Capablanca Memorial: Stories, Games and Analysis
With young GM Samuel Sevian, one of the greatest talents in the world right now.

Capablanca Memorial: Stories, Games and Analysis

FM michechess89

Hi everyone. Today we are getting into the details of Capablanca Memorial. I will be analyzing my three favorite games and also, sharing some nice story. Let's start.


Instructive endgame

In round number 4 I faced a Cuban talented boy. We played an interesting endgame.

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Facing Pepe Cuenca

What to do if you are playing against popular GM Pepe Cuenca and you need a victory? That’s the situation I faced in round number 8. I needed the whole point because it was the last opportunity to fix my regular tournament (I had been drawing some lower rated players) and get the IM norm (to get that I needed to beat Cuenca and also win in round 9 or 10 against another 2500 player, assuming I would be paired with another GM). It looked really difficult, but not impossible. I was decided to give it all in this game. This would be a live or die battle. A draw was not an acceptable result for me. Let’s see what happened in this game.

 Facing Women’s National Champion

I knew I was not getting my main objective in this tournament (my defeat against Cuenca finished my dreams), but it was still a great motivation to play against an Olympic Medalist (Dresden 2008, Silver Medal, 4th board for Cuba) and current Women’s National Champion. So, for this round I was kind of devastated and motivated at the same time . This is the game versus the legendary WGM Oleiny Linares.

Meeting an old friend

When I was 15 years old, my FIDE rating was somewhere between 2100 and 2200. It was 2005, and I was already the strongest player in my town, and also in some towns around. I had already read the few books my respected coach owned, there was not internet in Cuba and I barely knew what a computer was (had seen it at school). In that situation, it was really hard for me to make progress at chess. In this time, I had no idea what it was to play against an IM.

In those days, there was a tournament in Havana, IM Alexis Murillo came as coach for some team representing Costa Rica. They stayed in my town and traveled 40 miles every day to Havana to play the tournament. By some way, I knew about this and my coach and I managed to schedule a meeting with Alexis.

The night of the gathering we talked and played some blitz. I was really honored; I was a boy thirsty of knowledge and that was a great opportunity for me. Alexis gave us an important present, the book “Antología del Ajedrez Costarricense” (Anthology of Costa Rican Chess) coauthored by him and his brother Manuel. We said good bye, and I never knew again about this generous IM… but I never forgot his name, until this Capablanca Memorial.

When I saw the list of the players in the Open Section, I knew he was going to play this tournament. Just when I could talk to him, I reintroduced myself. He remembered that day, but not the faces (that day in 2005 was logically much more special for me than for him).

We talked about some friends in common and about our perspectives in the tournament. He joked: “It would be great that you get the IM title thanks to the book I gave you”

And that’s the little story of how 14 years later I could meet an old friend. Thank you Alexis, for being such a nice and humble Master!

A picture with Sevian


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