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Ukranian GM Vassily Ivanchuk, the defending champion, arrives to Havana on Thursday to take part in the 41st edition of the Capablanca Chess Tournament to be officially inaugurated at 8:00 p.m. at the Neptuno-Triton Hotel complex on the west side of the Cuban capital.

Cuba is a chess-loving country where people of all ages enjoy the sport. Over the years, many of the countries leaders have been known to be avid players. The prestigious tournament takes its name from Cuban chess great Jose Raul Capablanca (1888-1942).

Ivanchuk, who also won the title in 2005, is 12th on the world ranking (2,729 ELO) and will be the main attraction of the Elite group in this years tournament with a 2,617 ELO. Three other foreign Grand Masters and six locals will play for the title in nine rounds of play in which they will each play each other.

Kamil Miton of Poland (2,653) played in the last edition of the Capablanca event. He is joined by Heinz Peter Nielsen of Denmark (2,649) and Vugar Gashimov of Azerbaijan (2,644).

The Cuban players include Leiner Dominguez (2,678), with the second highest ranking among the contenders; Lazaro Bruzon, the national champion; Jesus Nogueiras; Walter Arencibia, first in the 2006 Open Tournament; Neurys Delgado; and Yunieski Quesada. The six players make up the current Cuban Olympic team.

Parallel to the elite group, some 80 players, including foreign guests and Cuban Grand Masters, International Masters and FIDE Masters will play ten rounds of the Open Tournament under the Swiss system.

The opening matches are on Friday and the tournament is scheduled to conclude on May 28.

Source: By Coto Wong, Granma

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