The chess player Francisco Vallejo Pons (1982) is a unique person: his is the story of a child touched by the gods, a prodigious individual to whom the heavens demanded and who, being usually among the top 100 in the world in his profession, always seems to owe us something. Although he was U-18 world champion in 2000 and had already been twice runner-up in the world age group championships, collectively he was not enough for us.
Of this man born in Mahón it is often said that he does not try hard (in comparison with other talents of the board), but I think that most people forget that at the age of 11 he decided to go to a boarding school, on the other side of Spain, without his family, to improve his chess. Vallejo, who this year we enjoy again in the Llobregat Open Chess, may appear somewhat frivolous under the spotlight, but in the short distances is deep, not in vain his nickname in the social network X is “@chessidarta”. Of course, Paco is sharp-tongued and a lively arguer, I advise against looking for his ticklish side.
Vallejo carries the creative chess flag. I admit that I am unable to judge the subtleties that give brilliance to his maneuvers, but with the same sincerity I will tell you that several world chess legends have told me about Paco’s creativity in amazing terms. Not in vain has he been five times absolute champion of Spain and silver medal at the second board in the 2010 Chess Olympiad, among many other merits. Special mention: he was ranked 18th in the world in 2005.
There is so much to say about this big man with a frank smile and a sympathetic look that I find it difficult to select specific facts. We will close this article with a beautiful victory of his against De Firmian and so, when we send him a WhatssApp, we will not care if he is in Tanzania or anywhere else on the planet, because we will always have a bit of him to reconcile us with chess.
By Jorge I. Aguadero Casado, Editor-in-Chief of Peón de Rey