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9th Bilbao Masters Final 2016 (9)

Carlsen defeats Giri to win Bilbao Masters with a round to spare

Carlsen and Giri towards the end of their game. Photo ©

Carlsen and Giri towards the end of their game. Photo © |

Magnus Carlsen finally managed to defeat Anish Giri in the 9th round of the Bilbao Masters and secure first place with a round to spare. Carlsen tried the London System against Giri but it didn't look like it worked as a surprise after Giri chose 2...Bf5 and looked to have equalised after only a few moves. Giri has been in "bad shape" according to his own description in this tournament and Carlsen started to "gamble a bit" and the position became complicated and objectively maybe even a bit better for Giri but with Carlsen being the one exerting the psychological pressure. Carlsen missed a relatively simple chance to win material (he looked shocked when Giri noticed it after the game) but had far more time on the run up to move 40 and Giri blundered with 37...Ra8? allowing 38.Nxf5 after which he was lost.

Giri said afterwards that someone who is in bad shape usually blunders something if their opponent puts pressure on the whole game and that seems fair enough.

After 5 and a half years of draws in classical chess Carlsen finally levels his score against Giri after losing their first game together at the Tata Steel tournament of 2011. Giri probably needs to go away and have a think and make some changes. He's been in a rut since the Candidates tournament.

Wei Yi vs Wesley So and Nakamura vs Karjakin were both drawn without a lot of incident.

Round 9 standings: 1 Carlsen 16pts (already secured first place) 2 Nakamura 11pts 3 Wei Yi 10pts 4 Wesley So 10pts 5 Karjakin 8pts 6 Giri 6pts

Final Round 10 pairings Saturday 23rd July 2pm UK time one hour earlier than the other rounds: Wesley So-Carlsen, Giri-Nakamura, Karjakin-Wei Yi

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