Alekseenko and Santos top scorers in Salamanca

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
5/2/2023 – The sixth edition of the Salamanca Chess Festival took place on April 25-29. The Masters Tournament was the main event, with eight players (four men and four women) fighting in a single round-robin event. The time control was 40 minutes plus 5-second increments. Kirill Alekseenko and Jaime Santos were the top scorers with 5½ points. Alekseenko was declared champion based on tiebreak criteria. | Photo: Official site

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


All games end decisively in the final round

The University of Salamanca organized the sixth edition of the Salamanca Cradle of Modern Chess Festival on April 25-29. The festival commemorates the fact that the modern rules of chess were first formulated in 1497 by Luis Ramírez de Lucena in Repetición de Amores y Arte de Ajedrez con CL Juegos de Partido, the first extant chess book. Lucena was a student at the University of Salamanca. 

In the main event, eight players (four men and four women) battled it out in a single round-robin tournament. Living legends Veselin Topalov and Vasyl Ivanchuk were joined by six active players, including former women’s world champion Anna Ushenina.

Kirill Alekseenko from Russia and Jaime Santos from Spain topped the standings with 5½ points. Alekseenko had a better tiebreak score than his colleague from León, and was thus declared champion.

Going into the final round, Alekseenko and Santos were sharing the lead with 4½ points each. Ivanchuk and Topalov stood a half point back, and coincidentally none of the four players fighting for first place were paired up against each other. 

All four contenders for the title won in round 7. Alekseenko played black against 8-time women’s Spanish champion Sabrina Vega. The Russian grandmaster, who famously participated in the 2020-21 Candidates Tournament, played boldly and grabbed the win he needed to claim tournament victory. Alekseenko knew that a full point would secure him overall victory, since he had collected one more win than Santos up to that point — and the number of wins was the relevant tiebreak criterion to decide the champion.

By the same criterion, Ivanchuk finished in third place, as he did not sign a single draw in the event. He won five games and was defeated by the two top scorers. Topalov, who also obtained 5 points, beat Alekseenko and drew Santos, but was defeated by Ivanchuk in their very entertaining round-6 direct encounter.

Ushenina was the top scorer among the women.

Vega 0 - 1 Alekseenko

Final standings

All games


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.