Capablanca Memorial Impressions

I registered to the Capablanca Memorial because I knew it would be a good event. Playing in 2004 was an enjoyable and challenging experience. There is a reason why Ivanchuk keeps coming back. The organizers did a good job throughout the event. There were clearly some limitations since the tournament was organized in Cuba. Limitations such as online transmission, since internet is hard to come by. The event took place right by the waterfront.

The Premier Group was an interesting one to play in, with an average rating just under 2560. According to my count, White only won 5 games in the group, while Black won 19! That is quite a statistic. I finished the tournament tied for first place with 6/9. It’s a good result. I didn’t feel like I played particularly well, but so did a lot of the other participants in the event. I got the most out of the positions I had. Below is the standings from the tournament website.

Nombre
Elo
FED
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
0
Puntos
1
GM
Cordova Emilio
2561
PER
*
½
½
½
½
1
1
½
½
1
6
25,25
2
GM
Bluvshtein Mark
2589
CAN
½
*
1
½
0
½
1
½
1
1
6
25,00
3
GM
Alvarez Pedraza Aramis
2538
CUB
½
0
*
1
1
½
1
½
½
½
23,50
4
GM
Quesada Perez Yuniesky
2626
CUB
½
½
0
*
½
1
1
1
½
0
5
21,75
5
GM
Vocaturo Daniele
2540
ITA
½
1
0
½
*
½
0
1
0
1
20,25
6
GM
Corrales Jimenez Fidel
2586
CUB
0
½
½
0
½
*
½
½
1
1
17,75
7
GM
Leon Hoyos Manuel
2563
MEX
0
0
0
0
1
½
*
1
1
½
4
14,75
8
IM
Ortiz Suarez Isan Reynaldo
2569
CUB
½
½
½
0
0
½
0
*
1
½
15,50
9
GM
Almeida Quintana Omar
2555
CUB
½
0
½
½
1
0
0
0
*
½
3
14,25
10
FM
Espinosa Veloz Ermes
2467
CUB
0
0
½
1
0
0
½
½
½
*
3
13,00

Time for some photos.

Hotel lobby

Riviera Hotel, where the players stayed and the tournament took place

Crossing the street the players arrived at the Ocean

Room #1, will explain later

View from the room

Walking around Havana

Che Guevara, a local hero

Plaza de la Revolucion

Images: Che Guevara left and Castro right

Le Quang with the media before the Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony: the names of all the nations present

I drew number 7.

After the Opening Ceremony

From left to right: Vocaturo, Corrales, Leon Hoyos

The playing hall

The night before the first rest day I went for dinner and came back to discover many termites in my room. I will keep those photos off my blog. They were coming from the closet towards the light. I killed many of them. The room was infested. I decided to just turn off all the lights and go to sleep. Early the next morning I went to the lobby to tell them the situation and get my room changed. Here we go for room number 2.

Apartment building in Havana. You can see clothes hanging out of windows

While I was getting out of room number 1, I was “gently demanding” they put me in a suite. I did not come to Havana to kill termites and change rooms on my rest day.

Room #3: The Suite

View from the bedroom

The living room

The swimming pool of the hotel which I used a few times during my stay

The balcony, with a view of the ocean

The playing hall, with flags of all the participating nations

Le Quang-Navara

The lobby, with transmission of the Elite games

The two computers with internet at the hotel. “Only” $8 an hour. No wifi.

The Closing Ceremony

Receiving my trophy

From left to right: Sary from Ecuador, myself, and Claudia from Guatemala

The restaurant. The participants had three meals a day provided here

Overall the tournament was very well organized.  The adventures with the room switching were the fault of the hotel, which I would certainly not recommend to any Canadians.  The organizers took care of everything they could. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies were well presented with performances in both, as well as appearances by government officials. The tournament was in large a vacation for most of the participants in the Premier Group and the Open Tournaments. The Elite Group was a pleasure to watch with interesting and entertaining players.

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3 Responses to Capablanca Memorial Impressions

  1. Evgeni Miller says:

    Hey,

    Are you playing the cup in Israel as well?

  2. Hey Evgeni!

    Did not stay for the cup. Just played 4 games in 2 weeks.

  3. Achim says:

    hi mark
    would you recommend me 8 (german business man) to play in capablanca memorial 2012 open? going for gm norm but also like to visit nice interesting places. played recently in moscow thailand gibraltar amsterdam because i like to travel nice places also achieved 3 im norms + 1 gm norm. no wifi is a problem because i need to be online for my business, is this everywhere such a problem in cuba? best achim

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