The Fourth Chess Festival

This week the IV Chess Festival is being held in Salamanca. I have had the opportunity to moderate an interesting debate together with professors José Ramón Chaves and Antonio Arias, on the topic of “chess as a toolbox for economics and law.

I also had the pleasure of joining two colleagues from the University, on whom I would like to comment briefly. Both José Ramón Chaves and Antonio Arias have lived parallel lives but have met periodically like DNA waves. First at the University of Oviedo, then at the University of Salamanca and even in the high Asturian magistracies…

José Ramón Chaves – Magistrate specializing in administrative litigation.

After 3 years as a civil servant in the City Council of Mieres, he joined the University of Oviedo in 1988 as a technician (number 1), after three years there he was hired by the University of Salamanca as head of the Legal Services. After a few years in Salamanca and with a two-year interlude during which he worked as Director General of Universities of the Government of Asturias, he returned to the University of Salamanca again to the legal service from where he had graduated 20 years ago after passing a rigorous entrance exam to become a magistrate in administrative litigation, for which he also passed another challenging exam to become a “specialist” magistrate in this area. He has been working in the judicial field for the last 20 years, giving lectures and writing.

Every year he astonishes us with a couple of books. I would like to mention “Cómo piensa un juez” or “How a judge thinks” (a good choice for talking about chess) and “Derecho Administrativo vivo” or ” Living Administrative Law”, which has been published only a week ago.

On his blog,, thousands of lawyers have breakfast every day (yes, it has been broadcasting daily for years) and it has been on the Alexa ranking (which now belongs to Amazon) for more than 10 years in a row, considering it the most influential blog on law in the Spanish-speaking world. One day he told me that he was recognized by public officials at every airport and at every checkpoint. José Ramón, despite being a lawyer, is a great teacher of law, so much so that all of those who read or listen to him follow his judgment.

He also writes another blog,, which is more dynamic.

Returning to the subject at hand, José Ramón Chaves has been very fond of chess since he was a young man and even published some chess compositions in the local press.

Meanwhile, Antonio Arias, after 3 years as a civil servant in the City Council of Aviles, joined the same competition as José Ramón Chaves, as a technician in 1988.  He stayed there as auditor until 1999, when he joined the University of Salamanca as vice director and then director. He then returned to Asturias and in 2005 was appointed by the Asturian Parliament as Auditor, a position he held for 14 years. In 2019 he returned to the University as Head of the Administrative Organization Service.

In the field of chess, Antonio, was champion of Asturias Chess in 1978 and participated in many regional and national championships. In the 90s, he even organized three Prince of Asturias International Tournaments at the University of Oviedo, some of which brought together 500 fans from all over the world.

His blog, dedicated to the world of public auditing, is followed by all those in charge of public accounts (it is the only blog on this topic!).

All three of us are PhDs from the University of Salamanca and speaking of education, I am going to tell you about a pioneering project that fits perfectly in this toolbox that is chess.

Photo: Participants at the Chess Festival “Salamanca the Cradle of Modern Chess”


This MOOC (massive course) will introduce students to the exciting world of chess and will allow them to learn the basics of chess strategy and tactics from scratch. We have two top level authors who are working with us: Amador González de la Nava and Luis Sánchez Arévalo and the platform has been developed by Bisite Group

Speaking of chess, the qualities of chess as a pedagogical tool are widely recognized, which has led many Autonomous Communities to include it in their study plans. Its usefulness in social and therapeutic programs, as well as in the development of artificial intelligence, has also been proven. For all these reasons, an increasing number of people find a professional opportunity in chess.

Likewise, this course we will also focus on computational chess, as at a time when computer science is essential in education, there are different applications that are used in the teaching and practice of chess via the Internet.


Asynchronous training. Do it at any time!

  • This course is divided into 3 modules.
  • Introduction to Chess
  • Chess: Improvement
  • Chess: Advanced Level and Computer Tools.

In addition, all those who take these modules and pass them will be able to apply for the Bloc@ Diploma: Master in Chess and its tools – Advanced Chess Diploma.

  • The modules will be opened consecutively and will remain open throughout the duration of the course, so that the material can be reviewed. Similarly, students will be able to access the assessment tests at their convenience.
  • The content, which will be released primarily in video format, will remain available to enrollees throughout the training.
  • All students who follow the training program will receive a digital certificate of attendance from the University of Salamanca, free of charge. Those who wish to obtain a Diploma of Proficiency from the University of Salamanca may also request it in digital or printed format.

José Ramón, Antonio, thank you for sharing your experiences with us and for showing us so clearly that there is a relationship between law and chess and how both strengthen and complement each other.

Juan Manuel Corchado

Full Professor in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, Department of Computer Science and Automation, University of Salamanca, Spain.


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