Gibraltar Masters

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Bobby Ang

Chess Piece

Gibraltar Masters 2020
Caleta Hotel, Gibraltar
January 21-30, 2020

Final Top Standings

1-7. Andrey Esipenko RUS 2654, Wang Hao CHN 2758, Daniil Yuffa 2566, David Paravyan RUS 2629, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave FRA 2770, David Navara CZE 2717, Mustaf Yilmaz TUR 2607, 7.5/10

8-23. Parham Maghsoodloo IRI 2674, Jan Werle NED 2545, Veselin Topalov BUL 2738, Aryan Chopra IND 2562, Mikhail Kobalia RUS 2609, Murali Karthikeyan IND 2606, Michael Adams ENG 2694, Le Quang Liem VIE 2713, Gawain Jones ENG 2679, Ivan Saric CRO 2655, Krishnan Sasikiran IND 2648, Jules Moussard FRA 2600, Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa IND 2602, Bogdan-Daniel Deac ROU 2626, Tan Zhongyi CHN 2493, Daniele Vocaturo ITA 2622, 7.0/10

Total Participants: 250 players

Time Control: 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, then 50 minutes for the next 20 moves followed by 15 minutes for the rest of the game with 30 seconds added to your clock after every move starting move 1.

Have you ever heard of David Paravyan? He was born March 8, 1998 in Russia and earned his grandmaster title in 2017. Before Gibraltar he had not won anything big. The biggest accomplishment so far is his 10th place finish with 7/11 (won four, drew six, lost one) in the FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament last year. That was a really strong tournament because it gave the winner an automatic slot to the March 2020 Candidates Tournament, and his performance rating there is 2774.

GM David Paravyan

On my part I first took note of his name when he was nominated for the Chess.Com “Game of the Year 2018” for his victory over Golubov in the Korchnoi Memorial. This game was also adjudged the Best Game of Informant 137 by the Chess Informant Board.

Paravyan, David (2630) — Golubov, Saveliy (2470) [C42]
Korchnoi Memorial St. Petersburg (6.7), 20.08.2018

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Bd6 7.0–0 0–0 8.c4 c6 9.Qb3 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Nd7 11.Re1 Ndf6 12.Nbd2 Nxd2 13.Bxd2 Qb6 14.Qd3!?

First, a small offering of a pawn on b2.

14…Qxb2 15.Rab1 Qa3 16.Qc2

Threatens 17.Re3, which forces Black to give up a piece with 17…Bxh2+ otherwise his queen is lost.


Incredibly, White now has a winning attack. Correct is 16…b5, giving the queen an escape square on a6.

17.Rb3 Qa4 18.Bxd5 cxd5 19.Ng5 g6 20.Nxh7!

The knight still cannot be captured because then his queen falls to a discovered attack.

20…Bf5 21.Nf6+ Kg7 22.Bh6+! Kxf6

[22…Kxh6 23.Rh3+ followed by taking the Black queen on a4]

23.g4! Bf4

Alternatives also end up in mate:

23…Bxg4 24.Qd2;

23…Bxc2 24.Rf3+

24.Qc7! Bxh6

No salvation.

24…Bxc7 25.g5#;

24…g5 25.Qe7+ Kg6 26.gxf5+ Kh7 (26…Kxh6 27.Qf6+ Kh7 28.Rh3+ Kg8 29.Rh8#; 26…Kxf5 27.Re5+ Bxe5 28.Qxe5+ Kg6 29.Qxg5+ Kh7 30.Qg7#) 27.Qf6 etc

25.Qe5+ Kg5 26.h4+ Kxh4

[26…Kxg4 27.Rg3+ Kh5 28.Qe2+ Kxh4 29.Qf3 with forced mate]

27.Rh3+! Kg5

[27…Kxh3 28.Qg3#]

28.Qe7+ 1–0

[28.Qe7+ f6 (28…Kxg4 29.Qh4#; 28…Kf4 29.Qe3+ Kxg4 30.Qg3#) 29.Qe3+ Kxg4 30.Qg3#]

As they said, 2018 must have been a banner year if such a masterpiece only got third place. See for yourself — here is the winner:

Hillarp Persson, Tiger (2544) — Laurusas, Tomas (2484) [A11]
43rd Olympiad 2018 Batumi GEO (7.2), 01.10.2018

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.c4 c6 5.b3 Bg7 6.Bb2 0–0 7.0–0 a5 8.Nc3 Ne4 9.Na4 Bxb2 10.Nxb2 Nd7 11.d3 Nef6 12.d4 b6 13.Rc1 Bb7 14.Nd3 Rc8 15.Nfe5 Nxe5 16.dxe5 Nd7 17.Qd2

White’s idea is to play 18.e6! fxe6 19.Bh3 Rf6 because now he can follow-up with 20.Qe3 Nf8 21.c5 with pressure on the Black position.

17…dxc4 18.Rxc4 Nxe5

Black has won a pawn because of the pin on the d3–knight, but it turns out that White’s attacking chances offer more than enough compensation. And attacking chances are dangerous in the hands of the Tiger.

19.Rh4 h5 20.Rd1 Nxd3 21.Qh6 Qd6 22.Rxd3 Qf6 23.Be4

Amongst others, there is a threat of 24.Rxh5 gxh5 25.Qh7 mate.

23…Ba6 24.Re3

[24.Rxh5 Qg7 25.Qxg7+ Kxg7 both of white’s rooks are under attack]

24…Qg7 25.Qg5 Rcd8 26.Qxe7 Rd1+ 27.Kg2 Qa1 28.Bxc6 Rg1+ 29.Kf3 Qf1

The idea is 30…Qg2+ followed by 31.Qxc6.]


Suddenly everything becomes clear — the White king is not running away, it is running towards.

30…Qxf2+ 31.Kg5! Kg7 32.Rf4 Qxh2 33.Qf6+ Kh7 34.Qxg6+! Kh8

[34…fxg6 35.Re7+ Kg8 36.Bd5+ forces mate]

35.Kh6! 1–0 An amazing King walk!

But I digress.

The 21-year-old David Paravyan, virtually unknown outside Russia and ranked only 22nd in a stellar field, tied for 1st place with six others (Andrey Esipenko RUS 2654, Wang Hao CHN 2758, Daniil Yuffa 2566, David Paravyan RUS 2629, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave FRA 2770, David Navara CZE 2717, Mustaf Yilmaz TUR 2607) in the Gibraltar Masters and then proceeded to win the tie-breaks to take home the L30,000 first prize (almost 2 Million Phil Pesos). All the others who tied with him got a check for L10,500 each (nothing to sneeze at — around PhP 700,000).

Paravyan’s best production is this game.

Paravyan, David (2629) — Krysa, Leandro (2522) [C64]
18th Gibraltar Masters Caleta Hotel, Gibraltar (5), 25.01.2020

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Bc5 5.c3 Nge7 6.0–0

The problem of 5…Nge7 against 5…Nf6 is that White can now play 6.Nxe5!? the Bulgarian GM Georgi Tringov tried it against Mato Damjanovic: 6…Bxf2+ 7.Kxf2 Nxe5 8.d4 N5g6 9.Rf1 0–0 10.Kg1 d5 11.Nd2 c6 12.Bc2 white is much better. Tringov, G-Damjanovic, M Buesum 1968 1-0 24.

6…Ng6 7.d4 Ba7 8.Bg5 f6 9.Be3 0–0 10.d5 Nb8

Not 10…Bxe3?? 11.dxc6 Bb6 12.cxd7 Black loses a piece.

11.Bxa7 Rxa7 12.d6! b5 13.Bb3+ Kh8 14.c4 Bb7 15.Re1 c5 16.Nc3 b4 17.Nd5 Nc6 18.h4 Rf7

Vacating f8 for his knight.

19.h5 Nf8 20.Nh4 Nd4 21.Ne7 Ra8 22.Nef5

White is threatening 23.Ng6+ Nxg6 (23…Kg8 24.Nfe7+; 23…hxg6 24.hxg6 Nxg6 25.Qh5+) 24.hxg6 hxg6 25.Nh4 Kg8 (25…Kh7 26.Qg4) 26.Nxg6 Rf8 27.Qh5 Re8 28.Bd1!

22…Nfe6?! 23.Ng6+ Kg8

[23…hxg6 24.hxg6 Nf4 25.Qg4 etc]

24.Nfe7+ Rxe7 25.Nxe7+ Kh8 26.Ba4 a5 27.Qg4 Ra6 28.h6 Rxd6

Or 28…g6.

29.Nf5 Nxf5 30.exf5 Rd4 31.Qg3 Ng5 32.hxg7+ Kxg7

Has Black survived the worst?

33.Rad1 Kh8 34.Rxd4! cxd4 35.f4 Ne4 36.Qh4 Nc5 <D>


Just when Black thinks he is out of the woods comes the final attack.

37.fxe5! Nxa4 38.exf6 Qg8

Just in case White overlooks the mate threat on g2.

39.Re2 d3 40.Qd4! 1–0 Mate in 4.

Winning the Gibraltar super-open is a big deal for a player, and from this day forward he will no longer be described as a “virtual unknown from Russia.” Vladislav Artemiev last year won this tournament and followed it up by winning the European Championship. We look forward to seeing how Paravyan will surprise us next.


Bobby Ang is a founding member of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and its first Executive Director. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA), he taught accounting in the University of Santo Tomas (UST) for 25 years and is currently Chief Audit Executive of the Equicom Group of Companies.