Bruzon and Iturrizaga win Zonal 2.3

by ChessBase
6/8/2013 – Lazaron Bruzon and Eduardo Iturrizaga won the local Zonal with 7.5/9 to qualify for the World Cup in Tromso. The tournament, which was supposed to be held several months ago, brought together the best players from Central America, Venezuela and the Caribbean to fight for the two qualifying spots. Pictures and final standings.

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The 2.3 Zonal was held in San Jose, Costa Rica. This tournament serves as the last qualification opportunity to the 2013 World Cup for players of the region. The tournament was hastily organized and the players had to arrive in short notice, as organizational problems prevented the tournament from being held when it was supposed to back in March. Eduardo Iturrizaga even cancelled his tournaments in Europe to be able to participate in the last minute event.

The tournament was held in Costa Rica's beautiful Estadio Nacional (above). This stadium was a gift from the Chinese government in 2011 and provides the most modern facilities in the region for many sports, including Costa Rica's soccer team. Part of the stadium are three rooms dedicated exclusively for chess.  Despite not being spacious enough to hold big opens, the site is perfect for closed tournaments and small but important events... at least it is while there is no soccer game being played next to it.

Costa Rica is famous for having one of the largest diversities in flora and fauna in the World. While the country has only about 0.25% of the world's landmass, it contains 5% of the world's biodiversity. Around 25% of the country's land area is in protected national parks and protected areas.  

Braulio Carillo National Park is one of the most attractive parts of Costa Rica's rain forest, and it was less than an hour drive from the tournament site.

Lazaro Bruzon (top left) led the tournament with confidence from the very beginning.

IM Sergio Minero, many time Costa Rican champion, came out of a multi-year retirement to participate in the event.

The tournament was limited to two players from every "subzone" of the region: Central America, Caribbean, Venezuela/Colombia and Mexico. Since Mexico was unable to send any players the locals stepped up to fill out the spots.

The three grandmasters of the event, Quesada, Bruzon and Iturrizaga were definitely the favorites in the event, not only being the only grandmasters but also almost two hundred points ahead of anyone else. Despite this Iturrizaga had a very rocky start, scoring only 2.5/4 in the first few rounds, drawing many lower rated International Masters.  His key to bouncing back into the leaderboard was his round six win with the white pieces against Quezada. The Cuban had just finished a fantastic performance in the Capablanca Memorial in Cuba, and had a half point lead on Iturrizaga from Venezuela. However after this game Iturrizaga steamrolled through his opposition and closed with a great performance.

GM Quesada vs. GM Bruzon was a predictable quick draw.

Lazaro Bruzon, who like Iturrizaga had failed to qualify to Tromso in the recent Continental, had a very smooth tournament, being held to a draw only by the other grandmasters and IM Juarez from Guatemala. The difference in rating was very palpable as the top three finishers were always far ahead from the rest of the field. IM Leonardo Valdes finished fourth, a clear 1.5 points behind Quesada.

Gonzalez-Bruzon was a rematch from the Continental, but this time the GM took the full point.

Final Standings

Rk.   Nombre FED Elo Pts.
GM Bruzon Batista Lazaro CUB 2687 7.5
GM Iturrizaga Eduardo VEN 2645 7.5
GM Quesada Perez Yuniesky CUB 2631 7.0
IM Valdes Leonardo CRC 2436 5.5
IM Minero Pineda Sergio CRC 2410 5.0
IM Juarez Flores Carlos A. GUA 2404 5.0
Jimenez Garcia Emanuel CRC 2058 4.5
IM Ynojosa Felix Jose VEN 2401 4.5
FM Alfaro Rojas Alfonso CRC 2246 4.0
IM Gonzalez Bernal CRC 2466 4.0
IM Murillo Tsijli Alexis CRC 2301 3.5
FM Chinchilla Eugenio CRC 2199 3.0
FM Duran Vega Sergio CRC 2311 2.0
WFM Gamboa Alvarado Leticia CRC 1896 0.0

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