Rapid chess tournament in Ávila

The 22nd Santa Teresa rapid tournament (Memorial Felix Garcia Ares) was held on the 24th of October in Ávila, Spain. It gathered at start 37 players who fought for the prizes over 8 rounds of 15 mins + 5 seconds/move time control. With 16 titled players and 10 rated over 2300, the tournament was far from easy.

Top seed was GM Julen Arizmendi (rated 2578) who finished the tournament undefeated, which brought him the champion crown.

GM Julen Arizmendi

GM Julen Arizmendi

Second place, with the same number of points (6 out of 8), but slightly worse tie-break was IM Renier Castellanos (rated 2470), who started as 5th seed.

IM Renier Castellanos

IM Renier Castellanos

The podium was completed by FM Cristian Aranda (rated 2382), who finished with the same number of points, and had a great tournament. His rating performance was 2543 and added an impressive 40 points to his ELO (which is not easy with such strong opponents).

FM Cristian Aranda

FM Cristian Aranda

Fun fact: in the end, the podium order was decided by only 0,5 points difference in the Bucholtz (the first tie-break) between the players.

The winners with their trophies together with the tournament organizers: Antonio Blázquez, president of Casa Social Católica Avila, Alejandro de la Orden, director of Equigoma and Pedro Antonio Galán, captain of team Equigoma Casa Social Católica Avila

The winners receivng their trophies from the tournament organizers: Antonio Blázquez, president of Casa Social Católica Avila, Alejandro de la Orden, director of Equigoma and Pedro Antonio Galán, captain of team Equigoma Casa Social Católica Avila

The last was round no less bloody and saw a few upsets:

The ThinkingSquares team got paired against each other for the first time in an official tournament

The ThinkingSquares team got paired against each other for the first time in an official tournament

FM Cristian Aranda managed to turn a worse position into a win against GM Orelvis Perez, one of the leaders of round 7

FM Cristian Aranda managed to turn a worse position into a win against GM Orelvis Perez, one of the leaders of round 7

All's well that ends well: Renier with his second place trophy and myself as best local player (as part of Equigoma team)

All’s well that ends well: Renier with his second place trophy and myself as best local player (as part of Equigoma team)

Even the schedule was a bit tight with all 8 rounds being played in one day, we made great use of our free time and went for a walk around the city.

Ávila, situated in the Castille and León community was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. The city is sometimes referred to as the Town of Stones and Saints and it’s easy to guess why. It is built on a rocky hill, surrounded by an impressive wall dating from the 11th century and was the homeland of Saint Teresa.

Impressive view over the Walls of Ávila

Impressive view over the Walls of Ávila

A famous religious landmark is the Four Posts (Los Cuatro Postes) where they say that the Saint was arrested when she was still a kid and, throwing away her sandals, she exclaimed: “From Ávila, not even the dust!”

Los Cuatro Postes

Los Cuatro Postes

Renier climbing the stairs to the city center

Renier climbing the stairs to the city center

Plaza de Ayuntamiento Ávila

Plaza de Ayuntamiento Ávila

El Ayuntamiento de Ávila

El Ayuntamiento de Ávila

Beautiful sunset over the Walls

Beautiful sunset over the Walls

Plaza de Santa Teresa with San Pedro church in the background

Plaza de Santa Teresa with San Pedro church in the background

Tribute to Santa Teresa. This year, the city celebrates 500 years from the Saint's birth

Tribute to Santa Teresa. This year, the city celebrates 500 years from the Saint’s birth

Delicious pastry shop

A delicious pastry shop

The quiet streets of Ávila

The quiet streets of Ávila

The Cathedral of Ávila

The Cathedral of Ávila

Busted! Paparazzi on the streets of Ávila

Busted! Paparazzi on the streets of Ávila

The Wall of Ávila, with Gate Alcazar in front

The Wall of Ávila, with Gate Alcazar in front

The Wall at night

The Wall at night

Los Cuatro Postes at night

Los Cuatro Postes at night

The sun rising from behind the city walls

The sun rising from behind the city walls

We had a great time in Ávila and we can’t wait to be back in this beautiful city. For more information about the tournament, you can check out the full results here or read this great report written by Pedro for ChessBase.

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