Iturrizaga and Vega are the 2021 Spanish champions

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
8/25/2021 – The Spanish Individual Championship took place on August 16-24 in Linares. Eduardo Iturrizaga won the event in his first try, as he switched federations earlier this year. The 31-year-old star from Caracas also won the rapid tournament played before the classical event; Paco Vallejo won the blitz. Among the women, Sabrina Vega won her eighth title with a round to spare. Vega stunned by also winning the women’s sections in both the rapid and blitz national tournaments. | Photo: Patricia Claros Aguilar

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A strong tournament, a sole winner

Out of the ten highest-ranked Spanish players, only two skipped this year’s national championship — i.e. Miguel Illescas and Alvar Alonso. The lineup included five players rated 2600 or higher, with Paco Vallejo, Alexei Shirov, David Antón, Jaime Santos and eventual champion Eduardo Iturrizaga the top seeds.

A total of 171 players registered to participate in the 9-round open. Given how strong and evenly matched the top players were in Linares, it is no surprise that seven players entered the final round tied for first on 6½/8 points. The one player who scored a full point in Tuesday’s last day of action was Iturrizaga, who thus secured overall victory in his first outing at the Spanish national championship.

Born in Caracas in 1989, ‘Itu’ regularly travelled across the Old Continent to improve his level at the tough circuit of European opens. Naturally, he spent long periods of time in Catalonia, where the local federation organizes a whole series of events in spring and summer. This year, Iturrizaga switched federations. We are yet to see how the inclusion of such a strong, motivated player will impact the performance of the Spanish national team, which already counts with a host of competent representatives in the 2550-2700 rating band.

Iturrizaga also won the rapid championship, played on August 14. Vallejo won the blitz event, played a day earlier.

Jaime Santos, Eduardo Iturrizaga, Paco Vallejo

Jaime Santos (2nd), Eduardo Iturrizaga (1st) and Paco Vallejo (3rd) | Photo: Ismael Nieto

In the final round of the classical tournament, Iturrizaga had black against Paolo Ladrón de Guerrero. The Venezuelan-born grandmaster had a slightly better position out of the opening, and duly converted it into a win. He confidently exchanged down into an endgame in the following position.

 

36...Qxf3 37.Kxf3 followed, and Iturrizaga needed 17 more moves to prove his bishop was the stronger minor piece in the ensuing endgame.

Sabrina Vega wins triple crown

In Spain, a single open tournament is played to decide who gets the title of national champion both in the open and women’s sections. This year, Sabrina Vega outscored her female colleagues in all three events, scoring 6/9 points in the classical tournament to secure first place with a round to spare.

On her way to victory, Vega drew third seed David Antón in round 7. The player from the Canary Islands faced Iturrizaga the next round and lost. Nonetheless, the fact that she played on top boards towards the end of the event shows how strong her performance was. This was her eighth triumph in the women’s national championship — she also won in 2008, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Marta García and Viviana Galván finished second and third respectively.

Viviana Galván, Sabrina Vega, Marta García

Viviana Galván (3rd), Sabrina Vega (1st) and Marta García (2nd) | Photo: Ismael Nieto


Final standings (top 20)

# Rk. Title   Name Rating Points APRO BucT
1 5 GM m Iturrizaga Bonelli, Eduardo 2605 7.5 2436 51.5
2 4 GM m Santos Latasa, Jaime 2616 7 2485.7 57.5
3 1 GM m Vallejo Pons, Francisco 2710 7 2463 55.5
4 9 GM m Cuenca Jimenez, Jose Fernando 2542 7 2440.1 54
5 3 GM m Anton Guijarro, David 2659 7 2422.9 53
6 6 GM m Salgado Lopez, Ivan 2599 7 2392.3 54
7 7 GM m Santos Ruiz, Miguel 2597 7 2390 53.5
8 2 GM m Shirov, Alexei 2662 7 2332.9 51.5
9 8 GM m Perez Candelario, Manuel 2585 7 2313.2 49.5
10 21 IM m Garza Marco, Sergio 2389 6.5 2285.8 48.5
11 40 FM m Galiana Fernandez, Adrian 2278 6.5 2264.7 49
12 30 FM m Cesar Maestre, Bernardo 2331 6.5 2172.8 45.5
13 11 IM m Espinosa Aranda, Angel 2479 6 2359.6 52
14 12 IM m Plazuelo Pascual, Juan 2455 6 2324.9 54
15 24 IM m Carrasco Martinez, Juan M. 2370 6 2297.9 52.5
16 20 IM f Vega Gutierrez, Sabrina 2392 6 2294.2 51
17 13 IM m Gines Esteo, Pedro Antonio 2439 6 2286.4 49
18 23 FM m Garrido Outon, Alex 2373 6 2284.6 47
19 19 FM m Quispe Arteaga, Gabriel 2401 6 2267.6 47.5
20 35 FM m Herrera Reyes, Jose Antonio 2304 6 2240.9 50

...171 players


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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.
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thirteen thirteen 8/25/2021 06:05
A 2182 drew, against Shirov!!! There's hope for me yet.
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