São Paulo Masters – Ivanchuk and Anand score, Ivanchuk leads

by Albert Silver
10/1/2011 – Vassily Ivanchuk won his third game in a row in round four, beating Levon Aronian with the black pieces. World Champion Viswanathan Anand also scored a black victory against Spanish GM Francisco Vallejo. The game Magnus Carlsen vs Hikaru Nakamura ended in a draw, which left Ivanchuk with a five-point lead (in the Bilbao 3-1-0 system). Large illustrated report by Albert Silver.

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The first leg of the Grand Slam is being staged in São Paulo, Ibirapuera Park, from September 25th to October 1st, the second leg is 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 1st move. Game start: 15:00h local São Paulo time (2 p.m. New York, 20:00 h Europe).

Round four

By Albert Silver

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


A top view of the games underway and the avid audience watching through the glass

The fourth round came after a rest day, and the question was how the players would respond. Carlsen was coming off a painful loss to Vallejo, and was anxious to set things right, and take a stab at the top prize before it is out of reach. The Bilbao scoring system actually makes this far more possible than a classical structure, rewarding three points for a win, over one for a draw, and he used this to good effect last year in the London Classic.


Nakamura successfully stopped the rot of his score against Carlsen

Considering his excellent score against Nakamura, and having white, it was reasonable to be optimistic, but Hikaru avoided getting into trouble and preferred to contain Magnus, no doubt anticipating his opponent's mood. They played the position out as expected, but the draw never really seemed in doubt.


Magnus Carlsen wanted to start a winning streak, but was forced to wait a round

[Event "4th Final Masters"] [Site "Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP"] [Date "2011.09.30"] [Round "4"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D55"] [WhiteElo "2823"] [BlackElo "2753"] [PlyCount "85"] [EventDate "2011.09.26"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Bxf6 7. e3 O-O 8. Rc1 c6 9. Bd3 Nd7 10. O-O dxc4 11. Bxc4 e5 12. Bb3 exd4 13. exd4 Nb6 14. h3 Re8 15. Re1 Rxe1+ 16. Qxe1 Bf5 17. Ne5 Nd5 18. Nxd5 cxd5 19. g4 Be6 20. f4 Qb6 21. Rd1 Bxe5 22. Qxe5 Re8 23. f5 f6 24. Qf4 Bf7 25. Qf2 Qb4 26. Kg2 Re4 27. Rd2 Qd6 28. Bd1 Kf8 29. Bf3 Re7 30. Re2 Rxe2 31. Qxe2 Be8 32. Qe3 Bc6 33. a3 Qe7 34. Qc3 a6 35. b4 Ke8 36. a4 Qd7 37. a5 Qd6 38. Qc5 Qf4 39. Bxd5 Qd2+ 40. Kf3 Qd3+ 41. Kf2 Qd2+ 42. Kf3 Qd3+ 43. Kf2 1/2-1/2

The next game to finish was also the most exciting in the tournament by far. Aronian played an extremely aggressive attacking game against Ivanchuk, hoping to change the course of things and take over the top spot in the process, which he would have under the Bilbao system.


Ivanchuk and Aronian had the game of the tournament so far

His game and creativity were worthy of Tal, and it was a thrilling encounter, however, if anything, one of Tal's greatest contributions to chess was not so much his direct attacking skills, but how he forced others to develop defensive technique in order to stop being stampeded by his pieces all the time. Ivanchuk knows his lessons well, and his dynamic defense, containing Aronian, plus his counter-attacking were a true masterpiece to be used in future works on the art of defense.


Ivanchuk is on an incredible streak with 3.5/4 and is already rated 2783 in the provisional list

[Event "4th Final Masters"] [Site "Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP"] [Date "2011.09.30"] [Round "4"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Ivanchuk, Vassily"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D37"] [WhiteElo "2807"] [BlackElo "2765"] [PlyCount "76"] [EventDate "2011.09.26"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 e6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. Bg5 Bb4 6. cxd5 exd5 7. Nd2 c6 8. e3 Nf8 9. Bd3 Be7 10. Qc2 Ne6 11. Bh4 g6 12. h3 O-O 13. Nf3 a5 14. g4 b5 15. Ne5 Bb7 16. f4 c5 17. f5 cxd4 18. fxe6 dxc3 19. O-O d4 20. Nxf7 Qd5 21. Bxf6 Qh1+ 22. Kf2 Qxh3 23. Ke1 cxb2 24. Qxb2 Bb4+ 25. Kd1 Bf3+ 26. Rxf3 Qxf3+ 27. Be2 Qxf6 28. g5 Qg7 29. Qxd4 Rxf7 30. exf7+ Qxf7 31. Rc1 Rb8 32. a4 Qb3+ 33. Rc2 Qb1+ 34. Rc1 Qb3+ 35. Rc2 Rc8 36. Bc4+ bxc4 37. Qd5+ Kf8 38. Qd7 Re8 0-1


Anand demonstrated once more why he is world champion

The game to finish last was a combination of the expected and the unexpected. Anand beating Vallejo has to be considered almost the natural outcome of the law of the strongest, however, the opening really didn't seem like it held any chances to do anything. Eventually, Anand got what he wanted, even with the meager tools he was offered, and he managed to exploit a classical ending with bishop pair over knight and bishop in such a way they would have Steinitz beaming with pride.

[Event "4th Final Masters"] [Site "Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP"] [Date "2011.09.30"] [Round "4"] [White "Vallejo Pons, Francisco"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A04"] [WhiteElo "2716"] [BlackElo "2817"] [PlyCount "114"] [EventDate "2011.09.26"] 1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 4. e3 Nf6 5. d4 cxd4 6. exd4 d5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Qb3 e6 9. Nxd5 exd5 10. Bb5 Bg7 11. Qa3 Qe7+ 12. Qxe7+ Kxe7 13. Bxc6 bxc6 14. Bf4 f6 15. Rc1 g5 16. Be3 Bd7 17. h4 h6 18. hxg5 hxg5 19. Rxh8 Rxh8 20. Kd2 Bf8 21. Ne1 Kf7 22. Nd3 Kg6 23. Nc5 Be8 24. g3 Kf5 25. Rc3 Bd6 26. Ra3 Rh7 27. Ra6 Kg4 28. Nd3 Rc7 29. b4 Bd7 30. b5 Be7 31. bxc6 Bxc6 32. Ra5 Bd8 33. Nb4 Ba8 34. Rc5 Rd7 35. a3 Bb7 36. Nd3 Ba6 37. Nb4 Bc4 38. Rc8 Be7 39. Ra8 Rb7 40. Nc6 Bxa3 41. Rxa7 Rxa7 42. Nxa7 Bb4+ 43. Kc2 Kf3 44. Nc8 Bb5 45. Kd1 Ba4+ 46. Kc1 Ke2 47. Kb2 Bd7 48. Nb6 Bc6 49. Nc8 g4 50. Kc1 Bd7 51. Nb6 Be6 52. Na4 Be1 53. Nc5 Bf5 54. Na4 Bxf2 55. Bxf2 Kxf2 56. Nc3 Be4 57. Kd2 Bf3 0-1

Gallery of Pictures


The event is held in Ibirapuera Park, and requires some walking to reach once inside


The park is quite lovely


Before arriving, one passes in front of the Afro-Brazil Museum


On the walls are many colorful murals


There are also panels depicting famous Brazilian icons


Finally one arrives at the main entrance where the tents are found


Before the games start, players begin choosing spots to sit


Impatient to see chess, spectators start their own games


While others, such as GM Ian Rogers and Cathy Rogers, get straight to work


Before any of the activities start, a friendly chat. Left to right: GM Krikor Mekhitarian
(Aronian's second), GM Alexandre Fier, FIDE Arbiter Blas Pingas, Chief Arbiter Herman
Claudius van Riemsdijk, and IM Diego Di Berardino.


A billboard with the daily schedule


During friday, a GM rapid tourney was organized. GM Fier faced organizer GM
Milos in the first round.


IM Di Berardino beat GM Mekhitarian and made it to the final, losing to Vescovi


Awaiting the start, spectators started playing blitz games


Ivanchuk is interviewed by Leontxo Garcia after the game


The audience was encourage to ask questions as well


In the meantime, Vallejo already knew he was lost, and could only hope for a final slip


Despite having lost, Aronian was a good sport in the post-game interview


Anand was asked who he thought his successor would be. He diplomatically answered
there were several candidates.


The microphone was then passed directly to Vallejo. "My successor....Hmmm...."

Pictures by Albert Silver and Agnaldo Rocha/SPturis


Bilbao system scores after four rounds

Traditional crosstable after four 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
Round 5: Saturday, October 1, 15:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Magnus Carlsen
Hikaru Nakamura 
   Francisco Vallejo
Viswanathan Anand 
   Levon Aronian
Games Report
Round 6: Thursday, October 6, 17:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Hikaru Nakamura
Magnus Carlsen 
   Viswanathan Anand
Francisco Vallejo 
   Levon Aronian
GamesReport
Round 7: Friday, October 7, 17:00h
Francisco Vallejo 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
Levon Aronian 
   Magnus Carlsen 
Viswanathan Anand 
   Hikaru Nakamura
GamesReport
Round 8: Saturday, October 8, 17:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Viswanathan Anand
Hikaru Nakamura 
   Levon Aronian
Magnus Carlsen 
   Francisco Vallejo
GamesReport
Round 9: Monday, October 10, 17:00h
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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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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