The last day of the sensational Magistral de Salamanca tournament, which has been held in the emblematic historic building of Fonseca, has brought to light moments of great emotion in many of the eight games in dispute.
We must emphasize, in the first place, the success of all the parallel activities, among them the conferences, and also the round tables, conducted exemplarily by the well-known journalist Sergio Martín. In Friday’s round table “Chess at the University of Salamanca”, the online connection of Sánchez Dragó, the timely remarks of Margarita Becedas, Director of the University Library, regarding the incunabula and manuscripts of great value that are housed in this magical place, and the grandson of Unamuno, the author of “El ajedrez en la Universidad de Salamanca” (Chess at the University of Salamanca) were outstanding, and Unamuno’s grandson, Pablo, who often referred to his grandfather, the great writer and universal philosopher Miguel de Unamuno, and a good chess player, to whom he paid tribute in his novel Don Sandalio jugador de ajedrez (Don Sandalio, chess player). At that moment, Dragó made us smile when he said “Unamuno is the grandfather of all [Spaniards]”. On Saturday morning again Sergio Martin gathered in another round table that he baptized with the attractive title “Chess, a sport and much more” the Director of Sports of the Junta de Castilla y León, María Perrino, Leontxo García, David Llada, Jesús Boyero, Fernando Castaño and the Swedish grandmaster Pia Cramling, pioneer in the competitions with men. Very interesting, no doubt.
Focusing on the competition itself, in the sixth round Sabrina Vega faced the solo leader Shirov, with 4 points from 5 games. We also remember that two players, Anton and Iturrizaga, were half a point behind him. In this game Sabrina was inferior after mistakenly playing Rf1 instead of 0-0-0 and could not escape from the pressure.
Topalov-Anton was another main course, and in this case the lucky one was the player from Madrid, who in a position with a minus quality kept his calm and tenacity. In the end the prize was to manage to create a countergame and the victory in extremis.
And among the girls, the Paethz-Salimova fight was to decide the best competitor of this tournament. And Paethz won well, although mainly thanks to Salimova’s serious mistake Ab5.
In the seventh and last round, the Shirov-Paethz encounter could decide the championship, and it did.
Iturrizaga quickly beat the Canarian Sabrina Vega taking advantage of the weaknesses on the black squares and was on the prowl… Anton unexpectedly beat Skripchenko (very bad luck for him) in time trouble, and after looking bad. So they were waiting for Shirov’s slip, which seemed to be coming.
The German Paethz played sensationally: first the Ng7 defense, then Bg4, later Db4, Dc5, Tab8 and Tb4 and Shirov was half lost. Finally the German blundered with De5 (Dc6 was better!) and Shirov managed to defend with a very precise game. As he said afterwards, “lately I only play lost positions well”. So his great defensive play was rewarded.
Congratulations to the champion and we hope to see you all in the next edition and that many of the fans can enjoy the city of Salamanca in person.