Another strong start for Almasi in Reggio Emilia

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Almasi leads 51st Torneo di CapodannoHe's defending his title and he started this year's Torneo di Capodanno with three wins. Zoltan Almasi leads in Reggio Emilia, ahead of Ni Hua, Dreev and Gustafsson.

It's quite an old event already: this year for the 51st time, Reggio Emilia, a town of about 170,000 inhabitants in northern Italy, is the location of the Torneo di Capodanno. Among its previous winners (a list that's not yet including last year's event, but we can tell you that it was Zoltan Almasi who won the 50th edition!) are Portisch, Andersson, Ribli, Anand and Karpov.

In the Mercure Hotel Astoria Reggio Emilia a 10-player round-robin is taking place 27 December - 4 January, with GM Zoltan Almasi (2663, HUN) defending his title against Ni Hua (CHN, 2710), Alexey Dreev (RUS, 2670), Jan Gustafsson (GER, 2634), Konstantin Landa (RUS, 2613), GM Mihail Marin (ROM, 2556), Manuel Leon Hoyos (MEX, 2535), GM Miso Cebalo (ROM, 2493), IM Luca Shytaj (ITA, 2472) and IM Niccol?? Ronchetti (ITA, 2414). The latter two are trying to score a GM norm in Reggio, for which a score of 5/9 is needed.

51st Torneo di Capodanno

Almasi had an excellent start again: he won his first three games. In the first round he beat Landa by adopting 3.d4 against the Petroff and then outplaying his opponent with remarkable ease. Then, again with White, he more or less treated Marin the same against the Romanian's beloved Pirc. In the third round 11...Nc6! was a nice move against Cebalo (the idea is 12.d5? Bxe2 13.dxc6 Qd4+! winning on the spot) which meant Black had won the opening battle, and after some more inaccuracies by the Romanian the ending was soon pretty hopeless for White.

The Hungarian's main rival is the Chinese GM Ni Hua, who's 2710 makes him top seed. He beat Cebalo and Ronchetti Black and then drew with Dreev, who beat Leon Hoyos and drew with Gustafsson. Here are all games of the first three rounds:

Games rounds 1-3



[TABLE=552]


Almasi-Landa

Analysing the game: Almasi and Landa



Almasi-Marin

Marin trying his beloved Pirc Defence in the second round against Almasi



Cebalo-Shytaj

Cebalo and Shytaj, in their post-mortem



Ni Hua-Ronchetti

Learning from a 2700 player: Ronchetti in his post-mortem against Ni Hua



Cebalo-Ni Hua

Miso Cebalo vs Ni Hua



Dreev - Leon Hoyos

Alexey Dreev vs Manuel Leon Hoyos



Gustafsson-Ronchetti

Jan Gustafsson vs Niccolo Ronchetti



Marin-Shytaj

Mihail Marin vs Luca Shytaj



Photos courtesy of the official website.

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