Leinier Domínguez: the leader of the continental ranking in chess
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- Culture and Traditions
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- 12 / 21 / 2009
Cuban Leinier Domínguez, a rightful heir to genial Jose Raul Capablanca''s legacy, is nowadays the great paradigm of Latin American chess and the leader of the continental ranking.
Born on September 23, 1983, in Guines, a village located some 52 kilometres to the south of Havana, Dominguez was encouraged by his father, from his early childhood, to try his hand at chess.
In 1992, he won the national championship in the 11-12 year-old category followed, some months later, by the trophy in the National School Games.
Successes kept on coming his way, and the Guines' idol did not take long to achieve the International Master title when he was 14 years and 241 days old; the youngest in the history of Cuban chess.
Being just fifteen, he had already gotten half a norm as Grand Master (GM), and he definitely achieved the highest level at the 2001's Aosta Open in Italy.
In 2002, he won his first home senior crown; the others being in 2003 and 2006, and he also outdid the 2 thousand 600 ELO plateau; the first Cuban player under twenty ever to reach that ceiling.
His definitive excitement came into being at the Tripoli's World Championship in 2004, when he advanced up to the quarter finals, where he was outplayed in rapid matches by Azerbaijani Teimour Radjabov, in a seven-game match.
The first two rapids ended in a tie, just the same as the two blitzes. Finally the seventh one was decided by the Armageddon System, in which the Cuban player, moving the white pieces, was compelled to win, but it finished in a tie, thus Radjabov
could ascend to the semi-finals.
Never before any other Cuban, after Capablanca, had been so close to the universal throne in a world champion since 1921 to 1927.
Dominguez had a dismal 2005 season. He started with a 2 thousand 661 ELO rate and as number 41 worldwide, but he played awfully in some tournaments, thus falling down up to a 2 thousand 635 ELO coefficient and echelon 75.
However, he could recover and got his best result ever at the 2006's Barcelona Magisterial, where he won the crown with eight points out of nine; thus outmatching talented Ukrainian GM Vassily Ivanchuk and eight other powerful chess players.
In 2008, he finished in a tie, in points, at the top of the extremely hard tourney for Great Masters held in Biel, Switzerland, but he lost the first prize of the event to his counterpart in points, Russian GM Evguenni Aleksev, because his untying coefficient was lower.
Afterwards, he took part in the Championship of Clubs in Spain, where he collected three points out of five, and, in July that year, he held position 25 in the world ranking on account of his two thousand 708 ELO points.
That figure, which ratified him as number one in Cuba and Latin America, turned him into the first Cuban to surpass the barrier of two thousand 700 ELO points after Capablanca.
That very year, Domínguez stamped a new page in the history of Cuban chess, as he conquered the World Blitz Championship, after finishing unbeatable with 11.5 points due to eight wins and seven ties in a tournament that gathered some of the
planet's most outstanding players.
The Cuban Great Master defeated, among others, Russian players Alexander Grischuk and Alexander Morozevich, the latter being the runner-up in the world.
He also beat French Vlad Tkachev, Israeli Boris Gelfand, Egyptian Amim Bassem, Hungarian Judith Polgar, Azerbaijani Shakhriyar Mamediarov and Kazakh Murtas Kazhgaleev.
His ties were against former champion of the tournament Vassily Ivanchuk, Indian Krihrian Sasikiran, Russians Sergey Rublevsky and Peter Svidler, Azerbaijani Teimor Radjabov and US player Gata Kamsky.
This season can be regarded the most demanding in the international competitive arena for Dominguez, who seized the sixth post at the Dutch Wijk aan Zee tournament, one of the four Grand Slams of the year, and fifth at the M-Tel Master
Supercontest, in Bulgaria.
Moreover, he became the second Latin American player who took part in the highly demanding Linares Tournament, in Spain.
He won the 44th International Jose Raul Capablanca in Memoriam tournament, and finished unbeatable at the first Cuban table during the Mendes' team Pan-American in Brazil.
He attended the recent World Blitz Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia) to defend his crown, but he finished 13th with 20 points as a result of 14 wins, 12 ties and 16 losses. With this performance he returned to Havana with 2,719 ELO coefficients.