Savins Puertas holds onto underwater chess title in Spain

Motril, Spain, Aug 30 (EFE).- Savins Puertas on Tuesday won the Underwater Chess Tournament for the second time off Carchuna Beach, in Motril, Spain, a competition that included just one match between two players some 50 meters (yards) from shore and at a depth of about five meters.

Emerging victorious in the tourney, which was not held for the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, was Savins Puertas, who defeated fellow Spaniard Jorge Fernandez Montoro, the winner of the unusual competition on five previous occasions and who replaced Peruvian international chess master Ivan Vazquez Tello at the last minute.

The match lasted about 25 minutes and included about 50 moves in all. It was dominated from the start by Fernandez Montoro, playing black, but despite that Puertas managed to secure the win by astute play in the final stretch.

Visibility was good underwater and the crystalline waters off the Granada coast enabled spectators to easily follow the match from above the ocean surface wearing simple diving goggles or even from a boat.

To participate in the tournament, the chess players had needed to undergo diver training, and the event was supervised by the Calahonda Diving School, which provided coverage of the match all day long and stood by in case any problems arose to disrupt – or endanger – the players.

Savins Puertas, who won the National “Young Computer Researchers” Award, had come to Motril from England specifically to compete in the tourney. In England, he is doing postdoctoral research with the University of Sheffield’s Chemoinformatics Research Group.

The chess event, which is in its seventh year, will be included on Spain’s national sports calendar and organizers are considering whether to open it to more participants, according to what Alvaro Garcia, the manager of the Don Cactus campground, which sponsored the event, told EFE.

EFE pfm/agr/bp

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