet. In fact the Tradewise Chess Festival 2011 will still see six out of the world’s top 10 ranked female chess players participating. Tatiana Kosintseva (4), Nadezhda Kosintseva (5), Nana Dzagnidze (6), Antoaneta Stefanova (7), Viktorija Cmilyte (9), and Dronavalli Harika (10).
As far as the men are concerned the ranking is also pretty much at the top level. The top ranked player is Vasily Ivanchuk from the Ukraine. British champion Michael Adams is back to defend the title he won here last year. Former World Championship finalist Nigel Short will also be playing. He was in Gibraltar nine years ago for the first tournament in 2003. Also returning for the second time is Fabiano Caruana the Italian Champion and Paco Vallejo the Spanish champion and last year’s finalist with Michael Adams.
The Festival starts today (Monday 24/01/2011) with the Challengers and the Amateurs. The Gibraltar Masters starts on Tuesday 3pm.
Official website: www.gibraltarchesscongress.com