Mar del Plata 2012 : The going gets tough

by Albert Silver
10/17/2012 – After round six a group of players merged with the leaders from round five, and eleven heavy guns lead. Though over one third of the players are titled, the ability of the rest has been a source of intense headache for one master after another. The players here are not coming to for a chess holiday, there are here for blood, and it shows. Round six report with GM commentary by Sergio Slipak.

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7th Continental Chess Tournament / Mar del Plata 2012

Tourney type: Eleven-round swiss open
Time control: 90 minutes for 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game and a 30 second increment as of move one.
Location: Mar del Plata, Argentina
Dates: October 12-21, 2012
Prizes: 1st - US$5000, 2nd - US$3400, 3rd - US$2400, 20 prizes in all, not including prizes per category.

Special: Event is considered a world championship qualifier thus all norms earned are worth double.

Mar del Plata 2012 : The going gets tough

Report and pictures by Albert Silver


The main playing hall

After round six a group of players merged with the four leaders from round five, and the top podium is once again crowded with no fewer than eleven heavy guns. The manner in which the players have reached this shared spot speaks of wildly varying tournament strategies, barring the few who are recovering from early accidents on the way. Top seed Lazaro Bruzon Batista started by pounding the early opposition, and in the last two rounds has taken early draws, one against his high-rated compatriot GM Suarez Isan, and then again in round six against the young Venezuelan on the rise, Eduardo Iturrizaga.


After an early misstep, GM Shabalov (right) has been climbing his way up the ladder.
In round six he beat FM Dirceu Viana.

Brazilian GM Krikor Mekhitarian has less latitude for such game-management, and instead has come with a fire to let no one off the hook no matter how high their Elo. Then there are others who are only now rejoining the pack after suffering lapses at one stage or another. Though over one third of the players are titled, the genuine ability of the rest stands out, and has been a source of intense headache for one master after another. The players here are not coming to join chess with a holiday, but rather chess with hungry ambition, and it shows.


IM Roselli, whose arms frame the picture, lost to GM Ruben Felgaer

Among the newsmakers here, is one player whose rating would normally not warrant any special attention, and that is 74-year-old Juan Carlos Desanzo.


Argentine director Juan Carlos Desanzo


An avid chess fan, when not playing, he can be seen following the games of the top players

The reason is that the grand old man is one of Argentina’s well-known movie directors, continuing a tradition of chess-playing directors, such as Stanley Kubrick. The difference however is that the Argentine gentleman is not content to just play a few games here and there, but seeks out competition and even has a FIDE rating!


The internationally acclaimed "El Polaquito" is one of his best
known films, which he wrote and directed in 2003.

Annotated game by GM Sergio Slipak


GM Sergio Slipak has been providing regular commented games

[Event "VII Continental Americano"] [Site "Mar del Plata, ARG"] [Date "2012.10.16"] [Round "6.3"] [White "Leitao, Rafael"] [Black "Tristan, Leonardo"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A87"] [WhiteElo "2617"] [BlackElo "2442"] [Annotator "Sergio Slipak"] [PlyCount "63"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] {Round six saw an interesting victory by Brazilian GM Rafael Leitao, fourth seed, over the young Argentine IM Leonardo Tristan.} 1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 d6 4. Nf3 g6 5. O-O Bg7 6. b3 {The double-fianchetto is a solution found in a wide variety of openings. Here Rafael uses it to fight Leonardo's Dutch Leningrad.} O-O 7. Bb2 Ne4 $6 {This plan doesn't seem very precise and the reason why will soon be revealed.} 8. Nbd2 Nxd2 9. Qxd2 {As an exercise, let's go back to the position before Black's seventh move and compare. Now go back to the current position and see. We can see that Black has managed to not play a single move, except to remove the Nf6 from the board, his only developed piece. In exchange, White exchanged off his Nb1, a piece that had yet to be developed, and has played Qd2, a useful move. In conclusion, Black's Ne4-d2 can be considered a waste of time.} Nc6 10. c4 e5 11. dxe5 {Leitao tends to prefer solid positions with small advantages and no rival compensation, which is why he opts for this move.} (11. d5 {was more incisive, followed by Ng5, exploiting the weak e6 square.}) 11... dxe5 12. Qd5+ Kh8 13. Qc5 $1 {Now the e5 pawn is under fire and if it advances, Black will have weakened his kingside.} e4 {The best move in any case, even if White is clearly better. It restricts the g2-bishop, which gives Black hope to equalize.} 14. Rad1 Bxb2 $2 {Ah the youth! White's advantage was hard serious enough to warrant this queen sacrifice, especially as the queenside pieces will take time joining the battle.} 15. Rxd8 Rxd8 16. Ng5 Bd4 17. Qa3 Kg7 18. Nh3 Be5 19. Nf4 Rd2 20. b4 $1 {Threatening b5 followed by Qe7.} a5 21. b5 Nb4 22. Qe3 $1 {Taking advantage of Black's lack of piece coordination, White is able to invade with his queen.} Rd4 $2 {This loses.} ({Also interesting was how White would win in case of} 22... Rxa2 {Now White would follow up with} 23. Qc5 $1 Bd6 24. Qd4+ Kg8 25. c5 $1 Bxf4 26. Qd8+ $1 Kg7 27. gxf4 {with an easy win.}) 23. a3 Rxc4 { El ultimo intento, dejar pasado el peon a. De todos modos perdian todas, por ejemplo: The last try, hoping to pass the a-pawn. In any case, all other moves lost as well.} ({For example,} 23... Na2 24. f3 Rxc4 25. Qb3) ({or} 23... Nc2 24. Qc3) 24. axb4 a4 25. Qa3 Rc2 26. b6 cxb6 27. Re1 g5 28. Nd5 Be6 29. b5 $1 {The queen penetration against the king is decisive.} Bb2 30. Qe7+ Bf7 31. Qxg5+ Kh8 32. Nxb6 1-0


GM Rafael Leitão faced IM Leonardo Tristan in round six


Leitão is the fourth seed and one of the forces to be reckoned with

Standings after six rounds

Rk
Tit
Name
FED
Rtg
Pts
 TB 
1
GM
Granda Zuniga Julio E
PER
2647
5.0
23.0
2
GM
Iturrizaga Eduardo
VEN
2639
5.0
23.0
3
GM
Bruzon Batista Lazaro
CUB
2717
5.0
22.5
4
GM
Mekhitarian Krikor Sevag
BRA
2503
5.0
21.5
5
GM
Valerga Diego
ARG
2485
5.0
21.5
6
IM
Hungaski Robert Andrew
USA
2451
5.0
21.0
7
GM
Leitao Rafael
BRA
2617
5.0
20.5
8
GM
Ortiz Suarez Isan Reynaldo
CUB
2579
5.0
19.0
9
GM
Bacallao Alonso Yusnel
CUB
2580
5.0
19.0
10
GM
Cori Jorge
PER
2522
5.0
18.0
11
GM
Felgaer Ruben
ARG
2579
5.0
17.5
12
GM
Hernandez Guerrero Gilberto
MEX
2531
4.5
20.0
13
GM
Mareco Sandro
ARG
2581
4.5
20.0
14
GM
Ricardi Pablo
ARG
2505
4.5
19.5
15
GM
Kaidanov Gregory S
USA
2587
4.5
19.5
16
GM
Flores Diego
ARG
2598
4.5
19.0
17
FM
Martinez Romero Martin
COL
2368
4.5
19.0
18
GM
Perez Ponsa Federico
ARG
2489
4.5
19.0
19
GM
Slipak Sergio
ARG
2447
4.5
18.5
20
IM
Real De Azua Ernesto
ARG
2482
4.5
18.5
21
IM
Soppe Guillermo
ARG
2417
4.5
18.0
22
WGM
Cori T. Deysi
PER
2411
4.5
18.0
23
GM
Shabalov Alexander
USA
2570
4.5
17.5
24
IM
Molina Roberto Junio Brito
BRA
2400
4.5
17.5
25
IM
Rosito Jorge
ARG
2387
4.5
17.0
26
IM
Hansen Eric
CAN
2527
4.5
17.0

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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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