Sandro Mareco wins Ibero-American Championship in Mexico

by André Schulz
2/23/2022 – Going into the final round, Jaime Santos was the sole leader at the Ibero-American Championship in Mexico City. The Spaniard fell at the last hurdle, though, as he was defeated by top seed Jorge Cori. Sandro Mareco (pictured) profited from this result, as he clinched tournament victory by beating Omar Almeida with the white pieces. | Photo: Club Obras / La Nación

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Returning to Mexico City

The Ibero-American Chess Federation (FIBDA, Spanish for Federación Iberoamericana de Ajedrez) was created in 2004 and started organizing tournaments for the belonging countries since 2006.

The first of such events took place in Ayamonte, Spain and was won by Cuban grandmaster Lázaro Bruzón. Two years later, in 2008, the tournament was played in parallel with the International Linares Tournament, which on that occasion took place in two venues, first in Morelia (Mexico) and then in Linares — Vishy Anand won the elite event, while Julio Granda took the Ibero-American title [pictured]. The second and third editions were played in Mexico City and Quito respectively, with Brazilian Gilberto Milos and Spaniard Iván Salgado winning each of the events.

The competition returned to Linares in 2014 and, for the first time, it was an open event. With 82 players from 20 different countries, tournament victory was finally claimed by Paraguayan grandmaster Axel Bachmann. The 2015 edition was played in Bilbao, concurrently with the Bilbao Chess Masters. Lázaro Bruzón got a second Ibero-American triumph. In 2019, Jorge Cori claimed the title in Linares.

N. Year Venue Winner
I 2006 Ayamonte Lázaro Bruzón (Cuba)
II 2008 Morelia / Linares Julio Granda (Perú)
III 2010 Mexico City Gilberto Milos (Brazil)
IV 2012 Quito Iván Salgado (Spain)
V 2014 Linares Axel Bachmann (Paraguay)
VI 2015 Bilbao Lázaro Bruzón (Cuba)
VII 2019 Linares Jorge Cori (Perú)

Santos falls at the last hurdle

Almost 170 players took part in the Ibero-American Championship, in which players from the countries of the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America are allowed to participate. The competition was held in the former residence of the Mexican president, which has since been opened to the public as a cultural centre.

The largest contingent of participants was naturally provided by the host country, with more than 100 players. Among the guests, Cuba provided the largest group, with 15 players.

In addition to numerous amateurs, a number of professionals also took part in the competition. Out of the 81 titleholders, 18 players held the grandmaster title. Spain was represented by grandmasters Jaime Santos Latasa, Miguel Santos Ruiz, Alvar Alonso Rosell and José Cuenca. GM Lance Henderson played under the flag of Andorra.

Ibero-American Chess Championship 2022

The tournament’s rating favourites were Jorge Cori from Perú, Sandro Mareco from Argentina, Spain’s Jaime Santos and Georg Meier, who now plays for the Uruguayan federation. These four players had ratings above 2600.

The tournament was played as a 9-round Swiss open. Jaime Santos was among the top players right from the start. Before the eighth round, three players were sharing the lead. In the duel for the sole lead, Jaime Santos managed a victory against Georg Meier, while co-leaders Guillermo Vázquez (Paraguay) and Sandro Mareco neutralized each other with a draw.

Jaime Santos thus went into the final round as the sole leader with 7 points, where he met Jorge Cori, who stood a full point behind.

Cori, Jorge (2650) - Santos, Jaime (2640)
VIII Iberoamericano 2022, Mexico City (9.1)

1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e3 Nf6 4.Nf3 b6 5.b3 Bb7 6.Bb2 Nbd7 7.Be2 Bd6 [7...a6 8.0–0 Bd6 0–1 (29) Cori, J (2676)- Nihal, S (2610) Khanty-Mansiysk 2019]

8.cxd5 exd5 9.Nb5 Be7


10.Nbd4 This looks a bit strange with the pawn on d2. The knight will probably jump to f5. But there is also the threat of Bb5 if the ‘hole’ on c6 is still there afterwards.

10...c6 [10...c5!? 11.Nf5 Bf8 12.d4 g6 13.Ng3 Bg7=; 10...g6?! 11.Bb5]

11.Rc1 Rc8 12.h4 Ne4 [12...0–0 13.Nf5 Re8 14.Nxe7+ Qxe7=]

13.Qc2 Nd6 14.Nf5 Nxf5 15.Qxf5 Bf6 16.d4 [16.Bxf6 Qxf6 17.Qh3!?]

16...Be7 17.Ne5 Nf6 18.h5 0–0 19.Bd3


White’s position looks threatening on the kingside. The white battery is aiming at h7.

19...c5? Opens the diagonal for the b2-bishop... [Needed was 19...Rc7 planning 20.-- Bc8]

20.dxc5 Rxc5 21.Rxc5 bxc5 22.Nc6 Game over.

22...Bxc6 23.Bxf6 g6 24.hxg6 fxg6 25.Qe6+ Rf7 26.Rxh7 1–0

After this defeat, Jaime Santos saw Sandro Mareco overcoming him in the standings thanks to a win over Cuban Omar Almeida. The Argentinian thus collected the undivided first prize.

Alexandr Fier

Alexandr Fier signing autographs

Additional reporting by Carlos Colodro

Final standings

Rg. Name Pkt.  Wtg1 
1 Mareco Sandro 7,5 49,5
2 Santos Latasa Jaime 7,0 52,5
3 Vazquez Guillermo 7,0 49,5
4 Cori Jorge 7,0 49,0
5 Obregon Rivero Juan Carlos 7,0 48,0
6 Cordova Emilio 7,0 47,0
7 Albornoz Cabrera Carlos Daniel 7,0 46,0
8 Meier Georg 6,5 49,5
9 Cuenca Jimenez Jose Fernando 6,5 48,0
10 Sanchez Alvarez Roberto Carlos 6,5 47,5
11 Fier Alexandr 6,5 46,0
12 Cardoso Cardoso Jose Gabriel 6,5 44,0
13 Henderson De La Fuente Lance 6,5 44,0
14 Avila Rodriguez Joshua Ad 6,5 43,0
15 Ibarra Chami Luis Fernando 6,5 42,5
16 Almeida Quintana Omar 6,0 47,5

...169 players

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


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