São Paulo Rd1 – Aronian wins, Carlsen loses

by Albert Silver
9/25/2012 – The São Paulo stage of the Grand Slam Masters just started, with a dream lineup: Carlsen, Aronian, Anand, Karjakin, Caruana, and Vallejo-Pons. The very first round saw drama strike after Aronian swiftly beat Karjakin with old preparation he had stored, while Carlsen tried his utmost to beat Caruana, and just as he could, blundered and lost. Large illustrated report by Albert Silver.

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São Paulo / Bilbao Grand Slam Final

Round 1: Monday, September 24, 15:00h
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Francisco Vallejo
Levon Aronian 
1-0
 Sergey Karjakin
Fabiano Caruana 
1-0
 Magnus Carlsen

Round one

Report and pictures by Albert Silver

Though the last few days have seen the chess world’s attention turned towards the London Grand Prix, today the Grand Slam Masters started with the cream of the crop: world number one Magnus Carlsen, world number two Levon Aronian, the world champion Vishy Anand, the youngest grandmaster in history, Sergey Karjakin, the rising phenomenon Fabiano Caruana, and top Spaniard Francisco Vallejo-Pons. In this ten round double round-robin there are no boards with less than stellar appeal.

To further ensure maximum efforts to win, the tournament uses the football scoring method of three points for a win, and only one for a draw, to which the Sofia rules are added, meaning draws cannot be offered without the arbiter’s permission.


São Paulo tournament organizer Davy D'Israel shakes hands with Vishy Anand to start the game


The media was there in full. Here are TV presenter Alessandra and Murilo Azevedo
from TV Brasil, a public television network.

Following its tradition, the games are played in the glass cube referred by the players as the “aquarium”, allowing it to be played outdoors, but still quiet enough for the games not to be hindered by an excited audience. In fact, the live commentator area is right next to the cube itself!


GM Ian Rogers joined GM Gilberto Milos for the live commentary, much to the delight of the audience

Leontxo Garcia was unable to make the trip this time due to prior commitments, but will be replaced by Susan Polgar, who will analyze alongside the polyglot GM Gilberto Milos. As she will only arrive tomorrow, GM Ian Rogers was kind enough to join Milos to provide dynamic feedback and analysis.


Children from all over came to join the many chess-related activities


Levon Aronian had the ideal start, dominating his first game from end to end

The first game of the day was decided by Levon Aronian quickly steamrolling Sergey Karjakin, when the young Russian entered a line the Armenian said he had been waiting a longtime to meet with detailed preparation. The wait was worth it as he notched a powerful win and opened his tally with three points.

[Event "5th Final Masters"] [Site "Bilbao ESP"] [Date "2012.09.24"] [Round "1"] [White "Aronian, L."] [Black "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E15"] [WhiteElo "2816"] [BlackElo "2778"] [PlyCount "59"] [EventDate "2012.09.24"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. b3 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Nc3 O-O 8. Bg2 c6 9. e4 d5 {0.36/0} 10. exd5 {0.24/0} cxd5 {0.75/0 After the game, Aronian explained that he had been waiting a long time to play this line.} 11. Ne5 {0. 33/0} Nfd7 {0.08/0} 12. O-O {0.82/0} Nxe5 {0.74/0} 13. dxe5 {0.66/0} Nd7 {0.29/ 0} 14. Re1 {0.28/0} dxc4 {0.64/0} 15. Bxa8 {-0.08/0} Qxa8 {0.13/0} 16. Bh6 $1 { 0.20/0 A very unpleasant move to have to face. It may not be winning, but it certainly means a tightrope act by Black.} Rd8 {0.00/0} 17. Qg4 {0.00/0} Bf8 { 0.04/0} 18. Rad1 {0.00/0} Nc5 $6 {0.66/0 The beginning of trouble.} (18... cxb3 {was preferable.}) 19. bxc4 {0.68/0} Bb7 {1.01/0} 20. Rxd8 {1.11/0} Qxd8 {0.73/ 0} 21. Rd1 {0.21/0} Qc7 {0.56/0} 22. Bf4 {0.00/0} Qc6 {0.00/0} 23. f3 {0.00/0} Nd7 $6 {1.12/0} 24. Ne4 $16 {1.24/0 The threat is the not-so-subtle Rxd7 Qxd7 Nf6+} Qa4 $2 {3.77/0} 25. Rxd7 $1 $18 {2.87/0 Not-so-subtle and strong.} Bxe4 { 2.65/0 Perhaps Karjakin was counting on this intermediate move, Aronian saw a little better.} 26. Rd8 $1 {4.24/0 Now it is soon over.} Bg6 {6.31/0} 27. Bg5 $2 {2.03/0} Qa3 $2 {6.02/0} 28. Qd4 $18 {4.63/0} h6 {4.72/0} 29. Qd6 Kh7 30. Qxf8 1-0


If he was praying for a good result, Paco got his wish as he managed to hold...


...world champion Viswanathan Anand to a draw.

After this, some time passed before the next game ended. Vishy Anand and Francisco Vallejo-Pons played a protracted struggle in which the advantage actually swung both ways. Ultimately neither player got more than a nagging edge and it pettered out into a draw.


The game started fairly poorly for the world number one

The last game was also by far the most dramatic. Fabiano Caruana found himself facing a French defense by Magnus Carlsen, and seemed to get a significant edge very early on. This did not last long as the game then swung the other way and he was on the defensive for the next fifty moves.


Magnus then turned the tables and kept the pressure going for the longest time

Magnus appeared to have several chances to decide the game in his favor, but somehow it never turned out that way, and instead the game also seemed destined to end in a draw. Everyone, from the grandmaster commentators to the spectators just waited for the players to shake hands, but Carlsen was having none of it. He wanted to play for a win!


It seemed like there was no way to avoid the draw, but Carlsen was determined to
transform lead into gold.

Though this can often be a recipe for disaster, he seemed to understand the fine balance between playing for the win, and forcing into a loss. Miraculously he got his wish as he steered the game to a genuine win, but at the cost of his precious time on the clock, and a few moves short of the time control, he not only missed the winning continuation, but tragically blundered into a loss, and suddenly it was all over.


A shocking turn of events instead handed the win to Fabiano Caruana

In the post-mortem, Caruana was still shocked by the turn of events and was a little more subdued than usual, but one suspects he will soon be jumping in glee once the enormity of his good fortune registers.

Photos by Albert Silver and official site

Playchess commentary schedule

Date
Round
Commentator
24.09.2012
round 01
Lilov
25.09.2012
round 02
Collins
26.09.2012
round 03
King
27.09.2012
rest day
28.09.2012
round 04
Collins
29.09.2012
round 05
Trent
08.10.2012
round 06
D‘Costa
09.10.2012
round 07
King
10.10.2012
round 08
King
11.10.2012
rest day
12.10.2012
round 09
King
13.10.2012
round 10
D'Costa

Schedule and results

Round 1: Monday, September 24, 15:00h
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Francisco Vallejo
Levon Aronian 
1-0
 Sergey Karjakin
Fabiano Caruana 
1-0
 Magnus Carlsen
Round 2: Tuesday, September 25, 15:00h
Francisco Vallejo 
   Magnus Carlsen
Sergey Karjakin 
   Fabiano Caruana
Viswanathan Anand 
   Levon Aronian
Round 3: Wednesday, September 26, 15:00h
Levon Aronian 
   Francisco Vallejo
Fabiano Caruana 
   Viswanathan Anand
Magnus Carlsen 
   Sergey Karjakin
Round 4: Friday, September 28, 15:00h
Fabiano Caruana 
   Francisco Vallejo
Magnus Carlsen 
   Levon Aronian
Sergey Karjakin 
   Viswanathan Anand
Round 5: Saturday, September 29, 15:00h
Francisco Vallejo 
   Sergey Karjakin
Viswanathan Anand 
   Magnus Carlsen
Levon Aronian 
   Fabiano Caruana

São Paulo partners


 

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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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