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No other Cuban has attained similar scores in chess since Capablanca

Supported by all Latin America, which has put all their hopes on him, Cuban Grand Master (GM) Leinier Domínguez (with an ELO score of 2683) will match with German Grand Master David Baramidze (2569 ELO), at the beginning of the second round of the 2007 FIDE Chess World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

Baramidze surprised fans in his first round with a victory over Englishman Nigel Short (2649), but he does not seem to have enough strength to beat Leinier, who is at the peak of his career. Just to give an idea of this, the Cuban Grand Master surpassed the ELO 2,700 point mark with his two victories over Russias Alexei Iljushin (2528).

According to calculations, the two victories over Iljushin added 5.8 points, which adds to the 6.9 points won in the last regional event, held in the Dominican Republic, and to the 4.8 points won in the Casino de Barcelona Match. If all those points are added to his current ELO, it will reach 2,701 points. But there is still a long way to go in the Chess World Cup, and the number could either increase or decrease. However, this is something tangible. No other Cuban has obtained such a high ELO in world chess since Capablanca. Nonetheless, as life gives and takes, the heights of Leiniers ascent was shadowed by the performance of Cubas Chess national Champion Lázaro Bruzón (2607), who was eliminated by Croat GM Zdenko Kozul (2609). After ending tied in two classic matches, one for twenty-five minutes and the other for five, Bruzon lost with the white pieces and said goodbye to the World Cup.

This defeat comes as no surprise, since Bruzon has had a year to forget and there is barely room for coincidence in chess. He will have to reflect and go over what he has done to see what is going wrong, but with a self-critical spirit - because self-sympathy wont help.

Generally speaking, all the favorites survived the first eliminatory round, and as it happens in "sudden death" matches, those with higher ELOs played their first games against those with lower ones. Therefore, in addition to the victory of Baramidze over Short, there were only four other surprises: Hossain Enamul (2,514), from Bangladesh, beat Ukranian Pavel Eljanov (2,691); Russian Vladimir Belov (2,587) beat his fellow country man Alexander Khalifman (2643); and Chinas Jun Zhao (2,552) and Jianchao Zhou (2,566) beat Indian Pentala Harikrishna (2,668) and Israeli Emil Sutovsky (2,655).

(Juventud Rebelde)

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