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Ivanchuk catches Le in final round of Capa Memorial

5/22/2011 – One round before the end the Vietnamese super talent Le Quang Liem led the field at the 46th Capablanca Memorial in Havana, Cuba, by a full point. But he still had to face Vassily Ivanchuk. Le played a brave game with black and had (we believe) the required draw in hand. But a few small inaccuracies left the Ukranian GM three pawns up and a clear win. The two players shared first.
 

The 46th Capablanca Memorial took place from May 10-21, 2011, in Havana, Cuba.

The main event, the “Elite Group”, was a strong, six-player double round robin featuring grandmasters Vassily Ivanchuk, Leinier Dominguez Perez, David Navara, Lazaro Bruzon, Dmitry Andreikin and Le Quang Liem. There were also three subsidiary events: the Premier, Open A and Open B.

The rate of play was 90 min for the first 40 moves, then 30 min for the rest of the game, with a 30 sec increment starting from move one.

One round before the finish top Vietnamese GM Le Quang Liem was in the clear lead, a full point ahead of the field. In second place the top Ukrainian (for decades now) Vassily Ivanchuk, who had a chance to play Le in the final round.

We need to remember that Le has been having a couple of very good years. In February he won the very strong Aeroflot Open in Moscow – for the second time (a year earlier, when he did it for the first time, we had called him the new star in the Vietnam sky). He is the only player in history to win the Aeroflot twice. Winning this open gives you a ticket to the Dortmund Super-GM, in which Liem (his first name) went on to take second places in 2010, behind Ruslan Ponomariov but ahead of Kramnik, Mamedyarov and Leko.


Le Quang Liem, serial winner of the Aeroflot Open, in February this year

The 20-year-old Liem entered the international chess arena by winning the Under-14 World Youth Chess Champion in Belford in July 2005. He played for Vietnam at the Chess Olympiads in 2006 and 2008, and had a string of success ever since. Here is his rating progress since he was eleven:

Well, in the final round the irresistible force encountered the immovable object, in the shape of Vassily Ivanchuk. The Ukrainian GM has been one of the world's for more than twenty years, ranking as high as number two on the official FIDE Elo rating list (July 1991, July 1992, October 2007), and even briefly taking the top spot on the unofficial live ratings (September 10–12, 2008). This is what happened in the final round in Cuba.

Ivanchuk,V (2776) - Le Quang Liem (2687) [C07]
Capablanca Memorial Elite Havana CUB (10), 21.05.2011
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Ngf3 cxd4 6.Bc4 Qd6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Nb3 Nc6 9.Nbxd4 Nxd4 10.Nxd4 a6 11.Re1 Qc7 12.Qe2 Bd7 13.Bg5 0-0-0 14.Rad1 Bc5 15.h3 Kb8 16.Bh4 Ba4 17.Nf3 Rxd1 18.Rxd1 Rd8 19.Rxd8+ Qxd8 20.b3 Be8 21.Qe5+ Qd6 22.Qg5 Ne4 23.Qxg7 Qd1+ 24.Kh2

Liem has it in his hand to force a draw (we think) with 24...Nxf2 25.Bxf2 Bxf2, but the Vietnamese super talent choses a murkier path: 24...Bd6+ 25.Bg3 Nxg3? (25...Nxf2 was still a viable option) 26.fxg3 Bc6 27.Qxf7 Qxc2 28.Qxe6 Kc7 29.Bd5 Bd7 30.Qe3 Qxa2 31.Qc3+ Kb6 32.Nd2 Bc5 33.Ne4 Qa3 34.Bxb7 a5 35.Bd5 a4 36.Qf6+ Kc7 37.bxa4 Ba7

Ivanchuk is three pawns ahead and can launch a devastating attack: 38.Qe5+ Kd8 39.Nd6 Qe3 40.Nb7+ Kc8 41.Qh8+ Be8 42.Qxe8+ Qxe8 43.Nd6+ Kd8 44.Nxe8 Kxe8 45.a5. Opposite coloured bishops are no life-savers when one side has three extra pawns. Liem checks it out briefly: 45...Ke7 46.h4 Kf6 47.Kh3 Kf5 48.Bb3 h6 49.a6 and then resigns 1-0. With that the veteran has caught the young upstart and in fact taken first place on tiebreak points.


Vassily Ivanchuk brings home the bacon in the final round

Final standings


Le Quang Liem against Leinier Dominguez in round six (Le won in 37 moves)


Vassily Ivanchuk (right) drew against Czech GM David Navara in 47 moves (round six)


Dmitry Andreikin lost with White in 32 moves to Ivanchuk in round three


Lenier Dominguez vs Davad Navara in round three (the game was drawn in 37 moves)


Lazaro Bruzon lost seven games, drew two and won one – against Vassily Ivanchuk

In our previous report we were quite perplexed that in round four Ivanchuk had lost after a 28-move attempt at winning – but in a drawn position.

Ivanchuk,V (2776) - Bruzon Batista,L (2693) [C45]
Capablanca Memorial Elite Havana CUB (4), 14.05.2011
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Be3 Qf6 6.c3 Nge7 7.Bc4 0-0 8.0-0 Bb6 9.Na3 Qg6 10.Qd2 Qxe4 11.Rfe1 Qg6 12.Bd3 Qh5 13.Nxc6 Nxc6 14.Bxb6 cxb6 15.Nb5 d5 16.Nc7 Rb8 17.Nxd5 Be6 18.Be4 Rbd8 19.Rad1 b5 20.h3 Qh4 21.a3 Kh8 22.Qe3 a6 23.Nf4 Bb3 24.Rxd8 Qxd8 25.Bxc6 bxc6 26.Qc5 Re8 27.Rxe8+ Qxe8 28.Nd3 a5 29.Qe5 Qd8 30.Nc5 h6 31.Kh2 a4 32.Ne4 f6 33.Qf4 Bd5 34.Nd6 Qc7 35.f3 Kg8 36.Kg3 Qe7 37.Nf5 Qd7 38.h4 Be6 39.Nd4 Bd5 40.Kf2 Kh8 41.g4 Kg8 42.h5 Kh8 43.Nf5 Be6 44.Nh4 Qd8 45.Qe3 Qd6 46.Ng6+ Kg8 47.Kg2 Bd7 48.Kh3 Kf7 49.Qe4 Be6 50.Kg2 Qd2+ 51.Kg3 Qd6+ 52.Qf4 Qd1 53.Qd4

This was the (clearly drawn) position in which the PGN file had recorded a draw. Now, however, Mark Crowther in TWIC has provided the solution: he procured the full notation of the game, which went on: 53...Qe1+ 54.Kf4 Qc1+ 55.Qe3 Qd1 56.Qa7+ Bd7 57.Qd4 Qc1+ 58.Qe3 Qxe3+ 59.Kxe3 c5 60.Kf4 Bc6 61.Nh4 Bd7 62.Ke4 Bc6+ 63.Kf5 Bb7 64.Kf4 Bc8 65.Ng2 Ke6 66.Ne3 Kf7 67.Nd5 Bb7 68.Nc7 Bc6 69.Na6 Ke6 70.Nxc5+ Kd5 71.Nd3 Kc4 72.Nc1 Bb7 73.Ke3 Bd5 74.f4 Be6 75.Kf3 Bd5+ 76.Kg3 Bf7 77.Kh4 Bd5 78.Kg3 Bf7 79.Kf2 Bd5 80.Ke3 Be6 81.f5 Bd5

The position is still objectively a draw, but Ivanchuk keeps pressing. 82.Ne2? Kb3 83.Nd4+ Kxb2 84.Nxb5 Bc4 85.Nd6 Kxc3 86.Ne8 Kb2 87.Kd4 Bf7? (simply 87...Kxa3 was the path to victory) 88.Nxg7 Kxa3 89.Kc3 Ka2 90.Ne6 a3 91.Kc2 Bg8

After some very dangerous moments White can now force a draw with 92.Kc1 and if 92...Kc4 93.Nc5+=. But he wants that win against the tail-ender (Bruzon had lost all his previous games): 92.Nd4 Bd5 93.Kc1 Bc4 94.g5?? fxg5 95.f6 Bd5? 96.Nf5? (96.Kc2!) g4 97.Kc2 Bb3+ 98.Kc1 Bf7 99.Nxh6 g3 0-1. No lack of fighting spirit in Havanna.

Photos: María del Carmen Ramón / Miguel E. Gómez Masjuán


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