Sunday 22 January 2017


Tandem Simul by John Saunders


The Tradewise Gibraltar Masters starts on Tuesday 24 January 2017, with twelve 2700+ rated players in the line-up. More of that soon, but today Sunday was the traditional informal curtain-raiser as a couple of the star players give a simul for the early arrivals amongst the amateur competitors.


We were delighted to welcome former world championship runner-up Boris Gelfand to play his first chess on the rock and he entered into the spirit of what is always a fairly light-hearted event by agreeing to play it as a tandem simul with women's world number two Ju Wenjun. Despite not having played together before, and not giving any thought to overall strategy, it was quickly apparent that they gelled as a team immediately. Indeed, a much greater difficulty was faced by their opponents who found themselves with less time to think before a second chess superstar descended upon them expecting to see another move played. Not easy, but the players accepted the double-headed grandmaster onslaught in good part. Two of the players even emerged from the experience with draws, so well done to both of them.




Unfortunately Ju Wenjun felt a little unwell during the course of the event, probably as a result of her long journey from China, but tournament organiser Stuart Conquest stepped in to replace her for the second half of the simul which was wrapped up in about two hours. Final score: Grandmasters +18, =2, -0.


One of the games ended in this piquant position:



Black's last move had been ...Rac8, allowing Na5-b7. We are all familiar with smothered mate but this smothering of the king's consort is most unusual.


Photos of the Tandem Simul (by John Saunders) are available on Flickr:



John Saunders

Press Reporter, Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Congress - Twitter @GibraltarChess

Official website:

Personal Twitter Account @johnchess



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