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4th Final Masters 2011 (1)

Aronian defeats Vallejo to jump to early lead in Sao Paulo

The clash of Anand and Carlsen turned out to be a damp squib drawn after just 90 minutes of a Berlin Ruy Lopez. Photo ©

The clash of Anand and Carlsen turned out to be a damp squib drawn after just 90 minutes of a Berlin Ruy Lopez. Photo © | http://www.bilbaomastersfinal.com

Levon Aronian took an early lead (3 pts for a win) in the first round of the 4th Final Masters which started in Sao Paulo on Monday 26th September and will finish in Bilbao. Aronian defeated Francisco Vallejo Pons with a typically energetic performance which looked like it would end much earlier than it did. Aronian looked almost certain to break through to Vallejo's King but in the end had to settle for an overwhelming ending. A very nice game worth playing through. World Champion Viswanathan Anand got nothing against World Number One Magnus Carlsen in a Berlin Defence which was drawn in 28 moves. It was a similar story for Hikaru Nakamura against Vassily Ivanchuk in an unusual d-pawn opening which again was drawn in 28 moves. Nakamura did not deny he was now working with Kasparov according to the press release. Carlsen refused to comment on recent stories about his split with Kasparov. Rd2 Pairs: Ivanchuk-Vallejo, Carlsen-Aronian and Nakamura-Anand at 7pm UK time on Tuesday.

Aronian against Vallajo

Aronian against Vallajo. Photo © Bilbao Final Masters Website

Levon Aronian took the lead with a very interesting win against Francisco Vallejo Pons on the white side of a Slav Defence. In the line 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 dxc4 Aronian went for fast development and an initiative and in the following position could have gone materialistic:

Francisco Vallejo Pons

r_q__rk_
p____pp_
b__Rp__p
__n_P___
P_p_____
_____N__
BPQ__PPP
___R__K_

Levon Aronian

Position after 22...Nc5

with 23. Bxc4 Bxc4 24. Qxc4. White has a much better position and an extra pawn. It is hard to disagree with Aronian's feeling that there should be much more but Vallejo defended very well even after having to play 10 moves in a minute to get to move 40. However "well" only extended the game, and at first time control white had a winning ending as he had 5 pawns for a piece which required some GM accuracy but no more:

Francisco Vallejo Pons

_r_____k
R_______
________
____P_P_
P_p_b___
________
_P___PP_
______K_

Levon Aronian

Position after 40...Rb8

41. f3 Bf5 42. Rc7 Be6 43. Rc6 Bg8 44. f4 Rxb2 45. e6 Re2 46. f5 Re5 47. g4 Re4 48. Kf2 Rxg4 49. e7 Bf7 50. g6 Kg7 51. gxf7 Kxf7 52. Re6 Ke8 53. f6 1-0

White against Aronian next. Aronian got lost on his way to the cube today, I'll try to make him get lost in the complications tomorrow

Magnus Carlsen on Twitter

Audience on day 1

Audience on day 1. Photo © Bilbao Final Masters Website

World Champion Viswanathan Anand got nothing against Magnus Carlsen's Berlin Defence and there was a sterile bishops of opposite colours ending when the draw was agreed on move 28 after 90 minutes play.

Hikaru Nakamura didn't manage to get an advantage against Vassily Ivanchuk. The game started 1. d4 e6 2. c4 Bb4+ 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. a3 Be7 5. e4 d5 6. e5. Starting with move 16 pieces were traded off very quickly and in the final position on move 28 the double rook ending is totally drawn. Play lasted about 2 hours.

4th Final Masters Sao Paulo/Bilbao (BRA/ESP), 26 ix-11 x 2011 cat. XXII (2780)
1 2 3 4 5 6
1. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2807 * * . . . . . . . . 1 . 3
2. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2817 . . * * ½ . . . . . . . 1 2823
3. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2823 . . ½ . * * . . . . . . 1 2817
4. Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2765 . . . . . . * * ½ . . . 1 2753
5. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2753 . . . . . . ½ . * * . . 1 2765
6. Vallejo Pons, Francisco g ESP 2716 0 . . . . . . . . . * * 0
Round 1 (September 26, 2011)
Aronian, Levon - Vallejo Pons, Francisco 1-0 53 D10 Slav Defence
Anand, Viswanathan - Carlsen, Magnus ½-½ 28 C67 Ruy Lopez Berlin
Nakamura, Hikaru - Ivanchuk, Vassily ½-½ 28 A40 Unusual Replies to 1.d4

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