The following two rounds, however, saw the group fracture. With three to go, Gabriel Sargissian and Lev Aronian (both Armenia), Emil Sutovsky (Israel) and Zahar Efimenko (Ukraine) led on 5.5/7.
Live commentary at the Gibtelecom Masters is provided by the grandmaster Stuart Conquest every year. Conquest is a very talented linguist who lives in Spain, and, while the discussion has mainly been in English and Spanish, he's also run to French and German on occasion. Readers with a good internet connection can follow his commentary live - both audio and visual - at www.gibraltarchesscongress. com/gibchess/frames2005. html from 2pm London time. Apologies for not advising of this sooner - Wijk aan Zee has been claiming my attention.
With such a quantity of firepower on show there have been a number of spectacular games, notably by Sutovsky. In this ferocious offering against the Edinburgh-based Georgian Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, Sutovsky caused her to plunge into thought with the relatively new 9.Bf4. In the 20 or so games in which this has been played, Black has mostly chosen either 9...Qb6 or 9... Ne5, and Arakhamia-Grant's 9....Qb7 was an unwitting novelty and a very bad one.
Sutovsky powered through in the centre and then wrought destruction on the black squares. Arakhamia-Grant's knight posed no threat to his king; at the end she was about to be summarily checkmated.
Emil Sutovsky vs
Gibraltar 2005 (round 4)
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