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Capablanca Memorial (Elite) Tournament

Wesley So6.5/10(+3 -0 =7)[games]
Lazaro Bruzon Batista5.5/10(+1 -0 =9)[games]
Leinier Dominguez Perez5/10(+1 -1 =8)[games]
Zoltan Almasi4.5/10(+1 -2 =7)[games]
Francisco Vallejo Pons4.5/10(+2 -3 =5)[games]
Vassily Ivanchuk4/10(+0 -2 =8)[games]
* Chess Event Description
Capablanca Memorial (Elite) (2014)

The 49th Capablanca Memorial was 6-player double round robin played 8-18 May 2014 in the Hotel Habana Riviera, Havana, Cuba. Rest day: May 13. Time control: 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, then 30 more minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds increment from the start. Newcomer to the tournament Wesley So won with 6.5/10. Lazaro Bruzon finished 2nd with a win and no losses, and Leinier Dominguez finished clear 3rd with an even score. Six time winner Vassily Ivanchuk scored an unusual result but performed well again in 2016 with a record 7th event win.

Official site: ChessBase report: Chess-Results: TWIC:

Age Elo 01 02 03 04 05 06 1 So 20 2731 ** ½½ ½1 1½ 1½ ½½ 6½ 2 Bruzon 32 2682 ½½ ** ½½ ½½ ½1 ½½ 5½ 3 Dominguez 30 2768 ½0 ½½ ** ½½ 1½ ½½ 5 4 Almasi 37 2693 0½ ½½ ½½ ** ½0 1½ 4½ 5 Vallejo 31 2700 0½ ½0 0½ ½1 ** 1½ 4½ 6 Ivanchuk 45 2753 ½½ ½½ ½½ 0½ 0½ ** 4

Category: XIX (2721). Chief arbiter: Serafin Chuit Perez

The Premier group was won on tiebreak by Yusnel Bacallao Alonso with 6/9. The Open I swiss tournament was won by Juan Carlos Obregon Rivero with 8.5/10.

Previous: Capablanca Memorial (Elite) (2013). Next: Capablanca Memorial (Elite) (2015)

Further reading: (1) Wikipedia article: Capablanca Memorial, (2), (3), (4)

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 30  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. F Vallejo Pons vs Z Almasi ½-½162014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)C50 Giuoco Piano
2. W So vs L Bruzon Batista ½-½642014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)E32 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
3. L Dominguez vs Ivanchuk ½-½522014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)C80 Ruy Lopez, Open
4. W So vs F Vallejo Pons 1-0422014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)C67 Ruy Lopez
5. Z Almasi vs L Dominguez  ½-½292014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)A14 English
6. L Bruzon Batista vs Ivanchuk ½-½592014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)B52 Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack
7. Ivanchuk vs Z Almasi 0-1342014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)C45 Scotch Game
8. F Vallejo Pons vs L Bruzon Batista  ½-½602014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)C65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
9. L Dominguez vs W So ½-½412014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
10. W So vs Ivanchuk ½-½852014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)B46 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
11. F Vallejo Pons vs L Dominguez 0-1472014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)B23 Sicilian, Closed
12. L Bruzon Batista vs Z Almasi  ½-½422014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)C78 Ruy Lopez
13. Ivanchuk vs F Vallejo Pons 0-1532014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)C53 Giuoco Piano
14. Z Almasi vs W So 0-1482014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)C18 French, Winawer
15. L Dominguez vs L Bruzon Batista ½-½132014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)C92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
16. L Bruzon Batista vs W So ½-½222014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)A15 English
17. Ivanchuk vs L Dominguez  ½-½282014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)B93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4
18. Z Almasi vs F Vallejo Pons 0-1602014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)A10 English
19. L Dominguez vs Z Almasi  ½-½382014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)C67 Ruy Lopez
20. F Vallejo Pons vs W So ½-½202014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)C77 Ruy Lopez
21. Ivanchuk vs L Bruzon Batista ½-½172014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)E21 Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights
22. W So vs L Dominguez 1-0642014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
23. L Bruzon Batista vs F Vallejo Pons 1-0382014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)C03 French, Tarrasch
24. Z Almasi vs Ivanchuk ½-½572014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)C09 French, Tarrasch, Open Variation, Main line
25. Ivanchuk vs W So ½-½272014Capablanca Memorial (Elite)C65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 30  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 20 OF 20 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-18-14  Chris321: <torrefan: <Chris321: <torrefan>it's far from chess talk if he tells you,you got a mental problem or something or you got an eye problem,> I am a student of chess history. I can cite numerous examples of chess players who had had mental and/or eye problems.>i have seen the movie about Fischer with another chess buddy.Our oppinions about the movie differed greatly.I felt so what if some people think that Fischer was rude ,a lunetic etc my eyes he was a true great of the game,and that will not change for me.Its all that counts!.Beethoven was just as rude and crazy they say,so what he produced beautifull music."No great man lives in vain.The history of the world is but the biography of great men."Thomas Carlyle.
May-18-14  morfishine: Ivanchuk's 2-losses have come with the White pieces...ouch
May-18-14  Kanatahodets: <Tiggler: <Kanatahodets> Yes it was a draw, until 48. f3 . After that 48.. a2 should win, because the White K cannot move off the g2 or h2, and the White R cannot move off the a-file except to check. You may be right, but are you sure?> Yes I am sure. K should stay on 2nd line and preferably g2. Then black K can stay only on b-e lines and be exposed to checks. If it decides to come closer to white R then it just slides on a line and white king moves f2, g2 back and forth. Draw.
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: In that endgame, 48...d2 would lead to an easy draw, because the black king, trying to approach the passed pawn, cannnot hide from checks.

click for larger view

If Black wants to create some practical winning chances (in case of White's passive play) the a-pawn must stay on a3. With correct play this endgame is a draw.

May-18-14  Kanatahodets: <cro777: In that endgame, 48...d2 would lead to an easy draw, because the black king, trying to approach the passed pawn, cannnot hide from checks.> I don't get it. How black can move d2??? The second part of this strange sentence just repeats what I said few lines above. And the next sentence is also wrong: a3 pawn cannot lead to anything except draw.
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: <Kanatahodets> Of course, 48...a2 (48...d2 was a typo). As I said, this endgame with the pawn on a3 with correct play is also a draw. But White has to play actively (to create counterplay and exchage some pawns). That's why Almasi played f3 followed by g4. Only in case of White's passive play, the black king can approach the passed a3-pawn (and use the a2-square). My post was a general comment on this endgame, we've been also discussing elsewhere, and was not specifically directed to you.
May-18-14  Kanatahodets: <cro777> Now it's correct.
May-18-14  MarkFinan: Good to see So on top of the table.

^ That's my lolling contribution to the kibitzing of this tournament. Actually out of all the players I prefer Ivanchuk but it's good to see a younger "man" leading a fairly strong line up.

Btw. Never heard of Bruzon!

May-18-14  PhilFeeley: <MarkFinan: Good to see So on top of the table. >

Old guard (Ivanchuk) meet the new guard.

Wesley's on his way up, Vassily's on his way down. The way of the chess world.

May-18-14  john barleycorn: Tournament win (clear first) secured with a draw. Congratulations to Wesley So
May-18-14  john barleycorn: Now, another draw between Bruzon and Dominguez is the most likely result.
May-18-14  Kanatahodets: well, no comments: adieu
May-18-14  Chris321: <Kanatahodets>hey brother,i see this ending you discussing above is like 2 drawn games we had recently in the S15,The Bulls thought the Chiefs of New Zealand was down n dusted that was here in the 78th minute,but then the Chiefs scored a try,an the difference only the conversion to come(just like this here a2 pawn,like you can clearly see in this pawns face"its lust to expand"@Nimzovitch,but he knows like we it's all in vain!)Anyway an then the conversion was successfull.But Alas wasn't the end yet,cause 15 sec later the Chiefs were hot on the attack,lookin for the win(just like this a pawn,but brother one of em Bulls got hold of that ball an kick it out,so hard that it dissapeared from site,an that was that ,draw!,just like this here game!...;)
May-19-14  waustad: Congrats to So, winning, picking up 13.4 elo and getting into the top 15. I guess he's getting into the the land of the "pampered goldfish" now ;-) He's earned it.
May-19-14  koloko: < He's earned it.>

Yes, the only unpampered among the pampered ones, he earned it the old fashion way. the hard way. Nothing can be said to you know who.


Read Full Story:

May-19-14  Chris321: Yes Wesley So fully deserves the win of tournament,things are looking bright for his future in chess indeed!.
May-20-14  frandie: Wesley joins the list of winners and gets the distinction of being the youngest ever!

# Year City Winner
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 Camaguey Ulf Andersson (Sweden)
12 1975 Cienfuegos Ulf Andersson (Sweden)
13 1976 Cienfuegos Boris Gulko (Soviet Union)
14 1977 Cienfuegos Oleg Romanishin (Soviet Union) Guillermo Garcia Gonzales (Cuba)
15 1979 Cienfuegos Evgeny Sveshnikov (Soviet Union) 16 1980 Cienfuegos Alonso Zapata (Colombia)
Ľubomír Ftáčnik (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 Garcia Palermo (Argentina)
Julio Granda Zúñiga (Peru)
22 1987 Camagüey Carlos Garcia 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 Leinier 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)
46 2011 Havana Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine)
47 2012 Havana Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine)[9]
48 2013 Havana Zoltán Almási (Hungary)
<49 2014 Havana Wesley So (Philippines)>

May-20-14  frandie: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a 2013 American science fiction adventure film based on Suzanne Collins' dystopian novel, Catching Fire, the second installment in The Hunger Games trilogy. The film is the sequel to The Hunger Games, and the second installment in The Hunger Games film series,

Snow announces a special Hunger Games, the Third Quarter Quell, where <all tributes will be selected from previous victors. >

Only one will be victorious.

Congratulations Wesley < Katniss Everdeen> So.

May-23-14  frandie: Wesley So with 2826 performance in Cuba
by Frederic Friedel

5/20/2014 – He was the eighth youngest chess grandmaster in history, and now at twenty he is soaring towards the very top. With his +3 score in a Category 19 event he has added thirteen points to his rating and is now number 15 in the world. Cuban GM Lazaro Batista Bruzon also gained twelve points with his +1 result, while Leinier Dominguez, numer ten in the world, lost eight. Final report.

The 49th Capablanca Memorial took place from May 8th to 18th, 2014, in the Hotel Habana Riviera, Havana, Cuba. The Elite group had six players with an average rating of 2721 (= Category 19). The tournament was a double round robin with international FIDE time controls: 90 minutes for 40 moves and 30 minutes to finish, plus 30 bonus seconds from the first move.

The winner of the tournament was Filipino GM Wesley So, who like Cuban GM Lazaro Bruzon remained undefeated but won three games, as opposed to Bruzon's one. So's performance: a remarkable 2826, which adds thirteen points to his current 2731 rating.

In 2008 Wesley was the the seventh youngest player in history to receive a GM title. Our picture was included in a portrait on Wesley written just after he had won the 10th Dubai Open Chess Championship.

Wesley So is all of 20 years old. He became the youngest Filipino International Master at the age of 12 years and 10 months and received his GM title at the age of 14 years, 1 month and 28 days, making him the eighth youngest chess grandmaster in history. He was the strongest Under-16 player in the world. In October 2008, So was rated 2610 and thus became the youngest player ever in the history of the game to cross the 2600 Elo barrier, breaking the record previously held by Magnus Carlsen (the record has subsequently been broken by Chinese GM Wei Yi). In the May 2014 rankings So is number 23 in the world, the Capablanca Memorial will lift him to number 15.

Lazaro Bruzon can also be satisfied with his "comeback". He gained twelve Elo points with his 2763 performance.

Top seed Leinier Dominguez Perez, who but for José Raúl would be called the strongest Cuban player in history, performed well below his current 2768 rating. The tenth stongest player in the world has lost eight Elo points and is now ranked number eleven.

Hungarian GM Zoltan Almasi scored a minus one, which was exactly what his current rating would lead us to expect.

The same result by Spanish GM Francisco Vallejo Pons was achieved with two wins and three losses (as opposed to Almasi's one win and two losses). "Paco" Vallejo is a fighter who is capable of any result in a given game.

The big disappointment was Super-GM Vassily Ivanchuk, who in six previous appearances in Havana had proved invincible. This time he did not win a single game and lost two (to Vallejo and Almasi). In the live ratings "Chucky" has dropped 15 points and moved five places down to number twenty in the world.

Jul-03-14  frandie: Wesley So triumphs in Cuba

The Capablanca Memorial in the Cuban capital city of Havana is history, with 20-year-old Filipino Wesley So taking all the plaudits. Let's take a closer look at the young star’s tournament.

by Jan Gustafsson

Wesley So was in a class of his own in Cuba | photo:

In the Twittersphere the tournament wasn’t an object of universal affection, with complaints about the high number of (quick) draws. For me to complain about a lack of fight, however, would be about as credible as Hannibal Lecter complaining about a meat-heavy diet.

That not all the participants were in a belligerent mood strikes me, at least, as perfectly understandable given the backdrop and the fact that virtually no money was involved. The lack of enmity among the Cuban participants may also have other explanations, for all I know.

Wesley So enjoyed the event in any case, as the 13 Elo points he picked up moved him to within only 6 points of the 2750 target he set himself for the year…

In this report we’ll focus on the tournament winner and leave aside the question of whether he had support from the very top.

Wesley scored three wins and seven draws to win the elite group by a full point:

Rank Name Rating FED 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Wesley So 2731 PHI ½½ ½1 1½ 1½ ½½ 6½ 30.50
2 Lazaro Bruzon 2682 CUB ½½ ½½ ½½ ½1 ½½ 5½ 26.75
3 Leinier Dominguez 2768 CUB ½0 ½½ ½½ 1½ ½½ 5 24.00 4 Zoltan Almasi 2693 HUN 0½ ½½ ½½ ½0 1½ 4½ 22.00
5 Francisco Vallejo 2700 ESP 0½ ½0 0½ ½1 1½ 4½ 21.25 6 Vassily Ivanchuk 2753 UKR ½½ ½½ ½½ 0½ 0½ 4 21.50

In the run-up to the tournament local hero Leinier Dominguez and six-time winner Vassily Ivanchuk were considered the top favourites, but little went according to plan for either of them.

Ivanchuk went for two unfortunate piece sacrifices early on and the resulting losses caused him to batten down the hatches and content himself with draws in the remaining rounds. He finished in a surprisingly winless last place.

Dominguez did, at least, pull off a victory – against Pacoman – but otherwise things failed to go his way, despite home advantage. Or perhaps because of home advantage… it’s always seemed to me that playing at home is a disadvantage in chess. He lost eight Elo points and allowed Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave to push him out of the Top 10.

So took advantage of the leisurely pace set by the tournament favourites to achieve perhaps his greatest tournament success to date. Let’s take a look at his tournament round by round.

<Round 1>

A hard-fought but rather uneventful draw with White against the future runner-up and other local hero Lazaro Bruzon. Bruzon would also remain undefeated and was the only other participant to achieve more than 50%, so it seems he doesn’t share my thesis about home advantage. Nevertheless, I still believe in it – just take a look at the recent World Championship matches…

<Round 2>

So had White again and scored his first win, disappointingly for us against chess24 representative Paco Vallejo. For a long time not much was going on, but So managed to undermine and eventually topple Vallejo’s Berlin Wall (see our report).

<Round 3>

A totally problem-free draw with Black against the top seed Dominguez. So showed himself to be better prepared in the opening and for the whole course of the game it was White who had to take care in order to draw.

Here’s how Dominguez managed:

Event: 49th Capablanca Elite 2014
Site: Havana CUB
Date: 2014.05.10
Round: 3
White Name: Dominguez Perez, Leinier (2768)
Black Name: So, Wesley (2731)
Result: ½-½
ECO: C88
Annotator: Jan Gustafsson
Dominguez Perez, Leinier (2768) vs. So, Wesley (2731) 1/2-1/2

36. ♖ec3! Only so!

36. c7 ♖xg2+ 37. ♔h1 ♖h2+ 38. ♔g1 ♖ag2+ 39. ♔f1 ♖h1+ 40. ♔xg2 ♖xc1 And Black should win. After the text move, however, he's forced to give perpetual check.

36... ♖xg2+ 37. ♔h1 ♖h2+ 38. ♔g1 ♖ag2+ 39. ♔f1 ♖b2 40. ♔g1 ♖bg2+ 41. ♔f1 ♖d2


<Round 4>

Against Ivanchuk’s Paulsen So achieved a slightly better ending, but the Ukrainian held things together.

Jul-03-14  frandie: <Round 5>

Strike two! So once again proved himself to be bang up-to-date on theory. Against the similarly theoretically well-armed Almasi he demonstrated an important improvement in a very sharp line of the French:

Event: 49th Capablanca Elite 2014
Site: Havana CUB
Date: 2014.05.12
Round: 5
White Name: Almasi, Zoltan (2693)
Black Name: So, Wesley (2731)
Result: 0-1
ECO: C18
Annotator: Jan Gustafsson
Almasi, Zoltan (2693) vs. So, Wesley (2731) 0-1

15. 0-0 ♘f5 An important improvement. Black begins to unravel his knot of minor pieces immediately, planning Nce7 followed by Bc6.

15... ♕b6 16. ♘e4 ♘d5 17. ♘d6+ ♔b8 18. ♘xf7 ♖df8 19. ♘d6 ♘ce7 20. ♗f3 ♗c6 21. a4 ♘b4 22. a5 ♕c5 23. ♕h7 d3+ 24. ♔h1 d2 25. ♗xd2 cxd2 26. ♕xe7 ♖xf4 27. ♖ab1 ♖gf8 28. c4 a6 29. h3 ♔a8 30. ♕g7 ♕e3 31. ♔h2 d1Q 32. ♖bxd1 1-0 Karjakin - Kamsky, Nalchik 2009

16. ♘e4

16. ♘xf5 exf5 17. ♖b1 may be tested in future, as here as well Black's position strikes me as absolutely playable.

16... ♘ce7 17. ♘f6 ♖g6 18. ♘xd7 ♖xd7 19. ♗f3 ♘d5 and Black's pair of knights was at least the equal of White's bishops. In the play that followed So used the outpost on e3 to create a passed pawn and win.


Jul-03-14  frandie: <Round 6>

So wobbles! In the opening he mixed up his moves and ended up in an extremely critical situation. Bruzon let him escape, however, after the most worrying moment yet for the Filipino. Or did your author simply not understand what was going on while So had everything under control? Judge for yourself:

Event: 49th Capablanca Elite 2014
Site: Havana CUB
Date: 2014.05.14
Round: 6
White Name: Bruzon Batista, Lazaro (2682)
Black Name: So, Wesley (2731)
Result: ½-½
ECO: A16
Annotator: Jan Gustafsson
Bruzon Batista, Lazaro (2682) vs. So, Wesley (2731) 1/2-1/2

1. c4 ♘f6 2. ♘f3 g6 3. ♘c3 d5 4. ♕a4+ ♗d7 5. ♕b3 dxc4 6. ♕xc4 This is a well-known Anti-Grünfeld variation where holding back on the move d2-d4 leaves White with some additional options.

6... ♗g7⁈ This move is actually seen quite often, but in this position it's considered a mistake. I remember how happy I was as Leko's second when Kamsky played it. That a strong theoretician like So repeats the move makes me curious whether he has new information, or was he simply surprised?

6... a6 is considered "correct", 7. d4 (7. e4 b5 8. ♕e2⁉ 1-0 Svidler - Howell, Amsterdam 2010) 7... b5 8. ♕b3 c5 9. dxc5 ♗g7 This usually leads via a move transposition to one of the main variations of the Qb3 Grünfeld Indian e.g. 10. e4 0-0 11. ♗e2 ♗e6 12. ♕c2 ♘bd7 13. ♗e3 ♖c8 14. ♖d1 b4 15. ♘d5 ♗xd5 16. exd5 ♘xc5 17. 0-0 a5 18. h3 ♘ce4 19. ♕b3 ♕d6 20. ♗b5 ♘c5 21. ♕c4 ♘a4 22. ♕b3 ♘c5 1/2-1/2 Ivanchuk - Wang, Beijing 2012

7. e4 This makes all the difference. The idea of e5 is very annoying, and due to Black's "extra tempo" of Bd7 it can't be met by Nfd7.

7... a6 Rarely seen in this position. Is So still trying to transpose to the main variation?

7... 0-0 8. e5 ♘g4 (8... ♗e6 ; 8... ♘e8 9. d4 0-1 Bruzon Batista - Rakhmanov, Guarenas 2012) 9. d4 ♘a6 10. h3 ♘h6 11. ♗e2 1/2-1/2 Leko - Kamsky, Nalchik 2009

8. e5! Of course!

8. d4 b5 9. ♕b3 c5

8... ♗e6 9. exf6! A typical idea - White gives up his queen for three minor pieces. This strikes me as a particularly effective version.

9. ♕b4 is another extremely critical test of Black's play. I can see nothing better than 9... ♘c6 10. ♕xb7 ♘a5 11. ♕b4 c5

a) 12. ♕xc5 ♘d7 13. ♕d4 (13. ♕e3 ♘c6 14. d4 ♘b4 15. ♕d2 ♗f5 )

b) 12. ♕a4+ ♘d7 13. d4 with a white edge. This line is a further indication that So simply mixed up the moves.

9... ♗xc4 10. fxg7 ♖g8 11. ♗xc4 ♘c6 12. 0-0 Regardless of what the computer says I can't believe in Black's chances here. So is also perfectly aware of the danger, and with his next move he does his utmost to complicate the position:

12... g5! Planning to chase the white knight away from the beautiful f3-square before White can occupy the centre.

12... ♖xg7 13. ♖d1 , followed by d4, Bh6 and so on, should end badly.

13. ♗d5

13. ♖d1 g4 14. ♘g5 ♖xg7 15. d4 also deserved serious consideration.

13... g4 14. ♗xc6+ At the cost of the bishop Bruzon secures the e5-square for his knight. However, it's no longer easy - g5-g4 has paid off.

14... bxc6 15. ♘e5 ♖xg7 16. d4 Perhaps too direct.

16. ♖e1 f6 17. ♘xc6 ♕d7 18. ♘a5 and I still believe in White.

16... ♕xd4 17. ♖e1 ♕d6 18. ♗f4 This looks very dangerous, but So once more shows he's on top of matters:

18... f6 19. ♘e4 ♕d5 20. ♘c3 Bruzon accepts the repetition. An interesting final winning attempt was

20. ♖ad1⁉ ♕b5 21. ♘xg4! f5 (21... ♖xg4 22. ♘xf6+ ) 22. ♘gf6+ ♔f7 23. ♘h5 fxe4 24. ♘xg7 ♔xg7 25. ♖xe4 ♔f7 26. b3

20... ♕d6 21. ♘e4 ♕d5 22. ♘c3 ♕d6


Jul-03-14  frandie: <Round 7>

So came under some light pressure with Black against Vallejo. However, the latter followed the old Russian wisdom of always following two wins with a draw, so the game ended with hands shaken on move 20.

<Round 8>

So was relieved to have White after three Blacks in a row and pulled off his masterstroke: defeating Dominguez on his own terrain in an extremely-complicated Najdorf. Incidentally, this was the only defeat for both Cubans in the whole event!

Event: 49th Capablanca Elite 2014
Site: Havana CUB
Date: 2014.05.16
Round: 8
White Name: So, Wesley (2731)
Black Name: Dominguez Perez, Leinier (2768)
Result: 1-0
ECO: B90
Annotator: Jan Gustafsson
So, Wesley (2731) vs. Dominguez Perez, Leinier (2768) 1-0

1. e4 c5 2. ♘f3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. ♘xd4 ♘f6 5. ♘c3 a6 6. ♗e3 ♘g4 7. ♗c1 ♘f6 8. f3 e5 9. ♘b3 ♗e6 10. ♗e3 h5 11. ♘d5 ♗xd5 12. exd5 ♘bd7 13. ♕d2 g6 14. ♗e2 ♕c7 Leinier Dominguez is perhaps the greatest Najdorf expert of our time. From this position he managed, for instance, to pull off an impressive victory against Fabiano Caruana. So, however, shows that he's brilliantly prepared and subjects Black's idea to a real test.

14... ♗g7 15. 0-0 0-0 16. ♖ac1 b6 17. h3 ♖e8 18. g4 hxg4 19. hxg4 ♘h7 20. g5 f5 21. gxf6 ♗xf6 22. ♖f2 ♗g5 23. ♖g2 ♗xe3+ 24. ♕xe3 ♘df8 25. ♗d3 ♖a7 26. ♖f1 ♖f7 27. ♕h6 ♔h8 28. ♘d2 ♖f4 29. ♖g4 b5 30. ♘e4 ♘d7 31. ♖xg6 ♖g8 32. ♘g5 1-0 Caruana - Gelfand, Wijk aan Zee 2014

15. ♖c1⁉ An interesting concept, no doubt inspired by the Caruana game above. The normal move in this position is 15. c4, which would, however, be met strongly by a5, in order to chase the knight from b3. White delays his advance, and now playing a5 before c4 is less alluring for Black as it would instead be met by a4 and Bb5. The natural developing move is Bg7, after which White will time c4 so he can meet Black's a5 with the c5-break, exploiting the fact that on g7 the bishop no longer controls the c5-square.

15. c4 a5 16. ♖d1 a4 17. ♘a1 ♕a5 18. ♕xa5 ♖xa5 19. ♘c2 ♗h6= 0-1 Caruana - Dominguez, Thessaloniki 2013

15... ♗g7

15... a5 16. a4

16. 0-0 0-0 17. c4 b6 A slight concession, but necessary in order to prevent c5.

17... a5 18. c5!

18. ♘a1⁉ Planning b4, Nb3 and c5.

18... ♔h7

Jul-03-14  frandie: 18... e4 looks critical, but would be well-parried by 19. f4! ♘g4 20. ♗xg4 hxg4 21. f5! and White is on top.

19. h3 Seizing control of the g4-square (e4 would now always be met by f4 as Ng4 is no longer possible). Black is left with the idea of Ng8 and Bh6.

19... ♘g8 20. g4! Surprising, but strong. So offers a pawn sacrifice rather than conceding the initiative on the kingside.

20... ♕d8⁈

20... ♗h6 21. g5 ♗g7 22. b4 ♘e7 looks more solid.

21. gxh5⁈ A little too greedy?

21. ♘c2 leaves all White's options open. I like his position.

21... ♕h4! 22. hxg6+ fxg6 23. ♗d3 ♗h6 24. ♖f2 ♗xe3 25. ♕xe3 ♘e7 In exchange for the pawn Dominguez has achieved the desired bishop swap and has beautiful squares and points of attack on h3 and f3. Because of gxh5?! we can no longer talk about the game as one convincing whole, but in the upcoming struggle the future tournament winner eventually gets the upper hand.

26. ♖g2 ♘f5 27. ♗xf5 ♖xf5

27... gxf5⁉

28. ♘b3 ♔g7 29. ♘d2 ♕xh3

29... ♖h8!

30. ♔f2 Suddenly the black king and its remaining shield comes under fire.

30... ♖af8 31. ♖cg1 ♖8f6 32. ♔e2 e4 33. ♘xe4 ♖xf3 34. ♖xg6+ ♖xg6 35. ♖xg6+ ♔xg6 36. ♕xf3 ♕xf3+ 37. ♔xf3 ♘e5+ 38. ♔f4 The chaos is over and the resulting endgame is relatively easily won. The third one bites the dust!

38... ♘xc4 39. b3 ♘e5 40. ♘xd6 ♘d3+ 41. ♔e4 ♘c1 42. ♔e5 ♘d3+ 43. ♔d4 ♘c1 44. ♘c8 ♔f7 45. ♔e5 ♔e8 46. ♔e6 ♔d8 47. d6 ♘d3 48. ♘xb6 ♘f4+ 49. ♔f5 ♘e2 50. ♔e6 ♘f4+ 51. ♔f6 ♘e2 52. d7 ♘c3 53. ♔e6 ♘b5 54. ♘a4 ♘c7+ 55. ♔d6 ♘b5+ 56. ♔c6 ♘d4+ 57. ♔d5 ♘b5 58. ♘c5 ♔c7 59. ♔e6 ♘d4+ 60. ♔e7 ♘f5+ 61. ♔e6 ♘d4+ 62. ♔f7 ♘f5 63. ♔f6 ♘e3 64. ♔e6


<Round 9>

The air somehow seemed to come out of the whole tournament at this point, and in quite a pleasant position Ivanchuk contented himself with a repetition of moves, which Wesley So saw no reason to turn down.

<Round 10>

So’s full point lead meant he only needed a draw to finish in clear first, so he was also happy to sign a draw with Almasi after 12 moves. Summary

Overall it was a supreme performance and a highly-deserved victory. The Filipino’s opening knowledge was particularly impressive, while he also took his chances efficiently and managed to avoid any serious mistakes. With the exception of the game with Black against Bruzon he barely got into any trouble.

Like Anand at the Candidates Tournament So was the only person who played a stable tournament and he profited from the fact that none of his opponents managed to pick up any momentum.

Unconfirmed rumours suggest So is considering the idea of giving up his current studies at Webster University in the U.S. to fully concentrate on chess.

In any case, it's so far so good, and a path to the absolute top lies ahead for the young star.

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