Vallejo is the top Spanish player and at his best in dynamic positions, where he often comes up with deep and surprising solutions. He first learned the game from watching other family members play when he was 5, earned the grandmaster title at 16 and won the U18 World Championship in 2000. At the age of 19 he was thrown into the Linares 2002 supertournament and despite being by far the lowest-rated player he posted a strong performance, drawing his first seven games until he lost to Garry Kasparov in round 8.
Vallejo’s status in Spain saw him go on to play five more times in Linares and receive invitations for the 2011 and 2012 Bilbao Masters. Although he scored some notable scalps, for instance beating Magnus Carlsen, Vassily Ivanchuk and Hikaru Nakamura in 2011, he tended to suffer in those ultra-high-level events. One of his strengths – depth of calculation – can become an Achillee’s heel as he often ends up in time trouble against the world's best players. In 2012 he even (temporarily) announced his retirement after a particularly disheartening loss from a won position against Sergey Karjakin.
Outside of supertournaments Vallejo has twice won the Spanish Championship, and recently scored 5 wins, 6 draws and no losses to finish half a point below first place at both the 2011 and 2012 European Individual Championships. He crossed the 2600 rating mark as an 18-year-old and passed 2700 in 2009 after scoring 9/11 on second board for Spain at the Dresden Olympiad. His peak to date is 2724 and world no. 20 on the July 2011 rating list. As well as playing himself Vallejo has also worked as a second, most notably for Veselin Topalov in his World Championship matches.
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