SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
The 2010 edition of the Spanish Championship took place between September 4 and September 12 at El Saulzal, Tenerife, and as usual was a very tough, very competitive and very exciting tournament. Almost all of Spain’s top GMs were playing. Going into the final round yesterday, there were 4 players tied for 1st place: top ranked GM Vallejo, GM Illescas, GM Arimzendi and IM Ruiz. The pairings saw Vallejo as White against Ruiz and Arimzendi as White against Illescas. Vallejo only drew after a long fight, while Illescas won a very complicated game.
GM Miguel Illescas. 2010 Champion of Spain
Miguel Illescas was born in Barcelona on the 3rd of December 1965. He showed talent very early on and made quick progress. Miguel became an IM in 1986 and a GM in 1988. He gained valuable experience playing against the likes of Karpov and Kasparov at the traditional Linares tournament–which in those days followed a commendable practice of allowing one Spanish player to compete against the invited superstars. Miguel soon became as tough and as experienced a tournament competitor as one could find anywhere in the world!
Illescas has won the Spanish championship a total of 8 times (!) : 1995, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2010. In team competition, he has represented his country at many Olympiads from 1986 onwards and won an individual bronze medal at Turin in 2006.
Miguel does not play so much these days, devoting the bulk of his time teaching and promoting the game. He opened a very successful chess school in Barcelona —La Escuela de Ajedrez de Miguel Illescas, or EDAMI for short. The school is flexibly structured and allows for students to learn at sessions held in the schools around Barcelona, or on the internet or as private lessons.
EDAMI also acts as a chess supplier and not unlike the London Chess Centre, provides a shop, publishes a regular chess magazine and arranges events such as tournaments, simultaneous displays and other promotional events.
The last round game between Illescas and Arizmendi, which decided the title, was a complex affair from the beginning to the end. Both players fought for victory. Perhaps Arizmendi’s undoing was that he tried to hard…underestimating the quick tactical vision of his more experienced opponent.
Witness the following position, which occurred after White’s 18th move (18. g5). If the Black Knight moves to h5 (its only reasonable looking square) then White would have the very strong 19.f4!, attacking 2 pieces! However, Illescas played the very sharp 18…b4!, which even gives Black some advantage.
Arizmendi soon found himself on the defensive as Illescas increased the pressure on White’s centre. Finally White made a slight but significant inaccuracy. Below is the position after White’s 27th move (27. f5?).
This was the chance that Illescas was waiting for! Black immediately grabbed the opportunity with the incisive 27…Nxe4!. Black won a short while later.
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS