Grand Slam Chess Association
The Masters Final 2009 will be held in Bilbao from September 6th to 12th
The II Grand Slam Final Chess Masters 2009 will be held in Bilbao from September
6th to September 12th on the same stage that hosted the 2008 Bilbao Masters
Final. Therefore, the Bilbao Plaza Nueva (central square), in the heart of the
city, will again host the great glass cube that made it possible last year for
a tournament of such prestige to be played outdoors for the first time in the
The Masters Final 2009 is played exclusively by the four winning players of
the tournaments that, along with Bilbao, make up the Grand Slam Chess Association
and are among the best tournaments in the world: Corus Wijk aan Zee, Holland;
Ciudad de Linares, Spain; Mtel Masters, Sofia, Bulgaria; and the Pearl Spring
Tournament of Nanjing, China, this year incorporated into the Grand Slam.
The four chess players who will compete in the Bilbao Final are Sergey Karjakin,
the winner of Wijk ann Zee, Alexander Grischuk, winner of Ciudad de Linares,
Alexei Shirov, winner in Sofia, and Levon Aronian, second-place winner of Nanking
– since as Veselin Topalov, winner of Nanking, has refused the invitation
to play the Final.
For the Organizing Committee, along with institutions, sponsors and partners,
the international economic situation has been a determining factor to decide
that, in this Final, the budget and prizes must be tightened up in order to
be sensitive to the social effects derived from the crisis. This approach doesn’t
meet the expectations of Veselin Topalov, who also has valued the hardness of
the Final Masters. The World Championship that he will play is just around the
corner, and these factors have led him to refuse the invitation of the Grand
The organisers have confirmed that all those aspects which contributed to the
excellent results achieved in 2008 are all to be expected again this year as
well as the great turn-out that was witnessed both locally and internationally.
A varied programme of extra events, the “expert’s spot” commentary
and analysis area for all audiences to follow, big screens, live internet transmission,
the great glass cube and media representatives from every continent are all
also to be expected at the event. And, most importantly, the hosting of an elite
chess event outside, amongst the greater public.
The Masters Final supports interesting and novel rules in order to guarantee
a battle and spectacle in each game. The so called named “Sofia’s
Rule” which states that draw-offers will only be allowed by the Arbiter,
will be applied in this double round-robin tournament. The scoring system will
be once again similar to football scoring system: Players will get three points
for winning a game, one point for drawing and zero points for losing. This scoring
system was first applied in an elite chess tournament during the last Bilbao
Final Masters 2008, and is known as “Bilbao’s Rule”.
Alexei Shirov – Spanish nationality and born in Riga,
Latvia, in 1972. He is noted for his attacking style and he has pointed out
that aggressiveness is an essential feature of his playing mode. He has been
called “the last Romantic chess player”, or the “Leonardo
da Vinci” of chess, thanks to his creative approach along with the risks
he takes while playing. In 2000, Teheran, he reached the final of the FIDE World
Chess Championship, losing to Viswanathan Anand. In 2007 he played in the Chess
World Cup 2007, but he lost the final to Gata Kamsky.
International Chess Grandmaster Alexander Grischuk was born
in 1983 in Russia. Along with being a very talented young player, Grischuk is
also known as one of the best blitz chess players, having won the 2006 World
Blitz Championship in Israel.
Sergey Karjakin, born in Ukraine, January 12, 1990, holds
the record for the youngest grandmaster in history, achieving the title at the
age of twelve years and seven months. In 2004, at 14, he played in Bilbao in
the Man vs Machine World Team Championship. Karjakin was the only human to win
against a computer. In 2007 he played the Blindfold World Chess Cup again in
Bilbao. He is a very talented player who guarantees a splendorous future for
himself, not only for his great command of tactics but also for his gift for
strategy since the beginning of his career, a rare quality among children. It
is for this reason that the pools for future World Champion always include Karjakin.
Levon Aronian, born in Yerevan, Armenia, 1982. He is the only
player of this Final who took part last year in the first edition of the Final
Masters. He is a great chess luminary: at 26 he has already won the World Cup
and the Linares and Wijk aan Zee (twice) tournaments. That naturalness, his
universal style and belonging to a country where chess is the national passion,
as well as a balanced nervous system configure the 26 year-old Armenian Levon
Aronian as a very solid value. Prone to the high risk in his games, both organisers
and followers are fond of Aronian.
Bilbao, August 7th, 2009