Alina l'Ami in Mexico (2/2)

by Alina l'Ami
9/29/2015 – Alina l'Ami was travelling in Mexico and enjoyed the country. She also enjoyed the Copa de Independencia tournament. It was convincingly won by Peruvian Grandmaster Emilio Cordova who scored 6.0/7 and was half a point ahead of seven players with 5.5/7 each. Cordova particularly impressed with dynamic play and original pawn moves. Report, pictures, analyses.

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Part II, The tournament

If you are still thinking of Mexico as a country of drugs and vices, you are only partly right, since they are prohibited and prosecuted by law. But there are no stronger narcotics than chess... Celebrating the Independence Day by organizing a strong chess tournament is maybe not very common, unless we are talking about a country with rich chess tradition. In the late '20s the Mexican Carlos Torre Repeto had a shining but meteoric carrier, with his famous combination against Lasker, in Moscow 1925, standing out:

I am sure you know the famous Windmill mechanism (White to play)

Solution: 25. Bf6 Qxh5 26. Rxg7+ Kh8 27. Rxf7+ Kg8 28. Rg7+ Kh8 29. Rxb7+ Kg8 30. Rg7+ Kh8 31. Rg5+ Kh7 32. Rxh5 etc. 1-0

Should we wonder that 90 years later the strong open La Copa de Independencia, was organized for the fourth time in a row to evoke the 16th September, Mexican Independence Day? The tournament took place in Ciudad de Mexico and 425 participants, among them numerous GMs, played in a number of events.

The tournament hall

A patriotic country, displaying respect for its past, both in the playing hall and outside of it.

I know I have used a lot of words such as “amazing”, “perfect”, “fantastic”, “incredible” to describe my stay but how else to describe how Erwin and I were treated?! Excellent hotel, gorgeous food, memorable trips, and an event to remember. Passion is contagious and the locals have plenty of it to share with others: I, for instance, I have never seen a player, who would willingly play two rounds a day, then plays a Blitz tournament and finishes by taking part in a simul given by yours truly??! I am not surprised that many visitors got hooked and committed themselves to come back to Mexico to participate in the 2016 tournament!

The pleasure was on my side, to give the simul; but I must say
I am happy I didn't lose any of my games and allowed only one draw.

I just love Los Mexicanos, I love their passion, the way they succeed abandoning themselves to whatever they may be doing. They don't just sing and dance, but the songs are singing them and the salsa is dancing them. In chess, they don't just think over and make the moves, but the moves animate their minds, hands, and, not least, emotions. Needless to say they love their country, traditions, families and chess passionately. Viva Mexico!

In fact, we should be grateful and thank them from sunrise till sunset and then again for everything their rich and tumultuous history gave humankind. All their beliefs, civilizations, monumental pyramids, temples, the rigorous knowledge of astronomy, the perfection of their calendars and their skills in agriculture made us who we are today.

But let me be more practical and ask what we eat nowadays? Potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, corn, beans, aubergines, zucchinis, vanilla, cacao, nuts, etc., etc., etc., all brought to Europe and Asia by the conquistadors. I will not tell you what the locals got in return, because we will all suddenly sadden, sigh and groan.

And to demolish yet another myth: forget the Mexican food you tried outside its country of origin – you have been, once again, misguided. No, they don't eat spicy meals (curiosity number two)! On the contrary, the locals started to leniently laugh when seeing me adding a lot of salsa on my food... And have you ever seen a public protest against the government where people make their point through...dancing salsa (curiosity number three!) on the streets?!

The Mexicans live, they don't just exist, so there is no surprise they have a completely different view on life and death, compared to other cultures. For example, there are over 100 words to describe Death, “Liberadora” – the liberator – being the first one that drew my attention. They are incredibly polite and sometimes seem simply unable to say “No”, just not to hurt your feelings. The Mexicans I met would use all possible tricks to avoid throwing a “No” in your face, even when answering a very simple question such as: can I find an open bank tomorrow?! Cracking the cultural code can be sometimes challenging but at the end of it a real, wonderful friend awaits you, saying: “Mi casa es su casa” (my home is your home).

In these days nothing seems to be certain, the economy is falling apart, crises appear, chess tournaments disappear, but one event is firmly planted on the chess map: the Copa Independencia. To all my dear friends and chess players: mark the dates in the calendar: 10 – 16 September. If you are, like me, a bit jumbled, remember the Independence Day of Mexico and you will find out approximately which days you should keep open. Because next year the organizers have a surprise (not anymore) for you: For 1st place in the main group you will get 7,000 USD and the total prize-fund amounts to 70,000 USD! Ready to live the Mexican dream?

A great tournament is seen in little details

Avid spectators

The top boards could be followed online on the tournament
website and on the screens in the playing hall.

Some had the urge for trespassing - just to have a better view!

Chess is very popular in Mexico...

...and the foreign players as well.


In Mexico chess is popular among women

Zenia Corrales Jimenez, a WIM from Cuba, played an almost
impeccable game against the strong Russian GM Vasily Papin
but then stumbled in time-trouble.



The tournament t-shirt

Erwin l'Ami scored 5.5/7 and finished 2nd - despite some jetlag.


With a win in the seventh round Erwin secured second place:


The tournament winner: GM Emilio Cordova from Peru scored 6.0/7.

The second round - in which Emilio had his share of luck:


Cordova played with a lot of energy and creativity:


But particularly impressive was the way, in which Cordova again and again came up with powerful pawn moves:


Mexico's number one: Juan Carlos Gonzalez Zamora. He finished third on tiebreak.


Vasily Papin also second place but finished fifth on tiebreak.

GM Hevia Alejano Carlos Anton - the Cuban GM also had 5.5/7 and shared second place.

Congratulations to the winner: Emilio Cordova!

To conclude, a nice tactical finish:



Final standings

Título Nombre Puntos Fed. Elo Buch. SB M. de B.
1 GM Cordova Daza Emilio 6 PER 2604 31.5 26 25
2 GM L'Ami Erwin 5.5 NED 2628 32.5 24.75 24
3 GM Gonzalez Zamora, Juan Carl 5.5 MEX 2533 32 24 24.5
4 FM Diaz Hernandez Heriberto 5.5 CUB 2370 31.5 23 24.5
5 GM Papin, Vasily 5.5 RUS 2499 31 23 23.5
6 GM Hevia Alejano Carlos Anton 5.5 CUB 2540 30.5 22.5 22
7 GM Abreu Delgado Ayram 5.5 CUB 2441 27.5 19 22
8 IM Flores Guerrero, Jesus Ald 5.5 MEX 2334 25 15.75 18
9 FM Morales Garcia, Sergio Jos 5 MEX 2261 28.5 18 21
10 WIM Perez Rodriguez Jennifer 5 PAR 2123 28 19.25 20
11 FM Miranda Mesa Elier 5 CUB 2434 27.5 19 19.5
12 WIM Real Pereyra, Diana Carime 5 MEX 2106 27.5 18.75 20.5
13 FM Gutierrez Delgado Yusuan 5 CUB 2429 26 17.5 19
14 IM Dominguez Aguilar, Guiller 5 MEX 2315 26 15.5 18
15 WIM Corrales Jimenez Zenia 4.5 CUB 2138 30.5 18.25 23
16 IM Fernandez Cardoso Alexey 4.5 CUB 2448 30.5 17.75 21.5
17 IM Martin Del Campo C., Rober 4.5 MEX 2358 30.5 17.25 22
18 IM Perez Garcia, Rodney Oscar 4.5 CUB 2328 29 17.25 20.5
19 IM Herrera Ortiz, Miguel 4.5 MEX 2308 29 16.25 21.5
20   Gutierrez Perez, Fabian 4.5 MEX 2213 28 15.75 20

Complete results



Tournament site

Alina is an International Master and a very enthusiastic person in everything she does. She loves travelling to the world's most remote places in order to play chess tournaments and report about them here on ChessBase! As chance would have it Alina is also an excellent photographer.


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