Ivanchuk wins Capablanca Memorial with 2839 performance

by ChessBase
6/21/2010 – Vassily Ivanchuk has won the Elite Group of this auspicious tournament, for the fourth time – something no other player has yet achieved. Second was 19-year-old GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, followed by Leinier Dominguez and Nigel Short. The FIDE presidential campaign has hit Cuba, with both Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Anatoly Karpov visiting the closing ceremony. The former came there bearing gifts.

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XLV Edición del Torneo Capablanca in Memoriam 2010

The Capablanca Memorial, a tournament commemorating José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera (1888–1942), who was World Champion from 1921 to 1927, took place in Havana, Cuba, from June 9th to 22nd, 2010. There were three groups: the Elite, Premier and Open. The Elite Group, a category 18 event with an average rating of 2700, is a double-round robin with Vassily Ivanchuk, who won the event three times in a row from 2005 to 2007, followed by Evgeny Alekseev, 19-year-old Ian Nepomniachtchi, the reigning European champion, World Championship finalist Nigel Short, and top Cuban players, Leinier Dominguez, who won it in 2008 and 2009) and Lazaro Bruzon.

Ukrainian GM Vassily Ivanchuk started this double-round robin tournament with a black-piece victory over Nigel Short. He continued with three more wins and no losses, leading from start to finish, to win the Elite group for the fourth time (see table below). Ivanchuk is the first player to do so in the 48-year history of this auspicious event. [A number of eagle-eyed readers have pointed out that Tony Miles also had four victories – but one of them, in 1994, was shared.]

In second places is newcomer, 19-year-old Ian Nepomnaichtchi,
who scored three wins and one loss.

Local boy and currently second strongest GM in the Americas (recently overtaken
by Hikaru Nakamura) scored nine draws and one win to share 3-4th place with...

... former World Championship challenger Nigel Short, who won three, lost two and drew five.

All four top ranked players performed above their FIDE ratings: Ivanchuk at 2839, Nepo at 2771, Dominguez at 2732 and Short at 2738.

Final standings

Interestingly there were more black wins than white in this tournament:


Of the 30 games played so far in this event:

  • 63% (19 games) ended in draws
  • White won 5 games = 17%
  • Black won 6 games = 20%

FIDE President Ilyumzhinov in Havana

The election for FIDE President is being fought out in Latin America as well. Both the incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and his rival Anatoly Karpov visited Cuba, the former bearing a special gift.

FIDE President Ilyumzhinov greets Leinier Dominguez – on the right Anatoly Karpov

Speaking at the closing ceremony Ilyumzhinov announced a US $500,000 five-year prize fund from his personal funds for two new tournaments in the FIDE Calendar. The competitions will be named Caribbean Cup and Latin America Cup. The first tournament is aimed primarily as support of the chess talents and countries of the Caribbean region which belong to the CACDEC list.

The Capablanca Memorial

This tournament has been held annually in Cuba for almost half a century. The first José Raúl Capablanca Memorial was held 20 April to 20 May 1962 in the Habana Libre hotel in Havana, Cuba. Miguel Najdorf was first in a field of 22 players. Here are the final standings:

Primer Torneo Internacional Capablanca in Memoriam – La Habana, 1962

1 Najdorf,Miguel 16.5
2 Spassky,Boris V 16.0
3 Polugaevsky,Lev 16.0
4 Gligoric,Svetozar 15.5
5 Smyslov,Vassily 15.5
6 Ivkov,Borislav 14.5
7 Pietzsch,Wolfgang 13.0
8 Haag,Ervin 13.0
9 Ciocaltea,Victor 12.5
10 Guimard,Carlos E 11.0
11 Pachman,Ludek 10.5
12 Cobo Arteaga,Eldis 10.0
13 Matanovic,Aleksandar 9.5
14 Perez Perez,Francisco Jose 8.5
15 Jimenez Zerquera,Eleazar 8.0
16 Gonzalez,Juan Carlos 8.0
17 Milev,Zdravko 7.5
18 De Greif,Boris 7.0
19 Ortega,Rogelio 5.5
20 Siero 5.0
21 Alvarez del Monte,Jose Luis 4.5
22 Garcia,Gilberto 3.5

The fourth edition of the tournament in 1965 was unusual. US Champion Bobby Fischer was invited and offered a $3,000 appearance fee, but the U.S. State Department would not allow him to travel to Cuba due to hostile Cuba-US relations. So Fischer played his games by telex from the Marshall Chess Club in New York City. Former World Champion Vasily Smyslov (USSR) won the tournament with 15½/21, Borislav Ivkov (Yugoslavia), Efim Geller (USSR), and Fischer shared second through fourth, a half point behind.

Here for the record are the winners of all 45 editions of the Capablanca Memorial

1 1962 Havana  Miguel Najdorf (Argentina)
2 1963 Havana  Viktor Korchnoi (Soviet Union)
3 1964 Havana  Vasily Smyslov (Soviet Union), Wolfgang Uhlmann (East Germany)
4 1965 Havana  Vasily Smyslov (Soviet Union)
5 1967 Havana  Bent Larsen (Denmark)
6 1968 Havana  Ratmir Kholmov (Soviet Union)
7 1969 Havana  Alexey Suetin (Soviet Union), Viktor Korchnoi (Soviet Union)
8 1971 Havana  Vlastimil Hort (Czechoslovakia)
9 1972 Cienfuegos   Anatoly Lein (Soviet Union)
10 1973 Cienfuegos  Vasily Smyslov (Soviet Union)
11 1974 Cienfuegos  Ulf Andersson (Sweden)
12 1975 Cienfuegos  Ulf Andersson (Sweden)
13 1976 Cienfuegos  Boris Gulko (Soviet Union)
14 1977 Cienfuegos  Oleg Romanishin (Soviet Union), Guillermo García González (Cuba)
15 1979 Cienfuegos  Evgeny Sveshnikov (Soviet Union)
16 1980 Cienfuegos  Alonso Zapata (Colombia), Lubomir Ftacnik (Czechoslovakia)
17 1981 Cienfuegos  Vitaly Tseshkovsky (Soviet Union)
18 1983 Cienfuegos  Lev Psakhis (Soviet Union)
19 1984 Cienfuegos  Jesus Nogueiras (Cuba)
20 1985 Havana  Borislav Ivkov (Yugoslavia)
21 1986 Havana  Carlos García Palermo (Argentina), Julio Granda Zúñiga (Peru)
22 1987 Camagüey  Carlos García Palermo (Argentina), Denis Verduga (Mexico)
23 1988 Havana  Zurab Azmaiparashvili (Soviet Union)
24 1989 Holguín  Amador Rodriguez (Cuba)
25 1990 Havana  Adelkis Remón (Cuba)
26 1991 Havana  Valeriy Neverov (Soviet Union)
27 1992 Matanzas  Henry Urday Cáceres (Peru)
28 1993 Matanzas  Mark Hebden (England)
29 1994 Matanzas  Loek van Wely (Netherlands), Tony Miles (England), Alonso Zapata (Colombia)
30 1995 Matanzas  Tony Miles (England)
31 1996 Cienfuegos  Tony Miles (England)
32 1997 Cienfuegos  Peter Leko (Hungary)
33 1998 Havana  Robert Hübner (Germany), Ivan Morovic (Chile), Yaacov Zilberman (Israel)
34 1999 Havana  Tony Miles (England)
35 2000 Varadero  Alexander Volzhin (Russia)
36 2001 Havana  Francisco Vallejo Pons (Spain)
37 2002 Havana  Lázaro Bruzón (Cuba)
38 2003 Havana  Julio Granda Zúñiga (Peru)
39 2004 Havana  Lenier Domínguez (Cuba)
40 2005 Havana  Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine)
41 2006 Havana  Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine)
42 2007 Havana  Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine)
43 2008 Havana  Leinier Domínguez (Cuba)
44 2009 Havana  Leinier Domínguez (Cuba)
45 2010 Havana  Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine)


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