American Continental Rd5: Bachmann and Cori lead

by Albert Silver
5/19/2015 – Five rounds, and the American Continental is finally beginning to take shape. After his mishap, Granda Zuñiga seems to be intent on recovering, while his younger compatriot GM Jorge Cori took over the shared lead with Paraguayan GM Axel Bachmann with 4.5/5. The tournament heats up as the leaders try to distance themselves from the pack. Illustrated report, annotated games.

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The tournament

The tournament is an eleven-round competition played at 40 moves in 90 minutes followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game and a 30-second increment as of move one. The first round is on May 15 with rounds every day until round eleven on May 24, including a double-round on May 17. Play typically starts at 5PM.

Although there are tiebreak scoring systems in place, starting with direct encounter, Buchholz, and more, in the event of a draw at the top, the top four qualifiers will be decided by a rapid tiebreak match or tournament, depending on the number, starting at 15 minutes plus a ten-second increment.

The prizes are US$5000 for first, $3400 for second, $2400 for third with prizes all the way to 20th place. Note that as FIDE events of this caliber, all norms scored count double, thus a player who scores a norm at the end of the competition will be considered to have earned two norms, not one.

Pride in the past

Upon first getting to know the city of Montevideo, of which I have only scratched the surface, a fact I am all too aware of, one is struck by the incessant and almost overwhelming number of museums, displays, and galleries open to the public, almost all at no cost.

One walks past all this in wide-eyed acceptance and admiration, but at some point the mind recovers from its initial shock and asks itself ‘how?’ If you go to a city such as Paris, you expect this, with its history dating back to Roman times, and artistic endeavors that have punctuated its past. Nevertheless, with all the deepest respect for this city, it does not quite stretch that far back, so how do they do it?

In many ways, the list of cultural offerings are an example of what is possible even without millennia of stories to tell, and the nature of the exhibitions tells a tale of pride in their past that is not common. The exhibition of the Museum of Currency shared in the first report are but the tip of the iceberg.

For one thing there are the old buildings with rich architectural beauty visible everywhere, even in
relatively ‘common’ buildings. One might expect this effort to protect old churches and whatnot, but
it extends far beyond this helping give the city its Old World flavor. (Click image for high-res version)

A couple of blocks from the hotel there is a post office. What is interesting nevertheless is not just that it is housed in one of the older traditional buildings, but that it carries a sign saying: “Postal Museum”

The entrance depicts a small open space with the ever-present Artigas

These are not idle words, and strolling into it, you will see a series of exhibits describing the first efforts at postal services and the original items and equipment used.

The museum shares an ample collection of the various stamps used

This, for example, is the second generation mailbox used from 1900 to 1940

This is a reconstruction of the early postal offices

Saddles (1896-1945) - Used by the cavalry postmen (on horseback) to
distribute the mail in urban and suburban zones. The first 'Postman on
Horse' was Don Gregorio Haedo in 1896.

Among the various displays, of which this is but a small selection, is
even an original 'Postal and Telegraph Guide' from 1925

While quaint on the one side, they are also fascinating glimpses into a past that is not so far back, and that helps us stay in touch with our roots and better understand and appreciate the changes we are undergoing. Still, it is not all about "Montevideo 100 years ago".

This old-looking building with a modern decoration invites you to take
a look at a new series of displays. (Click image for high-res version)

The inside is quite large, and houses several floors of modern multimedia exhibits

Among the themes on the ground floor is one on recycling, a concept the city has embraced

Even public parks are the topic for school field trips. Here a class comes with the teacher
as she gives a lesson on the fountain and its importance

Around the fountain, vendors sell a variety of items. Here I am posing with a camera from yesteryear

Round five

The fifth round can already be described as defining ever more the true list of leaders and challengers. It is to be expected that the leaders will change places over the next rounds, and sure enough that is indeed what happened. IM Yago Santiago faced GM Axel Bachmann and found himself on the wrong side of opening preparation.

A shake of the hands, and a swap of leadership

GM Axel Bachmann - IM Yago Santiago (annotated by IM Luis Rodi)

[Event "Continental"] [Site "Montevideo"] [Date "2015.05.18"] [Round "5"] [White "Bachmann, Alex"] [Black "Santiago, Yago"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B07"] [WhiteElo "2636"] [BlackElo "2400"] [Annotator "Rodi,Luis"] [PlyCount "51"] [EventDate "2015.05.19"] [EventCountry "URU"] {Axel Bachmann became one of the leaders of the tournament after beating the previous leader in impressive fashion.} 1. g3 {The opening by Pal Benko, used here to open the way, via transposition, to the Pirc Fianchetto. It was first used by Harrwitz in 1846, and then used profusely by Richard Reti in 1925, but Benko's name is what stuck to the line by virtue of his contributions to its theory.} g6 2. Bg2 Bg7 3. d4 d6 4. e4 Nf6 5. Nc3 O-O 6. Nge2 c6 7. O-O e5 8. a4 (8. h3 b5 9. a3 Bb7 {is a modern alternative.}) 8... Na6 9. h3 Re8 10. a5 $5 { White has been obtaining excellent results with this move.} ({Nevertheless, the usual line has been} 10. Be3 {where} Nb4 11. Qd2 a5 12. Rad1 Qe7 {leads to rough equality (Bacrot - Reyes, Toulouse 1994)}) 10... exd4 11. Nxd4 Nc5 {Time to activate that knight.} (11... Nb4 {(Popchev - Fier, Golden Sands 2012) was also worth considering.}) 12. Re1 d5 {Although this move is the most common one used in this position, I find it suspect since it allows White to create an isolated pawn in the center.} ({As an option, a famous game continued} 12... Nfd7 13. Be3 Qc7 14. f4 {(Benko - Fischer, Curaçao ct 1962) and now} Na6 $5 { might be Black's best bet, leaving the c5-square for the other knight instead.} ) 13. exd5 Rxe1+ 14. Qxe1 Nxd5 15. Nxd5 cxd5 16. Be3 $16 {In practice, the statistics in Megabase are overhwelmingly favorable for White, with scores of 80%, and 94% for the replies to it. His structure is better, his pieces are more active, and he has the d4-square firmly in hand.} Ne6 17. Rd1 Nxd4 { Simplifications always favor the side fighting against structural weaknesses, but Black lacks decent alternatives.} (17... Qc7 18. Bxd5 Nxd4 19. Bxd4 Bxh3 20. Bxg7 Kxg7 21. a6 $18 {Ostojic - Zrnic, Stara Pazova 1982}) 18. Bxd4 Bxd4 19. Rxd4 Be6 20. Qd2 Qf6 {Until now, the players had been following Munguntuul - Xu Huahua, Moscow 2012. The following move is a strong theoretical novelty, and an example in the transformation of advantages.} 21. c4 $1 {Black rids himself of the isolated pawn, but in exchange gives White a monster passed pawn.} (21. c3 Re8 22. Bxd5 Bxh3 23. Bxb7 h5 24. b4 Kh7 25. Bg2 Bg4 26. b5 Re5 27. Rb4 Re6 28. Qd4 Qe7 29. b6 Rd6 30. Qe4 Rd1+ 31. Kh2 Qc5 32. Qf4 Be6 33. b7 Qxc3 34. b8=Q {1-0 (34) Munguntuul,B (2452)-Xu,H (2134) Moscow 2012}) 21... dxc4 $2 {Now the passed pawn that results is a terror.} ({The lesser evil was} 21... b6 22. cxd5 Bd7 23. d6 Rd8 24. axb6 axb6 $16 {where Black at least has a better blockade of the enemy pawn.}) 22. a6 $18 {Black now loses without being able to put up much resistance.} Kg7 23. axb7 Rb8 24. Rd6 $1 Qe7 25. Qd4+ Kg8 26. Qe5 {White threatens Rxe6 already. An excellent technical display by the Paraguayan grandmaster.} (26. Qe5 Qf8 27. Ra6 {followed by Rxa7, Qxb8 and Ra8.} ) 1-0

On other tables on the stage were Argentine Alain Pichot who held GM Eric Hansen to a
draw, while Sandro Mareco split the point with Alexander Shabalov

Joining Axel Bachmann in the lead was Peruvian Jorge Cori. IM Luis Rodi, who followed the game with great interest, said, "After Julio Granda Zuñiga, a long list of rising players has come out of Peru, among whom the talented Jorge Cori. In the following game, the young Peruvian grandmaster achieves an advantage in original style, which he then exploits to perfection."

GM Jorge Cori - GM Federico Perez Ponsa (annotated by IM Luis Rodi)

[Event "Continental"] [Site "Montevideo"] [Date "2015.05.18"] [Round "5"] [White "Cori, Jorge"] [Black "Perez Ponsa, Federico"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E11"] [WhiteElo "2609"] [BlackElo "2533"] [Annotator "Rodi,Luis"] [PlyCount "95"] [EventDate "2015.05.19"] [EventCountry "URU"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 a5 5. g3 d6 6. Bg2 Nbd7 7. O-O e5 8. e3 c6 9. Bc1 $1 {A paradoxical move whose purpose is to make life hard on Black's advanced bishop. Grandmaster Yuri Razuvaev was the first to employ it.} e4 10. Ng5 d5 11. c5 a4 ({An important option was} 11... h6 {and for example} 12. Nh3 a4 13. a3 Ba5 14. Qxa4 Nf8 15. b4 Bxh3 16. Bxh3 Bc7 17. Qd1 h5 $44 {Razuvaev - Lutz, Germany 1991 and others.}) 12. a3 Ba5 13. Qxa4 Nf8 $146 {An unfortunate novelty.} (13... b5 14. Qc2 h6 15. Nxe4 $5 (15. Nh3 $14) 15... dxe4 16. Bxe4 $44 {Golubenko - Ordaz Valdes, Tromso ol 2014}) (13... h6 $5 14. Nh3 Nf8 { might be a preferable version of Perez Ponsa's idea.}) 14. b4 h6 15. Nxf7 $1 { The difference between the previously seen alternatives.} Kxf7 16. bxa5 $16 { White's advantage is obvious. While Black will recover one of the two pawns lost, the exposed king will always weigh against him.} N8h7 17. Nd2 Ng5 18. f3 Rxa5 19. Qb3 Rb5 20. Qc2 exf3 21. Nxf3 Nxf3+ 22. Bxf3 Ra5 23. Bd2 Ra8 24. Qb3 Rf8 25. e4 $1 $18 {Taking advantage of the pin on diagonal and f-file to gain space in the center. Black is without counterplay, and only a player of his calibre could resist for as long as he did.} Kg8 26. e5 Nh7 27. Be2 Qe7 28. Rxf8+ Nxf8 29. Rf1 Bh3 30. Rf2 Bc8 31. Bd1 Be6 32. a4 Bf7 33. Bc2 Kh8 34. g4 Ne6 35. Qh3 Kg8 36. Qd3 Nf8 37. a5 Qh4 38. Qf3 Bg6 39. Bf5 Kh8 (39... Bxf5 40. gxf5 Qxd4 41. Qg3 Kh8 42. e6 $18) 40. e6 ({Or} 40. Qg3 $5 Qxg3+ 41. hxg3 $18) 40... Re8 41. Qg3 Qf6 (41... Qxg3+ 42. hxg3 Bh7 {is suggested by Komodo 9.} 43. Re2 g6 44. e7 gxf5 45. exf8=Q+ Rxf8 46. Bxh6 Ra8 47. g5) 42. g5 hxg5 43. Bxg5 Qxd4 44. Qh3+ Kg8 45. e7 Nh7 46. Bxg6 Nxg5 47. Qf5 Rxe7 48. Qf8# 1-0

In the main playing room, Argentinian IM Facundo Pierrot drew GM Kaidanov

GM Diego Flores started with 4.0/5

Keen chess enthusiast, organizer André Boff in a post-mortem

A game of contrasts

Standings after five rounds

Rk SNo Ti. Name FED Rtg Pts  TB rtg+/-
1 3 GM Bachmann Axel PAR 2636 4.5 17.0 5.4
2 8 GM Cori Jorge PER 2609 4.5 16.0 8.2
3 9 GM Felgaer Ruben ARG 2582 4.0 17.0 -3.0
4 22 IM Pichot Alan ARG 2504 4.0 17.0 18.1
5 11 GM Hansen Eric CAN 2580 4.0 16.5 2.2
6 6 GM Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo VEN 2613 4.0 16.5 3.3
7 21 GM Shabalov Alexander USA 2523 4.0 16.0 10.1
8 19 GM El Debs Felipe De Cresce BRA 2527 4.0 16.0 8.9
9 4 GM Lenderman Aleksandr USA 2636 4.0 16.0 1.3
10 27 IM Vera Siguenas Deivy PER 2469 4.0 15.5 3.1
11 35 IM Santiago Yago De Moura BRA 2400 4.0 15.5 17.0
12 1 GM Granda Zuniga Julio E PER 2650 4.0 15.0 -3.5
13 2 GM Quesada Perez Yuniesky CUB 2645 4.0 14.5 -2.6
14 13 GM Flores Diego ARG 2567 4.0 14.0 -1.8
15 20 GM Matamoros Franco Carlos S. ECU 2525 4.0 14.0 1.4
16 16 GM Hevia Alejano Carlos Antonio CUB 2535 4.0 14.0 4.6
17 23 IM Di Berardino Diego Rafael BRA 2489 4.0 13.0 2.9
18 24 GM Alonso Salvador ARG 2488 4.0 13.0 3.8
19 36 FM Paveto Kevin ARG 2400 4.0 11.0 -0.2
20 73   Michailov Matias URU 2137 4.0 11.0 30.6

Click for complete standings

The top eight boards of the event can be followed live at both the official site and on Playchess.

All photos by Albert Silver


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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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