Andrey Esipenko gets spot in Leon Masters 2021

by ChessBase
7/20/2020 – The 33rd edition of the ‘Magistral de Ajedrez Ciudad de León’ has come to an end. The last event of the festival was the ‘1st Tournament for Young Talents’, which was won by rating favourite Andrey Esipenko, who defeated Alexey Sarana in the six-game final. The 18-year-old Russian thus gained a spot in next year’s main event. | Photo: Niki Riga

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A historic edition

Press release

Magistral de León 2020

The 33rd edition of the ‘Magistral de Ajedrez Ciudad de León’ has come to an end. The last event of the festival was the 1st Tournament for Young Talents.

The usual events (simultaneous exhibition, International Open, Masters Tournament) were enriched by the launch of new events, such as the 1st Tournament for Young Talents. The festival turned into the epicentre of the chess world during the last two weeks and brought together thousands of fans, many of them grandmasters.

The figures speak for themselves: the festival had more than 100,000 views on its YouTube channel. In addition, a third channel in Russian — besides the English and Spanish broadcasts — was created to respond to the request of fans.

The current circumstances, which forced this edition to take place online, have nevertheless allowed dozens of chess grandmasters to pay special attention to the festival and take note for a potential participation in future editions.

The organizers are already working on shaping the 2021 tournament, which will return to its over-the-board format (provided that the health conditions make it possible) combined with massive online side events.

Magistral de León 2020

Esipenko beats Sarana

The 1st Tournament for Young Talents saw four strong GMs battling it out to get a spot in next year’s Masters. Rating favourite Andrey Esipenko defeated Alexey Sarana in the final to win the event.

It was a closely contested final matchup. The balance tipped in favour of the younger Russian only in the last game of the 5-minute tiebreaker encounters. Esipenko, however, had let a chance slip in the first game of tiebreaks, when he had what seemed to be an unmissable opportunity to win — time pressure was the culprit in him not getting the full point. His victory in the last game, however, reminded us of Mikhail Botvinnik and the Soviet school chess, given the precision with which Esipenko converted his strategic advantage.


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Alexey Sarana

Alexey Sarana | Foto: Pierre Textoris

Esipenko came from defeating Nodirbek Abdusattorov in Armageddon, while Sarana had got the better of Nihal Sarin in tiebreaks. Both were very hard-fought semifinal matchups.


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