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Ivanchuk Rolling in Havana

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Like a fine Cuban cigar, Vassily Ivanchuk just keeps rolling along at the Capablanca Memorial. The Ukrainian top-tenner has a tradition of putting up big scores in Latin America. In 2005 it was 9.5/12 at this event, two and a half points ahead of the pack. Last year it was a much stronger event with other strong internationals, including Bareev. Ivanchuk still took first with 6.5/10. After that he headed right to Mexico to add another Carlos Torre Memorial KO victory to his collection. His Morelia performances have been less impressive, but overall better than when they arrive in Linares. (Overall +1 in Morelia, -3 in Linares.)

This year's Capablanca Memorial has expanded the field to 10, moving away from the often tedious double round-robin. Those have a certain majesty at the elite level, but when you have an unbalanced field it can get pretty ugly. The top Cuban players, Dominguez and Bruzon, are joined by a few countrymen as well as Gashimov (AZE), Miton of Poland, and Peter Heine Nielsen of Denmark. Bruzon and Nielsen were favorites but are both struggling so far. The Dane, who has been coaching Magnus Carlsen of late, is at 2.5/6 and Bruzon is at the bottom with just two points. Ivanchuk is in the clear lead by a point and a half with 5/6. Gashimov and Dominguez are =2-3 with 3.5. Three of Ivanchuk's wins have come with black, including a boggling game with Nielsen to start the event. In the last round he won a nice endgame against Miton.

Just to get in an Argentina shout-out, the first of these Capablanca Memorial events was won by Don Miguel Najdorf in 1962. (Despite his losing his first two games, his only losses!) The event was very strong over the next decade and winners included Smyslov, Korchnoi, and Larsen. In 1965, Bobby Fischer famously played the 21-round marathon by teletype machine from the Marshall Chess Club when the US State Department denied Fischer permission to travel to Cuba. Even though his sessions took many hours more than regular games, often ending at past two in the morning, Fischer still came =2-4. This commitment made Fischer very popular in Cuba from what I was told. When I went there in the early 90's chess fans still wanted to talk about it. Fischer went to Cuba the next year for the Olympiad. He had even been there before, in 1956, and given a simul in Havana. Thank goodness US policy toward Cuba has gotten so much more intelligent in the last 30 years and that the embargo got rid of that Castro guy.


What has happened to Bruzon? I remember the days when he would always end up with great results and now it seems he is one of the bottom feeders. It is always disappointing to have bad results on your home turf.

Let's hope he can pull out a few wins in the last rounds.

thank you for making me smile so often mig :-)

Yes, depsi, Mig does have a talent in that respect!

Mig --

When and why were you in Argentina?


"Even though his sessions took many hours more than regular games, often ending at past two in the morning, Fischer still came =2-4."

This doesn't sound right. How many games did Fischer win?

I was confused at first, too, Mike.
What Mig means is that Fischer shared 2nd to 4th place.

Yah, I tend to think of that as a standard expression but maybe it's not. It's just short for "equal 2nd to 4th".

Hello Don. I lived in Buenos Aires from 1993-1999, first teaching and then starting and running a technical consulting company. And playing a lot of chess, at least until 98 when work got crazy and I was reduced to Sunday rapids. Strong chess scene there with good club activity, at least compared to the US. That's really where I started playing in tournaments and club events. I lived in Mexico for two years before that but there wasn't a lot of chess in Guadalajara, just a small club that played blitz, mostly.

In 1999 Kasparov hired me to run KasparovChess.com and I moved to Israel to help develop that, and then we opened the NY office. When it went under I stayed here. I'm originally from the East Bay Area, a mile or two from where Yermo lives now, actually. I still miss Argentina quite a bit. I'm hoping to go back for a good visit early next year.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 25, 2007 4:04 PM.

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