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Portal Independiente de Información Financiera

Miércoles, 19 de Febrero de 2020



The penultimate day of the Magistral aroused several illustrious visitors, all of them specialized both in chess history and in the journalism of major tournaments. Time and place deserved it.


If we add tothis the debut of our best chess player in the Leonese chess history, JaimeSantos, the day was a flurry of activities in which players from various partsof Spain crowded the rooms of the Palace of Music. Their goal was manifold: totake part in chessopen for both children and adults; to follow the games on-line;or to listen to the succulent but precise comments by grandmaster Illescas andhis wife Olga Alexandrova, who constantly show us the rich ins and outs ofignote chess positions unknown for the mortal man.

Several hoursbefore the start, tension was almost a physical thing in the hall. Sión -always sharing the ubiquitous location power with the Patron of Chess, theAvila’s Saint – was seen on stage taking care of every minute logictics detail,and answering the hundreds of correspondents, both national and international,who wanted to know first-hand what’s going on in León. We can of course add to thatthe responsibility to seeing his pupil Jaime Santos psyching up to avoid amental traumatism in his initiation, a tournament in which he has always dreamtof to taking part.

Two Englishspecialists in the Caissa’s game told me that if they had all the artistic and patrimonialchess wealth in their island as we have in León, along with a native playerwith a grandmaster rank and all of the activities and support this city offersto chess, they would clearly turn the Magistral into a stellar tournament. Ireplied that stars came to León on their own: one who does not play in theMagistral will never become part of the history; all other players are naturalresources that our land has to offer - and we are very proud of them indeed –so the Magistral is and will forever be the best tournament within itsspecialty, even better than the ones played in the rest of continents. And Inoted that they also could take part in this adventure, if they dare, by tellingtheir fellows what we do here. They looked at me suspiciously and bade mefarewell to look for Leontxo, exhausted by the hot journey we took through theBierzo few hoursbefore in order to entrust ourselves to Saint Genadio and see the holy bishop’schessmen, who will be soon appointed Patron of all chessplayers. Leontxo, underpressure by the tremendous deployment of activities demanded by the work of coveringmore than twenty information media, could scarcely respond their questions.

The poet, chess-ologist, researcher andscholar of chess evolution, Eduardo Scala, walked tirelessly up and down the Auditorium hall explaining everybody close to him howbadly the Staunton Chess set was used along nearly two hundred years ofhistory. In this set, the best-known chessmen model, rooks were blatantlydisproporcionate in size with regard to the rest of pieces. Eduardo the goodmantried hard to explain that one could not play chess comfortably due to theheight differences, but now, thanks to his new design, chess reached for a newdimension. And by stretching his hand out over a dream chess board, he showedthe accurate chessmen he devised. A lesson of chess culture in motion.

The great investigator and mathematician JavierCordero expressed his delight at such deployment of activities, and proudlyshowed his lastest book about those chess players who never became championsbut that they had a special place in history.

From the back of the hall came the faint applause ofthe Leonese fans who roared when Jaime and the Chinese titan Wei-Yi ended thematch in a draw for the third time. Jaime, in a game devoided of hang-ups,treated him equally, although it ended up in the nick of time. The Chineseplayer left him against the wall just once. It was an admirable achievement forour grandmaster and a pride for Leonese people, and especially for his trainer,driving force and Pigmalion: Marcelino Sión.

Translatedby Maikel A. Nepomuceno