Bilbao: Two tough battles, both end in draws

10/13/2010 – All games drawn, again – but what exciting action! Vishy Anand was very close to winning against Alexei Shirov, then got into some trouble himself. Magnus Carlsen played all-out win-or-lose and almost managed to do the latter, holding against Vladimir Kramnik, who still leads the event. For you we have analysis by GM Romain Edouard and a splendid pictorial by Fred Lucas.

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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.

Postscript to round three

After round three Magnus Carlsen wrote in his Arctic Securities blog: "Back in 2008 we played at the monumental Plaza Nueva in an old citadel of Bilbao. This year the venue is the cultural centre Alhóndiga. In round three Anand and Kramnik played a quick draw and I suspect it was all preparation by Kramnik. As black against Shirov I was in dire need for a win and went for the cxb5 variation in the Ruy Lopez Breyer instead of the more common axb5. Shirov spent half an hour contemplating his d5 response, and I had the advantage on the clock for the rest of the game. After some serious complications I think I was slightly better in the unbalanced position with queen and two rooks against queen and three light pieces. On move 40 he held his rook at d8 for a while (which would have been a blunder) but chose a8 instead and I went for the three minor pieces against queen ending as I thought it would be rather difficult to defend for white. After the game Shirov said he had thought it might be lost for white. I gradually pushed my pawns but did not succeed in exchanging my weak e-pawn which would have made the situation very difficult for white. With the rest day coming next I played on and gradually traded off the other pawns continuing to try to attack f2. I couldn't find a decisive plan, he defended well and could claim a draw on move 174 (!) based on the 50-move-rule."

Round four report

Round 4: Wednesday, 13th October 2010

Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Alexei Shirov

Anand,Viswanathan (2800) - Shirov,Alexei (2749) [C12]
Grand Slam Final Masters 2010 Bilbao/Spain (4), 13.10.2010 [Romain Edouard]

1.e4 e6. Whoa! No Ruy Lopez, no Petroff – thank you! 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4 5.e5 h6 6.Bd2 Bxc3 7.bxc3 Ne4 8.Qg4 g6. 8...Kf8 has also been quite popular recently. 9.Bd3 Nxd2 10.Kxd2 c5 11.h4!? Qa5!? 11...Nc6 is the main possibility. In both cases, there are some side-moves to explore, while it could go 12.Nf3 Qa5 getting back into the game. So there might be some differences. 12.Nf3 Nc6 13.Qf4 cxd4 14.h5! 14.Nxd4 Nxd4 15.Qxd4 Bd7 is the usual (less fascinating) concept!








14...g5. Without entering big calculations, I would say that Black has enough time to take on c3, so 14...dxc3+ 15.Ke2 cannot help him defending. 14...Qxc3+ 15.Ke2 gxh5 16.Rab1 would be very dangerous for Black: White will go Rxh5, Rxh6, and Ng5-Nh7 in the event of ...Rf8. Still, maybe this is the line to be checked, as the game looks clearly in White's favour. 15.Qf6 Rf8. 15...Rg8!? 16.Qxh6 g4 17.Ng5 dxc3+ 18.Ke2 Nxe5 19.Qf6 Qd8 could be a possibile defense, the rook on g8 making a huge difference in this final position! 16.Qxh6 g4!? 17.Ng5 Nxe5 18.Nh7 Rh8 19.Ke2!








This is the proof that taking on c3 earlier could hardly help. After this prophylactic move, Black suffers huge troubles. White's king is in perfect position and Black has problems in finding solutions. 19...Nxd3. 19...Qxc3 20.Nf6+ Ke7 21.Qg5! Kd6 22.Qf4+–. 20.cxd3 Bd7. 20...Qxc3 21.Rhc1 Qb2+ 22.Kf1 just wins. 21.Nf6+ Ke7 22.Qg5 dxc3








23.Ne4+. The silicon move 23.h6! was winning! For instance: 23...Bb5 a) 23...Qa4 24.Nxg4+ Ke8 (24...Kd6 no longer works due to 25.Qe5++- and c3 is hanging.) 25.Qg7 Ke7 (25...Qc2+ 26.Kf1 Qxd3+ 27.Kg1 Ke7 28.Qf6+ Kd6 29.Ne5+-) 26.Qf6+ Kd6 27.Qe5++-; b) 23...Kd6 24.Ne4+! Kc6 25.Qe5! Qa3 26.Rhc1+-; 24.a4! Ba6 (24...Bxd3+ 25.Kxd3 Qa6+ 26.Ke3 Qb6+ 27.Ke2 Qb2+ 28.Kd3+-) 25.Nxd5+ Kd6 26.Qe7+! Kxd5 27.Rh5+ f5 28.Qd7+ Kc5 (28...Ke5 29.Ke3!!+- followed by d4+ and Qg7 mate (or Qd4 mate).) 29.Rxf5+ exf5 30.Qxf5+ Kb6 31.Rb1++–. 23...Ke8 24.Nf6+ Ke7 25.Nxg4+ Kd6 26.Ne5. White is threatening Nc4+. 26...f6 The only way to get some counterplay! 27.Qxf6 Raf8








28.Qg7?? Crazy move! Losing an exceedingly important tempo. Difficult to know what Anand missed. 28.Nf7+ Rxf7 29.Qxf7 Qa4 would be a totally different story, as it would be White to move! And for instance, after 30.Kf1 Qc2 (30...Qd4 31.Qf3 Bb5 32.Rh3 c2 33.Rc1 Qb2 34.Qf4+ e5 35.Qd2+-) 31.Qf4+! Kc6 32.h6 White should win. (32.Rh3!?). 28...Qa4. 28...Qb6! might be best!! Typical computer move, forcing White to go Nf7+ according to the engine, as 29.Qxd7+? Kxe5 should be much better for Black, whose king is going to move back to d6 or f6, depending on White's move. 29.Nf7+. 29.Qg3!? was was still very tricky: probably that's why Black should rather go 28...Qb6! 29...Qc2+ 30.Kf1 Bb5!? (30...Qxf2+ 31.Qxf2 Rxf2+ 32.Kxf2 Kxe5 33.Rae1+!? Kd4 34.Ke2 should win for White.) 31.Nf7+ Ke7 32.Nxh8 Qxd3+ Only move. 33.Qxd3 Bxd3+ 34.Kg1 Rxh8 35.Rh3! Lucky move. 35...Bc4 36.Rxc3 Rxh5 and Black keeps drawing chances, but I believe White should still be winning. 29...Rxf7 30.Qxf7 Qc2+ 31.Kf1 Qxd3+ 32.Kg1. The difference between 29.Nf7+ and 28.Nf7+ has been huge, but White should hold a draw anyway. 32...Qd2 33.Qg7 c2. 33...Rc8!? 34.h6 c2 35.Qg3+ e5 36.Qa3+ Ke6 37.Qc1 and White holds thanks to the following idea: 37...Qc3 38.h7 Qxa1 39.Rh6+ Phew! 39...Kf5 40.Qxa1 c1Q+ 41.Qxc1 Rxc1+ 42.Kh2 Rc8 43.h8Q Rxh8 44.Rxh8+/=; 33...Rh6 34.Rh3 c2 35.Qg3+ Ke7 36.Qa3+ Ke8 37.Rf1 with counterplay. 34.Qxh8 c1Q+ 35.Rxc1 Qxc1+ 36.Kh2 Qf4+ 37.Kg1 Qc1+ 38.Kh2








1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Vladimir Kramnik kibitzing Anand vs Shirov


Carlsen,Magnus (2826) - Kramnik,Vladimir (2780) [A29]
Grand Slam Final Masters 2010 Bilbao/Spain (4), 13.10.2010 [Romain Edouard]


Handshake before the start of the game

1.c4. Magnus absolutely needs to go for some full points, so he probably plays c4 to try to get an "open game". 1...e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Nb6 7.0-0 Be7 8.d3 0-0 9.Be3 Re8 10.Rc1 Bf8 11.Ne4 Nd4








12.Bg5. 12.Nc5 is the main move here. 12...f6 13.Nxd4 exd4 14.Bd2. This position has been reached four times according to my database, and everybody went 14...c6. I guess Carlsen had an idea after that, but Kramnik reacted well. 14...Be6! 15.b4. 15.Nc5 Bxc5 16.Rxc5 c6 followed by ...Qd6, ...Bd5/...Rad8 and Black should equalize easily. 15...Bd5. After this simple maneuver I feel Black has definitely no problem. 16.a4 c6 17.a5 Nc8 18.Re1 a6! Strong blow. Black aims to go ...Na7-...Nb5. 19.Nc5 Bxg2 20.Kxg2 Qd5+ 21.Kg1 Nd6 22.Qb3 Qxb3 23.Nxb3 Nb5 24.Kf1 Rad8 25.Rc4 Rd5








White is under slight pressure here. Black's play, pushing pawns on the kingside, is much easier. 26.Bc1 Red8 27.Bb2 Kf7 28.Kg2 h5 29.h3 g5 30.g4! Kg6 31.Rf1 Be7 32.f4!?








Magnus tries to react actively. Often the best way to defend! 32...hxg4 33.hxg4 gxf4 34.Rxf4 Bd6 35.Rf3 Rg5. 35...Re8!? 36.Kf1 Be5 followed by some rook maneuver via ...Rd7 might be a better try. 36.Bxd4? Strange decision. 36.Nxd4 Rxg4+ 37.Kf2 Nxd4 38.Bxd4 f5 39.Bc3 seems to be an easy draw – I hope not to be missing an idea. 36...Rxg4+ 37.Kf2 Nxd4 38.Nxd4 Rh8. Now Magnus has clear problems with his king and pawn structure (b4-a5 on dark squares). 39.e4 Rh2+ 40.Ke3 Rb2 41.Nc2 Rg5 42.d4 Rb5. 42...Rg4 should win at once, with the idea of ...Rb3+. 43.Kd3 Bxb4 44.Rxb4 R5xb4 45.Nxb4 Rb3+ 46.Ke2 Rxb4 47.Rg3+ Kf7 48.Rd3 Ke6 49.Ke3 Rb5 50.Ra3








50...c5. I feel this moves gives White some chances to escape. 50...f5! could be a better try. I believe Black should win here. 51.dxc5 Rxc5. 51...Ke5 might be the last chance. To be honest, I feel again this should win for Black. For instance something like the following line, which might be wrong because I didn't push it deeply enough. 52.Rc3 Rxa5 53.c6 bxc6 54.Rxc6 Ra3+ 55.Kd2 a5 56.Ra6 a4 57.Kc2 Ra1 58.Kd3 a3 59.Ra5+ Kf4 60.Rf5+ Kg3 61.Kc3 Re1 62.Kb3 Re3+ 63.Ka2 Rf3–+. 52.Kf4! Now Magnus defends excellently and manages to make a draw. 52...Rh5 53.Rb3 Rb5 54.Ra3 Kd6 55.Ra1 Rc5 56.Rd1+ Kc7 57.Ra1 Kc6 58.Ke3 f5 59.exf5 Rxf5 60.Kd3 Rf3+ 61.Kc4 Rf4+ 62.Kc3 Kc5 63.Rh1 Rf3+ 64.Kc2 Rf5 65.Kc3 Rf3+ 66.Kc2 Ra3 67.Rh7 Kc6 68.Rh6+ Kc7 69.Rh7+ Kb8 70.Rh8+ Ka7 71.Rh5 Re3 72.Kb2 Kb8 73.Rc5 Re6 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Vishy Anand checking out the game Carlsen vs Kramnik

Bilbao system scores

Player
games
wins
draws 
losses
points
Vladimir Kramnik
4
2
2
0
8
Viswanathan Anand
4
1
3
0
6
Alexei Shirov
4
0
3
1
3
Magnus Carlsen
4
0
2
2
2

Traditional cross table


Photographic impressions from Bilbao

By Fred Lucas


World number one Magnus Carlsen outside the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao


Vladimir Kramnik arriving in the playing hall


Alexei Shirov and Viswanathan Anand wait for the cue


Photographers at the start of a game


Magnus at the board, while Shirov takes a quick break


Vladimir Kramnik glances over to see how Magnus is doing


The typical thinking pose of Magnus in Bilbao


After the round he gives fans autographs


At the press conference


Magnus hath spoken and leaves the public area


Magnus' sister Ingrid, also a keen chess player...


as is his father Henrik


Leading in Bilbao and winning valuable rating points: Vladimir Kramnik


Big Vlad pensive during the game


Magnus doing 19-year-old stretch exercises


The 14th and 15th classical world champions in discussion


... and in great spirits after climbing the rating ladder


The reigning World Champion on the way to number one again in the world rankings


Alexei Shirov with his daughter Natalia

All photos copyright Fred Lucas

"My relation with chess is simple," says Fred Lucas. "I'm a photographer who is very fond of the game, loves the atmosphere at tournaments – it's if you can really feel all the ideas coming up on all those boards – and I love to make pictures, especially with available light. What I like most when photographing chess players is to get their emotions that are otherwise hard to see, because life immediately proceeds to the next moment. Before the start of a game most players are busy with themselves, concentrating and some give you the impression that they really don't want to pay attention to anything else than the game to come."


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Schedule

Round 1: Saturday, 9th October 2010

Vladimir Kramnik 
1-0
 Magnus Carlsen
Alexei Shirov 
½-½
 Viswanathan Anand

Round 2: Sunday, 10th October 2010

Magnus Carlsen 
0-1
 Viswanathan Anand
Vladimir Kramnik 
1-0
 Alexei Shirov

Round 3: Monday, 11th October 2010

Alexei Shirov 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik

Round 4: Wednesday, 13th October 2010

Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 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

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