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4th Final Masters 2011 (6)

Ivanchuk nears decisive lead after beating Nakamura in mad time scramble

Vassily Ivanchuk wins again in round 6. Photo ©

Vassily Ivanchuk wins again in round 6. Photo © |

Vassily Ivanchuk brushed aside his mugging at gunpoint in Sao Paulo to play and beat Hikaru Nakamura in the first round in Bilbao (Round 6 altogether) of the 4th Final Masters. Both players got incredibly short of time having only a few minutes each for the decisive part of the game, the final 18 moves. I don't think this was at all the right way to handle the clock. He now has a 6 point lead with just four rounds to go, an almost decisive advantage. Levon Aronian's provocative play didn't lead to anything against Francisco Vallejo Pons who traded pieces to a draw. Concern has been expressed about Magnus Carlsen's recent biteless opening repertoire, at the age of 20 I don't think it is remotely a problem yet that he chooses to play like this, but certainly he never got enough to trouble World Champion Viswanathan Anand today.

Vassily Ivanchuk made light of the serious incident where he was robbed at gunpoint in Sao Paulo. Ivanchuk saw no point in postponing the game in an interview in Russian with

The organizers of the 2011 Grand Slam Masters Final Sao Paulo-Bilbao wish to thank Ukrainian player Vasily Ivanchuk, provisional leader of the tournament, for his efforts, and his complete and utter willingness to resume the tournament today in Bilbao, after the unpleasant incident of which both he and his wife were victims in Sao Paulo and which detained them in Brazil too long to arrange their arrival to Spain. His efforts and those of the Final’s organizers finally paid off yesterday as he is already in the Biscayan capital to begin playing this afternoon in the second round of the tournament, one of the foremost in the world.

The organisers expressed their gratitude to Ivanchuk for his professional attitude.

When it came to the game Vassily Ivanchuk won a completely bonkers Sicilian against Hikaru Nakamura. After the game Nakamura blamed the fast time control for the loss (about 20 minutes shorter than the normal FIDE one), but there was no need to get into the desperate time trouble he did, you accept you can't play perfectly, ration the clock properly and make the best decisions you can. This faster time rate to promote more decisive games may become more prevalent. Leaving a few minutes for 18 moves or so as both players did is quite nuts.

Vassily Ivanchuk

Vassily Ivanchuk. Photo © Bilbao Final Masters Website

The game was an unusual Sicilian where Ivanchuk went straight for the king, and probably it will turn out that Nakamura went wrong pretty early on as 20.Rff3 looks better than Ivanchuk's choice.

With the draws in the other games Ivanchuk has a huge lead on 13 points compared to 7 points for the rest of the field except Vallejo. It is very hard to see any way he can be caught now with four rounds to go.

Not upset about losing today's game, but if time controls leading to these absurd blunders are more important than quality...!/GMHikaru

Ivanchuk,Vassily (2765) - Nakamura,Hikaru (2753) [B43]
4th Final Masters Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP (6), 06.10.2011

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Bd3 Nf6 7.f4 Bb4 8.Nb3

Already the players are going their own way.

[8.0-0 Bc5 (8...d6 9.Kh1 Bxc3 10.bxc3 Nbd7 11.Qe1 b6 12.c4 Bb7 13.Nb3 e5 14.a4 Qc6 15.fxe5 dxe5 16.a5 Nxe4 17.Bxe4 Qxe4 18.Qf2 Qxc4 19.axb6 Qe6 20.Na5 Be4 21.Ba3 Rc8 22.b7 Rxc2 23.Qa7 Bxg2+ 24.Kg1 f6 25.Rf2 Rxf2 0-1 Nedev,T (2505)-Gonzalez Zamora,J (2564)/Khanty Mansiysk 2010/CBM 139) 9.Be3 d6 10.Kh1 Nc6 11.e5 dxe5 12.Ndb5 axb5 13.Bxc5 Nd4 14.fxe5 Qxc5 15.exf6 Qe5 16.Qg4 g6 17.Rae1 Qc5 18.Qf4 Nf5 19.Nxb5 Ra5 20.b4 1-0 Ramesh,R (2415)-Kunte,A (2345)/Kasaragod 1996]

8...Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 d6 10.Ba3 0-0 11.Qd2 Rd8 12.0-0 Nc6 13.Rf3 b5 14.Rg3 Kh8 15.Rf1 Bb7 16.f5 Rg8 17.Qg5 e5 18.Qh4 Ne7 19.Rh3 d5

Hikaru Nakamura


Vassily Ivanchuk

Position after 19...d5


[20.Rff3 Looks interesting too. 20...Rgd8 21.Rfg3 Neg8 22.Qg5 Ne8 23.Bf8 f6 24.Qg6]

20...dxe4 21.Bxe4 Bd5 22.g4!

Hikaru Nakamura


Vassily Ivanchuk

Position after 22.g4

Already both players were down to their last few minutes. I think Nakamura had the less time.

22...h6 23.g5 Nh7 24.f6 Ng6 25.fxg7+

[25.Bxg6 fxg6 26.Rd3]

25...Rxg7 26.Qxh6 Rd8 27.Bxg6 fxg6 28.Rf6 Qc8 29.Rh4 Bf7 30.Nd3 Kg8

With almost no time left even the world's best bullet chess player blunders.



Hikaru Nakamura


Vassily Ivanchuk

Position after 31.Bd6!

The only winning move and Ivanchuk finds it.

31...e4 32.Be5 Rd5 33.Rc6! Qf8

Hikaru Nakamura


Vassily Ivanchuk

Position after 33...Qf8


Having found the last it seems strange that Ivanchuk didn't continue the deflection theme with the immediately decisive:

[34.Rc8 Rxe5 (34...Qxc8 35.Qxg7#) 35.Rxf8+ Kxf8 36.Nxe5 wins.]

34...Qxg7 35.Rxe4 Rxg5+

The best chance.


This position has swung wildly out of control but sadly for Nakamura there is still one completely winning move for Ivanchuk.

36...Nxg5 37.Rc8+ Be8 38.Rcxe8+ Kh7 39.Rh4+ 1-0

Levon Aronian probably felt justified in playing provocatively against Francisco Vallejo Pons who is stuck in the basement with only three points, and he was gifted at least two of those by Magnus Carlsen. Vallejo traded into a completely level ending for his first draw of the event.

Vallejo Pons,Francisco (2716) - Aronian,Levon (2807) [D02]
4th Final Masters Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP (6), 06.10.2011

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 c5 3.c4 dxc4 4.e4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Bd7 6.Bxc4 Nc6 7.Qe3 e6 8.0-0 Qb8

Levon Aronian


Francisco Vallejo Pons

Position after 8...Qb8

A novelty and it is pretty provocative.

[8...Qc7 9.Nc3 Ne5 10.Be2 Nxf3+ 11.Qxf3 Bd6 12.Nb5 Bxb5 13.Bxb5+ Kf8 14.Bd2 Bxh2+ 15.Kh1 Bd6 16.Rac1 Qe7 17.g3 g6 18.Rfd1 Qf6 19.Bh6+ Ke7 20.Rc7+ Bxc7 21.Qa3+ 1-0 Ushenina,A (2486)-Krivec,J (2315)/Ljubljana SLO 2007/The Week in Chess 684]

9.b3 Ne5 10.Bb2 Bd6 11.Nbd2 Nf6 12.Qg5 Ng6 13.Bxf6

[13.e5 h6 14.Qg3 Bc7 15.Rfd1 0-0]

13...h6 14.Qa5 Bc7 15.Qc5 Bd6 16.Qa5 Bc7 17.Qh5 gxf6 18.Bb5 Bxb5 19.Qxb5+ Kf8 20.Rad1 Kg7 21.Nc4 h5 22.Rd7 a6 23.Qb4 b5 24.Nd6 Bxd6 25.Rxd6 Qc7 26.Rfd1 Rad8 27.g3 h4 28.Rxd8 Rxd8 29.Rxd8 Qxd8 30.Qd4 Qc8 31.Nxh4 Nxh4 32.gxh4 Qc2 33.e5 fxe5 34.Qxe5+ Kh7 35.Qh5+ Kg7 36.Qg5+ Kh7 37.Qh5+ Kg7 38.Qg5+ Kh7 39.Qh5+ 1/2-1/2

The battle between World Number one Magnus Carlsen and World Champion Anand was balanced throughout

The battle between World Number one Magnus Carlsen and World Champion Anand was balanced throughout. Photo © Bilbao Final Masters Website

Magnus Carlsen tries to squeeze some points out of some pretty dry positions but in spite of maintaining some kind of miniscule edge he was never going to win from this position against the World Champion Viswanathan Anand.

Viswanathan Anand


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 19...gxf6

20. Rfd1 Na4 21. Rab1 Rfd8 22. Bb5 Bc6 23. Be2 Bd5 24. Nf1 Be6 25. Ne3 f5 26. g3 Kg7 27. Kf2 Kf6 28. Ba6 Rb8 29. b4 Nc3 30. Rxd8 Rxd8 31. Rc1 Nd5 32. Ng2 Rd7 33. Rc2 Rc7 34. Ne3 Rxc2+ 35. Nxc2 f4 36. Nd4 Bd7 37. Ke2 fxg3 38. hxg3 Ne7 39. Ke3 Nf5+ 40. Nxf5 Kxf5 41. Kd4 Ke6 42. Bc4+ Ke7 43. f4 f6 44. Bd5 Kd6 45. Bf3 Be6 46. Ba8 Bf5 47. Bf3 Be6 48. Ba8 Bf5 49. Bf3 Be6 1/2-1/2

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. Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2765 * * 0 . ½ 1 1 . 1 . 1 . 13 2971
2. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2823 1 . * * ½ . ½ ½ ½ . 0 . 7 2779
3. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2753 ½ 0 ½ . * * ½ . ½ . 1 . 7 2782
4. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2817 0 . ½ ½ ½ . * * ½ . 1 . 7 2781
5. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2807 0 . ½ . ½ . ½ . * * 1 ½ 7 2765
6. Vallejo Pons, Francisco g ESP 2716 0 . 1 . 0 . 0 . 0 ½ * * 4 2602

Round 6 (October 6, 2011)
Ivanchuk, Vassily - Nakamura, Hikaru 1-0 39 B43 Sicilian Paulsen
Carlsen, Magnus - Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ 49 E21 Nimzo Indian 4.Nf3
Vallejo Pons, Francisco - Aronian, Levon ½-½ 39 D02 Queen's Pawn Game

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