Asian Champion Zhang Pengxiang is leading the Magistral Ruy López in Spain with 2/2. The locals have nicknamed him ZP -- no word on how he feels about this or if he's even aware of it. This is the second edition of this event honoring the best-known name in Spanish chess. (Speaking of nicknames, what dolt started calling the Ruy Lopez opening "the Spanish torture" instead of "the Spanish inquisition," which was begging to be played?) The all-play-all Magistral again has an interesting field with something for just about every affirmative action fan. We've got kids, girls, Asians, Latinos, and Mickey Adams as the token high-Elo white guy. I don't know whether to look at the games or wait for Hillary and Obama to show up for a photo-op.
Brooklyn's 15-year-old Fabiano Caruana is still playing for Italy and living in Hungary. He won the Corus C group in January, had a rough time at the Aeroflot, and recouped some rating points with a strong performance at the Reykjavik Open last month. He's up to 2620 on the April FIDE list, though that's no longer enough to crack the top 100. Dirt favorite Hou Yifan, now 14, is there again, as is India's Humpy Koneru. They are #4 and #2, respectively, on the women's rating list. I expect Hou Yifan will be in the #2 spot a year from now. The big question is will she be in the number one spot two years from now? Well, at the moment in Mérida she's on .5/2 after a loss to Caruana, so let's not put the rickshaw before the horse. Last year's runaway winner, Gabriel Sargissian, is already sure of not repeating his amazing 6.5/7 score of a year ago.
After the main event, beginning April 13, they will repeat the Ruy Lopez opening thematic rapid tournament. All games begin with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5. Or, if you prefer it the way the locals would have it, 1.e4 e5 2.Cf3 Cc6 3.Ab5. I remember writing a Word macro to change English notation into Spanish back in the day of primitive chess tools in Argentina. (Running on my 486 laptop, natch.) Just remember to change the rooks to torres before changing the kings to reyes... I was one of the few people at the club with internet access and I'd bring in stacks of printouts of recent games from this new "website" called The Week In Chess.