Shabalov and Lenderman Lead in Uruguay!
By Zonal President & USCF Director of Events Franc Guadalupe   
May 21, 2015
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The American Continental Championship is being held in Montevideo, Uruguay, May 15 - 24.  Among the field of 153 players from 13 countries, there are 23 Grandmasters, four of them from the USA, and 16 International Masters.  Players are competing for a share of the $20,000 prize fund, with $5,000 going to the winner.  For the players who are below the GM level, there are plenty of opportunities for norms, but for the top players, the bigger prizes are the four spots to the FIDE World Cup!
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So far, our players are performing exceptionally well.  After seven of the 11 rounds, the two leaders are GM Alexander Shabalov and GM Aleksandr Lenderman, with 6.0 points!





Just half-a-point behind, tied for third place in a group of seven players is another Alex - Yermolinsky!



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And just half-a-point behind that group is GM Gregory Kaidanov with 5.0 points! 

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Other USA players competing in the event are FM Greg Markzon and NM Mariano Acosta.  Markzon is having a great tournament as well (4.5 points) and his performance after seven rounds has netted him 28.6 rating points. 

The 7th Round was a particularly good one for the Americans as all six of them earned victories!  Lenderman, FIDE rated 2636, who earned the 2nd Board Gold Medal at the recently concluded World Team Championship, continues his outstanding play and defeated GM Jorge Cori (2609) from Peru.  Shabalov (2523) earned a victory with the Black pieces against Cuba's GM Carlos Hevia (2535).  Yermolinsky (2531) beat the top seed of the event, GM Julio Granda (2650) of Peru while Kaidanov won against IM Cristhian Barros of Ecuador.  Markzon (2156) had a victory against the higher rated IM Facundo Pierrot (2377) from Argentina and Mariano beat Luis Pena of Uruguay.

The two leaders will not be playing each other in Round 8 as they met, and drew, in Round 3.    Instead, Lenderman will face GM Eric Hansen of Canada in Round 8 while Shabalov will face the player who Lenderman conquered in Round 7, GM Jorge Cori.  

Follow the exciting action as our players continue their quest for prizes and spots at the World Cup.  The games of the leaders are being shown at http://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2015-am-co.  For all results, please go to http://chess-results.com/tnr169788.aspx?lan=1.  Also, follow the daily updates from the Albert Silver in http://en.chessbase.com/ Albert very graciously agreed to let me use his photos in this article.