São Paulo Masters – Ivanchuk beats Vallejo and ties Aronian

9/27/2011 – Although the scoreboard is much the same as yesterday, the content was quite another story. Carlsen and Aronian drew in a hard positional struggle, while Nakamura and Anand had a complex game that ended in as sharp a finish as possible. Ivanchuk and Vallejo kept all eight pawns for seventeen moves until the Spaniard finally went astray and lost. Comments by GM Elshan Moradiabadi.

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1st leg in São Paulo, Ibirapuera Park, from September 25th to October 1st.
2nd leg in Bilbao, Alhóndiga, from 5th to 11th October.
Tourney sytem: double round robin with 6 players over 10 rounds
Time control: 90 minutes/40 moves + 30 minutes + 10 seconds/move starting with the 1st move
Game start: 15h for all rounds in São Paulo (14h - NY time / 20h Paris time) --- 16:00 in Bilbao
Rest day: 29th September and 9th October

Round two

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


The poster of the event placed in strategic points in the park

Carlsen and Aronian were the next double 2800 game to take place, and it was a worthy effort of the players as they both chose their typical ninja stealth positional game in which their opponents feel fine until suddenly, as if by magic, they realize they are not. In this case, almost like the Spy vs. Spy comics of yesteryear, neither ones sneakiness was enough to decide things in their favor and a draw was the just result.


Vishy Anand casts his professional eye on the struggle between his fellow 2800 peers

[Event "4th Final Masters"] [Site "Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP"] [Date "2011.09.27"] [Round "2"] [White "Carlsen, M."] [Black "Aronian, L."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C84"] [WhiteElo "2823"] [BlackElo "2807"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "111"] [EventDate "2011.09.26"] [Source "Chess Today"] [SourceDate "2011.09.27"] {In this technical battle in one of the few 2800+ encounters...one can see many rich positional ideas. It is one of those few draws which I do not feel unhappy about commenting!} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 {A Marshall?} 6. d3 {No! Carlsen has never been a fond of theoretical battle in the Ruy Lopez.} d6 7. c3 O-O 8. Nbd2 b5 9. Bc2 d5 10. Re1 dxe4 11. dxe4 { This position is familiar to Carlsen, as he faced it against Ivanchuk not long ago!} Be6 12. h3 {A very rare choice, which is not so surprising from Carlsen's side.} (12. Bb3 Bxb3 13. axb3 Qd3 14. b4 Rfd8 15. Qb3 Qd7 16. Qc2 Qe6 17. Qb3 Qd7 18. Qc2 Qe6 19. h3 a5 20. bxa5 Rxa5 21. Rxa5 Nxa5 22. b4 Nb7 23. Qb3 Qxb3 24. Nxb3 Nd7 25. Be3 Nd6 26. Nfd2 Ra8 27. Kf1 f6 28. Ke2 Kf7 29. Kd3 Ke6 30. f3 Ra2 31. Ra1 Rxa1 32. Nxa1 Nb7 33. Nab3 {1/2-1/2 (33) Ivanchuk,V (2776)-Carlsen,M (2815) Medias 2011}) 12... Nd7 (12... h6 {Well Mr.Aronian, a very old game has been followed this way... Botvinnik played it!} 13. Nh2 Nh7 14. Ng4 Bg5 15. Qe2 Qd6 16. Ne3 Rfd8 17. Nf3 Bxe3 18. Qxe3 Qe7 {0-1 (60) Smyslov,V-Botvinnik,M Leningrad/Moscow 1941 White has a slight edge even though Smyslov threw the game away.}) 13. Nf1 Nc5 (13... Nb6 {covering the d5 square is an alternative.} 14. Qe2 Qc8 15. Ne3 Rd8 16. Nh2 Bf8 17. Nf5 {is what I would personally not like to face in a practical game. Aronian's choice is ok, though it does have an obvious drawback: Black loses control over the d5 square.}) 14. Ne3 Qxd1 15. Rxd1 f6 16. Nd5 {There we are. As always, Carlsen managed to get a slight but riskless edge.} Bd6 17. Be3 Nb7 18. b4 $5 { fixing the target on b5 and creating a target!} Ne7 (18... a5 $6 {is premature as a result of} 19. a4 axb4 20. axb5 Bxd5 21. exd5 Rxa1 22. Rxa1 Ne7 23. cxb4 Bxb4 24. Bb3 Bd6 25. g4 $1 {after which White has a slight but long-lasting advantage is out of the question.}) 19. a4 c6 $6 {This is a serious inaccuracy which hands the initiative to White.} (19... Nxd5 20. exd5 Bf7 $1 {keeping the pawn on d5 under attack, gives Black adequate play.} 21. axb5 axb5 22. Bd3 Bxd5 23. Bxb5 Rxa1 24. Rxa1 c5 {is very close to a draw.}) 20. Nb6 {Carlsen grabs the initiative.} Rab8 21. Nd2 (21. Nh4 $5 g6 (21... Rfd8 22. Nf5 Nxf5 23. exf5 Bf7 24. axb5 axb5 25. Ra7 {is clearly better for White.}) 22. axb5 axb5 23. Ra7 Rfd8 24. Nf3 Kf8 {and White keeps the pressure.}) (21. axb5 axb5 22. Ra7 Rfd8 23. Ne1 {is another alternative, though I cannot say how either side would improve their positions.}) 21... c5 22. axb5 axb5 23. c4 $5 {Carlsen tries to complicate things} cxb4 $6 (23... Nc8 24. Nd5 cxb4 25. cxb5 Bxd5 26. exd5 { Does not solve Black's problem.}) 24. cxb5 Bc5 25. Bb3 Bxb3 26. Nxb3 Bxe3 27. fxe3 Na5 28. Rxa5 Rxb6 29. Rd7 Nc8 30. Nc5 h5 {this move will become valuable in the more or less forced resulting rook ending} 31. Rd3 Re8 32. Na4 Rb8 33. Rb3 {Carlsen wins a pawn but Dr.Tarrasch believes that all rook endings are drawn!} Nb6 34. Rxb4 Rec8 35. Nxb6 Rxb6 36. Ra6 Rc1+ 37. Kf2 Rc2+ 38. Kg3 Rxa6 39. bxa6 Ra2 $1 {The rooks have to be behind the pawns, whether ours or our enemy's!} 40. Rb6 Kf7 41. Rb7+ Kg6 42. a7 {Now we are in Dr. Muller's territory. White needs to bring his king to the queenside. Black's rook is well placed and thanks to White's weakened pawn chain he can create some counter play on the king side which may enable his king to become active.} Kh6 43. Kh2 g6 $1 (43... h4 $2 44. Kg1 g6 45. Kf1 f5 46. Ke1 Kg5 47. Rf7 (47. Kd1 f4 $11 {gives Black enough play to make a draw.}) 47... fxe4 48. Kd1 Kh5 49. Kc1 g5 50. Kb1 {is winning for White. Therefore Black has to be on time with his king in order to activate in the least amount of time.}) 44. Kg1 Kg5 $1 { Aronian uses the h4 square for his king} 45. Rh7 (45. Rf7 f5 46. Kf1 fxe4 47. g3 h4 48. g4 Kh6 49. Ke1 g5 50. Kd1 Kg6 {just on time!} 51. Rb7 Kf6 52. Kc1 Ke6 53. Kb1 Ra5 54. Kb2 Kd6 55. Kb3 (55. Kc3 Kc6 56. Re7 Ra1 57. Rxe5 Rxa7 58. Rxg5 Rd7 {Is a draw}) 55... Kc6 56. Re7 (56. Kb4 Ra2 57. Rg7 Ra1 (57... Ra6 {is also possible!} 58. Rg6+ Kd5 59. Rxa6) 58. Rxg5 Rxa7 59. Rxe5 Ra2 60. Rh5 Re2 61. Kc4 Rxe3 62. Rh6+ Kd7 63. Rxh4 Ra3 {and Black manages to make a draw thanks to White's badly placed rook on h4.}) 56... Kb6 57. Kc3 Kc6 58. Rxe5 Rxa7 59. Rxg5 Rd7 {transposes. Obviously there are still a lot moves to analyze in this position but I hardly believe that White has many ways to improve his position.}) 45... f5 46. g3 {Equivalent to a draw offer.} (46. Rf7 fxe4 47. Kh2 h4 48. Kg1 Kh6 49. Kf1 g5 50. Ke1 Kg6 51. Rc7 Kf6 52. Kd1 Ke6 53. Kc1 Kd6 54. Rg7 Kc6 55. Kb1 Ra5 56. Kb2 Kb6 57. Kb3 Rb5+ 58. Kc2 Rc5+ 59. Kd2 Ra5 60. Ke2 Ra2+ 61. Kf1 Ra1+ 62. Kf2 Ra2+ 63. Kg1 Ra1+ 64. Kh2 Kc5 65. Rxg5 Kc4 $1 {Thanks to his active king Black is in safe zone.}) 46... Kf6 47. Kf1 fxe4 48. Ke1 Ke6 49. Rg7 Kd5 50. g4 hxg4 51. hxg4 Kc4 52. Rd7 g5 53. Kd1 Kc3 54. Ke1 Kc4 55. Kd1 Kc3 56. Ke1 1/2-1/2


It was once again a Black day for Vallejo

Vasily Ivanchuk was the next player to score and Vallejo was once again the victim as Black. It was a strange game in that for a full seventeen moves, both players still retained all eight of their pawns. One more for the lists of chess curiosities no doubt. GM Elshan Moradiabadi has the full tale:

[Event "4th Final Masters"] [Site "Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP"] [Date "2011.09.27"] [Round "2"] [White "Ivanchuk, V."] [Black "Vallejo Pons, F."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A20"] [WhiteElo "2765"] [BlackElo "2716"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "73"] [EventDate "2011.09.26"] [Source "Chess Today"] [SourceDate "2011.09.27"] 1. c4 e5 2. g3 {The English Opening is becoming a frequent visitor at top level encounters. No wonder, Staunton, one of the chess pioneers of the 19th century, was the one who promoted this line!} Nc6 3. Nc3 Bc5 4. e3 d6 5. Bg2 a6 6. d3 Ba7 7. Rb1 $146 {This is the novelty, However, I do not see any importance in it. The move order does not matter that much in this position. Ivanchuk simply puts his rook on b-file in order to prepare the advance of the b-pawn.} Bf5 8. b4 Qc8 9. h3 $1 {A typical move which prevents the exchange of light square Bishops.} Nge7 10. Nge2 O-O 11. Qd2 h6 12. a3 Nd8 13. Bb2 f6 14. Rc1 {Both players are regrouping their pieces more or less in the best way they can. I believe that white has a clear edge thanks to the space advantage he has. On the other hand, Black has no clear weakness.} c6 15. d4 Nf7 16. e4 $6 {The right idea at the wrong time! This move is a bit premature because it gives the Black bishop on a7 some extra power, by weakening the a7-g1 diagonal} (16. h4 Qd7 17. O-O Bh3 {was a safe alternative, which Ivanchuk was not looking for!}) 16... Bd7 17. Nd1 f5 $6 (17... Ng5 $2 18. h4 Bh3 19. Rxh3 $1 Nxh3 20. Ne3 Qd7 21. Rd1 {And White is better thanks to the hanging knight on h3.}) (17... exd4 18. Nxd4 c5 (18... f5 $2 19. Qc3 $18) 19. Ne2 Ne5 {And Black is very much into the game.} 20. Bxe5 (20. f4 Bxh3) 20... dxe5 21. Nec3 Nc6) 18. dxe5 dxe5 19. c5 $1 {From now on Ivanchuk restrains the bishop on a7 and the knight on f7. A very strong positional performance by the new world championship Candidate!} Bb8 20. Ne3 fxe4 21. h4 $1 {Outplays the knight on f7 forever!} Nd5 $2 {By trading his only potentially active piece, Vallejo makes his own day gloomy.} (21... Rd8 22. Qc2 a5 23. O-O axb4 24. axb4 Be6 25. Bxe4 Nd5 {Could keep Vallejo into the game.}) 22. Nc3 Nxe3 23. Qxe3 a5 24. O-O axb4 25. axb4 Bh3 $6 {And now the Bishop!} 26. Bxh3 Qxh3 27. Nxe4 {Just by comparing the minor pieces one can see the superiority of White's position.} Bc7 28. Qb3 Bd8 29. Rc3 (29. f4 {was the active alternative, however, the essence of position remains intact. White is winning.}) 29... Qg4 30. f3 Qg6 31. Kh2 Kh7 32. Rd1 b6 33. Qc2 bxc5 34. Rxc5 Kh8 35. Rxc6 Qh5 36. Kg2 Bxh4 37. g4 {Ivanchuk traps the queen on h5, a nice positional achievenemnt by Ivanchuk. } 1-0

Nakamura and Anand chose a hair-raising line in the Moscow Variation and characteristically neither player shirked the complications it led to. The game actully ended in an ultrasharp display of fireworks, but Caissa chose not to favor either of them.

[Event "4th Final Masters"] [Site "Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP"] [Date "2011.09.27"] [Round "2"] [White "Nakamura, Hi"] [Black "Anand, V."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D43"] [WhiteElo "2753"] [BlackElo "2817"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "2011.09.26"] [Source "Chess Today"] [SourceDate "2011.09.27"] 1. c4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 dxc4 7. e4 g5 8. Bg3 b5 {The fashionable Moscow system. It is one of the most complicated lines nowadays, so who else did you expect to play this?!} 9. Ne5 Nbd7 {A rare choice by Anand.} 10. Nxc6 Qb6 11. d5 Bb7 12. a4 a6 13. Be2 Bxc6 $146 {This perfectly logical move is a novelty. The other alternative was also a successful one in practice, nevertheless there might be something in there that Anand did not like it!} (13... Bg7 14. dxe6 (14. O-O O-O 15. Bf3 {Was this what caused Anand to refrain from this continuation?}) 14... Bxc6 15. exd7+ Nxd7 16. axb5 axb5 17. Rxa8+ Bxa8 18. O-O Ne5 19. Nd5 Qc5 20. Kh1 O-O 21. f4 gxf4 22. Bxf4 f5 23. b4 Qd6 24. Bf3 fxe4 25. Bxe4 Rd8 26. Rf2 c3 27. Rf3 Bxd5 28. Rd3 Nxd3 {0-1 (28) Kasimdzhanov,R (2695)-Gelfand,B (2733) Nalchik 2009 }) 14. dxc6 Qxc6 15. axb5 axb5 16. Rxa8+ Qxa8 17. O-O (17. Nxb5 $6 {Does not yield anything after} Bb4+ {and castles.}) 17... Qc6 18. e5 Nd5 19. Nxd5 (19. Bf3 N7b6 20. Ne4 Bc5 21. Kh1 b4 22. Qe2 {White plans to move his bishop and play f4, hoping for a devastating attack. Black is a pawn up and a very strong majority on the queenside, which is balanced by his exposesd king, making the position unclear.}) 19... Qxd5 20. Qa1 Bg7 21. Rd1 Qc5 $1 {covers the a3-f8 diagonal.} 22. Qa8+ Ke7 23. Qb7 Rd8 24. Bf3 Bxe5 $2 (24... Qc8 25. Qxb5 Qc7 26. Qb4+ Ke8 {seems quiet safe for Black.}) 25. Bxe5 $2 {returns the favor.} (25. Bc6 Kf6 (25... Bxg3 26. hxg3 b4 (26... Kf6 $4 {losing to} 27. Qc7 $18) 27. Rxd7+ Rxd7 28. Qxd7+ Kf6 {seems like a piece up position for White to me!}) 26. Rxd7 Rxd7 27. Bxd7 Bxg3 28. hxg3 b4 29. Be8 Qf8 30. Ba4 Qd6 31. Qf3+ Kg7 32. Qe3 {also seems like a piece up position to me! The position is far from winning but it seems more promising for White than the game.}) 25... Qxe5 26. Bc6 Kf6 $1 27. Bxd7 Qxb2 28. Rf1 c3 29. Qc7 Ra8 (29... Rxd7 30. Qxd7 c2 31. Qd2 b4 32. f4 Kg6 {Is also drawish}) 30. Bxe6 fxe6 31. f4 Ra1 32. fxg5+ Kxg5 33. Qg7+ Kh5 34. Qf7+ Kg5 35. Qf6+ Kh5 36. Qf7+ Kg5 37. Qg7+ Kh5 38. Qf7+ {A nice battle!} 1/2-1/2

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 
   Vassily Ivanchuk 
Levon Aronian 
   Hikaru Nakamura
Francisco Vallejo 
   Magnus Carlsen
GamesReport
Round 4: Friday, September 30, 15:00h
Levon Aronian 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
Francisco Vallejo 
   Viswanathan Anand
Magnus Carlsen 
   Hikaru Nakamura
GamesReport
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

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