CHESS may be more about luck than you think, according to the winner of the Gibraltar Chess Masters.

David Paravayan took down some of the best in the world at the Caleta Hotel to reach the play-off final where he beat Hao Wang to collect a cool £30,000.

Immediately after winning, the young Russian spoke to the Olive Press about how he pulled it off one of the biggest upsets of the Gibraltar International Chess Festival.

Wang Hao V Daniil Yuffa Semi Final 2
BEATEN FINALIST: Hao Wang was under the cosh in the final

“I am so happy, I still can’t believe I won,” the 21-year-old said.

“I was very nervous in the final but I wanted a draw and he made some mistakes so I was lucky, as this was my biggest ever result.

“In the end I think chess is so much about luck, both in how a game goes and how an opponent feels.

“There is a lot at stake and it’s never easy to be absolutely in control of everything when you have so much going on in your mind.”

Top seed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who came fourth in the event, revealed to the Olive Press that finalist Hao Wang ‘lacks mental stability’ at times.

“Chess is a very psychological game so you need to be able to control your emotions,” said the Frenchman. 

“Wang can go very high but he can also drop very low, so controlling that is difficult.”

Maxime Vachier Lagrave
FOCUS: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave came close to getting into the tie-break

Chasing success

The 2005 FIDE World Champion Vesselin Topalov of Bulgaria said ‘young promising players’ were winning because they grew up with the computer.

“There’s so many good young players now that are capable of beating me that it’s very dangerous to play these kind of events,” the 44-year-old chess star said.

“Even current World Champion Magnus Carlsen has some problems with Fabiano Caruana closing in on his number one spot.”

Topalov had another mediocre tournament where he was some distance from the final podium, but said he will probably return next year to try again.

Veselin Topalov
PENSATIVE: Vesselin Topalov looks away from the table in thought

The driving force behind the festival has been Brian Callaghan, owner of the Caleta Hotel and nearby Holiday Inn Express.

“I think that it was an extraordinary festival in the sense that we introduced a number of new things,” Callaghan told the Olive Press.

“We had a three day seminar before it started at the university and a visit from Anatoly Karpov.”

Callaghan worked with resident chess Grandmaster Stuart Conquest, who was a junior world and British champion in the past.

“We had 500 people playing this year from 58 countries,” revealed Callaghan.

“I am really proud that since we started ten years ago we have had over 100 countries represented at our chess festival.”

2020 Gibraltar International Chess Festival: Prizegiving Dinner, 30 January 2020

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