HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 8 (acn) The Cuban national senior champions in the last two years, Carlos Albornoz and Yuri Gonzalez, will be the only local players in the Elite group of the Capablanca Memorial Chess Championship, to be held from next May 2-13 at Habana Libre Hotel, this time with the attraction of featuring the global ace Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk among the attendees.
For them both, this will be their first time in the main pool of the most important chess contest of the Caribbean island, which like in previous editions will be a 6-player double round-robin tournament.
"Undoubtedly, it will be the toughest competition of my career so far," said Albornoz, who is only 18 and just a few hours ago finished fifth in the Accentus Young Masters played in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland, and is already thinking about his next challenge.
In addition to the legendary Ivanchuk, who has won seven times this event, Russian Alexey Dreev and Indian Baskeran Adhiban are the other foreigners who confirmed their presence in a list that still lacks a visitor to include, but that will surely be another player owning more than 2,600 Elo points.
Ivanchuk will be so far the first seed as he amounts 2,698 Elo units, and is followed by Adhiban (2,689), Dreev (2,662), Albornoz (2,568) and Gonzalez (2,562), in that order.
The last editions of the oldest chess contest in the Americas have not been "benevolent" with the locals in the Elite group, and last year they even lost the supremacy at the Open pool.
In 2018, American Samuel Shankland was the champion of the Elite with 7.5 points out of 10 possible, while Peruvian Cristian Cruz earned the crown in the Open group.