Viva Fidel? Viva Granda!

5/24/2003 – The first editions of the Capablanca Memorial in Havana, Cuba, were won by legends like Najdorf, Korchnoi, Smyslov, and Larsen. 2003 marked the third consecutive win by a Spanish-speaking player, to the delight of the fans. Peru's Julio Granda Zuñiga took clear first in Latin America's premier tournament and you could say that his return from farming is complete. Now it's his opponents who want him back on the farm. Report and games

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Julio Granda Zuñiga Wins Capablanca Memorial Elite

If you haven't heard that Peruvian GM Julio Granda is back it's because he's about as soft-spoken as they come. Even for a nation of quiet people Granda is low-key. He left the professional chess world four years ago to focus on farming and a religious life. He reappeared at the 2002 Peruvian championship, winning easily, and then had a strong if unsteady performance leading the Peruvian Olympiad team in Bled.

Granda was in the running for a prize in the Aeroflot Open and his next event was the Capablanca Memorial in Havana, Cuba. Most of the top players of Latin America plus a few token Europeans battled in this 12-player, category 13 event (avg. Elo 2556).

Granda led post to post with his only real competition coming from young Cuban GM Lazaro Bruzon, who defeated the Peruvian in their individual game but finished a half-point behind.

The 21-year-old Bruzon won the event last year ahead of his twin star Lenier Dominguez. These two are the leaders of a new generation of Cuban chessplayers. Chile's Morovic has been on a slide but confirmed his status as one of South America's most consistent performers.

Swedish veteran Ulf Anderson and the unheralded Russian Ikonnikov weren't in contention. The Russian needed to win his final three games to reach his 6.5 score. Andersson won this event in 1974 and 1975!

Game selection download/replay pageOfficial site

(There is an official website in Cuba with a few photos, including those above, but it is terribly slow. Apparently the individual kilobytes come across by raft.)

THE GAMES

Ulf Andersson wasn't his normally invulnerable self but still gave a few endgame master classes. He dragged Zapata into this position and the Cuban realized he had nothing better to do than resign!

The sad truth is that Black will eventually fall into zugzwang. He can't protect c6, g6, the c8 square, and stop the white king from penetrating all at the same time.

A sample line: 44...Be8 45.a5 Ke6 46.Kc3 Kf6 47.Kd4 Ke6 48.Ke3! Kf6 49.Bg2 Bd7 50.Kd4 Be8 51.Bh3 The decisive infiltration. 51...Bf7 52.Bc8 Be6 53.Bxa6 Ke7 54.Ke5 Bg4 55.Bb7 Kd7 56.a6 Kc7 57.Ba8 Bf3 58.a7 Bd5 59.Kf6 Be4 60.Kf7 Kc8 61.Kg7 Kc7 62.Kf6 Kc8 63.Ke5 Bf3 64.Kd6 Be4 65.Bxc6 Bxc6 66.Kxc6
 

Dominguez has been trying to hang on against Arencibia's queen and is threatening to even play for an advantage with Ra6.

But it's black to move and 30...Bb1! is a clever winner. White can't protect both c2 and d3 so the queen invades before White has time for Ra6.

31.Ke1 Qe4 32.Kf2 d4 33.cxd4 cxd4 34.Bc4+ Kf5 35.Bc1 Qc2+ 36.Kf3 Qxc4 0-1
 

Ikonnikov, with Black and the move against Gonzalez, has an extra rook but the white pawns and queen are threatening various perpetual check tricks. After the natural 47...Rf8 White escapes with a draw after 48.Qc7.

47...Rf8? 48.Qc7 Kf6 (48...Rxf3+ 49.gxf3 Qg1+ 50.Kh3 Qh1+ 51.Kg3 Qg1+ 52.Kh3 Qh1+ 53.Kg3 Qg1+ 54.Kh3 Qg5 55.d6; 48...Re8 49.Qe5+ Bf6 50.Qh5 Rg8 51.Qf7+ Kh8+ 52.Kh2 Qa1 53.Qh5+ Kg7 54.Qf7+) 49.Qf4+ Kg6 50.Qg4+ Kh6 51.Qh3+ Kg7 52.Qg4+ Kh6 53.Qh3+

But the Russian didn't fall for that and instead gave up the exchange to pick off a few pawns and win with his extra bishop after 47...Rxf3+!

48.gxf3 Qg1+ 49.Kh3 Qh1+ 50.Kg3 Qh4+ 51.Kg2 Qg5+ 52.Kf2 Qxd5 53.Qxb6 Qxd3 54.Qc7 Qd2+ 55.Kf1 Kf6 56.b6 Qd6 57.Kf2 Kxe6 58.Qc8+ Kd5 59.b7? (The only chance was 59.Qa8+ Ke6 60.Qc8+ Kf7 61.b7) 59...Bh4+ 60.Kg2 Qg3+ 0-1
 

Granda needed a win with black in the final round to secure clear first place. He was well on his way against Zapata and here he wrapped things up nicely by giving up his queen.

47...Bxf3! 48.Rxc2 Rxc2 0-1

[49.Qf1 Bxg2 50.Qd1 Be4+ 51.Kg1 a3]


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