And decisively, too, though he cooled off from his blazing start of 4.5/5. In round 6 he lost to Dmitry Andreikin, drew a long game with Pavel Eljanov in round 7 and beat Leinier Dominguez in round 8 before finishing with a couple of quick draws. His final score of 7/10 put him a point and a half ahead of Eljanov and Andreikin and helped move him up to #21 in the world after picking up 20 rating points. Not bad at all, and there are now three Chinese players in the top 21.
Entries in 2015 Capablanca Memorial (5)
The Capablanca Memorial is a six player, double round robin tournament in Havana, Cuba, and after the first cycle Chinese grandmaster Yu Yangyi leads with a blistering 4.5/5, two points ahead of Pavel Eljanov, Dmitry and Andreikin and Cuban #1 Leinier Dominguez. It's a great performance so far and has netted him more than 21 rating points thus far, but to be fair he was quite lost to Ian Nepomniachtchi in round 5 before winning a wild game. As they say, it's better to be lucky and good!
The 50th Capablanca Memorial is underway in Havana, Cuba, and after two rounds (of 10) Yu Yangyi, Pavel Eljanov and hometown star Leinier Dominguez* share the lead with 1.5/2. It's a very strong field, so even though the event is overshadowed by the goings-on in Norway it's worth keeping an eye out for this tournament as well.
[N.B. I'm not sure that Dominguez is in a tie for first, as it seems to me that he's completely lost against Ian Nepomniachtchi in the final position of their round 2 game. Unless "Nepo" lost on time or was otherwise forfeited, the apparent result is more likely some sort of DGT error. (Not that that could ever happen, right?)]
Update on the N.B.: The organizers are using some old and apparently somewhat buggy software to transmit the moves, and the game relayed to TWIC as Nepomniachtchi - Dominguez was from a different game from another section. (HT: Thomas Richter & Mark Crowther.)
A brief lull in the chess world comes to an end today (Saturday) as the first of three noteworthy events gets underway. On Saturday, Wesley So and David Navara begin a four-game match. Both players have been in a little slump lately, but it's still an attractive battle between two fighting players well into the 2700s.
That will keep up occupied through the weekend, and then on Monday the Capablanca Memorial starts in Havana. The Elite Group is a six player double round robin, with five of the six players rated over 2700: Leinier Dominguez, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Dmitry Andreikin, Pavel Eljanov, Yu Yangyi and (in the upper 2600s) Lazaro Bruzon.
Finally, the piece de la resistance is the Norway Chess tournament, which starts with a blitz tournament on Monday (for pairing purposes) followed by the main, classical event on Tuesday. Ten players are competing, including the world's #s 1-9 players excluding Vladimir Kramnik (i.e. Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Viswanathan Anand, Hikaru Nakamura, Veselin Topalov, Alexander Grischuk, Levon Aronian and Anish Giri), plus Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (he was at or near the top ten when the invite was made, but has since plunged to #27 in the world rankings) and local qualifier Jon Ludwig Hammer (#62) in the world. It's at least slightly scandalous that Sergey Karjakin isn't playing, as he is the two-time defending champion of the event, but whether it's a bit of bad luck, a function of Garry Kasparov's distaste for Vladimir Putin (Karjakin is unfortunately a fan of the Russian President, but in this context, so what?) or the Norwegian organizers' lack of interest in inviting the player who has ruined Carlsen's home tournament the last couple of years (or some combination of the above), that's how it is.
Three great events to look forward to - and if that's not enough Dortmund starts immediately afterwards, featuring players from all three tournaments just listed, plus Kramnik and Arkadij Naiditsch. (Naiditsch will surely be on a rampage, looking to regain some points after a mind-blowingly bad performance in the French League where he lost 32 points.)