CajaCanarias "win" Spanish Team Championship

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CajaCanariasFew Spanish Team Championships have been more exciting than this year's edition. Despite two ties between reigning Spanish champion Linex Magic and CajaCanarias last Sunday, both in their first encounter and in the tiebreak, it was CajaCanarias (Tenerife) who grabbed the national title thanks to the second tiebreaker system.

This weekend the playoffs of the Spanish Team Championship took place in Motril, a town and municipality on the Mediterranean coast in the province of Granada, Spain.




As always, it sounds even better when the Spaniards say it: "la Final Four de la División de Honor Nacional de Ajedrez". You might remember from our article of September 10th that these Final Four qualifiers for the semi-finals were the teams Cajacanarias, Solvay, Mérida-Patrimonio-Ajoblanco and Linex-Magic-Mérida.

Teatro Calderón de la Barca

The playoffs of the Spanish Team Ch were played in the Teatro Calderón de la Barca in Motril, Spain



And so on Saturday November 1st, to start with there was a derby between the two teams from Mérida: Linex-Magix and Patrimonio-Ajoblanco. The reigning champs were the favourites, but only by a small margin. And eventually the match was not decided on the lower boards, where the rating difference was the biggest. In fact, the match was decided in one and the same ending!

[TABLE=439]

In the first game that ended, Michael Adams secured a draw with Black against Dmitry Jakovenko and then on boards 1 and 3 the same Ruy Lopez Berlin Defence appeared on the board, and both players of Linex-Magic, Ponomariov and Shirov, managed to win the ending against Karjakin and Eljanov respectively, putting the score at 2.5-0.5 for the (still reigning) champion of Spain. In a hard-fought game, Llanes and Candelario got into severe timetrouble and although he was starting to collect pawns, Candelario decided to play it safe and allowed a perpetual. The victory for the Magicians was secured when Akopian drew with Volokitin, while Sargissian messed up a totally game won position against Khamrakulov, leaving the final score 4-2 for Linex Magic.



Linex-Magic - Patrimonio-Ajoblanco

The match Linex-Magic - Patrimonio-Ajoblanco



In the other semi-final CajaCanarias made their intentions clear: they smashed Solvay 4.5-1.5.

[TABLE=440]

Alexander Motylev beat one of Anand's seconds in Bonn with Black: Surya Ganguly, who perhaps didn't sleep too much in the last two days before the game. The Indian missed a check on c3 and could resign after 25 moves.

Surya Ganguly

Surya Ganguly: unfortunate with the white pieces



Bareev didn't have trouble refuting Mamedov's old-fashioned way of treating the Bayonet King's Indian and Illescas was a bit lucky when Ubilava, who after 52 moves had finally managed to equalize, suddenly blundered material.



CajaCanarias - Solvay

The match CajaCanarias - Solvay



This meant that on Sunday, November 2 the final would be played between CajaCanarias and Linex-Magic. In the preliminary phase of the competition, the clash between these teams had ended in a 3-3 tie, the same result in the 2007-08 season, so an exciting final could be expected. And the fans got even more than they had hoped for!

The individual scores of the big final:

[TABLE=441]

For the final, Ivanchuk had joined his team of CajaCanarias. (One day after his lost final against Nakamura in Cap d'Agde, the Ukrainian played chess in another Mediterranean coast town a bit more south of Europe!) He drew with Black against Shirov in a Sicilian Kan. Evgeny Alekseev, now on board two, defeated Linex-Magic's Michael Adams from an almost equal position. Impressive endgame play! Sargissian defeated Illescas after the Spaniard made an early mistake in a Bf4 Queen's Gambit.



Linex-Magic - CajaCanarias

The big final: Linex-Magic - CajaCanarias with Shirov-Ivanchuk played on first board



So another 3-3 tie! This meant that after dinner, at 22:00, the same players had to play a tiebreak with reversed colours. The rate of play of 15 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. And guess what... this match also ended in 3-3!

[TABLE=442]

It wasn't Ivanchuk's weekend as far as quickplay was concerned: he lost with White to Shirov - the "Spatvian" (Mig's excellent solution for Shirov to avoid a discussion like the one about Nakamura) played a great game with Black. Adams took revenge with White against Alekseev but how exactly is not clear because unfortunately the moves are not correct for this game.

So Linex-Magic was doing well on the top boards, but on the lower ones they lost two games: Akopian went down with White against Bareev and Perez Candelario lost to San Segundo.



And so after two more matches, the Spaniards still didn't know which team was stronger: Linex-Magic or CajaCanarias! But they do know who is the new Spanish Champion, because the second tiebreaker system (according to the Spaniards, the "Dutch system") looks at the win at the highest board. Because Alekseev had won his game on board two in the "regular" final, CajaCanarias was declared Spanish Team Champion 2008.

CajaCanarias

Spanish Team Champions CajaCanarias, the team from the Canary Island of Tenerife, with Vassily Ivanchuk playing board one on Sunday



Evgeny Alekseev

Evgeny Alekseev, who played a very important role for his team CajaCanarias



The match for 3rd/4th place was won by Patrimonio-Ajoblanco Solvay:

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