Peruvians dazzle in American Continental

5/19/2013 – The American Continental Championship has ended in Bolivia. The Peruvian contingency delivered important blows to their opponents in the final round to clinch two of the four passes to the 2013 World Cup. Diego Flores and Isan Ortiz, Argentina and Cuba respectively, took second and third while the unstoppable Julio Granda won the tournament with a full extra point. Pictures and results.

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The American Continental Championship took place in Cochabamba, Bolivia from May 06th to May 15th. The tournament was especially important not only because of the presence of almost every top Latin American grandmaster, but also because the top four places qualified for the upcoming World Cup in Tromso, Norway that will start in August.



Cochabamba is located in central Bolivia, and it derives its name from the Quechuan words qucha which means "lake" and pampa which means "open plain". The city is known as the City of Eternal Spring as the average temperatures are very stable and pleasant throughout the year.

The Waca Waca (NOT Shakira's version), one of Bolivia's traditional dances, is a parody of Spanish bullfights. In the picture is another Bolivian dance, the "Tinku"

Performers dressed in typical Bolivian attire...

...and dazzling the players with their moves.
Women's long dresses are known as polleras.

The tournament favourite was definitely Lazaro Bruzon, from Cuba, with an imposing 2707 and almost 50 points ahead of his nearest rival. However there was a significant presence of Latin American grandmasters as well as one American grandmaster, Alexandr Lenderman, who had to decline his participation in the concurrent American Championship due to personal reasons.

The Cuban team enjoying a meal with the beautiful rain forest in the background.

Despite a draw on this game against Costa Rican IM Bernal Gonzalez,
Bruzon kept performing well throughout the first half.

The tournament saw relatively few surprises through the first half. Bruzon, Granda, Iturrizaga and Ortiz Suarez remained solidly on top and it seemed unlikely that anyone out of the starting top six players would make it to the qualifying spots.

GM Osvaldo Zambrana, Bolivia's best chess player,
came half a point shy of the World Cup qualification.

Iturrizaga vs. Ortiz Suarez was a draw on round nine, and it seemed that they would
both cruise towards the finish line

However things took a dramatic change in the final round. Bruzon was white against the much lower rated Jorge Cori and only needed a draw to qualify. The Peruvian would not let this happen as he took the game and the qualification spot for himself! Even more surprisingly, Jorge's sister Deisy was playing on board four against Iturrizaga, a GM 200 points ahead of her. The Peruvian spirit was strong that day as she also won her game and not only knocked out Iturrizaga from the top honors, but she herself qualified for the World Cup.

Deisy Cori's (above) claim to fame is her 2011 victory in the Women's Junior World Championship. Now she is one of two girls qualified for the Tromso World Cup, the other being Anna Ushenina who qualified by being the Women's World Champion.

As if that wasn't enough for the Peruvians, on board one Granda, who would have emerged victorious from the tournament with just a draw, won with black against Axel Bachmann and took first place a full point ahead of the field.

Granda showed his usual fighting chess and annihilated the opposition, earning him a cool USD $5000

Note that both Coris qualified despite finishing fourth and fifth because Granda had already qualified from the 2012 edition of this tournament. Third place went to Diego Flores. Both Bruzon and Iturrizaga will have a final opportunity to qualify for Tromso in their Zonal championship, which was supposed to be held last month.

Final Ranking after 11 Rounds

Rk. Name FED RtgI Pts. Rp K rtg+/-
1 GM Granda Zuniga Julio E PER 2659 9.5 2802 10 19.7
2 GM Ortiz Suarez Isan Reynaldo CUB 2598 8.5 2678 10 13.8
3 GM Flores Diego ARG 2586 8.0 2629 10 8.4
4 GM Cori Jorge PER 2546 8.0 2536 10 1.9
5 WGM Cori T. Deysi PER 2430 8.0 2463 10 6.4
6 GM Bruzon Batista Lazaro CUB 2707 7.5 2614 10 -7.2
7 GM Iturrizaga Eduardo VEN 2655 7.5 2529 10 -9.7
8 GM Bachmann Axel PAR 2531 7.5 2538 10 4.3
9 IM Leiva Giuseppe PER 2388 7.5 2498 15 26.0
10 IM Ynojosa Felix Jose VEN 2371 7.5 2508 15 30.0
11 GM Zambrana Oswaldo BOL 2478 7.5 2402 10 -7.6
12 GM Vasquez Schroeder Rodrigo CHI 2554 7.0 2436 10 -12.5
13 GM Mekhitarian Krikor Sevag BRA 2551 7.0 2368 10 -8.3
14 IM Gonzalez Bernal CRC 2461 7.0 2481 10 4.6
15 GM Lenderman Aleksandr USA 2585 7.0 2425 10 -17.7

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