Antonio Fernandes wins again!

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GM Fernandes wins 14th Portuguese title!

antoniofernandes

Congratulations to Antonio Fernandes for winning his 14th Portuguese national championship this weekend in Lisbon. The 52-year old grandmaster (and member of the Portuguese national team since the 1970’s) scored an undefeated 7 points out of 9-games. Youngster Jorge Ferreira finished half a point behind, a score equalled by Jose Padeiro, whose performance merited an IM-norm.  Congrats to all three gentlemen.

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Antonio and I go back a long time (we first played at the Dubai Oplympiad in 1986).  One of the most competitive players I have ever met, Antonio is in his element when he has just seconds on the clock and a dozen moves to make to reach time control! Anyone who would think that Antonio could be run off the clock would be making a fatal mistake…the Portuguese champion is also an incredible blitz-player!

When my wife learned of Antonio’s recent victory in the national championship, she good-naturedly remarked ”What a shame Portuguese chess is!  How can a 52-year old win against players thirty years his junior?”  Antonio and my wife Aida go back even longer than the 29 years that I have known him…and I know for certain that Antonio would not take my wife’s remark negatively. HOWEVER, she has a point: Portuguese chess is still dominated by the older generation! The youngest grandmaster in the country, Luis Galego, will turn 50 years old next year!

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Luis Galego

Things might change in the near future as Jorge Ferreira, a youngster in his early 20’s, already has one gm-norm under his belt and should win the title sometime next year. Never the less, one would be justified in asking what has gone wrong in Portuguese-chess these past 20-years.  Portugal’s neighbour, Spain, has seen chess grow enormously and today is a powerhouse compared to what it was 20-years ago…

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Silva,Luis

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gm  Fernandes,A

Black had just played 28…f5, trying to shake off White’s pressure and grab a square or two for his Knight (29.Qh4 Nd6!).  Fernandes thought about 20 seconds before ripping off the f-pawn, sacrificing his Bishop on d4:

29.Qxf5! RxB

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WHAT DID BLACK OVERLOOK?

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