International Master (1984); Grandmaster (1986); Champion of Peru (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 and 2002); Champion of South America (1993); American Continental Champion (2007, 2012, 2013 and 2014); Ibero-American Champion (2008); World Senior Champion (2017).
Latin American chess legend Julio Ernesto Granda Zuniga was born in Camaná, Peru and now lives in Spain. He learned chess at the age of five and gained his Grandmaster title while still a teenager, a rarity in those days.
<1986-1990> Granda Zuniga was =1st alongside Carlos Garcia Palermo at the Capablanca Memorial Tournament that was staged in Cienfuegos, Cuba in 1986 and =1st - again alongside Garcia Palermo - at the Forli Open in June 1988. He was 3rd at Buenos Aires in 1988 behind Gilberto Milos and Zenon Franco Ocampos and =2nd at the Capablance Memorial 1988 behind Zurab Azmaiparashvili. He competed in the category 10 Barcelona tournament of 1990, winning that event outright with 6.5/9 ahead of 2nd placed Miguel Illescas Cordoba. Also in 1990, he won at the category 9 Leon tournament ahead of co-2nd place-getters Illescas Cordoba, Garcia Palermo and Zenon Franco Ocampos.
<1991-1995> He shared first place with Mikhail Tal and Jesus Nogueiras at the Najdorf Masters (1991) in April 1991, and a month later he placed second at Dos Hermanos behind Alexander Goldin. (1) Also in 1991, he won the Malaga Open in Spain with 7.5/9, half a point ahead of Lembit Oll, Anatoly Davidovich Machulsky and Pablo San Segundo Carrillo. In July 1992, he won the Reshevsky Tournament that was held in New York by half a point ahead of Judit Polgar. In 1993, he won at Mar del Plata with 7.5/9, half a point ahead of six other players. He won at Pamplona 1995 and shared the first place with Jan Timman at Donner Memorial (1995) ahead of Judit Polgar, Alexey Shirov, Alexander Khalifman, Alexander Morozevich, Valery Salov and Jeroen Piket.
<1996-1998> Granda Zuniga shared first place with Vassily Ivanchuk at the category 16 Donner Memorial (1996), a full point ahead of Gata Kamsky, Jeroen Piket, Nick de Firmian, and well ahead of Valery Salov, Jan Timman, Alexander Morozevich et al. (1a) Also in 1996, he was =3rd at the category 13 Najdorf tournament in Buenos Aires, half a point behind Sergei Tiviakov and Jordi Magem Badals. He won at Leon 1997 (a category 10 event), a full point ahead of John Nunn (2) and then placed =3rd at Pamplona 1997-98, and =3rd at the powerful New York Open in March 1998.
<1999-2001> Granda Zuniga does not appear to have played in FIDE rated events during this period.
<2002-2005> He resumed chess after his three-year hiatus with a vengeance by winning the 2002 Peruvian Championship by a huge margin (see below) and followed up with an equally exemplary performance at the 2002 Olympiad in Bled. After a solid 6/9 at the Aeroflot Open (2003), he again won the Capablanca Memorial 2003 with 8/11, ahead of leading Cuban players Leinier Dominguez Perez and Lazaro Bruzon Batista. Early in 2004, he placed =4th at the category 13 Corus B event at Wijk aan Zee and won the Copa ENTEL (2004) in Chile, 1.5 points ahead of Rafael Duailibe Leitao. 2005 started with a strong win by Granda Zuniga at the FEDA 103 'Salinas 2005', 1.5 points clear of the field with 7.5/9. In June he won the Berman Hillman Tournament with 7.5/9. In August, he won the category 13 elite event at the festival celebrating the 50th Anniverary of the Villa Martelli Chess Club, half a point ahead of runner up Ruben Felgaer, who in turn was 1.5 points clear of Leitao. he closed out 2005 at the World Cup (see below).
<2006> Granda Zuniga had a few months away from chess before resuming in May 2006 at the Turin Olympiad playing top board for Peru. He won the 2nd Sort Open that took place from 26th June to 4th July 2006 in Sort, Spain, with 7.5/9, half a point ahead of 7 other players. Another good results in 2006 was =3rd, half a point behind Kevin Spraggett and Mircea-Emilian Parligras at the powerful International Open held in the Spanish city of Tarragona.
<2007> Apart from his win in the American Continental Championship (see below), his achievements in this year included =4th in the City of Laguna International Tournament, half a point from the lead, 2nd behind Gabriel Sargissian in the category 7 main event of the first Ruy Lopez International Festival, a win in the Villa de Navalmoral tournament and =1st alongside Ivan Salgado Lopez and Pablo San Segundo Carrillo at the Pamplona Open to finish the year.
<2008> =5th with 7.5/10 at the International Open in Benidorm, half a point from the leaders Vladimir Burmakin (the winner on tiebreak), Boris Avrukh, Stewart Haslinger and Eduardo Patricio Iturrizaga Bonelli. Winner of the 28th International Open at Benasque with 8.5/10 ahead of a large group of players in =2nd that included Elizbar Ubilava, Aleksander Petkov Delchev, Vladimir Baklan, Rasul Ibrahimov, Romain Edouard and Spraggett. =3rd at the International Andorra Open behind David Howell and Edouard respectively. Outright 3rd at Navalmoral de la Mata in Spain, half a point behind joint leaders Burmakin and Sergey Fedorchuk.
<2009> =4th at Benidorm, half a point behind the co-leaders Iturrizaga, Julen Luis Arizmendi Martinez, and Robert Kempinski. Outright winner of the 3rd La Laguna Open with 8/9 and the Conegliano Open in Italy with 6/7. He finished the year with =1st (2nd on tiebreak to Georg Meier) at the category 13 Pamplona Masters.
<2010> Started the year with =1st alongside Jorge Cori, both scoring 7.5/9, at the Jose Marca Memorial Open in Lima, Peru. There followed 2nd behind Evgeny Postny at the category 12 GM (A Group) at the Nancy International Festival in February. In July, Granda Zuniga won the DRR 6-player Banasque Tournament staged in Benasque and Huesca with 6.5/10, a full point clear of the field. He was third in the first International Open in Mexico City that accompanied the UNAM Quadrangular in November, and finished the year with a strong =4th, half a point behind the co-leaders at the JAHV McGregor tournament held in Bogota, Colombia.
<2011> The year started with Granda Zuniga's outright win with 7.5/9 at the Pedro Lezcano Montalvo Memorial Tournament staged in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain in April. Several months later in July , he was =2nd alongside Ivan Saric, Delchev, Maxim Turov and Mihail Marin with 8/10, half a point behind the outright winner Tigran Levonovich Petrosian, at the Benasque International Open. Several weeks later, he was =1st (2nd on tiebreak) alongside Iturrizaga, Fedorchuk and Branko Damljanovic with 7/9 at the San Juan International Open in Pamplona. He finished up the year in December with =2nd (3rd on tiebreak) at the XVII Navalmoral Open in Spain, a point behind the winner Fedorchuk.
<2012> In April he placed =1st with 7.5/9 alongside Yusnel Bacallao Alonso and Fedorchuk at the 39th La Roda Open in Spain. In July he was =5th with 6.5/9 at the International Open in Andorra, half a point behind the co-leaders Kiril Dimitrov Georgiev, Jon Ludvig Hammer, Julen Luis Arizmendi Martinez and Miguel Illescas Cordoba. He finished the year with =1st (2nd on tiebreak to Azer Mirzoev) at the 6th Augusta Aragon International Open held in Zaragoza in Spain, scoring 7.5/9.
<2013> A few days later in January 2013, he scored 7/9 to place =2nd at the XXIV Roquetas Open in Spain, half a point behind the winner Harold James Plaskett. In March, he came =1st at the La Roda International with 7.5/9 alongside Alexis Cabrera. In October, Granda Zuniga took clear first place at the 5-player DRR Entrefaros GM Tournament held in Camarinas in Spain with 5.5/8, ahead of Cheparinov, Richard Rapport, Lazaro Bruzon Batista and Ivan Salgado Lopez respectively.
<2014> Granda Zuniga's best results in this year were =3rd with 7/9 at the III Open Internacional LLucmajor 2014 in Mallorca, half a point behind the co-leaders Delchev and Fedorchuk and clear first at the annual International Open in Andorra, with 7.5/9.
<2015> The year started well for Granda Zuniga with clear first at the Zicosur Open 2015 that was held in Antofagasta in Chile in January, and first on tiebreak ahead of Angel Arribas Lopez at the 42nd La Roda Open in April. In July, he came second at the Benasque Open behind Baskaran Adhiban, (2a) and won the 33rd Andorra Open with 8/9. (2aa)
<Youth> Granda Zuniga participated in the inaugural U16 World Championship, staged in Embalse in Argentina in 1981. He placed outright 5th, scoring 5.5/9, two points behind the winner Stuart C Conquest.
<Junior> He was runner-up with 8/11, half a point behind Sandro Heleno Sene Trindade, in the Pan-American Junior (U20) Championship held in Buenos Aires in 1982. He also competed in the World Junior Championship of 1986 played in Gausdal in Norway, scoring 7.5/13, two points shy of the lead.
<National> He is a five-time chess champion of Peru, winning in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 2002. In 2002, he won with 12/13, four points clear of the runner up. (2b)
<Continental> Champion of South America, winning at the Brasilia Zonal 1993. =2nd behind Bruzon at the 2005 American Continental Champion and winner of the American Continental Championshipship at Cali 2007 in Argentina, with the same score as Alexander Ivanov, Varuzhan Akobian, Darcy Gustavo Machado Vieira Lima and Eduardo Patricio Iturrizaga Bonelli. =3rd at the 2009 American Continental with 8.5/11, half a point behind the co-leaders Alexander Shabalov and Fidel Corrales Jimenez.
Winner of the 2012 and 2013 American Continental Championships held in Argentina and Bolivia, respectively. Despite a lapse of form in preceding months, Granda Zuniga rallied to win the fiercely fought 9th American Continental Championship in October 2014 with 8.5/11 on tiebreak, ahead of five other players, although he was required to participate in a playoff with those five players to determine the five qualifiers for the 2015 World Cup: this he did successfully. In May 2015, he placed =3rd at the American Continental Championship, half a point behind the co-leaders Sandro Mareco and Yuniesky Quesada Perez.
Ibero-American Champion based on overall results at the two stage event held in Morelia and Linares in 2008. (3), (3aa)
<World> Granda Zuniga's initial entry to the World Championship cycle was in March 1987 when he came 2nd in the Santiago Zonal, thereby qualifying for the Interzonal held in Zagreb in August. There he narrowly missed a spot in the Candidates both on initial tournament result, where he scored 9.5/17, half a point below the lowest outright qualifier, but also in the playoff for the reserve spot between himself and the other two players who also scored 9.5/17. He had another chance at the Biel Interzonal in 1993, but on that occasion fared poorly, scoring only 6.5/13 to place 33rd out of 74 players in a Swiss-style tournament. He fared better at the parallel Interzonal in Groningen run by the PCA the same year, but again missed the cut for the PCA Candidates by half a point, scoring 6.5/11.
In 1997, he played in the first of FIDE's world championship knockout tournaments, this event coincidentally also being played at Groningen. He won his first round match against former World Junior Champion Bojan Kurajica in the tiebreaker games, but lost his second round match to eventual quarter-finalsit Alexey Shirov, thereby bowing out of the event. His next forays were at the FIDE World Cup (2005), the World Chess Cup (2007), and the World Cup (2009) where he lost his first round matches on each occasion.
His best result in the World Championship cycle in the reunited format came in 2013. Despite his win in the 2013 American Continental, Granda Zuniga had already qualified for the World Cup (2013) because of his leader board result in the 2012 American Continental Championship. At the World Cup 2013, he defeated Armenian GM Hrant Melkumyan in the first round, Hungarian legend GM Peter Leko in the second round and Dutch and World Junior #1 GM Anish Giri in the third round. He was eliminated in the Round of 16 (fourth round) by American-Italian GM Fabiano Caruana. (3a) He won the American Continental Championship in 2014 on tiebreak. However, he had to compete in a six-way playoff to qualify for the World Cup (2015). (3b) At the World Cup 2015, Granda defeated Alexandr Hilario Takeda dos Santos Fier and Cristobal Henriquez Villagra in the first two rounds before losing to Radoslaw Wojtaszek in the third round to be eliminated from the event.
Team Events (4)
Granda Zuniga has played for Peru in eleven out of fifteen Olympiads staged since 1986 inclusive, missing only the 1998, 2000, 2008 and 2012 events. He played board 2 for Peru in 1986, and has played on the first board since then. Peru's best team result in that period was 12th in 1986, while his best individual result was 7th for board 1 in 1992 and 2004. So far in his Olympiad career, he has played 133 games for a 62.8% result (+60 =47 -26).
He also represented Peru in the Panamerican Team Championships in 1985 and 1987, on both occasions helping his team to 4th place. In 1985 he played board 3, winning bronze and in 1987, board 1, winning gold.
He had one stint in the European Club Cup, when in the 1990 season he played a couple of games on board 3 for the Spanish CA La Caja de Canarias team, which reached the round of 32. He also plays in the Spanish League.
In September 2012, as part of the Sao Paulo International Chess Event in Brazil, Granda Zuniga played a four-game match against Brazilian legend, Henrique Mecking, and drew all four games. In June 2013 in Madrid, Granda Zuniga played a six-game match against David Anton Guijarro, losing by 2.5-3.5 (+1 -2 =3).
Since FIDE started rating the rapid form of the game in July 2012, Granda Zuniga has had generally positive results.
<Blitz> Starting with a strong =3rd placement at the Grand Prix blitz tournament in Andorra in 2012 behind Kiril Georgiev and Iturrizaga, he won the San Prudencio International Blitz Open in April 2013 with 7/8 and the first International S'Arenal Blitz Open in Mallorca, Spain with 7.5/9 in May 2014. In January 2015, he was =3rd at the Andorran Blitz Open.
<Rapid> In September 2012, he won the Portuguese National Rapid Tournament with 8/9, in June 2013, he won the Spanish Rapid Ciudaad de Mostoles in Spain on tiebreak with 7.5/9 and in September 2014 he was 3rd with 6/7 at the International Rapid Open in Bergara, Spain. In May 2015, he clearly won the 25th International Open Ajedrez Ciudad De Mostoles in Spain with 8.5/9. In July 2015, he won the Spanish Rapid Championship with 8.5/9, a point ahead of Ivan Salgado Lopez.
<Exhibition Match> In May 2012, Granda Zuniga lost the rapid four-game Short - Granda Match (2012) that was played in Lima, Peru by 1-3 (=2 -2). The games were unrated.
Ratings and Rankings
Granda Zuniga first entered the top 100 list in January 1987, remaining there until December 1988. He re-entered the top 100 in January 1991 and has remained in the top 100 more often than not since that time. (5) He reached his peak ranking in January 1992 when he was equal world #24.
(1) [brasilbase-1]; (1a) http://www.chess.gr/tourn/3rd_Donne...; (2) [brasilbase-2]; (2a) http://chess-results.com/tnr179472....; (2aa) http://www.theweekinchess.com/html/...; (2b) http://ratings.fide.com/tournament_...; (3) [brasilbase-3]; (3aa) http://ratings.fide.com/view_source...; (3a) http://www.mark-weeks.com/chess/wcc...; (3b) Wikipedia article: Chess World Cup 2015; (4) http://www.olimpbase.org/players/yg...; (5) http://ratings.fide.com/top_files.p... & http://ratings.fide.com/id.phtml?ev...; (6) http://andina.pe/ingles/noticia-per...
Wikipedia article: Julio Granda