Bilbao Masters: Aronian wins Grand Slam Final

9/13/2009 – Same title as the previous report? Yes, same title. Nothing changed, Levon Aronian could not be caught, and since both games were drawn even the exact oder of the following players remained the same. Aronian had a 2919 performance in Bilbao and is good for a 2784 rating on the next FIDE list – just four points behind the world's second-highest rated player Vishy Anand. Final report.

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The II Grand Slam Final Chess Masters 2009

The II Grand Slam Final Chess Masters 2009 was held in Bilbao from September 6th to September 12th, in a sound-proof glass cube in the 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 were played at a rate 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” was 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 6: Saturday, 12 September 2009
Sergey Karjakin 
1-1
 Levon Aronian
Alexei Shirov 
1-1
 Alexander Grischuk


Josu Botrán, Manager of the Market Traders Association, Jon Aldeiturrizga, Manager of the Merchants Association of Old Town, Boni Garcia, Vice President of the same entity, and Juan Carlos Fernandez, technical director of the tournament, officiate at the start of the final round.

Karjakin,Sergey (2722) - Aronian,L (2773) [C69]
2nd Grand Slam Masters Bilbao ESP (6), 12.09.2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.0-0 Be7 6.d3 f6 7.Be3 Bg4 8.Nbd2 Qd7 9.b4 g5 10.Qb1 Nh6 11.d4 Nf7 12.dxe5 fxe5 13.Qb2 Qe6 14.Rfb1 Bxf3 15.Nxf3 g4 16.Nd2 h5 17.a4 Nd6 18.c4 0-0 19.c5 Nf7 20.Qb3 Qxb3 21.Rxb3 Bg5 22.Nc4 Rad8 23.Na5 Bxe3 24.Rxe3 Rd2 25.Nxb7 Rb8 26.Na5 Rxb4 27.h3 Nd8 28.hxg4 hxg4 29.Nb3 Rc2 30.Rd1 Ne6 31.Rd7 Kf8 32.Rh7 Rcc4 33.Rh6

Aronian stands better with Black, and could easily play for a win with 33...Nd4 34.Nxd4 exd4 35.Re1 Rxc5. But the Armenian decides that four in a row is enough and allows a draw by repetition: 33...Ke7 34.Rh7+ Kf8 35.Rh6 Ke7 36.Rh7+ draw. [Click to replay]


Levon Aronian, who chalks up another convincing victory in a very successful year


Alexei Shirov at the start of round six

Shirov,A (2730) - Grischuk,A (2733) [B90]
2nd Grand Slam Masters Bilbao ESP (6), 12.09.2009
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.g4 h6 8.Bg2 Nc6 9.h3 Ne5 10.Qe2 g5 11.f4 gxf4 12.Bxf4 Bd7 13.Nf3 Qc7 14.0-0-0 Rc8 15.Bg3 Be7 16.Nxe5 dxe5 17.Rhf1 Rg8 18.Rd3 Nh7 19.h4 Nf8 20.Qf2 Rg7 21.Rf3 Bc5 22.Qd2 Rh7 23.Kb1 b5 24.Ne2 Bb4 25.c3 Be7 26.Nc1 Bc6 27.Nd3 Nd7 28.Ka1 Bxe4 29.Re3 Bxg2 30.Qxg2 Qc6 31.Qe2 Qc4 32.Re4 Qd5 33.Nxe5 Nxe5

White has excellent winning chances. 34.Rd1?! The wrong rook, we tentatively propose. It looks like White could win after 34.Rd4 Qc6 35.Bxe5 Rd8 36.Rxd8+ Bxd8 37.Qc2 (the reason to move the e-rook was to allow this attack on the bRh7) 37...f5 38.gxf5. 34...Qc6 35.Bxe5 Rd8 36.Rxd8+ Bxd8 37.Rd4. Apparently the chance has gone and will not come back: 37...f6 38.Rd6 Qc4 39.Qd1 Be7 40.Rd4 Qc6 41.Bh2 e5 42.Rd3 Rg7 43.Rg3 Qe4 44.a3 Bc5 45.Rd3 Be7 46.Rg3 Bc5 47.Rd3 Be7 draw. [Click to replay]


Alexander Grischuk, who finished second in the Bilbao system

Final standings (after six rounds)

Player
wins
draws
losses
points
Levon Aronian
4
1
1
13
Alexander Grischuk 
2
2
2
8
Sergey Karjakin
1
4
1
7
Alexei Shirov
0
3
3
3
 
Scoring System:
3 - Points per win
1 - Point per draw
0 - Point per loss

Traditional cross table (for rating purposes)

Levon Aronian won this tournament by any count – his classical performance was 2919 and his current "Live Rating" is around 2784, just four points behind the world's second-highest rated player, World Champion Vishy Anand. Grischuk has earned slightly less than a point from this event, Karjakin around two. Shirov stands to lose quite a lot and needs another Sofia-like win – which, we assure you, is bound to come.

The drawing quota in this tournament was 42%, with White winning exactly half the games (six out of twelve) and black one game (Aronian beat Shirov). There were only two games with less than 30 moves, and neither was an unfought draw. So the conclusion is: good fighting chess – pity there were not two more players in the event.


Lev Aronian in the press conference after the event


Alexander Grischuk gets his second place plaque (the other two got the same)


The Basque beret has to be streched by Bilbao Mayor Iñaki Azkuna to accommodate
the large skull (and massive brain) of the winner


Now it fits – Levon Aronian with the beret and the first prize trophy


The smile of the winner – perfect for our front page thumbnail

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 
3-0
 Sergey Karjakin
Alexander Grischuk 
3-0
 Alexei Shirov
Round 3: Tuesday, 8 September 2009
Sergey Karjakin 
3-0
 Alexander Grischuk
Alexei Shirov 
0-3
 Levon Aronian
Round 4: Thursday, 10 September 2009
Alexei Shirov 
1-1
 Sergey Karjakin
Levon Aronian 
3-0
 Alexander Grischuk
Round 5: Friday, 11 September 2009
Alexander Grischuk 
1-1
 Sergey Karjakin
Levon Aronian 
3-0
 Alexei Shirov
Round 6: Saturday, 12 September 2009
Sergey Karjakin 
1-1
 Levon Aronian
Alexei Shirov 
1-1
 Alexander Grischuk

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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