Onischuk Wins in Merida
December 22, 2008
GMs Varuzhan Akobian and Alexander Onischuk met in the semifinals of the Torre Memorial. Photo WIM Luciana Morales.

GM Alexander Onischuk came out on top at the Carlos Torre Memorial in Merida, Mexico (December 13-22). According to University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) student WIM Luciana Morales, who was playing in the Open event, spectators were delighted by the following attacking win from Onischuk.


The event had a weird structure. After six rounds of a nine-round Swiss, the top 16 players joined 16 invited players for a knockout. If you were eliminated in the first round of the so-called knockout "Wimbledon" you could jump back into the Swiss. Five of the invited players were Americans: The eventual champion Onischuk, U.S. Champion GM Yury Shulman, U.S. Women's Champion Anna Zatonskih plus GMs Varuzhan Akobian and Jaan Ehlvest. Holden Hernandez of Cuba knocked Zatonskih out in the first stage. Akobian and Ehlvest both made it all the way to the semifinals. Akobian faced Onischuk in the semis after defeating Shulman in the second round and GM Alexander Moiseenko in the third. 

The two American bronze-medallists drew their first two games, and Onischuk pulled out the win in his second tiebreak game. The prospects for an all-American final were shot when GM Jaan Ehlvest lost his two-game match to GM Yuniesky Quezada of Cuba.

Onischuk got revenge for the USA, grinding out a 100+ move queen endgame against Quezada to clinch the event:


For more details and games from all the rounds, check out the official website. Also enjoy some highlights from WIM Luciana Morales' 100+ photos from Merida. Go to her UTB blog for the full gallery and her thoughts on the Torre Memorial.

Merida Photo Highlights

Luciana Morales scored 5/9 in the tournament.

Onischuk in his final match against Quezada.

They definitely get chess: GMs Moiseenko and Shulman

A Merida cathedral

U.S. Women's Champion Anna Zatonskih

Luckily, it was not the chessplayers who went on strike.

Merida would be a great place to do some last minute Holiday shopping-for your tree!

Luciana Morales on a site-seeing expedition with the Daniel and Jeffrey Hung of Taiwan.