CAPABLANCA MEMORIAL

JAN VAN REEK

pgn Memorial 1962-present    zip of CB-files

 

Before he founded a great chess tournament, Ché Guevara came to Cuba as a guerilla, when the island was ruled by Batista and the mob. He was on his way to a big hotel, the Havana Hilton. It was opened in 1958, as another gambling hall. Revolutionaries took over the building within a year. The new government occupied one floor of the enormous hotel and renamed it Habana Libre.

When the political situation had stabilized, Ché warmed up the government for a chess event. The Capablanca Memorial (in Memoriam) became the best paid tournament in the world. Ché Guevara could cover the costs as director of the National Bank and Minister of Industries. Twenty-two players from Europe, Latin America and Cuba conducted the first contest in Habana Libre from April until May 1962. 

 

Ché Guevara talks to Miguel Najdorf in 1962.

They were the founder and first winner.

Kortschnoj, Geller and Tal in 1963

Some thought the Soviets ruled Cuba, but only the grandmasters did!

 

The fourth event was held from 25 August until 26 September 1965 in Havana. It was the most interesting installment, cause Fischer participated in a strong field. He accepted the invitation for a fee of $3000. A difficulty arose when Bobby got no visa. When he suggested to play by telex, the Cubans reacted eagerly, although the connection would cost them $10,000. 

The final standings became: 1. Smyslov (15½/21), 2-4 Ivkov, Geller and Fischer (15), 5. Kholmov (14½), 6. Pachman (13), 7. Robatsch (12½), 8. Donner (12), 9. Bilek (11½), 10. Parma (11). The first prize was $2500 and the numbers 2-4 got $1500 each. 

 

Habana Libre, Cuban playing hall

Fischer encounters 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 in the

Marshall Chess Club (Chess Life 1965)

He has answered 2. .. d6 in game 1

(Chess Review 1965)

 

Ché Guevara was liquidated as a guerrilla in Bolivia shortly after the fifth event in 1967. Hereafter, the tournament looked like the Ché Memorial. 

An important participant had become Donner, because he wrote great stories about his adventures. The tournament moved to a port during the seventies. Cienfuegos 1973 was the last big tournament. Smyslov won the event for the third time. Ulf Andersson conquered the events of 1974 and 1975 plus the Cuban girl Victoria. 

 

Gufeld, Parma and Keene

before Capablanca in 1974

Balashov - Andersson, Cienfuegos 1975, 0-1

They played in Hotel Jagua

Guillermo Garcia Gonzales, 

the first Cuban winner

 

Strong European players began to avoid the Capablanca Memorial and during the second half of the eighties most winners were Latin American grandmasters. The participation by Western European adventurers gave a new impulse to the event. Tony Miles won the tournament four times. 

 

Hotel Canimao in Matanzas

Tony Miles in 1999

Nogueiras - Bruzón and Dominguez - Ivanchuk in 2006

 

Cuba had two young chess talents in the new millennium: Bruzón Bautista, world champion under twenty in 2000, and Dominguez. Both players won a Capablanca Memorial. Ivanchuk triumphed four times. 

 

Capablanca Memorial - Elite Group - 2005

                    1  2  3  4  5  6  7

1 Ivanchuk         ** ½½ ½1 ½1 11 1½ 11  9½

2 Bruzón Bautista  ½½ ** ½0 ½½ ½1 ½½ 11  7

3 Dominguez        ½0 ½1 ** 1½ 00 ½½ ½1  6

4 Delgado          ½0 ½½ 0½ ** 1½ 10 ½1  6

5 Jobava           00 ½0 11 0½ ** ½1 10  5½

6 Nogueiras        0½ ½½ ½½ 01 ½0 ** ½½  5

7 Arencibia        00 00 ½0 ½0 01 ½½ **  3

 

Winners of the tournament

1962 Najdorf (Havana)

1963 Kortschnoj (Havana)

1964 Smyslov and Uhlmann (Havana)

1965 Smyslov (Havana)

1967 Larsen (Havana)

1968 Kholmov (Havana)

1969 Suetin and Kortschnoj (Havana)

1971 Hort (Havana)

1972 Lein (Cienfuegos)

1973 (10) Smyslov (Cienfuegos)

1974 Andersson (Cienfuegos)

1975 Andersson (Camaguey)

1976 Gulko (Cienfuegos)

1977 Romanishin and Garcia Gonzales (Cienfuegos)

1979 Sveshnikov (Cienfuegos)

1980 Garcia Gonzales (Cienfuegos)

1981 Tseshkovsky (Cienfuegos)

1982 Psakhis (Cienfuegos)

1984 Rodriguez Cespedes and Knaak (Cienfuegos)

1985 (20) Ivkov (Havana)

1986 Garcia Palermo and Granda Zuniga (Havana)

1987 Garcia Palermo and Verduga (Camaguey)

1988 Azmaiparashvili (Havana)

1989 Rodriguez Cespedes (Holguin)

1990 Arenciba and Remón (Havana)

1991 Neverov (Havana)

1992 Urday Caceres (Matanzas)

1993 Hebden (Matanzas)

1994 Van Wely, Miles and Zapata (Matanxas)

1995 (30) Miles (Matanzas)

1996 Miles (Cienfuegos)

1997 Lékó (Cienfuegos)

1998 Hübner, Morovic Fernandez, Zilberman (Havana)

1999 Miles (Havana)

2000 Volzhin (Varadero)

2001 Vallejo Pons (Havana)

2002 Bruzón Bautista (Havana)

2003 Granda Zuniga (Havana)

2004 Dominguez (Havana)

2005 (40) Ivanchuk (Havana)

2006 Ivanchuk (Havana)

2007 Ivanchuk (Havana)

2008 Dominguez (Havana)

2009 Dominguez (Havana)

2010 Ivanchuk (Havana)

2011 Ivanchuk (Havana)

2012 Ivanchuk (Havana)

2013 Almasi (Havana)

2014 So (Havana)

 

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