CA Solvay wins the Spanish League, Gukesh shines

Four co-leaders before the final round

The Spanish League Honor Division took place from September 17-23 at the El Pósito auditorium in the city of Linares, Jaén. Eight teams took part in the single round robin. Each match was played on six boards, with the mandatory inclusion of a female representative on each team’s roster.

CA Solvay, who were promoted to the honor division after winning the first division last year, quickly established themselves as the favorites to take first place. In fact, the Cantabrian team were the only team to win their first two matches. Thereafter, they maintained their winning streak until the fourth round.

It was not until round 5, played on Thursday, that CA Solvay obtained their first draw against DuoBeniaján, the defending champion. CA Solvay’s loss to Andreu Paterna on Friday made for a thrilling final, with four teams tied for the lead, each with 9 points.

Surprisingly, DuoBeniaján and Andreu Paterna, who both belonged to the co-leader group, lost to nominally inferior opponents. Meanwhile, in the direct duel between Magic and CA Solvay, it was the Cantabrians who prevailed, convincingly beating their direct rivals thanks to victories from Gukesh Dommaraju, Anna Muzychuk and Oleg Korneev.

Coincidentally, the three players who scored wins in Saturday’s final round were the best representatives of the champion team. Gukesh and Korneev scored 5 points in the tournament, while Muzychuk managed 4½ points. The three stars of CA Solvay took part in the seven rounds of the team championship.

Pentala Harikrishna, Anna Muzychuk

Pentala Harikrishna and Anna Muzychuk in the lead

Duo Beniaján Costa Cálida from Murcia and Magic from Extremadura finished second and third respectively. Iranian Amin Tabataei was DuoBeniaján’s top performer, while Argentina’s Alan Pichot was the top performer for Magic.

Magic Extremadura

Magic Extremadura Team

Amin Tabatabaei, Gukesh

Amin Tabatabaei (DuoBeniaján) defeated Gukesh with black in the fifth round

Gukesh’s Shard

In the second round, the 16-year-old Indian who wowed the world at the Chennai Olympiad, scored an impressive victory over Gawain Jones (Sestao Naval Hotel). Gukesh got a clear positional advantage with the white pieces and found some brilliant moves to highlight the black monarch’s weakness on the kingside.

[Check out Merijn van Delft’s excellent analysis of this game in his show from last week!]

Gukesh did not hesitate to sacrifice a pawn to open more diagonals for his active pieces: 22.d6 Qxd6 23.Kbd1 Qc7 24.Bd5+ Kh8 25.Bb2+ Bg7

After the pawn sacrifice, white placed his two bishops on the most dangerous diagonals for the black king. With 26.Ng5one more piece joins the attack, and after black has played 26…Bf5attacking the queen, Gukesh found a spectacular maneuver.

27.Qc3 is the winning move! The combination of threats with the rook on the electronic column, the bishops on the diagonals and the knight on the kingside is deadly. For example, capturing the queen with 27…Bxc3 fails at 28.Bxc3+ Qg7 29.Nf7+ and 29…Rxf7 immediately loses at 30.Rxe8+ Rf8 31.Rxf8#

Jones went for 27…Rxe1+ and after 28.Rxe1 h6 Gukesh found another forced variation that gave him an immediate win: 29.Qxg7+ Qxg7 30.Ke7

Black cannot capture the bishop because of 31.Rh7#. Jones threw in the towel. It was a brilliant victory for the young Indian, who was also the winning team’s top scorer at Linares.

Gukesh Dommaraju

A future world champion? Gukesh Dommaraju

Final ranking

Full results and pairings at

Crew Match Indiana Reg. Com.
1 CA Solvay 11.0 28 2574 CNT
2 DuoBeniajan Costa Calida de Monzon 9.0 25 2617 MU
3 Magic Extremadura 9.0 23 2576 EXT
4 Andreu Paterna 9.0 22 2610 VAL
5 CA Silla 60 Anniversary 8.0 22 2651 VAL
6 CA Jaime Casas 6.0 20 2566 macaw
seven Hotel Sestao Naval 4.0 18 2556 after-sales service
8 EC Barcelona 0.0 ten 2330 CAT

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