Bilbao Masters: Aronian beats Shirov, Karjakin beats Grischuk

9/9/2009 – What an unusual tournament: at halftime we note that there has been just one undecisive game (drawing average 16%!). Today Sergey Karjakin defeated the tournament leader Alexander Grischuk, while Levon Aronian beat Alexei Shirov with the black pieces to join Grischuk in the lead, both now having six Bilbao points. Illustrated round three report.

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The II Grand Slam Final Chess Masters 2009

The II Grand Slam Final Chess Masters 2009 is being held in Bilbao from September 6th to September 12th, in a sound-proof glass cube in the Bilbao Plaza Nueva (central square). The four players competing: 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. The games start at 17:00h CEST (= 19:00h Moscow, 16:00h London, 11 a.m. New York), with a rate of play of 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes to finish the game, with 10 extra seconds per move from move number 41. The “Sofia Rule” is enforced, which means that players are not allowed to agree a draw without arbiter's permission. The prize fund is 110,000 Euros. The full schedule and results of the tournament are given below.


Round 3: Tuesday, 8 September 2009
Sergey Karjakin 
1-0
 Alexander Grischuk
Alexei Shirov 
0-1
 Levon Aronian

Karjakin-Grischuk was a closed Ruy Lopez (Smyslov Variation) in which Sergey Karjakin appeared to be more at home than Alexander Grischuk, who spent a lot of time searching for the right plan. At move 15 he had just over 15 minutes for the next 25 moves, at move 25 just over five minutes for the 15 moves until the first time control. And on move 29, having warded off the main threats posed by his opponent, Grischuk stepped straight off the cliff.

Karjakin,Sergey (2722) - Grischuk,A (2733) [C92]
2nd Grand Slam Masters Bilbao ESP (3), 08.09.2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Bb7 10.d4 Re8 11.Nbd2 Bf8 12.a3 h6 13.d5 Nb8 14.Nh2 Nbd7 15.Qf3 Qc8 16.Ndf1 c6 17.dxc6 Qxc6 18.Ng4 Re7 19.Ng3 d5 20.exd5 Nxd5 21.Nf5 Re6 22.Qg3 Kh8 23.Be3 h5 24.Rad1 Nxe3 25.Ngxe3 Rg6 26.Qh2 Rf6 27.Bd5 Qc8 28.Qg3 g6 29.Qg5

Black has been under quite a bit of pressure in this game, but now he has reached a stable position and should be able to draw after 29...Bxd5 30.Rxd5 Re6. But in high tension and terrible time trouble Grischuk plays 29...Bg7? This allows 30.Ne7 Qc7 31.Ng4! Rf4. Did you see it? 31...hxg4?? 32.Qh4+ Bh6 33.Qxh6 mate! 32.Nh6 Rf8 33.Nxf7+ R4xf7 34.Nxg6+ Kh7 35.Qxh5+ Bh6 36.Bxf7 Rxf7

This is really cute: 37.Rxd7! Rxd7 [37...Qxd7 38.Nxe5] 38.Nf8+ Kg7 39.Ne6+ 1-0. Nicely executed by Serge Karjakin, who scored his first win in this tournament. Alexander Grischuk suffered his first defeat – in fact it was the first game he did not win. [Click to replay]


Shirov-Aronian was a Closed Ruy Lopez Marshall which looked fine for White until around move 25. Then errors crept in, from which Black, who was concentrating all his pieces on a kingside assault, was able to profit.

Shirov,A (2730) - Aronian,L (2773) [C89]
2nd Grand Slam Masters Bilbao ESP (3), 08.09.2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.d4 Bd6 13.Re1 Qh4 14.g3 Qh3 15.Be3 Bg4 16.Qd3 Rae8 17.Nd2 Qh5 18.a4 Re6 19.axb5 axb5 20.Nf1 Bf5 21.Qd2 Bh3 (novelty) 22.Bd1 Qg6 23.Bf3 Qf5 24.Bh1 Rfe8 25.Re2 h5 26.Qc2 Qg4 27.Ree1 h4 28.Qd1 Qf5

White is in a precarious situation and should probably defend with 29.Qb1, but instead he plays the fatal 29.Qf3? which simply loses after 29...Qg6! Black is now threatening 30...Bg4, trapping the queen, so 30.Qd1, and now Black has 30...hxg3 (or 30...Bxf1 31.Kxf1 hxg3 etc.) 31.hxg3 Bxf1 32.Kxf1 Bxg3 33.Bxd5 cxd5 34.Qf3 Rf6 35.Qg2 Qd3+ and White loses on all lines (e.g. 36.Kg1 (36.Re2 Bxf2 37.Bxf2 Rxe2 is hopeless) 36...Rg6 37.fxg3 (37.Kh1 Bb8 38.Qh3 Rh6 and the white queen is lost.) 37...Rxe3 38.Rxe3 Qxe3+ 39.Kh1 Rxg3 and here too the queen is lost. We do not know if and how Alexei Shirov, who was in time trouble, worked this all out, but in any case he resigned after 29...Qg6. 0-1. [Click to replay]

Standings after three rounds

Player
wins
draws
losses
points
Alexander Grischuk 
2
0
0
6
Levon Aronian
2
0
1
6
Sergey Karjakin
1
1
1
4
Alexei Shirov
0
1
2
1
 
Scoring System:
3 - Points per win
1 - Point per draw
0 - Point per loss

Traditional cross table (for rating purposes)


Impressions from Bilbao


The Euskalduna and the Avenue Abandoibarra in Bilbao


Maria Diaz Haroko Street, viewed from the Sheraton, where all the players stay


The arrival, here of Alexander Grischuk, with Levon Aronian lurking in the background


Sergey Karjakin with his wife Katya


Alexei Shirov arrives at the venue, the Bilbao Plaza Nueva...


...and prepares to do battle in the sound-proof glass cube


The ceremonial first move (in the game Grischuk vs Karjakin) is made by the extreme
climbers Iker and Eneko Pou. If you have good nerves you can watch them on YouTube:


Iker & Eneko Pou on Orbayu, the most difficult big wall in the world


The game under way – Karjakin clinched it in 39 moves


Shock and awe: for the first time in this event Grischuk does not win his game


The venue, in the middle of the Bilbao Plaza Nueva


After the game Levon Aronian and Alexei Shirov talk to Basque journalist Leontxo Garcia

All photos by Nadja Woisin

Schedule and results

Round 1: Sunday, 6th September 2009
Sergey Karjakin 
1-1
 Alexei Shirov
Alexander Grischuk 
3-0
 Levon Aronian
Round 2: Monday, 7th September 2009
Levon Aronian 
1-0
 Sergey Karjakin
Alexander Grischuk 
1-0
 Alexei Shirov
Round 3: Tuesday, 8 September 2009
Sergey Karjakin 
1-0
 Alexander Grischuk
Alexei Shirov 
0-1
 Levon Aronian
Round 4: Thursday, 10 September 2009
Alexei Shirov 
 Sergey Karjakin
Levon Aronian 
 Alexander Grischuk
Games – Report
Round 5: Friday, 11 September 2009
Alexander Grischuk 
 
 Sergey Karjakin
Levon Aronian 
 
 Alexei Shirov
Games – Report
Round 6: Saturday, 12 September 2009
Sergey Karjakin 
 
 Levon Aronian
Alexei Shirov 
 
 Alexander Grischuk
Games – Report

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 the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse the PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!


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