International squad beats Spain in training match

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
12/11/2020 – The Spanish Chess Federation organized a training match in which five of the strongest players from the Iberian country faced an international squad over ten days in La Palma, one of the Canary Islands. The double-round Scheveningen tournament came to an end on Wednesday, with the international team getting a 27:23 victory. | Pictured: Ivan Cheparinov facing Jaime Santos | Photos: Spanish Chess Federation (FEDA)

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Running away from Covid-19

Due to their geographical location in the Atlantic, the Canary Islands have not been hit as hard by the coronavirus crisis in comparison to the Spanish mainland, especially the smaller islands. On La Palma, for example, only 222 positive cases have been detected so far. Thus, the Spanish Chess Federation decided to organize a training match for five of their strongest players at the volcanic ocean island.

The locals were headed by David Antón, the second highest-rated player in the country. Four other players from the national top 10 completed the lineup: Iván Salgado, Jaime Santos, Miguel Santos and Renier Vásquez.

Five players from four different countries made up the opposing team: Ivan Cheparinov (Bulgaria), Anton Korobov and Pavel Eljanov (Ukraine), Jorden van Foreest (Netherlands) and Romain Edouard (France). 

In the end, the international squad outscored the Spanish team 27:23. All four top seeds had a good run on La Palma, each collecting 6 points in 10 rounds — the one player that had a tough time for “the World” was Edouard, who only managed to score 3 points.

The best player of the Spanish team was Antón, as he obtained two wins, a loss and seven draws to finish as the only player from his squad to get a positive score.

David Antón

David Antón will face Magnus Carlsen & co. next month in Wijk aan Zee

Plenty of exciting chess was seen throughout the event. One of the most double-edged fights was played early on, in the very first round, when Jorden van Foreest defeated Jaime Santos with white out of a razor-sharp Sicilian:

 

18...d5 19.f5 and the madness began. Santos had spent over 11 minutes deciding on whether to push his d-pawn or not in the previous move, and apparently he had planned to go for 19...Ne5 after his opponent’s f-pawn advance — 19...dxe4 was the safer choice.

After the text, Van Foreest immediately took the initiative with 20.Nh5:

 

Another tough decision for Santos — he could play 20...0-0, which would be responded by 21.f6, or 20...g6, when White has 21.fxe6 and Black will need to be precise in defence. That or to go for a counterattack on the queenside! Santos played 20...b3:

 

After 21.axb3 Black tried to further open up the position around White’s king with 21...a4. Nonetheless, Van Foreest’s attack continued on the other flank — 22.Nxg7 Kf8 23.Bf4:

 

23.f6 was also possible in the previous move — and it was the engine’s first suggestion — but it is all about keeping up the tension in these sharp positions! 

Santos continued trying to get something on the queenside with 23...axb3 24.cxb3, and then came 24...Bd6:

 

Van Foreest correctly calculated that it was the right time to solve the mess in the centre and take advantage of his positional trumps — 25.exd5 Bxd5 26.Bg2 Bxg2 27.Qxg2 Kxg7 28.f6+:

 

Black is temporarily a piece up, but his king is in deep trouble and the rook on the h-file will be completely out of play after 28...Kg8 (in case of 28...Kg6, White breaks through with 29.Qe4+ Kh5 30.Bxe5 Bxe5 31.Rd3 etcetera). Van Foreest doubled his rooks with 29.Rd4 Qb6 30.Rhd1 and finished the game with a nice combination after 30...Bc7 31.Qg3 Qa5:

 

32.Bxe5 Bxe5 and 33.Qxe5 when Black cannot capture the queen due to the back rank mate! Santos resigned.

Jorden van Foreest, Anton Korobov, Jaime Santos

Anton Korobov walks by during the Jaime Santos vs Jorden van Foreest rematch


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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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