SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
With the dates of the World Cup moved forward to the month of August, organizers of Zonal tournaments have felt the pressure to meet the tighter than usual deadlines. This is especially true in the America’s, where Zonals are soon to be completed in the US (13-28 April), the Dominican Republic (17-28 March) and in Columbia (22-29 March). Even a Canadian Zonal has been scheduled ( 6-11 May), though it is not clear —to this writer, atleast— that it will actually take place should less than 30 paid entries (it boasts an outrageous $250 entry fee) show up to participate.
Dominguez and Bruzon Confirmed for Chess Qualifying Tournament
Cuban chess players Leinier Dominguez and Lazaro Bruzon are among the 13 players to participate in the 2.3 Absolute Zonal Chess Qualifying Tournament to take place in Dominican Republic from March 18-28.
Latin American ranking leader Dominguez (2,716 Elo) and Bruzon (2,686) are the top ranked players in the list of 13 published on the website and that will be completed by a second representative from Mexico, in addition to Manuel Leon Hoyos (2,546), that has been announced yet.
Dominguez (born 1983) and Bruzon (born 1982) are 2 of North America’s strongest players
Participating in the event from host country are Lisandro Muñoz (2,401) and Adam Mazara (2,298). The list also includes David Arenas (2,420) and Sergio Barrientos (2,499), both from Colombia; Bernal Gonzalez (2,430) and Leonardo Valdez (2,369) from Costa Rica.
Leon Hoyos (born 1989) is Mexico’s best player
Represented by only one contestant will be Jamaica with Jomo Pitterson (2,263), Barbados with Martin Del Castilho (2,205), and Trinidad and Tobago with Cabralis Keron (2,203).
Although there is still one Mexican contestant to be included in the list, the tournament’s average Elo so far is 2,408, much lower than those of the Cuban competitors who are the favorite to win the two tickets to the World Chess Cup although, according to experts, their Elo could be reduced.
A couple of years ago, in San Jose de Costa Rica, Bruzon became the champion of the qualifying tournament winning seven of nine possible points and a place to the World Cup.(ACN)
NOTE: The prize fund is only $5,000. But we must keep in mind that the Dominican Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world.
The US zonal is traditionally the richest and strongest Zonal in the Americas. This year is no different. With a prize fund in excess of $160,000 (first prize a cool $40,000), virtually every top active player in the US will participate–with the notable exception of Nakamura. Veteran Yasser Seirawan will try to make a comeback here!
Yasser Seirawan (born 1960) dominated US chess for a decade between 1980 and 1990
The 2011 U.S. Championship format is new and exciting, featuring a preliminary stage with two round robins of eight players each. Once the dust settles, the top two players in each round robin will advance to a four-player knockout. These semifinal and final matches will consist of two games each.
The Canadian Zonal
The less said about this event, the better. I believe that the CFC executive has very little expectation that it will actually take place. And if it does take place, what top players will want to participate?
Entry fee: $250 dollars.
Prizes : $4,000 based on 30 paying entries.
Sponsors (!!!): CFC, OCA, SWOCL and the University of Guelph.
The winner of the 2011 Canadian Zonal. Pre-tournament favourite: Mr. Who-ever-shows-up.
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS