Round 8

Once again, the players absolutely spoilt chess fans from all over the world with exciting, high-quality games yesterday. In fact, this might well have been the most decisive round in an open tournament I have ever witnessed, with only 8 draws on 36 boards!

However, it was not just an extremely bloodthirsty round, but also an exceptional day for the English players. The main news of the day is of course David Howell and Nigel Short overpowering their higher-rated opponents, making it an incredible 3 wins in a row for both of them!


On the top board, Howell got some slight pressure in the middlegame against Vachier-Lagrave, but the Frenchman’s real mistake came on move 21, when his pawns simply became too weak after 21...gxf5. Maxime later confessed he regretted not playing 20...h5 in order to block up the kingside.

Board 2 saw Nigel Short unleash the Benoni, a choice that clearly caught Sargissian by surprise. Although the computer seemed to favour White’s position for most of the game, the tide turned around move 25 and in the end, Nigel’s attack on the kingside proved decisive.


On boards 3 and 4, Fressinet and Tiviakov both took advantage of the white pieces to dispose of Jones and Gupta respectively and thus stay within striking distance of the leaders.

Board 5 saw Gil Popilski score yet another upset as he ground down Daniel Fridman in 74 moves, with the black pieces. 21-year old Gil has had an impressive tournament and his performance currently stands at 2750!


           The board 6 encounter between Harika Dronavalli and top seed Mickey Adams was a draw

Other remarkable results from English players include Jonathan Hawkins’ crushing victory over Mihail Marin (securing him both the GM norm and title!) and Keith Arkell’s positional masterpiece against super GM Granda Zuniga.


On the norms front, besides Jonathan Hawkins’ imposing GM norm, three players have already achieved IM norms with one round to go: Alan Merry, Ori Kobo and Alon Mindlin. Many congratulations to all of them!

53      54

                         Jonathan Hawkins                                                                   Alan Merry

56      55

                                  Ori Kobo                                                                                Alon Mindlin

As for last round norm possibilities, Merry and Kobo both need a win for a GM norm, while Yulyia Shvayger needs a draw for a WGM norm.

Thanks to their impressive trebble, Short and Howell are now in the lead with 6.5/8, but three other players can still have a shot at the title as they stand on 6/8: Fressinet, Tiviakov and Popilski. In the 9th and all-decisive round, Nigel Short will face David Howell with the white pieces, while Tiviakov plays Fressinet and Popilski is paired against Vachier-Lagrave.

The round will start at 12.30 and you would be crazy not to watch the action unfold live here:

Fiona Steil-Antoni (Press Officer)

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GM Hikaru Nakamura
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Latest News

Round 9 Report
Published: 29 Oct 2018

Round 9 Report

John Saunders reports: the 2018 Isle of Man International was won by Radoslaw Wojtaszek of Poland after a play-off match with Arkadij Naiditsch of Azerbaijan. The two players led going into the last round and drew their ninth round game to finish on 7/9 while none of the four players on 6/8 managed to win in order to tie with them. They each take home a cheque for £37,500 with Wojtaszek also receiving a further £500 for winning the blitz play-off. The initial two-game blitz was tied on 1-1 but Wojtaszek chose White in the Armageddon game and duly won. Seven players finished on 6½: Vladimir Kramnik, Alexander Grischuk (both Russia), Hikaru Nakamura, Jeffery Xiong (both USA), Wang Hao (China), Gawain Jones (England) and Baskaran Adhiban (India).

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Round 8 Report
Published: 28 Oct 2018

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John Saunders reports: another pulsating day’s chess saw four 2700+ rated players bite the dust, all bar one beaten by players less highly rated than themselves, and in one case more than 200 points adrift. Two leaders emerge from the smoke of battle, Arkadij Naiditsch (Azerbaijan) and Radoslaw Wojtaszek (Poland), who now both have 6½/8, while four more players are half a point behind them and are still in with a chance of a share in the top prize – Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), Wang Hao (China), Gawain Jones (England) and Jeffery Xiong (USA).

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Round 7 Report
Published: 27 Oct 2018

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John Saunders reports: another remarkable round at the Villa Marina saw the number of leaders increase by one – the same names as per the round six leader board, plus England’s perennial numero uno, Mickey Adams. There was some fantastic chess played, which it gives me great pleasure to report upon. Before we move on, let’s just record the seven leaders’ names for the record: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Radoslaw Wojtaszek (Poland), Wang Hao (China), Arkadij Naiditsch (Azerbaijan), Mickey Adams (England) and Jeffery Xiong (USA) all have 5½ out of 7.

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