Second day of the Festival

The second day of the III  Salamanca Chess Masters Tournament has given rise to other exciting battles.

The pace of play is 40 minutes per player plus 5 additional seconds per move. It is a rhythm halfway between classical and rapid. The player has to be guided a lot by intuitive decisions and has the possibility to go a little deeper in two or three punctual moments of the game -called critical positions-.

The players who occupied yesterday the first positions, Topalov and Salimova, the young 17 years old promising U-14 world champion, scored the two victories of the first day curiously against two of the participants: Paethz and Skripchenko in the case of Topy and Skripchenko and Sabrina Vega in the case of the Bulgarian player.

A good start in a 7-game tournament is, of course, very important for the aspirations of a player who debuts in this type of elite events.

Almira, who has not played chess for a year, has to get into a rhythm. And this is not a tournament to get into a rhythm. So her draw in the third round with Paethz, another player with 0 points, serves to open her locker.

The beautiful playing room, the Sala de Pinturas of the historic Fonseca Building, houses the eight players, the arbiter, journalists, photographers and members of the organization.

The thousands of listeners, thanks to the platform set up by the organization, successfully replaced the absence of the public, in accordance with the rigorous protocol established. Security is very important.

A priori, the interesting games of the third round were Shirov-Salimova, Iturrizaga-Anton and Vega-Topalov. Salimova fell in a double-edged position but very much to Shirov’s liking, who was licking his lips as the center opened up. It was a game in which he should not have worn himself out too much. Iturrizaga gained an advantage after a balanced opening but an unexpectedly strong counterplay with Da4 allowed Anton to escape the pressure and achieve a draw. Sabrina, who also had a bad day yesterday, got good play in the opening and didn’t want any surprises, closing all options to Topalov. In the end it was a draw.  

 In the fourth round, in Salimova-Iturrizaga, the veteran Spanish-Venezuelan won in an Indobenoni type structure. His Ncd3 was very elegant and after the blow Nxb2 the game was over. Paethz played the opening very solidly and Anton’s attempts to unbalance finally paid off, but in a favorable ending he allowed the German player to escape with a draw. And Skripchenko-Vega was a King’s Indian Attack with the usual white attack on the kingside and Black on the queenside. Sabrina defended with an interesting queenside maneuver but, at the climax, Skripchenko blundered and lost a piece. And Topalov-Shirov did not disappoint with their draw. In a semi-Slav, the former world champion got some advantage and bishop pair, but Shirov managed a fantastic counterplay in the endgame and with precise moves achieved a draw.

Topalov and Shirov are in the lead with 3 points. Tomorrow, Friday, more high quality chess.