Capablanca Memorial won by Yu Yangyi and Kunin

by Albert Silver
6/29/2015 – It was a sign of the Chinese player’s superb form, that in spite of a loss in round six he never slowed down, and won the Capablanca Memorial Elite group, a round in advance, finishing with 7.0/10 and a 2860 performance. German-based Vitaly Kunin also dominated the Premier group with 6.5/9 a point and a half ahead. Report with Yu Yangyi’s attacking chess.

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The Elite Group

After a surprise loss in round six, Yu Yangyi might have been expected to slow down a bit avoid losing control of his tournament. After all, he wouldn’t be the first. However, he was unstoppable, and continued with his endless display of attacking chess sprinkled with his imaginative play.

Yu Yangyi was the nemesis of Leinier Dominguez, but his wins were done in great style
(Photo: Marcelino Vázquez, AIN)

An example of Yu’s attacking flair:

[Event "50th Capablanca Mem Elite"] [Site "Havana CUB"] [Date "2015.06.23"] [Round "8.2"] [White "Yu, Yangyi"] [Black "Dominguez Perez, Leinier"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2715"] [BlackElo "2746"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2r1kb1r/1b1n1p1p/pq1ppP2/8/3NP3/1PN1Q1BP/2P5/1K1RR3 w k - 0 29"] [PlyCount "41"] [EventDate "2015.06.15"] 29. Nd5 $3 {Classic, thematic, you name it, but the Chinese player's follow-up is sparkling.} Qc5 ({The first question to answer is what happens if the piece is taken. Tal's greatest legacy was bullying his opponents with piece sacrifices, leading to massive development in defensive technique.} 29... exd5 30. exd5+ Kd8 ({After} 30... Ne5 {White continues} 31. Qg5 ({the answer is NOT } 31. Bxe5 dxe5 32. Qxe5+ Kd7 {and White has work to do.}) 31... Kd7 {and here the engine gives} 32. Ne6 $3 {with a powerful attack.}) 31. Qe8+ Kc7 32. Qxf7 { Threatening Ne6+ and Qxd7 against which there is no defense.}) 30. Nxe6 $1 { Superb, showing that Nd5 had more than shock value.} Qxe3 31. Ng7+ {The key zwischenzug.} Bxg7 32. fxg7 {Threatening to take the rook while promoting to queen, forcing} Qxb3+ 33. cxb3 Rg8 34. Ne3 $1 {This move, allowing the pawn to be taken seems counterintuitive at first view, but the black king in the center with white's rooks ready to move in, mean the pawn is a very double-edged 'gift', and is more along the German definition of Gift, which means poison.} Bxe4+ 35. Ka1 (35. Kb2 {was simpler, but the Chinese player was in time trouble and there was no time to worry about niceties.} Kd8 {forced since Nd5 was looming, with an x-ray attack on the d-file and Nf6+ variations.} 36. Rg1) 35... Kd8 36. Nc4 d5 37. Nd6 Rxg7 38. Rxd5 $6 {Getting a little too creative, but it ends up working in White's favor.} Rxg3 $2 ({Black feared to take with} 38... Bxd5 {but should have as it was his best option.} 39. Re8+ Kc7 40. Rxc8+ Kb6 41. Bf2+ Ka5 {and there is no win.}) 39. Nxe4 Rg6 40. Red1 Rc7 41. Nc5 Rxc5 42. Rxc5 {Up the exchange and still attacking, White is winning.} Rb6 43. Kb2 Rb7 44. Rc6 Ke7 45. Ka3 f5 46. Rd4 Ne5 47. Rxa6 Ng6 48. h4 Nf8 49. Rd5 1-0

Tied for second place, still outperforming their ratings, were Dmitry Andreikin and Pavel Eljanov with 5.5/9. Andreikin had the honor of being the only player to draw Yu’s blood, however, his only other win was against tail-ender Lazaro Bruzon. Eljanov also ended with a plus one score, but reached it with two losses and three wins, including two over Ian Nepomniachtchi.

With a 2860 performance, Yu Yangyi gained 20 Elo and he is now world no.21 on the live ratings list

Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi had a disastrous start, but managed to recover sufficiently with a win over both Dominguez and Bruzon, and while his score of 4.0/10 is nothing to write home about, he did an excellent job of not letting it be any worse.

Both Cubans hoping to shine in front of their home crowd were unable to distinguish themselves, each ending with a negative score. Dominguez ended with 4.5/10, hobbled by his two losses against Yu Yangyi, while Bruzon’s train never left the station suffering losses against all the players except his compatriot.

Final standings of Elite group

The Premier group

The Premier group enjoyed a similarly dominant performance, with Vitaly Kunin, hailing from Germany, who finished with 6.5/9, a full point and a half ahead of his nearest rivals. Rated 2579, his performance of 2739 was also worth 19 Elo, bringing him closer to the 2600 threshold.

Vitaly Kunin had a great tournament, clearly outperforming the field

In second was Polish junior Jan-Krzysztof Duda, with 5.0/9, who fought hard and valiantly with three wins, including one over the winner, but a loss against Bacallao and last-place finisher Espinoza, made it impossible for him to stand out of the group. In third was Bacallao, also on tiebreak, but whose rating of 2530 meant he gained a solid 11 Elo for his efforts. It should also be noted he was the second-lowest rated player in his group.

Final standings of Premier group

Photos by Miguel E. Gómez Masjuán


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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.
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ex0 ex0 6/30/2015 01:39
Why can't the young chinese players compete vs Carlsen? If you look at their h2h's, it's pretty close. Off top of my head, Wang Hao is like 3-2 vs Carlsen, and the others also have decent records. It's much better than say, Naka's record for instance.

And then you have dudes like Wei Yi, who imo is the next big rival/challenger for WC, and you also have really talented players in Ding Liren, Yu YangYi, and don't forget about Wang Hao/Wang Yue and also Li Chao B, who is rated 2740~ and only 26(and ranked 2nd in China atm, behind only Ding Liren, and yet no one seems to be talking about Li Chao B at all :p).

So yeah. I don't see why they shouldn't be in the Candidates, they've proved themselves vs top tier elite superGM's already.. by winning Qatar, winning Olympiad, winning World Team Championships, winning Biel, winning Leon, and now winning Capablanca memorial.. and Ding also did well with equal second or third at Tata Steel 2014. So i hope that they do get more invites to supertourneys, especially Yu YangYi, who seems to be winning everything. First Qatar, and now this, both spectacular performances vs 2700+ competition, especially the super strong Qatar Open where he beat Kramnik no less to take the title.

Can Yu be invited for Tata Steel Masters in 2016, or does he need to qualify through B group still or how does it work? Surely with 2735~ rating and winning Qatar and now Capablanca should show that he can hang with the elite of the elite(and not just hang, but come clear first even!), and that his invite wouldn't be wasted.. like those given to King Loek every year :P
firestorm firestorm 6/30/2015 12:23
It would be good to have some Chinese GMs in the candidates for sure. Whether they are at the level that they could challenge Magnus in the next world ch match is another question, but they sure do play with fire.
excalibur2 excalibur2 6/30/2015 01:31
There's no doubt that right now, China have the most interesting super-GM's in the world. These guys come to play chess. And many of them are very young too.