Grandmaster Txelu Fernández, 69, a Basque resident in the Canary Islands for more than half of his life, picked up the silver medal last November at the +65 World Championships five months after the death of a son. Now he repeats place on the podium of the European in Acqui Terme (Italy) by worse tiebreaker than the same champion, the English John Nunn. Another Spaniard, the Catalan international master José Antonio Lacasa, 50, who has never been a professional player, takes bronze in the +50 category.
If you only look at his last game of this European you can think that Fernández has been very lucky, although to say this is very rare in chess: his rival, the German Matthias Kierzek, left a clean rook in winning position. However, the analysis of his nine games (undefeated, five wins and four draws) leads to very different conclusions, which he summarizes as follows: "If I get very self-critical, I have not played well at all. But Víctor Vehí [another of the Spanish participants] says that it is not that I am lucky but that I mess up the games a lot and I take better advantage of the mistakes of my rivals than they take mine. "
And he specifies: "Above all, I have never rushed time, despite the fact that I have played several games of more than 60 moves. I'd rather assume mistakes or inaccuracies than see that I have only a few minutes left on the clock. My openings were very prepared. I have always tried to change the checkers as soon as possible because I play the endings much better than the tactical positions or with initiative.
He also recalls something that lessens the need to lash out: "I almost won two games that ended in draws, the first and the eighth." In addition, he faced the four who tied with him finally to seven points, and with the sixth: he drew with Nunn and the Slovakian Lubomir Ftacnik (bronze), as well as the German Wolfgang Poster (5th); and won another Englishman, Terry Chapman (4th) and the Swedish Nils-Gustaf Renman (6th).
José Antonio Lacasa fought for gold in the last round with the well-known Romanian grandmaster Zurab Sturua, who – after the tie between the two – is the champion by better tiebreaker than six others with 6.5 points. Lacasa was born in Vilanova i la Geltrú (Barcelona) in 1973. Computer scientist and entrepreneur, he has never been a professional player despite having achieved the status of international master. They have also finished undefeated, with four wins and five draws.
There is a third triumphant Spaniard, the Balearic Tomás Serra, born in 1944, 13th in +65, who has taken the 2nd special prize for those over 75. The first has been for a living legend, the Georgian Nona Gaprindashvili, 82, former world champion, heroine in her country and winner not long ago of a lawsuit against Netflix because in the successful series Queen's Gambit it is erroneously stated that she is Russian and that she has never played against men.
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