Four leaders at the Spanish Championship in Linares

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
9/5/2020 – The 2020 Spanish Championship is taking place in Linares from August 31 to September 8. Given the corona crisis and the fact that the event is being played “over the board”, a few players have been quarantined. After 5 rounds, four players share the lead on 4½ out of 5 — Manuel Pérez Candelario, Iván Salgado (pictured), Jaime Santos and Daniel Alsina. | Photo: Spanish Chess Federation

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Halfway through

The tournament is a 9-round Swiss event with a time control of 90 minutes for the game plus 30-second increments per move. Although a separate tournament has not been organized, this event also serves to crown the national women’s champion.

Most of the favourites have managed to remain undefeated after 5 rounds, with top two seeds David Antón and Alexei Shirov currently a half point behind the leaders on 4 out of 5. Sharing the lead are Manuel Pérez Candelario, Iván Salgado, Jaime Santos and Daniel Alsina, who will play against each other in Saturday’s sixth round.

Top pairings - Round 6

1 GM Santos Latasa, Jaime 4,5 vs GM Perez Candelario, Manuel 4,5
2 GM Salgado Lopez, Ivan 4,5 vs GM Alsina Leal, Daniel 4,5
3 IM Tejedor Fuente, Enrique 4 vs GM Anton Guijarro, David 4
4 GM Shirov, Alexei 4 vs IM Plazuelo Pascual, Juan 4
5 IM Espinosa Aranda, Angel 4 vs IM Argandona Riveiro, Inigo 4
6 IM Valmana Canto, Jaime 4 vs GM Del Rio De Angelis, Salvador G. 4
7 IM Ladron De Guevara Pinto, Paolo 4 vs IM Martin Duque, Jesus 4
8 FM Quispe Arteaga, Gabriel 3,5 vs FM Martinez Fernandez, Adrian 4

Follow the games at Live.ChessBase.com

Iván Salgado scored a fine attacking win over Álvaro Bayo in round 2. With the black king already in deep trouble, Salgado gave up a rook to continue the onslaught:

 

31.Rg3+ was the beginning of the end for Black. There followed 31...hxg3 32.Qxg3+ Kh6 33.Kf2 Qg6 34.Rh1+ Kg7 35.Qxg6+ Kxg6 36.Rxh8 f4 37.Rh7 and Bayo resigned, as there is no way to save the bishop.

Iván Salgado

Iván Salgado | Photo: FEDA

In the same second round, Jaime Santos saw his opponent, Aaron Alonso, going for a kingside attack that came short of delivering mate or massively damaging Santos’ position:

 

17.Rxf6 gxf6 18.Bxf6 Rg8 and, although it looks scary for Black, Santos kept things under control and got a 27-move victory.

Jaime Santos

Jaime Santos | Photo: FEDA

For Manuel Pérez Candelario, things got off to a lucky start, as he had a losing position in the first round against Luis Segura, who is 500 points lower rated than him. Segura blundered horribly in the endgame:

 

Black’s passer on the queenside should be enough to win the game with precise technique, but before pushing it forward Segura needed to defend his loose bishop on c3 — 41...a4 42.Qxc3 and Black resigned.

Manuel Pérez Candelario

Manuel Pérez Candelario | Photo: FEDA

Daniel Alsina won his first four games and was paired up against Alexei Shirov on Friday. The famed author of the “Fire on Board” books went for an attack with the black pieces, but was not able to finish off his opponent:

 

Shirov had given up a piece to get strong passed pawns and mating threats against the king. By the time the diagrammed position appeared on the board, however, he had already wasted a couple of chances to get things over with. And his 38...Rf3 was the last mistake, as the ending that arose after 39.Rxf3 gxf3 is a draw — 38...e2 39.Re4 Rf3 40.Rxe7+ Kf6 41.Rxe2 Rxe5 entering a rook endgame with a couple of passers on the kingside was the way to go.

David Antón, Sabrina Vega

Top seed David Antón beat six-time national women’s champion Sabrina Vega | Photo: FEDA

Standings after round 5

1 GM Perez Candelario, Manuel 4,5
2 GM Santos Latasa, Jaime 4,5
3 GM Alsina Leal, Daniel 4,5
4 GM Salgado Lopez, Ivan 4,5
5 GM Anton Guijarro, David 4
6 GM Shirov, Alexei 4
7 IM Plazuelo Pascual, Juan 4
8 GM Del Rio De Angelis, Salvador G. 4
9 IM Argandona Riveiro, Inigo 4
10 IM Tejedor Fuente, Enrique 4
11 IM Ladron De Guevara Pinto, Paolo 4
12 IM Martin Duque, Jesus 4
13 IM Valmana Canto, Jaime 4
14 FM Martinez Fernandez, Adrian 4
15 IM Espinosa Aranda, Angel 4

...139 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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