IM Jose Rafael Gascon Del Nogal from Venezuela is the winner of the third edition of the Srefidensi Chess Celebration, with an impressive 7 out of 9 score and a 2590 performance. He is always so well prepared that his opponents have trouble getting playable positions against him. In the last round Anna Zozulia tried 3.c3 in the Sicilian, but soon she ended up in a worse position without anything to play for, so she accepted the draw offer.
At the top boards the players were consolidating their current tournament rankings with quick draws. That means that IM Jose Rafael Gascon from Venezuela is now on 6.5 out of 8 and still a full point ahead of the rest of the field. Irine Sukandar did come to board with the intention of trying to beat the tournament leader and declined the first draw offer, but got nothing from the opening.
Jose Rafael Gascon consolidated his lead by beating Ryan Harper with the white pieces. Harper is a dangerous attacking player, but he has problems getting his game going with Black. Gascon played a Maroczy Bind in classical fashion, first restricting all active options of his opponent, before switching his attention to the kingside, to go after the black king. Gascon is now on 6 out of 7, a full point ahead of the rest of the field.
After all the action of the previous rounds, the sixth round was a relatively quiet one. Katerina Nemcova got some pressure from a Bb5 Sicilian with the white pieces against Jose Rafael Gascon, to the extent that the Venezuelan felt obliged to sacrifice a pawn. This indeed gave some relieve and after the exchange of queens Black had full compensation. Possibly 19.Qc2 was a better try at organizing White's forces. Since they agreed to a draw, Gascon remains in the sole lead with 5 out of 6. Irine Sukandar and Gergely Szabo took it easy today and played a quick draw.