John Saunders reports: For the first time this year the Tradewise Gibraltar Masters tournament has a sole leader. Russia’s Nikita Vitiugov defeated Kiril Georgiev in a six-hour struggle to move to the head of the field with a score of 6½/7 (six wins and one draw). Three players trail him on 6 points: Le Quang Liem, of Vietnam, Gata Kamsky, USA, and England’s Nigel Short. Three rounds remain.
25-year-old Nikita Vitiugov is ranked ninth in this year’s line-up and his fine performance is not unexpected. Hitherto he has maintained a fairly low profile in the chess world, with few invitations to elite tournaments, but his performance at the prestigious Gibraltar event is likely to attract the attention of tournament organisers worldwide.