Almasi & So Tied for First After Three Rounds at Capablanca Memorial

Almasi & So Tied for First After Three Rounds at Capablanca Memorial

| 21 | Chess Event Coverage

The Capablanca Memorial is underway in Havana, Cuba and after three rounds GMs Zoltan Almasi of Hungary and Wesley So of the Philippines are in shared first place in the Elite Group. They have both scored one win and two draws. The tournament is held for the 49th time.

The 2014 Capablanca Memorial is again taking place at the Habana Riviera hotel, located on the famous Malecón. The broad esplanade, roadway and seawall along the coast in Havana is still the iconic place where tourists stroll, fishermen cast their lures and prostitutes find their clients.

Each day, in the Salón Internacional of the hotel, three games are played in the Elite Group (a 6-player double round robin with Leinier Dominguez, Vassily Ivanchuk, Wesley So, Paco Vallejo, Zoltan Almasi, and Lazaro Bruzon) and another five in the Premier Group (a round robin with Isan Reynaldo Ortiz Suarez, Emilio  Cordova, Yuniesky Quesada Perez, Bator Sambuev, Yusnel Bacallao Alonso, Sebastian Bogner, Carlos Antonio Hevia Alejano, Yasser Quesada Perez, Yuri Gonzalez Vidal, and Danyyil Dvirnyy).

At the opening ceremony. R-L Dominguez, his wife, Almasi, Vallejo, Ivanchuk | Photo María del Carmen Ramón / Cubahora 

Already in the first round the two top seeds of the Elite Group faced each other: five times winner Vassily Ivanchuk and Cuba's number one (and world #10) Leinier Dominguez. The Ukrainian went for the Open variation of the Ruy Lopez but Dominguez is too much of a theoretician to be surprised by something like that. He kept the advantage well into the endgame, but Ivanchuk didn't make any big mistakes.

So vs Bruzon and Vallejo vs Almasi were also undecided, and in the second round two more games ended in draws: Almasi-Dominguez and Bruzon-Ivanchuk. Wesley grabbed the lead with a win over Paco Vallejo in a Berlin Endgame. It seems that the Spanish GM was close to draw just before the end.

Wesley So | Photo María del Carmen Ramón / Cubahora

In the third round there were again two (fighting) draws: Vallejo-Bruzon, and Dominguez-So. The game of the day was Ivanchuk-Almasi where the Ukrainian went for an interesting, long-term sacrifice which in fact had been played once before. Ivanchuk played the attack better than Zelcic in 2001, but in the end the sac is probably not correct. But it took amazing defensive skills by Almasi to prove it! The Hungarian thus caught So in first place.

It was only Ivanchuk's third loss in all Capablanca Memorials together (+28 –3 =33)!

After an early loss, can Chuky do it again in Havana? | Photo María del Carmen Ramón / Cubahora

Capablanca Memorial 2014 | Round 3 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 So,Wesley 2731 2837 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 2.0/3 2.50
2 Almasi,Zoltan 2693 2860 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 2.0/3 2.25
3 Dominguez Perez,Leinier 2768 2726 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.5/3 2.50
4 Bruzon Batista,Lazaro 2682 2728 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1.5/3 2.00
5 Vallejo Pons,Francisco 2700 2582 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/3 1.75
6 Ivanchuk,Vassily 2753 2594 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/3 1.50

Each day the rounds start at 3pm local time (3 pm Eastern, noon Pacific, 9pm Central European). You can follow the games live here. Round reports in Spanish can be found at columnadeportiva.

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

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