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4th Final Masters 2011 (8)

Nakamura and Carlsen close on Ivanchuk after Rd8 wins in Bilbao

Carlsen was in determined mood and eventually beat Vallejo in Round 8. Photo ©

Carlsen was in determined mood and eventually beat Vallejo in Round 8. Photo © |

The 8th Round of the 4th Final Masters in Bilbao saw Nakamura and Carlsen get within one win of the leader Ivanchuk (who drew). Hikaru Nakamura won a complex struggle against Levon Aronian outplaying him on the run up to the first time control from a position that Aronian should surely have held. Magnus Carlsen knew that he had to beat tail-ender Francisco Vallejo Pons to get into contention and he did so after his opponent completely equalised out of the opening. Vallejo eventually dropped a piece to a small combination. Vassily Ivanchuk and Viswanathan Anand played out a solid draw in a Queen's Indian. Standings going into the final rest day: Round 8 Standings: Ivanchuk 14pts, Carlsen/Nakamura 11, Anand 9, Aronian 8, Vallejo 7. Round 9 15:30pm on Monday: Carlsen-Ivanchuk which is obviously key for both their chances. Vallejo-Nakamura (again Vallejo will face an opponent who will be determined to take all the points) and Aronian-Anand.

Hikaru Nakamura 1-0 Levon Aronian

Hikaru Nakamura won a strange game against Levon Aronian to move within a win of the leader Vassily Ivanchuk. I don't think either had the position prepared in advance because some convincing computer suggestions came through for both players on move 13 that look better than the game. The position remained very complicated and it seems that Aronian made a number of errors on the run up to the first time control and by move 40 he was lost. Nakamura made no mistake in converting the position.

Not the best game ever, but I still found a way to win an endgame in true Karpovian fashion. Two more chances to try and catch Ivanchuk!!/GMHikaru

Nakamura,Hikaru (2753) - Aronian,Levon (2807) [D31]
4th Final Masters Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP (8.1), 08.10.2011

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bf4 c6 6.e3 Bf5 7.g4 Be6 8.h4 Nd7 9.h5 Nh6 10.Be2 Nb6 11.Nh3 g5 12.hxg6

[12.Bg3 has been played before.]

12...hxg6 13.Bg3?!

Levon Aronian


Hikaru Nakamura

Position after 13.Bg3?!

A dubious novelty. There is good reason to believe that neither player had this position on their board as preparation as computers seem to have some improvements for white and black on this move and the next. Not unless there is some terribly deep idea involved.

Played before:

[13.f3 Bh4+ 14.Nf2 (14.Kd2 g5 15.Bh2 Qe7 16.Rc1 f5 17.gxf5 Nxf5 18.Be5 Rf8 19.Qg1 Nd7 20.Bh2 Nxd4 21.exd4 Bxh3 22.Bg3 Be6 23.Bxh4 gxh4 24.Qg6+ Bf7 25.Qh6 0-0-0 26.Rxh4 Kb8 27.Kc2 Rg8 28.Kb1 Bg6+ 29.Ka1 Nb6 30.Rg4 Bf7 31.Rcg1 Rh8 32.Qf4+ Qc7 33.Qf6 Rhe8 34.Rg7 Rd7 35.f4 a6 36.a3 Ka7 37.Rh1 Re6 38.Qf5 Nc8 39.Rxf7 Rxf7 40.Qxe6 Rxf4 41.Rh8 Nb6 42.Qe3 Rf7 43.Re8 Nc8 44.Bd3 1-0 Strelnikov,S (2334)-Amanov,Z (2382)/Elista RUS 2008/The Week in Chess 726) 14...g5 15.Bh2 Qe7 16.Qc2 (16.e4 dxe4 17.fxe4 Nc4 18.Bxc4 Nxg4 19.Bg3 Nxf2 20.Bxf2 Bxf2+ 21.Kxf2 Rxh1 22.Qxh1 Qf6+ 23.Ke1 Bxc4 24.e5 Qg7 25.Ne4 0-0-0 26.Nd6+ Rxd6 27.exd6 Qxd4 28.Qh3+ Be6 29.Qh6 Qe5+ 0-1 Turov,M (2563)-Vaganian,R (2662)/Moscow RUS 2002/The Week in Chess 379) 16...f5 17.Be5 Rf8 18.0-0-0 Nf7 19.gxf5 Bxf2 20.fxe6 Bxe3+ 21.Kb1 Nxe5 22.dxe5 Qxe6 23.Bf1 g4 24.fxg4 0-0-0 25.Rh5 Rf2 26.Qh7 Rdf8 27.Rf5 R2xf5 28.gxf5 Qxe5 29.f6 Bd4 30.Bh3+ Kb8 0-1 Onischuk,A (2658)-Lputian,S (2607)/Poikovsky RUS 2001;

But there is also an interesting computer suggestion.

13.Be5 f6 14.Nf4 Bf7 15.Qc2 could have been tried by Nakamura if he'd prepared this line beforehand.]


13...Nxg4! looks the best here which is another computer suggestion 14.Bxg4 Qd7 15.f3 f5 16.Bxf5 Bxf5. If this opening had been prepared in advance this would have been picked up by the players.

14.Nf4 0-0-0 15.Nxe6 Qxe6 16.Rg1 Bd6 17.Qc2 Bxg3 18.Rxg3 f5 19.0-0-0 Nxg4 20.Bxg4 fxg4 21.Rdg1 Rh4 22.Qe2 Rf8 23.Nd1!

A tricky move in a position where white is in danger of being worse.

23...Rf4 24.Kd2

Played instantly.

24...Nc4+ 25.Ke1 Rf3 26.Rxf3 gxf3 27.Qxf3 Qf5 28.Qg3!?

[28.Qxf5+ gxf5 29.Ke2 Nd6 30.Nc3 f4 31.Rg6 Kd7 32.Na4 fxe3 33.Nc5+ Kc7 34.fxe3 Rh2+ with a draw.]

28...Rh6 29.b3 Nb6 30.Qg4 Nd7


31.Qxf5 gxf5 32.Nc3 Nf6 33.Ne2

Levon Aronian


Hikaru Nakamura

Position after 33.Ne2


[33...Ne4 34.f3 Nd6 looks more solid.]

34.Nf4 Rh2 35.Nd3 Kd8 36.b4 Ke7 37.a4 b6 38.Ke2 Kd6 39.Kf3 a5 40.bxa5 bxa5

Nakamura is probably already winning.

41.Kg3 Kc7 42.Rc1 Rh7 43.Kf4 Re7 44.Rc2 Re4+ 45.Kg5 Re8 46.Rb2 Rf8 47.Nc5 Kc8 48.Kf4 Rh8 49.f3 Nh2 50.Rf2

The knight doesn't get to escape.

50...Rh3 51.Nb3 Kc7 52.Nxa5 Kb6 53.Nb3 Ka6 54.Nc1

The knight comes across to win black's knight.

54...Ka5 55.Ne2 Kxa4 56.Ng1 Rh6 57.Kg3 Ng4 58.fxg4 fxg4

The rest is technique.

59.Rf5 Rh1 60.Kg2 Rh4 61.Ne2 Kb5 62.Nf4 Rh8 63.Kg3 Rg8 64.Re5 Kc4 65.Re6 Kb5 66.Re7 Kb4 67.Nd3+ Kc3 68.Ne5 c5 69.dxc5 d4 70.exd4 Kxd4 71.Nd7 Rd8 72.c6 Rc8 73.Re6 Rc7 74.Rd6+ Kc4 75.Kxg4 Kb5 76.Ne5 Rh7 77.Rd7 Rh8 78.Kf5 Kb6 79.Ke6 1-0

Magnus Carlsen 1-0 Francisco Vallejo Pons

Magnus Carlsen beat Francisco Vallejo Pons

Magnus Carlsen beat Francisco Vallejo Pons. Photo © Bilbao Final Masters Website

Magnus Carlsen came to the board determined to get all three points today. It must be getting a bit tiresome for Francisco Vallejo Pons but that's his fate in this event, even after his win against Ivanchuk. Vallejo appeared to have completely equalised out of the opening but probably didn't pick the most precise continuation. Then, probably in time trouble he dropped a piece to a three move combination after which Carlsen converted easily.

Carlsen,Magnus (2823) - Vallejo Pons,Francisco (2716) [D12]
4th Final Masters Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP (8.2), 08.10.2011

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Be4 7.f3 Bg6 8.Qb3 Qb6 9.Nxg6 hxg6

Magnus secures the two bishops in the hope of using them in the very long term.

10.Bd2 Bd6 11.h3 Nbd7 12.0-0-0 Qxb3 13.axb3 a6


14.Kc2 Nh5 15.Bd3 Ng3 16.Rhe1 0-0-0



[17.Ne2 Nxe2 18.Rxe2 Nf6 19.e4 Bg3 20.cxd5 cxd5 21.e5 Nh5 22.Ba5 Rde8 23.Kb1 Kd7 24.Rc2 Rc8 25.Rc3 Nf4 26.Bf1 f6 27.b4 Rxc3 28.bxc3 b5 29.Bb6 g5 30.exf6 gxf6 31.Kc2 Rb8 32.Bc5 Rc8 33.Ra1 Rc6 34.Ra2 e5 35.dxe5 fxe5 36.Kb3 Ke6 37.Rd2 Be1 38.Rd1 Bg3 39.Rd2 Kf6 40.Rd1 Ke6 1/2-1/2 Bocharov,D (2595)-Malakhov,V (2714)/Olginka RUS 2011/The Week in Chess 859; 17.Ra1 Nf6 18.Na4 Nd7 19.e4 dxe4 20.fxe4 e5 21.c5 Be7 22.b4 exd4 23.e5 Nf5 24.e6 fxe6 25.Rxe6 Bf6 26.Bf4 Rde8 27.Rxe8+ Rxe8 28.Kb3 Kd8 29.Nb6 Be5 30.Bg5+ Bf6 31.Bf4 Be5 1/2-1/2 Granda Zuniga,J (2609)-Hillarp Persson,T (2491)/Porto Mannu Palau ITA 2008/The Week in Chess 708]

17...dxe4 18.fxe4 c5 19.d5

[19.e5 and there is some danger white will be worse. 19...Bc7 20.Bf4 Nh5 21.Bg5 cxd4]

19...Rde8 20.Na2

White is already casting around for a way to keep this game complicated.

20...exd5 21.exd5

Francisco Vallejo Pons


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 21.exd5


Black is completely equal here but the plan he chooses whilst not bad is maybe not the best. Two alternatives:

[21...Rxe1 22.Bxe1 Re8 23.b4 Ne2; 21...Ne5 22.Nc1 Re7 23.Kb1 Nxd3 24.Nxd3 Ne4 25.Bc3 Nxc3+ 26.bxc3]

22.b4 Nd4+ 23.Kb1 Nb3 24.Bc3 cxb4 25.Nxb4 Be5 26.Na2 Bxc3


27.Nxc3 Ndc5 28.Rxe8+ Rxe8 29.Bc2

White's main advantage is the clumsy positioning of the knights.

29...Re3 30.Ka2 Na5 31.Rd4 Rg3

Setting himself up to blunder.

[31...b6 Sorting out a retreat for the knight and the game continues.]


Francisco Vallejo Pons


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 32.Ne4


Loses a piece.

[32...Nxe4 33.Bxe4 Nb3 34.Rd1 Nc5]

33.Rd2! Rxd2 34.Nxd2

Now black can't deal with dual threat of a fork on b4 and the fact that the a5 knight doesn't have a retreat square.

34...b5 35.b4 Nab7 36.bxc5 Nxc5 37.Ne4 Nb7 38.c5 f5 39.c6 fxe4 40.cxb7+ Kxb7 41.Bxe4

and white is winning.

41...Kc7 42.Kb3 a5 43.Kc3 a4 44.Bc2

Black is going to run out of moves.

44...g5 45.Kd4 Kd6 46.Bd1 1-0

Vassily Ivanchuk 1/2 Viswanathan Anand

Vassily Ivanchuk against Viswanthan Anand

Vassily Ivanchuk against Viswanthan Anand. Photo © Bilbao Final Masters Website

Vassily Ivanchuk drew with Viswanathan Anand in a manoeuvring game out of a Queen's Indian which was dead level after move 40.

Ivanchuk,Vassily (2765) - Anand,Viswanathan (2817) [E12]
4th Final Masters Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP (8.3), 08.10.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.Nc3 Bb7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 Be7 7.Qc2 c5 8.dxc5 bxc5 9.e3 0-0 10.Be2 d6 11.0-0 Nbd7 12.Rfd1 Qb6 13.Rd2 Rfd8 14.Rad1 a6 15.h3

[15.Ne1 Nf8 16.Bf3 Bxf3 17.Nxf3 Ng6 18.Bg3 Nh5 19.b3 1/2-1/2 Fressinet,L (2624)-Izoria,Z (2646)/Pamplona ESP 2005/The Week in Chess 582]

15...Bc6 16.Ne1 Qc7 17.Bf3 Ne5 18.Bxc6 Qxc6 19.b3 Ra7 20.Bg3 Qc8

An odd idea. There were a number of ways of meeting the threat to the e5 knight.

21.Na4 Re8 22.Bh4 Ned7 23.Nc3 Ra8 24.f4 Qc7 25.Nf3 Rad8 26.e4 Nb8 27.e5 dxe5 28.fxe5 Rxd2 29.Qxd2 Rd8 30.Qe1 Rxd1 31.Nxd1 Nh7 32.Bxe7 Qxe7 33.Nf2 Qc7 34.Ne4 Nf8 35.h4 Nbd7 36.Nf2 Ng6 37.Nd3 Ne7 38.Qe4 Qc6 39.Nf2 Qxe4 40.Nxe4 Nc6

Viswanathan Anand


Vassily Ivanchuk

Position after 40...Nc6

At the first time control the position is equal.

41.Kf2 Kf8 42.g4 Ke7 43.g5 a5 44.Ke3 Ncxe5 45.Nxe5 Nxe5 46.Nxc5 hxg5 47.hxg5 f5 48.gxf6+ gxf6 49.a3 f5 50.Kd4 Nc6+ 51.Kc3 Kd6 52.b4 axb4+ 53.axb4 e5 54.Nb3 e4 55.b5 Nd8 56.c5+ Kd5 57.Nd4 Kxc5 58.Nxf5 Nb7 1/2-1/2

Note there are three points for a win 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 ½ 1 . 1 0 14 2870
2. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2823 1 . * * ½ . ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 1 11 2817
3. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2753 ½ 0 ½ . * * ½ ½ ½ 1 1 . 11 2832
4. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2817 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ * * ½ . 1 . 9 2775
5. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2807 0 . ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ . * * 1 ½ 8 2727
6. Vallejo Pons, Francisco g ESP 2716 0 1 1 0 0 . 0 . 0 ½ * * 7 2654
Round 8 (October 8, 2011)
Ivanchuk, Vassily - Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ 58 E12 Queens Indian Petrosian
Carlsen, Magnus - Vallejo Pons, Francisco 1-0 46 D12 Slav Defence
Nakamura, Hikaru - Aronian, Levon 1-0 79 D31 Semi-Slav Defence

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