Mihai Suba, the wizard

During the days of 25th and 31st of July, Sueca, a small town of Valencia, celebrated the second edition of their International Open Ciutat de Sueca. The tournament was filled with the highest rated players in the community, but surely the main attraction (for me) was to see GM Mihai Suba playing again, like in the good old days.  Suba has always been one of my chess idols. His playing style, his fighting spirit is something that one can only admire and try to imitate. His passion for chess is quite contagious; he is always looking at the game with optimism and never giving a position for lost, characteristic for a true fighter.


Suba in action against IM Rufino Camarena. Photo by David Gutierrez.

Suba played some good chess in Sueca, losing only one game against the winner, (FM) Jaime Valmaña (2389) and drawing his last round. I particularly liked his game against (FM) Francisco Montoliu (2326) which is a very typical game of Suba. It has home preparation, audacity and tenacious defense. One of the main characteristics of Suba is his ability to defend when he is under attack. If he is up material, then it’s even better. He enjoys finding defensive resources and getting away with the goods.

In the game Montoliu – Suba, the Romanian Grandmaster employed a creative line against the Spanish opening: 3…Qe7!!??, a move he has played in a few occasions in the past with success. Suba has always been a Sicilian type, the king of Schveningen, but a wizard has his own tricks and ways to take his young adversary into unknown territory. Montoliu tried to punish such rare move by playing energetically in the center, but Suba was hardly frightened (he rarely is). He took everything he could and went on to sacrifice his queen in order to bail out from white’s attack. After 94 moves (!) of tense struggle, Montoliu resigned.


GM Mihai. Photo by David Gutierrez

Here is the game:

Curiously enough, it is not the first time Suba does this type of sacrifice. Almost 10 years ago, in a game against GM Constantin Lupulescu, he did the same thing and also obtained a reasonable position. See the game below:

In the final position black should not be worse after 20…Nc6.

I hope you have enjoyed these games as much as I did. For more interesting and inspiring battles feel free to replay more of Suba’s games in the database 🙂


Written by IM Renier Castellanos



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