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Cuernavaca 2006

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What should be a great event begins Feb. 2 in central Mexico, the Cuernavaca Young Masters. You may remember the pretty town of Cuernavaca as the host of the Nakamura-Karjakin match in December, 04. (4.5-1.5 for Hikaru.) Now billing itself as the "world capital of junior chess," they are hosting a powerful round robin with 10 of the world's best under 25.

The players: Ponomariov, Vallejo Pons, Karjakin, Nakamura, Volokitin, Cheparinov, Bruzon, Dominguez, Felgaer, and Mexico's Manuel Leon Hoyos. All except the 16-year-old local hope (who trained in Cuba) are in the top 100. With all that testosterone and spicy food, the nine-round all-play-all should be a real slugfest. Ponomariov, the #10 player in the world, is the Elo favorite. We'll see if Karjakin and Cheparinov were warmed up or exhausted by Wijk aan Zee. Vallejo Pons is also in Linares, which starts just a week after this ends.

They have a live games link at the top of the page – "partidas en vivo" – and I know Playchess.com will be relaying the games. No message board buzz yet.


Wow, I had no idea this event was happening. How exciting! Should be a real slugfest with all the young guns out to prove they are the future. Nakamura will be looking to erase the memory of his unfortunate showing in the FIDE knock-out no doubt. Ponamariov looked awfully strong in that tournament, and Karjakin is coming off an impressive showing in Corus - he seems to have grown a lot as a player since that 2004 match with Nakamura, and though I am rooting for Hikaru, I have to admit that at this point Sergey seems to be stronger. But then I suppose that's the purpose of this tournament then, isn't it? Set the young sharks loose in one tank and see who chews who to pieces. Let the fun begin!

I have to give Karjakin credit for playing in this tournament. Not only for it being so soon after a grueling Corus event, but also for it being the location of a lesser performance against Nakamura. I'm still going to root for Hikaru though. Yes, I live in America, and yes, Hikaru is an American.

PS. In a perfect world this tournament would have Magnus Carlsen in in too, but I guess we can't have everything....:)

My math is not so good but I counted 11 players.

It isn't, peach.

In the previous edition, Radjabov was also mentioned. Now he is off the list.

Vallejo Pons is one name, using the form common in Spanish speaking countries of giving first the father's surname, then the mother's. Look him up under V, therefore. So 10 players, not 11. :)


As they say, "Never mind." ;)

Yah, I took Radjabov off almost immediately, so maybe your browser was caching. They don't have an actual list of the players and I thought the picture of Cheparinov was Radjabov. Haste makes waste.

oh, would have liked to see Radjabov there, he is top 20 and would certainly add to the junior rival. Perhaps he was invited but declined since he's doing Linares (right?)

I know some of the organizers and sponsors of this event personally. They are first class people and they are doing many good things for chess in Mexico.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar

It's not patriotism. But, I thought, Harikrishna deserved a place in this tournament.

Srikanth has it ever occured to you that the only reason you are aware of Harikrishna's strength as opposed to several other young players of similar skills,is the fact that he is Indian? Why not Alexander Areschenko for instance?

Where are the Azeris? and the Russians? and the Brits?

Just a thought...not a gripe.

Is this one of these Mexican tournaments we've been warned about?

We thought the generation-next is coming with the appearance of Pono, Radjabov, Aronian, Bacrot etc, but with the arrival of Karjakin and Carlsen it seems the generation-next to the generation-next has actually arrived.


with players becoming world champions by about age 20, I find the top age of 25 as being young people just a little old. I would like to see Magnus age 15. I think a top age of about 21 would be better. I hope that includes Aronian, etc. maybe 22.
there is a 12 year old making his 2nd GM norm.

but I do like the idea of a young tournament. keeping out the older players. this is a really good idea. I hope this tournament will be yearly. I am sure it could become very popular among the fans.

Yeah, I agree, 25 in the chess world is a seasoned veteran. With some kids playing internationally at 10, and becoming GMs at 15, 25 is downright elderly.

The pre-tourney favorite is a prime example. Ponomariov is close to the age of 25, and already it seems like he's been around forever. Regarding age, it's remarkable how much chess has changed (become a young person's game) in the last 10-20 years. The overall influence of the computer can never be underestimated for this. Ironically, it has also made me realize just how much of an anachronism I've become during that time frame.

Does anyone else think that the circumstances of Negi's receipt of his second norm raise a few questions about, at the very least, the pairing system employed?

ChessBase reports that 10 norms were made at the tournament; I haven't been able to find any details on that, but it seems a bit excessive for a single event, especially considering that there were only 8 players rated 2500+ out of 314.

To achieve a norm with 7.5/10 games, one's average opposition must exceed 2400, which seems unlikely given a field in which 28% of the players were unrated and the average rating of the remaining players was 2181.

Furthermore, one must face 40% international opponents to achieve a norm in such a Swiss, but 87% of the players were Indian, making fulfilling this requirement also quite difficult.

Please do not misunderstand me. I do not mean to say anything about Negi himself; perhaps he is a very strong player. His rating certainly seems to be increasing quickly, and he will undoubtedly be grandmaster strength soon if he is not already, even if he won't be breaking age records. He has 100+ rating points to go before the title, with or without his norms.

It's very likely that Negi both faced strong enough opposition and made the requisite ELO performance because otherwise they would not have proclaimed a norm. It's also possible that he faced enough foreign players.

Ponomariov is not 25 his birth date is 11-10-1983, that puts him at 22 and a couple of months. but then again Ruslan has been sort of a world champion and to me does not exactly fit my idea of the young upcoming players. I would skip over Pono with all due respects that he is already a top player.

to me the idea of the young players is to get those who can benefit the most from the exposure and opportunity to meet in this tournament.

Part of the excitement of Nakamura is that people still want to watch him rise into the top level. he is not quite there yet.

I feel Karjakin has shown he is in the top level at Corus. but Carlsen is still on the climb. this would be a good time to have Magnus and see if he can win the tournament.

Radjabov is top level. but there are many many others who should be given this opportunity.


on another topic metioned above.

when I read about 10 players getting a GM norm in this one tournament my mind was immediately filled with all kinds of ideas of how this could have been prearranged. it just did not ring like a good honest earning of the norms. but then again I am reading recently everywhere about how norms are bought and GM's throw games to give people norms.

Maybe what is needed is for norms to be made in other countries. The world is filling up with GM's. I read this past week that one can purchase a GM title for a few thousand dollars. If anyone knows how to do it let me know. I would love to be a GM. I will title my book how a class D player became a GM in only 3 tournaments. I will sell so many books i will make a profit on the investment in my GM title.

Mig will probably kick me off Chess Ninja for my sarcastic remarks on GM title purchases.

One problem is that no one in USA puts up a big chunk of money to throw a big tournament to help all the young guys get GM titles. here they ignore the chess players and say. GM what is that. thats what we need around here. some rich sponsors to help all the kids get GM norms. money can do it from what I read.


Unless I'm mistaken, norms are (potentially) available in the larger Opens held in the US (World Open, Foxwoods, etc.) -- if a person does well enough and is paired against opponents who meet the criteria (certain proportion of foreigners, titled players, minimum average rating, etc.), then he can achieve a norm. If this is wrong, someone please set the record straight.

Some Goichberg nine round swisses offer IM and GM norm opportunities, but gradually we are starting to see more closed tournaments designed to attain norms, especially on the West Coast. Lev Milman earned a GM norm that way and recently Josh Friedel did as well. That combined with Greg Shahade's US chess school is making me feel more optimistic about the state of US chess then ever before.

In Delhi tournament 10 players made norm. 2 GM, 7 IM and 1 WIM. Eight of them are Indian.

Assuming playing strength, getting IM norm was not difficult. There were 52 players with rating 2350 or above and 41 of them were GM’s and IM’s.

Negi’s progression in the tournament is as follows

Round 1-3 Untitled players and he won them all. He was 35th seed and hence it is understandable.
Round 4 - GM Zia Ur Rahman – Bangladesh – Won
Round 5 – GM Marat Dzhumaev Ukraine – Lost
Round 6 – GM Abhijeet Kunte India – Draw.
Here I thought, logically he should have been paired with GM Pavel Kostur. No. I’m not inferring anything.
Round 7 – IM Vijayalakshmi – Won
Round 8 – GM Niaz Mushad – Bangaladesh Draw
Round 9 – GM Dibayendu Barua – India – Draw
Round 10- IM Sundar Rajan Kidambi – India – Won

Imho, there is no major ground for suspicion in pairing. As regards suggestions of purchased results, we’ll never know. Only, future results can tell.

All said and done, that kid is talented. But, his age category results in World youth and Asian youth were not this spectacular. This was the case with that Vietnam kid also. He used to lose in category and made all his norms in First Saturday Tournaments


Article on Anand's reaction after winning Corus:

I know a way for young US players to get norm opportunities, its an "air ticket to Europe". You live in a society where money is easier to get than most other places. So take some of the money and spend it on your chess dreams and ambitions if thats what is most important to you. For an American to go play in Europe is easier than for a Bulgarian to get money to play in Ukraine or Hungary, for example.

There is a FIDE regulation that states that for the purpose of a GM norm, a rating floor of 2250 (2100 if it's an IM norm) shall be applied to the two lowest rated opponents of the norm hunter. Probably helps a lot in an event like the Parsvnath International Open where there were a lot of sub-2200 players.

For instance Negi would not have made his norm without this regulation.

Thanks, Srikanth and zakki.

Zakki's explanation is particularly helpful, as it explains how one can have an average opponent rating that is higher than the average ratings of one's opponents...

In any case, all is good; hopefully we will see many more interesting results from Negi in the future!

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 31, 2006 4:48 PM.

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