Wesley So wins Havana.
Congrats to 20-year old grandmaster Wesley So for finishing first (by a full point) in the strong ELITE section of the 49th Capablanca Memorial. So was undefeated, as was second place Bruzon. Congrats to both gentlemen!
Filipino born So is currently studying at Webster University on a chess scholarship. He is rapidly making progress and is seen by many as a good prospect to make the top-ten sometime in the near future.
SAMBUEV FINISHES DEAD LAST IN PREMIER GROUP
Grandmaster Bator Sambuev must be glad the tournament is over! Seven losses, one win and one draw means that the Montrealer will see his ELO drop by 29 or 30 points. As implied on my blog this past Saturday, this tournament should be a wake-up call for the 33-year old. His ‘win at all costs’ style of play might be very effective in Canadian weekenders, but against strong opposition more often than not backfires. However, I have no doubt that Sambuev will draw the right conclusions from his performance in Havana, and we can expect to see a much more solid player representing Canada at the upcoming Olympiad in Norway in August.
Bator’s last round game saw some quick punishment for weakening his position:
gm Gonzalez Vidal, Yuri
Position after 24 moves. No doubt Sambuev thought he had everything protected, but the truth is that his position is riddled with weaknesses. This gave the talented Cuban an idea that is very clever and pretty:
If now 25…Rxc1 26.Bxe6+ Kh8 27.Ng6+!! hxg6 28.Qg4 and it is forced mate!
Sambuev tried to hang on with 25…Rd6 but after 26.Nc6! it was just a question of time before Black would have to throw in the towel. The final moves were: 26…Qd7 27.Nb8 Qb7 1-0 Black did not even wait for the crushing 28.e5!