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Bilbao Masters Final 2010 (5)

Kramnik draws with Anand to lead going into the final round

Alexei Shirov lost to Magnus Carlsen. Photo © Fred Lucas.

Alexei Shirov lost to Magnus Carlsen. Photo © Fred Lucas. |

Vladimir Kramnik played it safe and drew against Viswanathan Anand protecting his lead going into the final round. Magnus Carlsen finally won a game beating Alexei Shirov in a Ruy Lopez. Report from the official bulletin. Additional photos from Fred Lucas who has a nice gallery of photos from Bilbao at:

Magnus Carlsen finally won a game. Photo © Fred Lucas 2010

A draw between Kramnik and Anand keeps the final result open going into the final days play. With just a 2-point difference between them, either could win the Masters Final in the final round on Friday.

In today's other game, Carlsen finally won a game, defeating Shirov

The president of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) Kalmykia's Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, visited the tournament.

Results of day five of the 3rd Grand Slam Chess Masters Final. Bilbao, Thursday October 14th:

Kramnik (Russia) - Anand (India) 1-1. 37 moves, 1 hour 40 minutes of play.

Carlsen (Norway) - Shírov (Spain) 3-0. 65 moves, 3 hours 45 minutes of play

Magnus Carlsen and Alexei Shirov. Photo © Fred Lucas 2010

The winner 3rd Grand Slam Chess Masters Final will be decided on the last day. The draw between Kramnik and Anand today, Thursday, leaves the result still up for grabs and succeed 2009 Champion Levon Aronian. Anand, playing today as black, was able to keep in touch by drawing, while Kramnik could not guarantee himself first place, which he would have achieved had he won today. For his part, Carlsen walked away with victory against Shirov, making it three days he has gone without losing, after drawing Monday and Wednesday's marathon games.

Andoni Madariaga, Coordinator of the Final Chess Masters, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of the World Chess Federation (FIDE), and Javier Ochoa, President of the Spanish Chess Federation. Photo © 2010

Today the Masters Final was attended by FIDE President, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who met with tournament organizers and officially opened the day's play, along with Spanish Chess Federation President, Javier Ochoa.

Anand and Kramnik after their game. Photo © Fred Lucas 2010

In the first game the tournament's top two players faced off. Vladimir Kramnik played as white, showing enviable form, while playing with black was World Champion Anand who has had hiccups throughout the tournament. A victory today for Kramnik would have assured victory in this Final. The game began with one of the most critical and complex variations, the Vienna variation of the Queen's Gambit. Kramnik, most likely due to his favourable position in the competition, opted for line based on a light spatial advantage in the centre. Kramnik mobilised his central pawns to gain space in the centre and on the king's side, regrouping his pieces accordingly, while Anand played his own game on the queen's side. In the most tense move, Kramnik chose to exchange two pawns which lead almost inevitably to a dead drawn endgame, with bishops of opposite colours.

Magnus Carlsen finally won a game, against Alexei Shirov. Photo © Fred Lucas 2010

In the second game, current world number one, Magnus Carlsen, went up against the ever-creative Alexei Shirov with the white pieces. In the game Alexei played one of his specialties, the Moller variation of the Spanish opening. Carlsen tried an unconventianal play, based on placing a knight deep in the heart of the enemy position on the rook's file, which was effective in distracting all of the enemy pieces in the centre, where he was able to dominate. Shirov tried to take advantage of white's coordination problems and animate the a7 knight. However, Magnus easily countered this and used his superiority in the centre to launch a devastating attack against the black king, from which Alexei was only able to emerge with great loss of material. The endgame came down to a situation of a queen against a rook and a knight, with Shirov unsuccessfully trying to create a fortress. Magnus won his first victoy in the Grand Slam Final, recovering some of the ELO points he has lost and moving into third place.

Grand Slam Final Masters Bilbao (ESP), 2010.10.09 - 2010.09.15
Round 5 Standings:
Name Ti FED Elo + = - Pts Gms
Kramnik, Vladimir GM RUS 2780 2 3 0 9 5
Anand, Viswanathan GM IND 2800 1 4 0 7 5
Carlsen, Magnus GM NOR 2826 1 2 2 5 5
Shirov, Alexei GM ESP 2749 0 3 2 3 5

Stuart Conquest playing the the blitz open. Photo © Fred Lucas 2010

The points system of the Grand Slam Masters Final is 3 points for each win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss, a system known as the "Bilbao rules".

The pairings for tomorrow, Friday 15th the sixth and last day of the tournament are: Anand-Carlsen and Shirov-Kramnik.

Report Bilbao, October 14, 2010

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