Chess as sport and culture: The Chess Festival in Salamanca

by André Schulz
12/17/2021 – The Chess Festival Salamanca combines chess sport and chess culture and emphasises gender equality. Four top male and four top female players compete in a tournament. After three rounds, Jaime Santos is in the lead. | Photos: Tournament page

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IV Chess Festival Salamanca - Cradle of Modern Chess

The Salamanca Chess Festival takes place from 14 to 18 December, and presents chess as  sport and as culture. The sporting part of the festival focuses on an eight player international tournament, four men and four women.

The cultural programme includes conferences, lectures and films about chess. The venue is the Arzobispo Fonseca College.

The festival opened with speeches by the Director of Sport of the Junta de Castilla y León, María Perrino and the Deputy Rector for Students and Sustainability of the University of Salamanca, Celia Aramburu.

Lecture topics in the cultural part of the event are: 

- Conference by María Rodrigo Yanguas : The current situation of women in chess, a mixed sport that promotes gender equality.

- Conference by Juan Manuel Corchado, José Ramón Chaves and Antonio Arias : Chess as a Tool for Economics and Law.

 - Lecture by Jean-Michel Pechine : Cradle of modern chess: what we know so far.

- Lecture by Laura Martínez Gimeno : Chess in the works of Novalis and William Shakespeare. 

On the opening day, Alexei Shirov and four-time Spanish champion Sabrina Vega gave a simul at the Salamanca Casino.

Veselin Topalov, Sabrina Vega, Romain Edouard, Pia Cramling, Alexei Shirov, Anna Matnadze, Jaime Santos and Lela Javakhisvili play in the international tournament.

Pia Cramling started with a win against Romain Edouard:


The chances in this tense endgame are about equal.

36...b3 37.axb3 axb3 38.c7 Rc8 39.Rc4 h3 40.g3 Qd7 Threatening Qd5 followed by mate on g2. What to do?

41.Rh4? White also threatens mate and wins h3. But White gives the pawn on c7. The only defense was 41.f4 e.g.: 41...Qd5 42.Re2 g5 43.Rd2 Qb7 44.Qc3=

41...g5 42.Rxh3 Now, the rook is out of play.

42...Rxc7 43.Qe3 Rc2 44.Rh5


44... Qd2 But not 44...Kg6? 45.g4. After the text move White is lost.

45.Qxd2 Rxd2 46.g4 46.Rf1 b2 47.g4 Rfxf2–+

46...Rfxf2 47.Rxg5+ Kf8 48.Rh5 Rg2+ 49.Kh1 b2 50.Rh8+ Kg7 51.Rb8 Rxh2+ 52.Kg1 Rdg2+ 53.Kf1 Rc2 54.Kg1 Rhg2+ 55.Kh1 Rgd2 0–1

After this win Cramling drew against Sabrina Vega and then lost against Veselin Topalov.

Jaime Santos had the best start into the tournament and won against Sabrina Vega, Veselin Topalov and Lela Javakishvili and now leads the field.






Tournament page...

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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