Tradewise Gibraltar Masters 2017 is a 10-round Swiss system chess tournament. Swiss system implies a large number of players, who are paired with each other according to the points they collected in the previous rounds. For instance, if a player has 3 points out of 5, he plays only with the one having equal number of points.
The final round of Tradewise Gibraltar Masters 2017 took place on the 2nd of February at 11 AM local time. Eventually, it turned up that there are 3 people sharing the 1st place. Those were Anton Guijarro David from Spain, Hikaru Nakamura from USA and Yu Yangyi from China. According to the tournament regulations they had to decide the title of the champion among themselves through tie-break play-off.
Tie-break includes two players playing against each other two games with both colors (white and black) with 10 minutes time control. As Anton Guijarro had the highest number of Buckholz points, he had to play immediately in the final round of play-off. Thus, in the first play-off round one of the strongest American chess players, and the 6th player in the world (according to his ELO Rating) – Hikaru Nakamura was playing against a strong Chinese grandmaster Yu Yangyi.
The first two play-off games ended in draws. Thus, they had to play another match consisting of two additional games and Nakamura managed to beat Yu 2 to 0.
In the final play-off round Nakamura faced Anton Guijarro. According to certain commentators, the Spanish grandmaster played those two games in a really passive manner. In the first game, playing white, instead of leading the game into a battle or even double sharp position he basically simplified it and several moves after agreed to a draw.
In the second game, playing black, Anton Guijarro played in the same style and lost in a relatively easy way. Thus, Nakamura became the champion of Gibraltar open for the third time in a row!
The point that several critics made was that the Spanish player should definitely approached this match in a more combative mood. Usually, such kind of decisive games should be performed in a really sharp manner, what keeps them in a mutual tension. Moreover, it definitely makes the game more exciting and spectacular for the chess fans watching it online or in the playing hall. Actually, this style might be considered much more appropriate for the strong tournaments, mainly when it refers the final and decisive rounds.