2013 Malaga Chess Championship

The Andalucia region of Spain has eight provinces, each of which held their 2013 chess championships this past weekend. We live in Malaga, and its competition was held just down the road in Estepona. The competition consisted of six 90 minute games, held over two days — Saturday and Sunday.

In the end, our two kids won their respective categories — Under 10 Boys, and Under 12 Girls. We’re so proud! This qualifies both to participate in the Andalucia championship next month, in Almeria.

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Malaga Promotion Chess Tournament Day 2

On Saturday we headed to Malaga for the second day of the Malaga Promotion Chess Tournament. All three of us (myself and our two kids) won one of the day’s two games.

In my first game, I played one of the higher-rated players, Sergio Morales. Similar to what happened last weekend, I played well and arrived at an advantage which my computer analysis program deemed to be “decisive”. Unfortunately, also as last week, I ended up making my typical once-per-game tremendous error, losing my advantage and then losing the game. This week, it happened on move 40.

I managed to win the second game, against a nine year-old, who initially had me in some trouble.

Chess tournaments in Marbella and Malaga

Evidently, one chess tournament each weekend just wasn’t enough for my wife, who signed us up for two — on the same day! — this past Saturday.

Kids Circuit in Marbella

The regional kids circuit had its scheduled stop in Marbella on Saturday morning, at the Plaza de Mar commercial center, just next to the beautiful beach paseo.

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Organized by Jesus Roman (yes, “Jesus” is a common name in Spain) and supported by the Malaga Chess Federation, more than 50 kids participated. In parallel, Jesus also ran an adults tournament, so that the “padres” and other local adult enthusiasts would have something do.

Our kids did well. After the six-round tournament, our daughter finished first in the girls category, an our son won his category and finished third overall.

Scroll down to the bottom of the article for lots of great photos of the event.

Promotion Tournament in Malaga

In Andalucia, there’s two categories of chess players — “Preferential” and everybody else. Only preferential players are allowed to compete in certain tournaments, like the Malaga Championship.

Once or twice per year, “promotion” tournaments are organized in which non-preferntials (like me) can try to earn our way into the preferential category. The tournaments include eight rounds of 120 minute games, over four consecutive weekends. You can “pass” by being in the top five in any such tournament, or by having done “well” in any two tournaments. You only have to pass once; then you’re preferential for life.

With the Marbella tournament ending around 3pm and the Promotion tournament in Malaga starting at 4:30pm, we barely had time to get there.

Upon arriving, we popped into a local restaurant for lunch. I tried to insist to my wife that the tournament — like anything else in Spain — would not start on time, but she insisted that I ingest my first plate, second plate, dessert and coffee all within a span of about six minutes. The tournament started half an hour late, with me suffering post-lunch bloat.

In my first of two games, I played the guy ranked fourth in the starting list (I was ranked somewhere in the middle). Playing the French Defense (as black), I built up a good position. Unfortunately, I waited a bit too late, and the opponent moved his bishop into a position that blocked my castling.

At move number 24, I made my typical once-per-game blunder. Having lost the opportunity to castle, I thought I was badly losing, and missed an obvious opportunity to escape check with a rook/bishop capture. Instead, I moved my king and the game went downhill from there, and I eventually ended up getting checkmated.

After the game, I entered the moves into my HIARCS iPad chess app, and it showed that at move 24, I actually had a winning factor of 3.5! I couldn’t believe it; at that point I was decisively winning the game! Grrrr — I’m going to chalk this one up to indigestion (and blame my wife).

For those interested, here’s an embedded version of the game:

I did better in my second game, winning by checkmate as white:

I ended the day with one out of two possible points. So we’ll be returning each Saturday for the next three weekends, to continue the event.

Photos of the Marbella morning kids tournament

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