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5th Final Masters Sao Paulo Bilbao 2012 (5)

Aronian blows winning chances leaving Caruana in control of 5th Final Masters

Fabiano Caruana somehow found a way to draw against Levon Aronian in Round 5. Photo © Albert Silver.

Fabiano Caruana somehow found a way to draw against Levon Aronian in Round 5. Photo © Albert Silver. |

Levon Aronian blew the chance to close Fabiano Caruana's lead to a point after he failed to exploit a completely winning advantage before the event moves to Bilbao for the second half starting on the 8th October. Aronian outplayed Caruana in complications after the opening had gone reasonably well for Caruana. Possibly the whole plan with 22...g5 was wrong as it led to a wrecked kingside structure which was exploited later on. However just before move 40 Aronian missed a direct win with 40.Re1 and then with 55.h6+ he miscalculated completely giving up a pawn totally unnecessarily after which the game was drawn. A tough defensive display from Caruana and a fantastic escape. The other two games were drawn with Viswanathan Anand drawing with Magnus Carlsen after getting nothing with white. Sergey Karjakin tried to win a favourable rook ending against Francisco Vallejo Pons but his advantage was not enough. 1st Caruana 11 points, 2nd Aronian 7 points, 3rd Carlsen 6 points, 4th Anand 5 points 5th-6th Vallejo and Karjakin 3 points. (3 pts for a win, 1 for a draw)

Levon Aronian should have defeated Fabiano Caruana bringing the runaway leader back towards the field and setting up an exciting second half to the event. Caruana seemed to be doing fine but got lost in complications in the middlegame and ended up with a shattered pawn structure on the kingide after which his position was just lost. However at move 40 Aronian missed a win with 40.Re1 and then later his 55.h6+ clearly based on a miscalculation threw away the final winning chance.

Aronian,Levon (2816) - Caruana,Fabiano (2773) [A04]
5th Final Masters Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP (5), 29.09.2012

1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.e3 Nf6 4.Nc3 g6 5.d4 cxd4 6.exd4 d5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Qb3 e6 9.Bb5 Bg7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Bxc6

[11.Rd1 Nce7 12.Bd3 b6 13.Nxd5 Nxd5 14.Bg5 Qd6 15.Bh4 Bb7 1/2-1/2 Vukic,M (2483)-Kosic,D (2519)/Budva SCG 2004/ The Week in Chess 515]

11...bxc6 12.Na4 Ba6 13.Re1 Nb6 14.Nc5 Bc4 15.Qc3 Bd5 16.Ne5 Qh4 17.b3 Rfe8 18.f3 f6 19.Ng4 h5 20.Nf2 f5 21.Bb2 Rad8 22.Qe3 g5

[22...Nd7 may have been the better option.]

23.g3 f4 24.Qxe6+!

Fabiano Caruana


Levon Aronian

Position after 24.Qxe6+!

24...Rxe6 25.gxh4 Rg6


26.Nh3 gxh4+

A discovered check but these split pawns are dreadul liabilities later on.

27.Kf2 Rf6?!

[27...Bf7 seeking counterplay.]


Fabiano Caruana


Levon Aronian

Position after 28.Re5

Now suddenly white is very close to winning as black has wrecked his pawns.

28...Nd7 29.Nxd7


29...Rxd7 30.Rg1 Rff7 31.Ba3 Rd8 32.Bc5 a5 33.Rxh5 Re8 34.Rxh4 Re3 35.Ng5

Black's position is just desparate.

35...Rc3 36.Ke2 Rd7 37.Kd2 Rxc5 38.dxc5 Bxb3+ 39.Kc1 Bxa2

Fabiano Caruana


Levon Aronian

Position after 39...Bxa2


This makes life a little bit more difficult for white.

[40.Re1 Rd8 41.Rg4]

40...Rb7 41.Nc3 Bb3 42.Rxf4 a4

Now white has to be accurate. Aronian took some time here.

43.Nxa4 Kh7 44.Rxg7+ Rxg7 45. Kb2 Bd5 46. Nb6 Be6 47. Kc3 Rg5 48. Kb4 Kg7 49. Nc4 Rg1 50. Ne3 Rc1 51. h4 Kg6 52. Ng4 Bd5 53. Ne5+ Kg7 54. h5 Re1 55. h6+?

Fabiano Caruana


Levon Aronian

Position after 55.h6+?

55.Ng4 and white continues playing for a win. Now the position is drawn with best play.

Kxh6 56. Rf5 Kg7 57. f4 Rb1+ 58. Kc3 Rb3+ 59. Kd4 Rb4+ 60. Ke3 Rb3+ 61. Kf2 Rc3 62. Nd7 Kg6 63. Rf8 Ra3 64. Nb6 Be4 65. Ke2 Bf5 66. Rd8 Be4 67. Nc4 Rc3 68. Rd4 Bd5 69. Ne5+ Kf5 70. Nd7 Be6 71. Kd2 Rf3 72. Nb8 Bd5 73. Na6 Rxf4 1/2-1/2

Players on stage

Players on stage. Photo © Albert Silver.

World Champion Viswanathan Anand didn't get anything against Magnus Carlsen's old main line of the Queen's Indian in fact if anything black was the one looking for more. However in the end Carlsen didn't have enough to win against such an experienced opponent. Unlike Gelfand in London Anand hasn't shown any exciting preparation from his recent World Title and really hasn't even managed to put his opponents under any pressure. Perhaps Anand should have closed the centre with d5 at some point.

Magnus Carlsen


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 29.Bf3. Carlsen might have tried Nd7 instead of exchanging Queens.

29. Bf3 Qc5 30. Qxc5 Rxc5 31. Na4 Rc7 32. Nxb6 Bxe4 33. Kg2 Rb8 34. Na4 d5 35. cxd5 Bxf3+ 36. Kxf3 Nxd5 37. Nf4 Nxf4 38. gxf4 Rb5 39. Nb2 Rf5 40. Nc4 g5 41. Rd4 Kg7 42. Rg1 Bc5 43. Re4 Kf6 44. Rxg5 Rxg5 45. fxg5+ Kxg5 46. Ne3 Ba7 47. Rc4 Rxc4 48. Nxc4 Kf6 49. b4 e5 50. a4 Ke6 51. b5 e4+ 52. Kxe4 axb5 53. axb5 Bxf2 54. b6 f5+ 55. Kf3 Bxb6 56. Nxb6 f4 57. Nd5 Kxd5 58. Kxf4 Draw

Group photo with players, organisers and commentators

Group photo with players, organisers and commentators.

Sergey Karjakin got a slightly advantageous ending against Francisco Vallejo Pons out of a Berlin Defence but the Rook ending was held with best play by the Spaniard.

Sergey Karjakin


Francisco Vallejo Pons

Position after 40...Kf3

Black has the more active pieces but it didn't prove enough for a win for Karjakin.

40. Rg5 Kf3 41. Kg1 Rc6 42. Kh2 Kf4 43. b5 Rc2+ 44. Kh3 Rc3+ 45. Kh2 Rxb3 46. Rxg6 Rxb5 47. Rc6 Rb2+ 48. Kh3 Rb3+ 49. Kh2 Rb7 50. Rc5 Kg4 51. Rc4+ Kf3 52. Rc5 Kg4 53. Rc4+ Kf3 54. Rc5 Kg4 55. Rc4+ 1/2-1/2

5th Final Masters Bilbao ESP (ESP), 24 ix-13 x 2012 cat. XXII (2781)
1 2 3 4 5 6
1. Caruana, Fabiano g ITA 2773 * * ½ . 1 . ½ . 1 . 1 . 11 3022
2. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2816 ½ . * * ½ . ½ . ½ . 1 . 7 2846
3. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2843 0 . ½ . * * ½ . 1 . ½ . 6 2768
4. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2780 ½ . ½ . ½ . * * ½ . ½ . 5 2781
5. Vallejo Pons, Francisco g ESP 2697 0 . ½ . 0 . ½ . * * ½ . 3 2649
6. Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2778 0 . 0 . ½ . ½ . ½ . * * 3 2632

Round 5 (September 29, 2012)
Aronian, Levon - Caruana, Fabiano ½-½ 73 A04 Dutch System
Anand, Viswanathan - Carlsen, Magnus ½-½ 58 E18 Queens Indian
Vallejo Pons, Francisco - Karjakin, Sergey ½-½ 55 C65 Ruy Lopez Berlin

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