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4th Final Masters 2011 (10 and Playoff)

Carlsen beats Ivanchuk in blitz playoff to take Bilbao title

Winner Magnus Carlsen. Photo ©

Winner Magnus Carlsen. Photo © |

Magnus Carlsen dominated the Bilbao half of the 4th Final Masters and finished level with Vassily Ivanchuk who played so well in the first half. Carlsen would have won the event with a normal scoring system but won anyhow after defeating Ivanchuk in a blitz playoff. Earlier he had a relatively comfortable draw as black against Nakamura. Ivanchuk drew with Aronian in a quiet game. A motivated Viswanathan Anand beat Francisco Vallejo Pons. All but Vallejo move on to the Tal Memorial starting 16th November. Rd10 Final Standings: Carlsen, Ivanchuk 15pts, Nakamura, Aronian, Anand 12pts, Vallejo 10pts. Blitz play-off Carlsen 1.5-0.5 Ivanchuk.

Bilbao Roundup

Prize Giving

Prize Giving. Photo © Bilbao Final Masters Website

Magnus Carlsen took a deserved first place by beating Vassily Ivanchuk in a blitz playoff. Carlsen would have taken clear first place with 6/10 without the three points for a win but otherwise the final table looks exactly the same it would have without this scoring system. Carlsen scored 2.5/3 before winning the blitz playoff. After a slow start he looked more and more impressive towards the end.

So happy to have won the tournament in the end, I always believed I would come back. And many thanks to all who supported me!

Magnus Carlsen on Twitter

Vassily Ivanchuk also played a fine tournament but his play was more uneven. the mugging in Sao Paulo can't have helped but also Ivanchuk has had a very busy recent schedule and I would be surprised if he was not really very tired. Nevertheless he added so much to this event given the disappointing nature of some of the other performances.

Hikaru Nakamura will be very disappointed with his final result but there are clear signs that the changes he decided to make to his game after winning in Wijk aan Zee at the start of the year are beginning to work. It was a brave decision, not to play the US Championships, the probable work he is doing with Garry Kasparov, the change in opening repertoire. All of which takes time to work but the signs are all there this is the correct direction. It will be interesting to see what happens in Moscow and London later in the year.

Levon Aronian was below par almost throughout. His win against Viswanathan Anand was one of the few bright spots. He has had his ups and downs in his career and hopefully he will be better in Moscow.

Viswanathan Anand has done it all, he has had a stellar tournament career and it is clear that the title of World Champion is now his priority, as with so many other champions of the past. That said I think he will be a little embarrassed by his performance here and he should at least be sharper and better motivated for the Tal Memorial. All but Vallejo from this event will also play in Moscow which is just a stellar field. For example the lowest rated player is the fantastically talented Ian Nepomniachtchi and although his rating will have risen by then the 2nd lowest at the moment is Peter Svidler who won the Russian Championship and the World Cup! Anand will have to play better than here to avoid some real pain.

As for Francisco Vallejo Pons I doubt very much he enjoyed the challenge of playing this event very much where he was targeted every round. He's a good and very strong professional but the other players here were different class. With the luck he had he managed to avoid losing too many rating points but these tournaments can be bruising and take quite some time to recover from.

All but Vallejo play go on to the Tal Memorial in Moscow next month and then the following month only Vassily Ivanchuk doesn't make the trip to the London Chess Classic. So there is a little series of battles being set up amongst the leading players.

Bilbao Round 10 Games

Hikaru Nakamura draw Magnus Carlsen

Hikaru Nakamura against Magnus Carlsen

Hikaru Nakamura against Magnus Carlsen. Photo © Bilbao Final Masters Website

Hikaru Nakamura couldn't make progress against the classic Queen's Gambit Declined Tartakower-Makagonov-Bondarevsky System against Magnus Carlsen. The choice of many world champions Carlsen gave it his own twist playing quite boldy and securing a draw in 43 accurate moves.

Nakamura,Hikaru (2753) - Carlsen,Magnus (2823) [D59]
4th Final Masters Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP (10), 11.10.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 0-0 7.e3 b6 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.Nxd5 exd5 11.Qb3 Be6 12.Rc1 Rc8 13.Bd3 c5 14.Qa3 Kf8

[14...Nd7 15.0-0 Kf8 16.dxc5 bxc5 17.e4 d4 18.b3 a5 19.Qa4 Qd6 20.Rc2 Nb6 21.Qa3 a4 22.Qb2 axb3 23.axb3 Rcb8 24.Rfc1 Na4 25.Qb1 Rxb3 26.Qa1 Rxd3 0-1 Gajdzica,M (2044)-Jakubowski,J (2208)/Mielo POL 2005/The Week in Chess 558]

15.dxc5 bxc5 16.Bb5 Nd7 17.Bxd7 Bxd7 18.0-0 a5 19.Rfd1 Be6 20.Rc3 a4 21.h3 Rab8 22.Rd2 Rb4 23.Rdc2 c4!?

Bold, you have to be right about this.

24.b3 axb3 25.axb3 Rbb8 26.Qxe7+ Kxe7 27.bxc4 Rxc4 28.Nd2 Rxc3 29.Rxc3 d4!

Magnus Carlsen


Hikaru Nakamura

Position after 29...d4!

Again Carlsen takes the bold decision that leads to the quickest draw. He doesn't want to defend passively.

30.exd4 Rb4 31.Rd3 Kd6 32.Nf3 Bd5 33.Kh2 Be4 34.Ra3 f6 35.Ra6+ Ke7 36.Ra7+ Kf8 37.Rd7 Bc6 38.Rd6 Bxf3 39.gxf3

and the drawn position is reached very efficiently.

39...Ke7 40.Rd5 Ke6 41.Rd8 Ke7 42.Rd5 Ke6 43.Rd8 Ke7 1/2-1/2

Vassily Ivanchuk draw Levon Aronian

Vassily Ivanchuk made no progress against Levon Aronian in a Berlin Ruy Lopez in a game that would have been drawn much earlier if it hadn't been for the Sofia rules.

Ivanchuk,Vassily (2765) - Aronian,Levon (2807) [C67]
4th Final Masters Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP (10), 11.10.2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.Re1 Nd6 6.Nxe5 Be7 7.Bf1 Nf5 8.Nf3 0-0 9.d4 d5 10.g3 Re8 11.c3

[11.Nc3 Be6 12.Ne2 g5 13.c3 Ng7 14.Bg2 f6 15.Nd2 Qd7 16.Nf1 Bf8 17.h4 gxh4 18.Nf4 Bf7 19.Rxe8 Rxe8 20.Ne3 hxg3 21.fxg3 Kh8 22.Nexd5 Qd6 23.Bd2 Ne7 24.Nxe7 Rxe7 25.Qf3 c6 26.a3 Re8 27.Rf1 Qd8 28.b4 Bd6 29.Rf2 Rg8 30.Qd3 Bxf4 31.Bxf4 Bd5 32.c4 Bxg2 33.Kxg2 Qd7 34.d5 Nh5 35.Qf3 Rg4 36.Bb8 Rg5 37.dxc6 bxc6 38.Re2 Kg7 39.c5 Kg6 40.Bd6 Ng7 41.Re7 Qc8 42.Qe4+ Nf5 43.Re8 Qd7 44.Rg8+ Kh6 45.Bf8+ 1-0 Baklan,V (2655)-Buhmann,R (2603)/Graz AUT 2010/The Week in Chess 793]

11...Bf8 12.Rxe8 Qxe8 13.Bf4 Bd6 14.Bxd6 Nxd6 15.Nbd2 Be6 16.Qb3 Na5 17.Qa3 Nac4 18.Nxc4 Nxc4 19.Qb3 Qc6 20.Bg2 Re8 21.Re1 Bc8 22.Qc2 Rxe1+ 23.Nxe1 Qe8 24.Nf3 c6 25.Bf1 h6 26.Nd2 Nxd2 27.Qxd2 Bf5 28.f3 g5 29.Kf2 f6 30.Qe3 Qh5 31.Qe7

Levon Aronian


Vassily Ivanchuk

Position after 31.Qe7

The players have been looking for a way to draw this game for some time now. This is it.

31...Qxh2+ 32.Bg2 Bh3 33.Qe8+ Kg7 34.Qe7+ Kg8 35.Qe8+ 1/2-1/2

Viswanathan Anand 1-0 Francisco Vallejo Pons

Round 10 stage

Round 10 stage. Photo © Bilbao Final Masters Website

Anand was clearly extremely motivated not to finish last and completed a double (his only wins) against Francisco Vallejo Pons which allowed him to catch Nakamura and Aronian and save at least some face. He had to work hard in a double edged position to get his win and complete a double over Vallejo, his only two wins of the event.

Anand,Viswanathan (2817) - Vallejo Pons,Francisco (2716) [D10]
4th Final Masters Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP (10), 11.10.2011

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 dxc4 4.e4 b5 5.a4 b4 6.Nce2 Ba6 7.Nf3 e6 8.Ng3 c5

[8...Nd7; 8...Nf6]





10.Bf4 exd5 11.Qxd5 Qxd5 12.exd5 Nh6 13.0-0-0 0-0 14.Bxh6 gxh6 15.Nf5 Bf6 16.Nxh6+ Kg7 17.Nf5+ Kg6 18.g4 c3 19.bxc3 bxc3 20.Bxa6 Nxa6 21.d6 h5 22.Ne7+ Kh7 23.Rd5 Nb4 24.Rxh5+ Kg7 25.Nf5+ Kg8 26.g5 Bd4 27.Rg1 Rab8 28.g6 Nd3+ 29.Kc2 Nf4 30.N3xd4 cxd4 31.Rh8+ Kxh8 32.g7+ Kg8

Francisco Vallejo Pons


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 32.g7+

[32...Kh7 33.gxf8Q Rb2+ 34.Kd1 Rb1+ 35.Kc2 Rb2+; 32...Kh7 33.gxf8N+! Rxf8 34.Nxd4 Rc8 35.Rb1 a6 36.Rb7]

33.gxf8Q+ Kxf8 34.Nxd4 Nd5 35.Nb5 Rc8 36.Rg4 a5 37.Nc7 Nxc7 38.Rc4 Ke8 39.dxc7 1-0

Blitz Playoff

Winner Magnus Carlsen

Winner Magnus Carlsen. Photo © Bilbao Final Masters Website

The blitz play-off was delayed until the local TV station cameras arrived. There was a segment (with a distracting moving camera during play!) on that I saw on the internet. The time control was 2x 4 minutes + 3 seconds per move.

Game 1 Magnus Carlsen 1/2 Vassily Ivanchuk. An interesting Nimzo Indian Classical Variation. At first it seemed Carlsen had the advantage but once he grabbed the exchange Ivanchuk eventually took over the initiative and Ivanchuk got Knight and 4 pawns vs Rook and 1 pawn. However it was hard to win and in the end the game finished with rook vs knight and a draw.

Vassily Ivanchuk


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 55.Kxg3

55. Kxg3 Nf5+ 56. Kf4 Nd4 57. Rb2 Ne6+ 58. Ke5 Kg7 59. Ra2 g5 60. Rxa5 Kg6 61. Ra8 Kg7 62. b4 Nf4 63. Kf5 Ne6 64. Rc8 g4 65. Kxg4 Kf6 66. Kf3 Ke5 67. Ke3 Kd5 68. Kd3 f5 69. Rh8 Nf4+ 70. Ke3 Ke5 71. b5 Ne6 72. Kd3 Kd5 73. Kc3 Kc5 74. Re8 Nf4 75. Re5+ Nd5+ 76. Kd3 c6 77. bxc6 Kxc6 78. Rxf5 Kd6 79. Ke4 1/2-1/2

Vassily Ivanchuk realises he is lost against Magnus Carlsen in the 2nd blitz game

Vassily Ivanchuk realises he is lost against Magnus Carlsen in the 2nd blitz game. Photo © Bilbao Final Masters Website

Game 2 Vassily Ivanchuk 0-1 Magnus Carlsen. Carlsen did well out of the opening which was an unusual Ruy Lopez Berlin Defence and broke through on the kingside to win in 39 moves.

Ivanchuk,Vassily (2765) - Carlsen,Magnus (2823) [C65]
4th Final Master Playoff Bilbao ESP (2), 11.10.2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.Be3 Qe7 6.Bxc6 bxc6 7.Bxc5 Qxc5 8.Nc3 0-0 9.0-0 Rb8 10.Qd2 Qe7 11.b3 c5

[11...d6 12.Ne2 Nh5 13.d4 f5 14.dxe5 fxe4 15.Nfd4 Bb7 16.exd6 cxd6 17.c4 Qe5 18.Rad1 Rbe8 19.Nc2 Re6 20.Ne3 Rg6 21.Qd4 Qe7 22.Qxa7 Ra8 23.Qd4 Rxa2 24.Rd2 Rxd2 25.Qxd2 Bc8 26.Ra1 h6 27.b4 Kh7 28.b5 Qb7 29.Rb1 d5 30.cxd5 cxb5 31.Qb4 Nf6 32.Qxb5 Qxb5 33.Rxb5 Rg5 34.Nc3 Kg6 35.Rb8 Bd7 36.Kf1 Kf7 37.Ke2 Ke7 38.h4 Rh5 39.g3 Kd6 40.Rb6+ Kc5 41.Rxf6 gxf6 42.Nxe4+ Kd4 43.Nxf6 Bb5+ 44.Kf3 Re5 45.Kf4 Re7 46.Nf5+ 1-0 Korneev,O (2562)-Pastor Alonso de Prado,E (2199)/Madrid ESP 2010/The Week in Chess 832]

12.h3 d6 13.Nh2 Nh5 14.Nd5 Qd8 15.Rae1 Be6 16.Nc3 f5 17.exf5 Bxf5 18.f3 Bg6 19.Rf2 Qh4 20.Nd5 Rf7 21.Qc3 c6 22.Ne3 Nf4 23.Qd2 Rbf8 24.Nd1 h5 25.Nc3 Bf5 26.Ne2 Ne6 27.Qe3 Rf6 28.Kh1 Rg6 29.Rg1 Nc7 30.Rgf1 Nd5 31.Qd2 Rgf6

Magnus Carlsen


Vassily Ivanchuk

Position after 31...Rgf6


[32.f4 e4 33.dxe4 Bxe4 34.c4 Nb6 35.Nf3 Bxf3 36.Rxf3 Forcing black back.]

32...Nf4 33.Ne4 Rg6 34.Rg1


34...Qd8 35.Nf1

White's position is very difficult and black soon finishes him off.

35...Qe7 36.Nfg3 d5 37.Nxf5 Rxf5 38.Nc3 Qh4 39.Kh2 Qg3+ 0-1

Note there are three points for a win and one for a draw.

4th Final Masters Sao Paulo/Bilbao (BRA/ESP), 26 ix-11 x 2011 cat. XXII (2780)
1 2 3 4 5 6
1. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2823 * * 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 1 15 2843
2. Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2765 0 0 * * ½ 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 0 15 2819
3. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2753 ½ ½ ½ 0 * * ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 0 12 2785
4. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2807 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 * * ½ 1 1 ½ 12 2774
5. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2817 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 * * 1 1 12 2772
6. Vallejo Pons, Francisco g ESP 2716 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 ½ 0 0 * * 10 2683
Round 10 (October 11, 2011)
Ivanchuk, Vassily - Aronian, Levon ½-½ 35 C67 Ruy Lopez Berlin
Nakamura, Hikaru - Carlsen, Magnus ½-½ 43 D59 Queens Gambit Tartakover
Anand, Viswanathan - Vallejo Pons, Francisco 1-0 39 D10 Slav Defence

Standard crosstable

4th Final Masters Sao Paulo/Bilbao (BRA/ESP), 26 ix-11 x 2011 cat. XXII (2780)
1 2 3 4 5 6
1. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2823 * * 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 1 6 2843
2. Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2765 0 0 * * ½ 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 0 2819
3. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2753 ½ ½ ½ 0 * * ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 0 5 2785
4. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2807 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 * * ½ 1 1 ½ 5 2774
5. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2817 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 * * 1 1 5 2772
6. Vallejo Pons, Francisco g ESP 2716 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 ½ 0 0 * * 2683
4th Final Masters Playoff Bilbao
Carlsen, Magnus - Ivanchuk, Vassily ½-½ 79 E21 Nimzo Indian 4.Nf3
Ivanchuk, Vassily - Carlsen, Magnus 0-1 39 C65 Ruy Lopez Berlin
4th Final Masters Playoff Bilbao (ESP), 11 Oct 2011
Name Ti NAT Rtng 1 2 Total Perf
Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2823 ½ 1 2958
Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2765 ½ 0 ½ 2630

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