Wesley So On Top in Havana With Three Rounds To Go

Wesley So On Top in Havana With Three Rounds To Go

| 17 | Chess Event Coverage

Wesley So leads the Elite Group of the Capablanca Memorial in Havana, Cuba after seven rounds. With an undefeated plus two score the 20-year-old Pinoy grandmaster is half a point ahead of top seed Leinier Dominguez of Cuba. The other Cuban participant, Lazaro Bruzon, has drawn all his games so far.

Zoltan Almasi and Wesley So were the two players on 2/3 and both drew their games in round 4, with Lazaro Bruzon and Vassily Ivanchuk respectively. Leinier Dominguez joined them in first place with the following black win over Paco Vallejo.

Via an original move order a 6.h3 Najdorf came on the board, where 6...Nc6 isn't the most popular response. Some sort of Scheveningen appeared, with White having played Nd4-e2 instead of Bc1-e3. Vallejo tried to make it useful by maneuvering the knight to h5, but Dominguez quickly got the upper hand.

Wesley So grabbed the lead in round 5. He defeated Zoltan Almasi as Black in a sharp Winawer French. Theoretically it should be good for White, but over the board it's always a big mess. On move 29 it became clear that it was So who played for a win, and Almasi immediately went wrong there.

Almasi vs. So | Photo María del Carmen Ramón / Cubahora

Vallejo bounced back with two black wins in a row. In round 5 the Spanish GM definitely put an end to Ivanchuk's dreams of winning another Capablanca Memorial. 

Ivanchuk vs. Vallejo | Photo María del Carmen Ramón / Cubahora

On Wednesday Vallejo also beat Almasi, who switched to 1.c4 but didn't do well in the opening:

Meanwhile, the drawing percentage in the Elite Group of the Capablanca Memorial increased to 71.4%, and now there also have been a few very quick draws. The all-Cuban encounter Dominguez-Bruzon, in round 5, saw the famous Re8, Ng5, Rf8, Nf3 repetition in the Ruy Lopez Zaitsev. In round 7 Vassily Ivanchuk offered a draw in a normal position on move 17, also against Bruzon, and Vallejo and So split the point on move 20 in a Closed Ruy Lopez, also without repeating moves.

Also quick, but more interesting, was this one:

Bruzon vs. So | Photo María del Carmen Ramón / Cubahora

Capablanca Memorial 2014 | Round 7 Standings
# Name Rtg Rtg 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 So,Wesley 2731 2813 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½½ 1 ½ 4.5/7
2 Dominguez,Leinier 2768 2765 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 ½½ ½½ 4.0/7
3 Bruzon,Lazaro 2682 2732 ½½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½½ 3.5/7 12.25
4 Vallejo,Francisco 2700 2721 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½1 1 3.5/7 11.00
5 Almasi,Zoltan 2693 2679 0 ½½ ½ ½0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 3.0/7
6 Ivanchuk,Vassily 2753 2616 ½ ½½ ½½ 0 0 phpfCo1l0.png 2.5/7

Drawing all his games, Bruzon tried his luck against a young chess fan in the hotel lobby | Photo María del Carmen Ramón / Cubahora

The 2014 Capablanca Memorial takes place at the Habana Riviera hotel. 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 columnadeportivaphpfCo1l0.png

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