Bilbao Grand Slam leg starts today

10/6/2011 – After an exciting first half in São Paulo, Brazil, the players have now settled down and, hopefully, adjusted to the five hours' time difference. Today is the first round of the second half in Bilbao, Spain. Top match: Magnus Carlsen vs Vishy Anand. Playchess will broadcast it all live. To get you in the mood here are pictures from the opening ceremony and some interesting video reports.

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The first leg of the Grand Slam was staged in São Paulo, Ibirapuera Park, from September 25th to October 1st, the second leg takes place in Bilbao, Alhóndiga, from 5th to 11th October. Tournament system: double round robin with six players over ten rounds. Time control: 90 minutes/40 moves + 30 minutes + 10 seconds/move starting with the first move. Games begin at 16:00h local Spanish time (10 a.m. New York, 18:00h Moscow). Here are the pairings for Thursday:

Round 6: Thursday, October 6, 16:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Hikaru Nakamura
Magnus Carlsen 
   Viswanathan Anand
Francisco Vallejo 
   Levon Aronian
GamesReport

Opening ceremony pictures


Five players in Bilbao – the sixth, Ivanchuk, is still working out the problems after the robbery


Girls with ID pictures of the players, which you can use to identify them above...


or in this group photo (Carlsen, Nakamura, Aronian, Vallejo, Anand, with Bilbao points)


Your favourite players up close (Magnus, Hikaru, Lev, Paco and Vishy)


You talking to me? US GM Hikaru Nakamura


Magnus from Norway, currently the world's stongest player


Looking suave and fit: World Champion Vishy Anand


Aronian, Vallejo and Anand

Photos by Manu de Alba and Pascal Simon

Video reports


IV Final de Maestros del Grand Slam de Ajedrez (Spanish report)


Players vow to fight to the end for the title in the second half (Spanish with Leontxo Garcia)

Vassily Ivanchuk, the provisional top player on the leaderboard, paradoxically seems to be the most careful: “I will play each match as best I can, since all of my opponents in this tournament are very strong and dangerous”. At the moment he is the man to beat.

The man in second spot, American GM Hikaru Nakamura, three points behind Ivanchuk, remains focused on capturing the title in Bilbao, although he is convinced that none of his opponents will make this easy for him.

Magnus Carlsen, number one in the FIDE rankings, insists that after beating Ivanchuk [in the last round in Sao Paulo] anything is possible in Bilbao. "I am going to give it my all to get as many points as possible. Ivanchuk is the leader now, but complicated games in Bilbao still await him. I really needed to win that last game in Sao Paulo; It was something very special for me. Seeing myself in trouble against Paco Vallejo wasn’t something I enjoyed, but after a loss you have to keep going”.

World Champion Viswanathan Anand, who stands four points behind current leader, does not seem worried by the difference. “There are still five games left, so we have got to keep trying. It hasn’t been ideal for me so far. I feel like it hasn’t gone too well. It is difficult to choose the worst game, but I suppose it would be the one I lost”.

When asked to evaluate his performance so far, Levon Aronian blows both hot and cold. He believes that the majority of the matches have been interesting, and only seems dissatisfied with his game against Anand. He thinks it is “time to improve. I am confident that I will play better in Bilbao”, where he will undoubtedly fight for victory. “There are still five rounds left, so anyone who is not way down in terms of points can win the title”, he says.

Paco Vallejo, the special guest at the Masters Final this year, does not hide his disappointment over his poor showing so far. In the five rounds played in Brazil the Spaniard suffered four losses and has walked away with one victory. “I haven’t been very inspired in the games”, he says, “It’s no use grumbling about it, so in Bilbao I will come out in full force. I am sure I will do much better.” Vallejo is aware that he is competing among players all within the top ten in the world, but he believes he has what it takes to play against them. When it comes to what we can expect in Bilbao he is convinced that in the remaining games there is still a lot of play left. "I would not rule anyone out (when it comes to the title), not even myself…”.


Bilbao system scores after five rounds

Traditional crosstable after five rounds

Schedule and results

Round 1: Monday, September 26, 15:00h
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Hikaru Nakamura 
½-½
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Levon Aronian 
1-0
 Francisco Vallejo
Round 2: Tuesday, September 27, 15:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
1-0
 Francisco Vallejo
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Hikaru Nakamura 
½-½
 Viswanathan Anand
Round 3: Wednesday, September 28, 15:00h
Viswanathan Anand 
0-1
 Vassily Ivanchuk 
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Hikaru Nakamura
Francisco Vallejo 
1-0
 Magnus Carlsen
Round 4: Friday, September 30, 15:00h
Levon Aronian 
0-1
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Francisco Vallejo 
0-1
 Viswanathan Anand
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Hikaru Nakamura
Games Report
Round 5: Saturday, October 1, 15:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
0-1
 Magnus Carlsen
Hikaru Nakamura 
1-0
 Francisco Vallejo
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Games Report
Round 6: Thursday, October 6, 16:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Hikaru Nakamura
Magnus Carlsen 
   Viswanathan Anand
Francisco Vallejo 
   Levon Aronian
GamesReport
Round 7: Friday, October 7, 16:00h
Francisco Vallejo 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
Levon Aronian 
   Magnus Carlsen 
Viswanathan Anand 
   Hikaru Nakamura
GamesReport
Round 8: Saturday, October 8, 16:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Viswanathan Anand
Hikaru Nakamura 
   Levon Aronian
Magnus Carlsen 
   Francisco Vallejo
GamesReport
Round 9: Monday, October 10, 16:00h
Magnus Carlsen 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
Francisco Vallejo 
   Hikaru Nakamura
Levon Aronian 
   Viswanathan Anand
GamesReport
Round 10: Tuesday, October 11, 16:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Levon Aronian
Viswanathan Anand 
   Francisco Vallejo
Hikaru Nakamura 
   Magnus Carlsen 
GamesReport

Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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