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Bruzón wins Continental, Kamsky equal second

8/18/2005 – Cuba's top GM Lázaro Bruzón won the American Continental Championship, which was staged in Buenos Aires from August 5–17. Gata Kamsky, coming out of retirement, almost joined him on first, but was stopped in the final round by a 15-year-old lad. From now on we will be watching a new chess prodigy: Gastón Needleman.
 

The American Continental Championship was held in Buenos Aires from August 5th-16th, 2005. Top participants were Gata Kamsky (2700 USA), Lázaro Bruzón (2662 CUB), Giovanni Vescovi (2640 BRA), Lenier Dominguez (2639 CUB), Alexander Onischuk (2628 USA), Ruben Felgaer (2618 ARG), Gilberto Milos (2606 BRA), Ildar Ibragimov (2605 USA), Julio Granda (2601 PER).


The openings ceremony reception

We counted a total participation of 31 GMs (+ 2 WGMs), 21 IMs (and 2 WIMs) and 24 FMs (no WFMs, since that title does not exist). The prize fund in the 11-round Swiss system was $36,500.

The tournament was won by Cuban GM Lázaro ("Lázarito") Bruzón, with 8.5/11 points. The top seven players qualify to the World Cup stage of the FIDE World Championship.

American GM and top seed Gata Kamsky (Elo 2700) was there to stage a comeback from his semi-retirement from chess (which Gata used to finish law studies).

The sensation of the event was 15-year-old Gastón Needleman, who is listed at 2242 on the FIDE rating scale. The lad is the reigning absolute champion of Mendoza Province in west Argentina. He was accompanied by his father, Alejandro Needleman, who is 40 and has a 2394 rating.


Gastón Needleman at 14, playing Swedish GM Johan Hellsten [Photo: Inforchess]

The drama came in the last round, where Gastón had black against a grimly determined Gata Kamsky, who needed to win to catch the leading Bruzón. In the previous round Gastón had already ruined the chances of Alexander Shabalov, beaten the American GM with black. So Gata was forewarned. In the game he achieved good winning chances, with an extra pawn, but the defence of the "chico de 15 años" was too imaginative and tenacious to overcome.


Gata Kamsky vs Julio Granda in round eight (Kamsky won)

Final standings

 1.  2  Bruzon, Lazaro        8.5   2662   2774
2. 9 Granda, Julio 8.0 2601 2739
5 Onischuk, Alexander 8.0 2628 2728
7 Milos, Gilberto 8.0 2606 2710
1 Kamsky, Gata 8.0 2700 2672
6 Felgaer, Ruben 8.0 2618 2693
3 Vescovi, Giovanni 8.0 2640 2689
99 Needleman, Gaston 8.0 2242 2655
9. 15 Ivanov, Alexander 7.5 2566 2641
12 Spraggett, Kevin 7.5 2592 2636
11 Shabalov, Alexander 7.5 2593 2589
4 Dominguez, Lenier 7.5 2639 2608
28 Hernandez, Gilberto 7.5 2518 2619
17 Akobian, Varuzhan 7.5 2558 2593
23 Lima, Darcy 7.5 2535 2471
25 Arencibia, Walter 7.5 2527 2483
10 Leitao, Rafael 7.5 2598 2526
18. 20 Shulman, Yuri 7.0 2550 2610
22 Nogueiras, Jesus 7.0 2541 2539
8 Ibragimov, Ildar 7.0 2605 2588
13 Gulko, Boris 7.0 2589 2544
58 Labollita, Martin 7.0 2383 2551
27 Quezada, Yuniesky 7.0 2522 2446
57 Castro, Oscar H. 7.0 2385 2463
33 Vera, Reynaldo 7.0 2490 2456
16 Kudrin, Sergey 7.0 2559 2478
18 Vasquez, Rodrigo 7.0 2558 2472

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