Iturrizaga and García are the 2022 Spanish champions

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
8/20/2022 – Eduardo Iturrizaga and Marta García won the 2022 Spanish Championships. The event was a 9-round Swiss open played on August 11-19 at the RL Aníbal Hotel in Linares, Andalusia. Iturrizaga, who transferred to Spain only last year, won his second consecutive title, while Garcia, 22, achieved her first triumph in the women’s championship. | Photos: Spanish Chess Federation Facebook page

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Two out of two

Eduardo Iturrizaga, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, won his second Spanish national title after taking part in the tournament for a second time this year. On both occasions, the 32-year-old won by obtaining an outstanding 7½ out of 9 score.

This year, Iturrizaga entered the tournament as the second seed with a 2618 rating. The favourite by rating before the start of the competition was Jaime Santos, currently the third highest-rated player in the country, behind Paco Vallejo and Alexei Shirov.

The event was a 9-round Swiss open with a time control of 90 minutes for the whole game and an increment of 30 seconds per move from the start of the game. The women participants competed with the men, and the highest scorer in the overall standings at the end of the tournament was crowned champion of Spain.

Manuel Pérez Candelario, Yudania Hernández

Yudania Hernández facing Manuel Pérez Candelario in the first round

After 8 rounds, with one game left to play, three players were sharing the lead with 6½ points each: Iturrizaga, Daniil Yuffa and Pedro Ginés.

Russian-born Yuffa (he was naturalized as a Spaniard last year, before the war), faced Ginés, the 18-year-old Spanish rising star, with white. In a hard-fought game, Yuffa and Ginés signed a draw after 63 moves. Meanwhile, on the second board, Iturrizaga defeated experienced grandmaster Manuel Pérez Candelario, thus grabbing outright first place.

Both the champion’s score and the fact that he took the title thanks to a victory in the ninth round mirrored perfectly what had happened in 2021, when Iturrizaga beat Paolo Ladrón in the last round to break away from the pack that had been sharing the lead until the penultimate round.

The draw on the first board allowed Santos to join the leading group after defeating Marc Carbonell with the black pieces. Once the tiebreak scores were calculated, Yuffa took second place and Santos climbed to the third step of the podium.

Ginés, who scored as many points as Yuffa and Santos, was relegated to fourth place. This does not take away, however, from the junior’s excellent performance in Linares. Thanks to his performance, he added 17 points to his FIDE rating, which leaves him just over 10 Elo points away from breaking the 2500 barrier for the first time in his career.

Daniil Yuffa, Eduardo Iturrizaga, Jaime Santos

Daniil Yuffa, Eduardo Iturrizaga and Jaime Santos

Eduardo Iturrizaga

The Spanish champion ready to celebrate with his young family

García grabs her first Spanish title

In the women’s competition, two players finished the tournament with 6 points, Marta García and eight-time champion Sabrina Vega. Vega and Garcia, respectively, are ranked second and third in the women’s national ranking. Ana Matnadze, the highest-rated Spaniard at the moment, did not take part in the Linares competition.

What won García the Spanish championship was her superior tiebreak score. The 22-year-old from Catalonia, who, like Vega and Matnadze, holds the IM title, drew with white in her last-round game against GM Josep Manuel Lopez.

García had a winning position, despite being three pawns down, in a setup with opposite-coloured bishops and major pieces still on the board.

 

The move chosen by the now Spanish Champion — 58.Bxd7, winning an exchange — does not let White’s advantage slip away completely. However, the more incisive 58.e5 would have been lethal for his opponent.

The pawn push would have kept the tension and left Black in an unenviable situation. For example, capturing with 58...fxe5 allows White to simplify and enter an easily winning endgame after 59.Qe6+ Qxe6 60.Bxe6+ Rf7 61.Rf3; in case of 58...Qf7, White has 59.Qxf7+ Rxf7 60.Be6 and the ending an exchange up is much easier to convert into a win without the queens on the board.

Fortunately for the Catalan player, this missed opportunity did not prevent her from winning a well-deserved first national title.

WIM Yudania Hernández, a native of Cuba, came third among the women after scoring 4½ points in the competition.

Sabrina Vega, Marta García, Yudania Hernández

Sabrina Vega, Marta García and Yudania Hernández

Final standings

    Name Rating Points APRO
1 GM Iturrizaga Bonelli, Eduardo 2618 7.5 2461.1
2 GM Yuffa, Daniil 2594 7 2484.4
3 GM Santos Latasa, Jaime 2672 7 2475.4
4 IM Gines Esteo, Pedro Antonio 2472 7 2443
5 IM Garriga Cazorla, Pere 2511 6.5 2506.9
6 IM Merario Alarcon, Andres 2423 6.5 2396.7
7 GM Narciso Dublan, Marc 2455 6.5 2396.7
8 IM Moreno Ruiz, Javier 2428 6.5 2382.9
9 GM Cuenca Jimenez, Jose Fernando 2555 6.5 2381.8
10 FM Lin, Yingrui 2314 6.5 2312.8
11 GM Perez Candelario, Manuel 2579 6 2440.8
12 GM Asis Gargatagli, Hipolito 2513 6 2374.1
13 IM Garcia Martin, Marta 2305 6 2373
14 FM Alonso Garcia, Aaron 2369 6 2364.9
15 IM Vega Gutierrez, Sabrina 2366 6 2356.1
16 IM Lianes Garcia, Marcos 2403 6 2333.8
17 IM Garcia Ramos, Daniel 2435 6 2311.7
18 IM Alshameary Puente, Ismael 2324 6 2297.3
19 FM Carbonell Sancho, Marc 2285 6 2282.3
20 IM Garza Marco, Sergio 2408 6 2222.2

...121 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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