Eight players succeed in American Hybrid Qualifier

by Diana Mihajlova
6/12/2021 – Over the last several weeks zonal and continental qualifiers were taking place around the globe in anticipation of the World Cup scheduled for 10 July – 6 August, 2021 in Sochi, Russia. Among the latest qualifier tournaments was the American Continental Championship that took place 22 - 30 May and was played as a hybrid tournament. Eight players secured a ticket to Sochi.

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Of the 206 players that will participate in the World Cup, 80 are decided through continental events. The hybrid format has been largely adopted by most organizers. Due to the Covid measures, for the first time in the chess history some of the participants will qualify through online events.

Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and United States of America were the 17 participating federations out of 39 that compose the American Chess Confederation.

The American Continental Championship was run in two stages: preliminary and knock-out. Eight spots were reserved for the World Cup.

In the preliminary stage that took place 8-9 May participated 107 players rated under 2500. They competed in a 9-round rapid tournament, 10 min + 3 sec/move

The knock-out event was open to players rated 2500 + and started on 22 May with 114 participants. They were split in eight groups of 14 to 15 players who competed in 8-round tournaments with a time control 120 min + 30 sec/move. The winner of each group would win a ticket to Sochi.  The top seeds were GM Mareco Sandro (2629, Argentina)GM Delgado Ramirez Neuris (2622, Paraguay) and GM Akobian Varuzhan (2614, USA), but only Mareco went through to the finals.

Participants in action at the St Louis Chess Club | Photo: Facebook page St. Louis Chess Club

The eight World Cup qualifiers that emerged from this somewhat complex selection process competed in a further rapid 7-round Final tournament (10min + 3sec/move). The winner of the Final is the 2021 American Continental Champion. 

The qualifiers to the World Cup are listed here, in descending order, starting from the highest placed in the Final tournament: GM Bachmann Axel (2599, Paraguay), GM Mareco Sandro (2629, Argentina), GM Henriquez Villagra Cristobal (2600, Chile) GM Hungaski Robert (2514, USA), GM Moradiabadi Elshan (2555, USA), GM Tang Andrew (2538, USA), GM Krysa Leandro (2527, Argentina) and GM Mekhitarian Krikor Sevag (2554, Brazil).

GM Bachmann Axel, the 2021 American Continental Chess Champion | Photo: El Nacional

Bachmann Axel from Paraguay was seeded 5th among the knock-out registered players. He was tied for first place with GM Sandro Mareco from Argentina, both having made 6.0/7, but was proclaimed champion thanks to a better tie-break.   

Argentinean GM Sandro Mareco, the 2015 American Continental Champion was close to clinching  the  title again but this time he had to content with silver. He had two more previous experiences of the World Cup, in 2011 and 2013.

Sandro Mareco at his home in Hurlingham, Buenos Aires | Photo: Mareco’s Facebook page

Mareco kindly shared his thoughts on the new Hybrid format:

"My experience in the hybrid tournament was positive, particularly so as I achieved a good result. I also liked playing long games again; it was a very good feeling and I think that if the referees control well, similar tournaments could continue. Obviously, I like to play face-to-face tournaments,  but at this time of pandemic this is an interesting option’."

The bronze medalist, the Chilean GM Cristobal Henriquez | Photo: Facebook page of Cristobal Henriquez

Henriquez, three times national champion, already had the taste of playing in the World Cup, in 2015 and in 2019 when he qualified as a winner of the Zonal. The World Cup 2015 was a memorable event for him as he caused a major upset by defeating Boris Gelfand in the rapid play-off.

Gelfand and Henriquez at the 2015 World Cup in Baku | Photo: Facebook page of Cristobal Henriquez

FIDE had already announced the list of eight female Pan-American participants, that were decided through various zonal and continental competitions: WGM Deysi Cori (PER), WIM Maili-Jade Ouellet (CAN), WGM Jennifer Yu (USA), WGM Tatev Abrahamyan (USA), WIM Yerisbel Miranda (CUB), WIM Anahi Ortiz Verdezoto (ECU), WIM Gabriela Vargas (PAR), and the eighth candidate, (from zonal 2.2, Canada), needs yet to be decided.

Peruvian WGM Deysi Cori will compete at the 2021 World Cup in Sochi | Photo: Cori’s Facebook page)

Participants are met with a final hurdle before they can head for Sochi: Russian visas and proof of Covid vaccination.  

Results of the preliminary

Rk. SNo     Name FED RtgI Pts.  TB1 
1 6
IM Molina Roberto Junio Brito BRA 2434 8,5 48,0
2 8
IM Plotkin Mark CAN 2430 7,5 49,0
3 7
IM Sanchez Sebastian Felipe COL 2434 7,0 47,5
4 23
FM Talukdar Rohan CAN 2341 6,5 48,0
5 14
FM Daggupati Balaji USA 2389 6,5 47,0
6 10
IM Fernandez Guillen Ernesto J. CUB 2411 6,5 44,0
7 4
IM Berdayes Ason Dylan Isidro CUB 2445 6,5 43,0
8 17
IM Avila Pavas Santiago COL 2373 6,5 43,0
9 9
GM Zapata Alonso COL 2421 6,5 43,0
10 13
IM Valdes Romero Leonardo CRC 2402 6,5 41,0
11 24
IM Duran Vega Sergio CRC 2340 6,5 40,5
12 1
GM Hoffman Alejandro URU 2459 6,0 48,0
13 38
IM Villegas Franco ARG 2210 6,0 45,5
14 30
FM Spata German ARG 2290 6,0 43,5
15 21
FM Almiron Antonio PAR 2366 6,0 43,0
16 35
IM Cueto Jonny BOL 2241 6,0 43,0
17 12
GM Slipak Sergio ARG 2402 6,0 42,5
18 5
IM Roselli Mailhe Bernardo URU 2434 6,0 42,0
IM Della Morte German ARG 2368 6,0 42,0
20 28
  Escobar Medina Andres F COL 2298 6,0 39,5
21 20
FM Plotkin Victor CAN 2367 6,0 39,5
22 11
IM Farahat Ali USA 2404 6,0 36,5
23 68
  Arrieta Cristian COL 1863 5,5 48,0
24 22
IM Panesso Rivera Henry COL 2366 5,5 45,0
25 65
  Reyes Mendoza Tomas CHI 1879 5,5 43,5
26 40
WIM Castrillon Gomez Melissa COL 2201 5,5 43,0
27 41
CM Vazquez Facundo URU 2199 5,5 43,0
28 34
  Hernandez Montes Jhon Sebastian COL 2241 5,5 41,5
29 16
IM Lopez Gonzalez Abel Fabian CUB 2379 5,5 40,0
30 44
  Chaves Sanchez Gabriel A CRC 2190 5,0 49,0

... 107 participants

Source: chess-results...

Results of the final

Rk. SNo     Name RtgI Pts.  TB1 
1 4
GM Bachmann Axel 2599 6,0 0,5
2 6
GM Mareco Sandro 2629 6,0 0,5
3 8
GM Henriquez Villagra Cristobal 2600 4,5 0,0
4 3
GM Hungaski Robert 2514 3,5 0,0
5 7
GM Moradiabadi Elshan 2555 3,0 0,0
6 2
GM Tang Andrew 2538 2,5 0,0
7 5
GM Krysa Leandro 2527 1,5 0,0
8 1
GM Mekhitarian Krikor Sevag 2554 1,0 0,0

Source: chess-results...




A former university lecturer in Romance philology, she is currently a painter as well as a chess journalist, and reports regularly from the international tournament scene.
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dianche dianche 6/12/2021 06:04
No, it was a slip up. My apologies. In the graph of the results of the Final, towards the end of the page, the flag next to his name is that of Paraguay. It will be corrected. Thanks for pointing out.
PFHH PFHH 6/12/2021 03:27
Axel Bachmann switched federations from Paraguay to Uruguay?