Am. Continental Rd9: The final stretch and football

by Albert Silver
5/24/2015 – Once again the lead changed hands, and once again it was the Peruvian Jorge Cori strutting his stuff, beating Eric Hansen this time in an intense battle. Things are not simple though, since four players, including Cori, already qualified for the World Cup before coming, so the four spots are very much up for grabs. In the meantime, check out the pictorial visit to the Museum of Football.

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The tournament

The tournament is an eleven-round competition played at 40 moves in 90 minutes followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game and a 30-second increment as of move one. The first round is on May 15 with rounds every day until round eleven on May 24, including a double-round on May 17. Play typically starts at 5PM.

Although there are tiebreak scoring systems in place, starting with direct encounter, Buchholz, and more, in the event of a draw at the top, the top four qualifiers will be decided by a rapid tiebreak match or tournament, depending on the number, starting at 15 minutes plus a ten-second increment.

The prizes are US$5000 for first, $3400 for second, $2400 for third with prizes all the way to 20th place. Note that as FIDE events of this caliber, all norms scored count double, thus a player who scores a norm at the end of the competition will be considered to have earned two norms, not one.

Museum of Football

To call football a fever in South America would be like calling the Spanish Flu a sniffle. Uruguay is not only no exception, but their results far exceed what one might expect of a nation with a population of just over 3.3 million people.  The national squad has won numerous important titles such as two Olympic gold medals, two World Cups, and a record 15 Copa America titles.  In honor of its passion and success, Montevideo also has an impressive Museum of Football that is well worth visiting even if you have only a passing interest in the sport.

The museum is found at the Centenário Stadium (Centenary Stadium) where the greatest
home games take place. A visit to the stadium itself is a part of the entry fee.

The announcement of the first football game held by the Uruguay Association
Football league on June 10, 1900 (Click image for high-res version)

My friend FM Ricardo Teixeira is a huge football buff, and readily identified all the great
Uruguayan players of the past. The wall here is covered with flags and banners.

Uruguay's first great international success was the gold medal at the 1924 Olympic Games
held in Paris. They would repeat the feat in 1928 in Amsterdam.

Photos of the Olympians

A wall with individual images of Uruguay's first four goals

This is the picture of the 1930 team that won the first World Cup title

Though my friend eplained to me why this huge panoramic picture cannot possibly be an
actual image from the 1950 World Cup as suggested by the label, it is still from thereabouts
and shows just how huge it was with a capacity in excess of 150 thosuand spectators. To
give an idea of the scale, the barrel is about waist high. (Click image for high-res version)

This display dedicated to the Copa America is also Uruguay's greatest and most consistent
success. The Copa America is a South American Nations cup that has been won by Uruguay
no fewer than 15 times, the last being in 2011.

These displays are but the tip of the iceberg in a museum that is replete with stamps, shirts, cleats, photos, trophies, video footage from yesteryear, and much more.

Round nine

The ninth round continued the trend of reversals and nerve-wracking chess. While Peruvian Jorge Cori is now in the sole lead after nine rounds, it needs to be pointed out that four players at the top of the standings are not actually contenders for one of the four World Cup spots, having already secured qualification beforehand.

Cori - Hansen

Black almost seems to have a fortress here, but White finds a fantastic
shot well worth remembering. White to play and win.

Those four are Jorge Cori, Julio Granda Zuñiga, Sandro Mareco, and Cristobal Henriquez. Naturally, they will earn their due prizes according to their final ranking, but the qualification spots will be fought over by others. The importance of this in particular is that once the dust has settled, unless there are four clear leaders aside from them, there will be a tiebreak rapid event the excludes Cori, Granda Zuñiga, and co.

The stage where the top eight boards are played

Jorge Cori has shown enormous skill and fighting spirit, and in round nine defeated Canadian Eric Hansen. IM Luis Rodi introduces the encounter, "In the following game, the Peruvian grandmaster shows superb technique in transforming advantages and converting them into the full point. A deserving victory that gives him once more the sole lead."

GM Jorge Cori - GM Eric Hansen (annotated by IM Luis Rodi)

[Event "Continental"] [Site "Montevideo"] [Date "2015.05.22"] [Round "9"] [White "Cori, Jorge"] [Black "Hansen, Eric"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A37"] [WhiteElo "2609"] [BlackElo "2580"] [Annotator "Rodi,Luis"] [PlyCount "165"] [EventDate "2015.05.23"] [EventCountry "URU"] 1. Nf3 g6 2. c4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c5 4. g3 Nc6 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O Bf5 {A setup that was popularized by Malakhov, and recommended by GM Larry Kaufman in his opening repertoire book. Black delays developing his king's knight, leaving it the choice of somewhere other than f6.} 7. d3 Qd7 8. Rb1 {Also interesting are the alternatives 8. Nd5 and 8. Re1, with the idea of taking the bite out of ...Bh3} Bh3 9. Bxh3 Qxh3 10. Nd5 Qd7 11. Bd2 ({An alternative is} 11. Qa4 {threatening Nb6. For example,} Rc8 12. a3 e6 13. Ne3 Nge7 14. b4 O-O 15. Bb2 Bxb2 16. Rxb2 b6 $11 {Zhou Jianchao - Malakhov, Ningbo 2010}) 11... e6 12. Bc3 Bxc3 13. Nxc3 Nf6 $146 (13... Nge7 14. d4 Nf5 ({Better was} 14... cxd4 15. Ne4 O-O-O 16. Nf6 Qc7 17. Nxd4 $14) 15. d5 $16 {Sahade - Kaufman, Arlington 2011}) 14. d4 O-O 15. Qd2 ({My engine suggests} 15. dxc5 {after which} dxc5 16. Qxd7 Nxd7 17. Ne4 Rfd8 {and Black should gradually be able to restore balance.}) 15... cxd4 16. Nxd4 Nxd4 ({Or} 16... Rfd8 $5) 17. Qxd4 Qe7 18. Rfd1 Rfd8 19. Rd3 Rac8 (19... d5 $5 {A possible continuation is} 20. cxd5 Nxd5 21. Rbd1 Nxc3 22. Qxc3 Rxd3 23. Rxd3 Rd8 24. Rxd8+ Qxd8 $11) 20. Rbd1 $14 {By virtue of a space advantage, allowing better piece placement, and pawn structure.} a6 21. Qf4 $5 Rc6 {Black is playing this position much too passively.} (21... d5 $5) 22. b3 Kg7 23. a4 h6 24. Qd2 Rd7 25. a5 b6 (25... d5 26. Qb2 $14) 26. axb6 Rxb6 27. c5 $1 Rxb3 28. cxd6 (28. Qa2 $5) 28... Qd8 29. Qf4 Qa5 $2 {Hansen misses the strength of White's next move. It was vital to keep the queen in the center where it could still work both wings.} (29... a5 $5 30. Kg2 $14) 30. Nd5 $1 (30. Ne4 $1 {was also strong.}) 30... Qxd5 (30... Nxd5 31. Qe5+ f6 32. Qxe6 Rbb7 33. Rxd5 $18) 31. Rxd5 exd5 32. Qe5 {The queen is stronger here than the rook, knight, and pawns since Black's pieces are poorly coordinated. The passed pawn on d6 is another issues, which Black's next maneuver aims to eliminate.} Rb8 33. Rxd5 Re8 34. Qb2 Re6 35. Rd4 Rdxd6 36. Rxd6 Rxd6 {The evaluation of the pure queen versus rook and knight endgame is unchanged and White should win thanks to his superior queen coordination. Cori's first step is to advanace his pawns to gain more space.} 37. Kg2 Re6 38. f3 Kg8 39. Kf2 Kh7 40. Qd4 Kg8 41. e4 Kh7 42. e5 Ng8 43. f4 h5 44. h3 Ne7 45. g4 hxg4 46. hxg4 Kg7 47. Kg3 {Now the king advance to support the pawns, which will be used to create tactical threats against Black's position.} ({Nevertheless} 47. f5 $1 {would have led to a decisive breakthrough.} gxf5 48. gxf5 Nxf5 49. Qg4+ {with an endgame similar to that of the game.}) 47... Nc6 48. Qc3 Ne7 49. Qc7 Kg8 50. Kh4 Kg7 51. Kg5 Nd5 $2 (51... Ng8 $5 {actually offers unexpected resistance.} 52. Qb8 (52. f5 $2 gxf5 53. gxf5 Rxe5 $11 {is a trap White must avoid.}) 52... Ne7 53. f5 $5 gxf5 54. gxf5 f6+ 55. exf6+ Rxf6 56. Qb2 Ng8 57. Qe5 Kf8 58. Qc7 Rh6 {and Black sets up a fortress!}) 52. Qc5 {Black loses the knight now.} Ne7 53. f5 gxf5 54. gxf5 Nxf5 55. Kxf5 {Here too Black tries to set up a fortress, but the task seems doomed to failure. White's plan is to put Black in zugzwang and force him to move his pawn, which will be captured as soon as it budges.} Rg6 56. Ke4 Re6 57. Kd5 Rg6 58. Qd6 $1 {Thanks to this lovely resource, White secures passage for the king.} Re6 59. Kc6 Kg6 ({More logical was} 59... Rg6 { though even so White has} 60. Kb6 $1 (60. Kd7 Re6 61. Qxe6 $2 fxe6 62. Kxe6 a5 63. Kd7 a4 64. e6 a3 65. e7 a2 $11) (60. Kd5 Re6 {repeats the position.}) 60... Re6 61. Kxa6 {And White will win. An illustrative line is} Kg6 62. Kb5 Kf5 63. Qd7 Kg6 64. Qxe6+ $1 fxe6 65. Kc6 Kg5 66. Kd7 Kf5 67. Kd6 $18) 60. Kb7 a5 ( 60... Kf5 61. Qf8 Kg6 62. Qg8+ Kf5 63. Qxf7+ Kxe5 64. Kc7 $18) 61. Qd3+ Kg7 62. Qg3+ Kh7 63. Kc7 a4 64. Kd7 a3 65. Qd3+ Kg7 66. Qxa3 Rxe5 {If it were Black to play here he would draw easily with ...Re6! creating a fortress. However, with the rook on e5, White wins. Cori shows excellent technique in his conversion.} 67. Qg3+ Kf6 68. Qf4+ Rf5 69. Qd4+ Kg5 70. Ke7 Kh5 71. Kf8 Kg5 72. Kg7 Kh5 73. Qe4 Kg5 74. Qg2+ Kf4 75. Kf8 Ke5 76. Ke7 Kf4 77. Kd6 Ke3 78. Qg4 Rf4 79. Qg5 Ke4 80. Qg2+ Kf5 81. Ke7 Ke5 82. Qe2+ Kd5 83. Qd3+ {Black cannot save the pawn after which the rook versus queen endgame is lost, as demonstrated by Philidor in his day.} 1-0

Diego Flores showed enormous grit as he fought back from a nasty position against Anton
Kovalyov to save the half-point. This keeps him in contention. (Click image for high-res version)

It was a disappointing day for Aleksander Lenderman, who struck dirt a second straight
time. GM Carlos Matamoros from Ecuador outplayed him in a hard game.

In the main playing hall, there is a set of three tables where the top three "best of the rest"
play to try and make it to the big stage. Here are IM Supi, GM Mekhitarian, and GM Kaidanov.

It is an inevitable attraction to check the game of the neighbor

GM Darcy Lima, vice-president of FIDE America, checks out some of the games

That black king looks singularly insecure there

IM Herman Claudius Van Riemsdijk

16-year-old IM Pablo Ismael Acosta is the protegé of GM Diego Flores

The main playing hall of the competition

Standings after nine rounds

Rk SNo Ti. Name FED Rtg Pts  TB rtg+/-
1 8 GM Cori Jorge PER 2609 7.5 52.5 17.4
2 10 GM Mareco Sandro ARG 2581 7.0 50.0 6.8
3 20 GM Matamoros Franco Carlos S. ECU 2525 7.0 49.5 16.8
4 2 GM Quesada Perez Yuniesky CUB 2645 7.0 49.0 -1.6
5 13 GM Flores Diego ARG 2567 7.0 49.0 7.9
6 21 GM Shabalov Alexander USA 2523 6.5 55.0 18.3
7 11 GM Hansen Eric CAN 2580 6.5 52.0 6.8
8 3 GM Bachmann Axel PAR 2636 6.5 51.0 -1.5
9 7 GM Kovalyov Anton CAN 2613 6.5 48.5 -0.3
10 18 GM Yermolinsky Alex USA 2531 6.5 47.0 -2.1
11 14 GM Kaidanov Gregory S USA 2566 6.5 46.0 -5.8
12 40 IM Lujan Carolina ARG 2353 6.5 44.5 15.8
13 4 GM Lenderman Aleksandr USA 2636 6.0 55.5 -3.6
14 17 GM Perez Ponsa Federico ARG 2533 6.0 53.0 7.7
15 1 GM Granda Zuniga Julio E PER 2650 6.0 52.5 -10.6
16 22 IM Pichot Alan ARG 2504 6.0 51.0 10.3
17 16 GM Hevia Alejano Carlos Antonio CUB 2535 6.0 51.0 5.6
18 6 GM Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo VEN 2613 6.0 50.5 -4.6
19 23 IM Di Berardino Diego Rafael BRA 2489 6.0 50.0 3.2
20 9 GM Felgaer Ruben ARG 2582 6.0 49.5 -2.1

Click for complete standings

The top eight boards of the event can be followed live at both the official site and on Playchess.

All photos by Albert Silver


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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