DuoBeniaján edge Silla to win Spanish League

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
9/23/2023 – In what turned out to be an extremely close fight for first place, DuoBeniaján emerged victorious at the Spanish League in Linares. C.A. Silla obtained the same number of match points and individual points as the champions, but had a worse tiebreak score — i.e. they had lost the direct confrontation against the team from Murcia. C.A. Solvay, the defending champions, finished in clear third place. | Photos: FEDA

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A dramatic final round

The Honour Division of the Spanish League took place on September 16-22 in Linares, Jaén. Eight teams took part in the single round-robin competition. Each match was played over six boards, with the obligatory inclusion of a female representative on each team’s roster.

Going into the final round, three teams had chances to win the evenly matched competition. DuoBeniaján had a 1-point lead over C.A. Solvay and C.A. Silla, and the pairings had DuoBeniaján facing Solvay in a duel of rating favourites, while Silla played against Magic Extremadura, the over-performing team led by Ivan Cheparinov.

As the round progressed, it became clear that Silla would beat Magic, as Anton Korobov and Pia Cramling scored nice victories for the Valencian squad.

Meanwhile, in the matchup between favourites, four draws were signed rather quickly. Soon after, Solvay’s Enrique Tejedor obtained a convincing win over Nino Batsiashvili, which meant it all came down to the board-4 game between Oleg Korneev (Solvay) and José Carlos Ibarra (DuoBeniaján). The double-edged encounter would end up favouring Ibarra, thus securing his team a tie for first in match points.

Spanish Chess Federation

Nino Batsiashvili (DuoBeniaján) playing black in round 7

Korneev 0 - 1 Ibarra

Korneev’s 47.Rc5 was the losing mistake. Going for perpetual check with 47.Qe7+ would have kept the fight going — engines show that White has enough recourses to force Black to give up his extra bishop to prevent a quick perpetual, but of course this is incredibly difficult for humans to calculate.

Ibarra found the refutation to White’s check: 47...Rd5, and the c5-rook is pinned to the king. White began to give checks with his queen, and the following position was reached soon after.

52...Bf3 wins for Black! If 53.Qxf3, there is 53...Rf5 and the c5-rook falls, while 53.Rc2, as seen in the game, fails to 53...Rd1+ 54.Kh2 Qd6+

Korneev resigned: 55.g3 Rh1# checkmate, and 55.Qg3 Rh1+ loses the queen. 0-1

With DuoBeniaján and Silla both finishing with 11 match points, the champions would be decided according to the first tiebreak criterion: board points. At that point, three games in the Silla vs. Magic match were still in progress. Draws on all three boards would mean a tie on board points as well — and that is how the match ended.

The second tiebreak criterion was thus employed to find the winner: result in the direct encounter. In round 3, DuoBeniaján had defeated Silla by the smallest of margins, with five games ending in draws and Nino Batsiashvili grabbing the deciding victory over Pia Cramling on board 6.

DuoBeniaján thus won the tournament. The top performers for the winning team from Murcia were Vladimir Fedoseev and Maksim Chigaev, two Russian-born players who switched federations after the invasion of Ukraine — Fedoseev represents Slovenia since July 2023, while Chigaev transferred to Spain in August 2023.

Similarly, Silla saw former Russian representatives Kirill Alekseenko (Austria) and Daniil Yuffa (Spain) getting plus-scores for their squad. Also notable was Alvar Alonso’s 5/7 performance.

Spanish Chess Federation

The winning team — DuoBeniaján

Spanish Chess Federation

C.A. Silla had a magnificent performance

Spanish Chess Federation

In third place — Solvay’s players with the flag of Cantabria

Final standings

Full results and pairings at info64.org

Team Match Ind. Rtg. Com.
1 DuoBeniajan Costa Calida 11 24½ 2639 Murcia
2 C.A. Silla - Integrant Col·lectius 11 24½ 2602 Valencia
3 C.A. Solvay 10 22 2612 Cantabria
4 Magic Extremadura 8 22½ 2559 Extremadura
5 Andreu Paterna 7 22 2578 Valencia
6 MyInvestor Casablanca 7 19 2559 Aragón
7 C.A. Jaime Casas de Monzon 4 18 2581 Aragón
8 Gros Xake Taldea 1 15½ 2554 Euskadi

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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.