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Granda Reaches Highest Elo At 49

Granda Reaches Highest Elo At 49

PeterDoggers
| 29 | Chess Players

Now 49 years old, Julio Granda Zuniga doesn't cease to amaze the chess world. After winning the Llucmajor open with 8.5/9, his virtual rating climbed to 2699, the highest in his career.

Julio Granda was a phenomenon in 1990s, and he still is. A few days ago the Peruvian grandmaster, whose rating had already climbed to 2686, gained another 13 points in Llucmajor, about 15km southeast of Palma, on the Spanish island Mallorca. He's now one point shy of a virtual 2700 rating.

Granda won the tournament (and with it the €1,500 / $1,692 first prize) with a huge score: 8.5/9. That was 1.5 points more than the rest of the pack, a group of seven players: GMs Romain Edouard (FRA, 2641), Aleksandr Rakhmanov (RUS, 2654), Misa Pap (SRB, 2484), Allan Stig Rasmussen (DEN, 2495), Felix Levin (GER, 2511), Sergey Fedorchuk (UKR, 2626), and IM Frank Bracker (GER, 2407).

Sometimes it was his excellent technique. Here's how Granda outplays Misa Pap from an equal endgame:

Sometimes the opponent would miss a tactic and lose quickly in a worse ending:

And sometimes it was Granda's desire to win the game:

The prize winners in Llucmajor, with Granda fourth from the left. | Photo courtesy of WinterChess.

Granda, who has been living in Salamanca (Spain) since 2008, became Peru's first grandmaster at 19. That was in 1986, exacty 30 years ago, at the Capablanca Memorial in Cuba. His enormous talent came known to the whole chess world when he finished shared first at the second (Amsterdam 1995, together with Jan Timman) and third Donner Memorial (Amsterdam 1996, together with Vassily Ivanchuk).

In 1998 he quit chess, but four years later Granda made a comeback. Whereas he never managed to stay at the absolute top level, he won a huge number of tournaments, especially in Latin America. He played rather well in the 2013 World Cup, where he knocked out Hrant Melkumyan, Peter Leko and Anish Giri before getting eliminated by Fabiano Caruana.

Reaching your highest Elo at 49 must be in an inspiration to many chess players. Granda is known to play different kinds of sports, and recently he has stated that he is working on his chess in a more organized manner. Most importantly, he has never stopped loving the game.

Llucmajor Open 2016 | Final Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo Title Name FED Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1 1 GM Granda Zuniga Julio E PER 2686 8,5 41,5 53 0
2 3 GM Edouard Romain FRA 2641 7 42,5 55 0
3 2 GM Rakhmanov Aleksandr RUS 2654 7 41,5 52,5 0
4 13 GM Pap Misa SRB 2484 7 40,5 53 0
5 11 GM Rasmussen Allan Stig DEN 2495 7 40,5 53 0
6 10 GM Levin Felix GER 2511 7 40,5 52,5 0
7 4 GM Fedorchuk Sergey A. UKR 2626 7 39,5 50 0
8 32 IM Bracker Frank GER 2407 7 38 49 0
9 16 GM Movsziszian Karen ARM 2468 6,5 43,5 56,5 0
10 33 FM Ochsner Bjorn Moller DEN 2397 6,5 42 53 0
11 20 IM Trent Lawrence ENG 2450 6,5 40,5 52 0
12 8 GM Demuth Adrien FRA 2541 6,5 33,5 43,5 0
13 6 GM Winants Luc BEL 2562 6 41,5 53 0
14 15 GM Hoffmann Michael GER 2473 6 41 54 0
15 39 IM Vassallo Barroche Mauricio ESP 2381 6 40,5 51,5 0
16 42 IM Roeder Matthias GER 2369 6 40,5 50,5 0
17 30 IM Almagro Llamas Pablo ESP 2422 6 40 52,5 0
18 14 IM Castellanos Rodriguez Renier ESP 2481 6 40 51 0,5
19 23 GM Paunovic Dragan SRB 2439 6 40 51 0,5
20 26 GM Manik Mikulas SVK 2428 6 40 50 0

(Full final standings here.)

PeterDoggers
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.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by Chess.com in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!


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