Share on Facebook Topics American Fabiano Caruana to play for world chess title after candidates win Since you’re here… news Sam Shankland v Yusnel Bacallao Alonso1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 c5 4 dxc5 e6 5 Nf3 Bxc5 6 a3 Ne7 7 b4 Bb6 8 Bd3 a5 9 b5 Nd7 10 O-O Ng6 11 Bb2 Qc7 12 Re1 a4 13 Nbd2 Nc5 14 Bxg6 fxg6 15 Qe2 O-O 16 Bd4 Ba5 17 Rec1 b6 18 c4 Qe7 19 Qe3 Bb7 20 cxd5 Bxd5 21 Bxc5 bxc5 22 Rab1 Qb7? 23 Nc4 Bxf3? 24 gxf3 Rxf3 25 Qxc5 Qe4 26 Nxa5 Rf4 27 h3 Qf5 28 Rb4 Qg5+ 29 Kh2 Rf3 30 Rc3 Rxc3 31 Qxc3 Rxa5 32 b6 1-03567 1 Qa4! If c3 2 Qe8 c2 3 Nh3 mate. But the star variation is 1…cxb3 2 Bg1! Kxf4 3 Be3 mate. Share via Email Chess: Sam Shankland surprise US champion ahead of Fabiano Caruana Share on Messenger Read more Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter Leonard Barden on chess There are some iconic images from those early Havana events. Guevara strolling around the grandmaster boards at the Habana Libre hotel, revolver in holster; Fidel Castro taking on the then world champion Tigran Petrosian in a mammoth outdoor simul which ended after half an hour when a downpour forced everyone to run for cover; Bobby Fischer playing the 1965 Capablanca via teletype from New York when the state department refused to allow him to travel; Borislav Ivkov’s horrific 1965 blunder allowing mate in two when on the brink of first prize; players at the airport greeted on Cuban soil by free glasses of rum; Fischer and Boris Spassky, all smiles, analysing their draw at the Olympiad where the USSR won gold and USA silver.After Guevara’s death and with Cuba’s economic stresses the tournament went into decline. The elite stayed away, and the venue was often moved to provincial cities. Tony Miles won it four times for England, Mark Hebden once. Americans hardly ever took part but this year there has been a change following the former president Barack Obama’s moves to ease travel restrictions.Sam Shankland is the top seed – an inspired invitation by the Cubans made before his US championship victory at St Louis ahead of the elite trio of Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura. The event has also returned from the resort town of Varadero, which hosted it in 2016 and 2017, to its original home at the Tryp Habana Libre.The opposition is weakened by the absence of Leinier Domínguez, the best Cuban player since Capablanca, who is reported to be seeking US citizenship. Shankland’s main rival has proved to be the Russian veteran Alexey Dreev, who kept pace with him for the first five rounds before the American went half a point ahead in round six. The final two rounds on Friday and Saturday can be viewed live and free with move-by-move commentary on chess24.com, starting at 8pm.Below, Shankland soon took the initiative, but his Cuban opponent stayed in the game until he went passive with 22…Qb7 when Rab8! 23 Qxc5 Qxc5 24 Rxc5 Bb6 with Rfc8, giving up a pawn for activity, was best. His next turn Bxf3? (h6! 24 Nd6 Qe7) compounded the error as the US champion swiftly established a game-winning passed b pawn. Share on WhatsApp Chess Share on Pinterest Cuba’s annual Capablanca Memorial, which ends on Saturday, has been staged annually with a few small breaks since 1962, and is now in its 53rd year of an evocative history.Ostensibly it honours José Raúl Capablanca, the world champion from 1921-27 and one of the greatest natural players of all time, but in reality it is also a tribute to Che Guevara, who away from revolutions was a keen chess fan and provided state funds for the first few lavish events in the series as well as for the 1966 Havana Olympiad, probably the best organised of all world team contests. Support The Guardian Read more Reuse this content … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.