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2010 Bilbao Masters preview

10/8/2010 – Though you may barely have caught your breath after all the chess from the Olympiads, brace yourself as the Third Masters Final starts tomorrow, featuring world number one Carlsen, World Champion Anand, and the qualifiers from Shanghai: Kramnik, and Shirov, in the highest-rated event in history. The opening ceremony took place today with the drawing of lots. Read the preview.
 

Bilbao Masters 2010

The 2010 Masters Final takes place from October 9th to October 15th in Bilbao, Spain. It is a six-round double round-robin event.

Time control: 90 minutes/40 moves + 60 minutes + 10 seconds/move as of move 41.

Game start: 4:30 PM local time (2:30 PM GMT - 10:30 AM New York / 7:30 AM Pacific daylight).

Rest day: Tuesday, October 12th.

Everything is in place in Bilbao for the hosting of the Third Masters Final, which will be played from October 9th to 15th starting at 4:30 PM local time (8h30 AM New York / 5h30 AM Pacific daylight).

The Masters Final is played exclusively by the winners 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, the Pearl Spring Tournament of Nanjing, China, and the Kings Tournament of Bazna, Romania, which was included this year into the Grand Slam as a substitute of MTel Masters, Sofia, Bulgaria, as Sofia was focused on hosting the World Championship.


The official tournament poster.

Since the original concept had been slightly skewered by a certain Norwegian player winning three of the four events in 2009, a preliminary event was organized in Shanghai, in collaboration with the Chinese Chess Association, inviting four players based on varying sports merits.

The four players who participated in the first stage in Shanghai were: Wang Hao, as best Chinese player (20th ranked); Alexei Shírov, as best Spanish player (9th ranked); Levon Aronian, as winner of the Final Chess Masters 2009 (5th ranked); and Vladimir Kramnik, as fourth ranked in the world ranking.

Shirov and Kramnik both qualified after placing first and second respectively in the preliminaries held in Shanghai from September 3 to 8. Shirov had run away with the six-round event, while Kramnik tied with Aronian, subsequently outlasting him in the Armageddon blitz tie-breaker.

Shanghai preliminaries:

The top two Shanghai qualifiers, Shirov and Kramnik, will play in Bilbao along with Magnus Carlsen, winner of the tournaments of Wijk aan Zee, Nanjing and Bazna, and current number one of the world; and Viswanathan Anand, current World Champion (3rd ranked). Among the best players of the world, only Veselin Topalov, winner of Linares and world number two, missed the Final due to personal reasons.


The players posing for a picture with the mayor of Bilbao. From left to right: Kramnik,
Carlsen, mayor Iñaki Azkuna, Shirov, and Anand.

As a result of the average rating of the four players, the event is a category 22 event and the highest rated in history.

The time control is 90 minutes in 40 moves plus 60 minutes with a 10-second increment per move as of move 41. The Sofia rules are used, meaning the players can only draw after consulting the arbiter, who in turn will recourse to a technical assistant. The scoring system used is the Bilbao system, which like football (soccer) competitions scores three points for a win, one point for a draw, and zero points for a loss. In the event of a tie at the end, the tie-break system used will be two blitz games played at four minutes each with a three-second increment per move, and if still drawn, a final Armageddon blitz game with five minutes for white and four for black, but a draw is counted as a win for black.


Mayor of Bilbao, Iñaki Azkuna, shakes the hand of Magnus Carlsen in the opening
ceremony.

The lots have already been drawn and the pairings posted. The first round will feature Kramnik-Carlsen and Shirov-Anand.

Watching the games

It goes without saying that although the options to watch the games live are wide and varied, we invite you to watch them at no cost on Playchess, enjoying the software's new options to display multiple boards at the same time. If you aren't already one, consider becoming a Premium member and enjoy the simuls, lectures, and live commentary among other perks.

Schedule

Round 1: Saturday, 9th October 2010

Vladimir Kramnik 
 Magnus Carlsen
Alexei Shirov 
 Viswanathan Anand

Round 2: Sunday, 10th October 2010

Magnus Carlsen 
 Viswanathan Anand
Vladimir Kramnik 
 Alexei Shirov

Round 3: Monday, 11th October 2010

Alexei Shirov 
 Magnus Carlsen
Viswanathan Anand 
 Vladimir Kramnik

Round 4: Wednesday, 13th October 2010

Magnus Carlsen 
 Vladimir Kramnik
Viswanathan Anand 
 Alexei Shirov

Round 5: Thursday, 14th October 2010

Magnus Carlsen 
 Alexei Shirov
Vladimir Kramnik 
 Viswanathan Anand

Round 6: Friday, 15th October 2010

Viswanathan Anand 
 Magnus Carlsen
Alexei Shirov 
 Vladimir Kramnik


Sponsors and organisers

Links

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