2010 Bilbao Masters: Kramnik wins second straight.

10/10/2010 – The second round of the Third Masters Final was precipitous, with two decisive games. Kramnik struck again, this time overcoming Shirov after the latter was punished for neglecting his development. Carlsen had an endgame against Anand that was perfectly under control when he went astray and never found his way back. Games, analysis, and an illustrated report on A Day in Bilbao.

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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.

Round 2

Round 2: Sunday, 10th October 2010

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

The second round of the Third Masters Final was a precipitous one, with two decisive games, in more ways than one. The bad news is that Carlsen went astray in a game he should never have lost, and never found his way back. Of course, bad news for Carlsen fans, but good for those rooting for Anand. Still, in spite of the young number one’s reasonable protestations in the post-game press conference, that in the big picture this is but a drop of water (not his exact words, but clearly the gist), and to draw too many conclusions would be rash, it still amounts to three consecutive losses, and hardly an encouraging start to the event. Whatever the reasons behind this phase, he still needs to examine the causes clearly, and avoid dismissing it too lightly. Unfortunately he won’t have much time off to do this as after Bilbao, he will just have time to pack his bags before flying to the Super-GM tournament in Nanjing, China, which starts just days later.

Carlsen,Magnus (2826) - Anand,Viswanathan (2800) [C65]
Grand Slam Final Masters Bilbao ESP (2), 10.10.2010

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 This line has become a main continuation to those wishing to sidestep the principal Berlin lines. Nepomniachtchi has been championing it this year, with four games in 2010 already, but others are following suit.


Carlsen, the world number one, against Anand, world champion and world number two.

4...d6 5.0-0 Be7 6.c3 0-0 7.Nbd2 Bd7 8.Re1 Re8 9.Nf1 Bf8 10.Ba4 h6 11.Ng3 Ne7 12.Bb3 Ng6 13.d4 c5 14.h3 Qc7 15.a4 a6 16.a5 cxd4 17.cxd4 exd4 18.Nxd4 d5 19.exd5 Rxe1+ 20.Qxe1 Re8 21.Qc3 Qxc3 22.bxc3 Re1+ 23.Kh2 Bd6 24.Nc2 Rf1 25.Be3 Rxa1 26.Nxa1 Be5 27.Bd4 Bxd4 28.cxd4 Ne7 29.Nc2 Nfxd5 30.Ne4 b6 31.Ne3 Or 31.axb6 Nxb6 32.Nc5 Bb5 33.Nb7 Bc4 34.Bxc4 Nxc4 35.Kg3 a5 36.Kf3 a4 37.Ke4= 31...Nxe3 32.axb6 N3f5.








33.Nc5?! While not losing per se, this puts white in hot water and borderline lost. 33.d5 was the simplest and best. 33...Bc8 34.g4 (34.d6? Nc6 35.g4 Nfd4 36.Bc4 a5 37.Nc5 Be6 and white is in trouble as the black nights cover the pawns fine while the passed a-pawn will soon be a major problem.) 34...Nd4 35.Nd6 Bb7 36.Nxb7 Nxb3 37.d6 Nc6 38.d7 a5 39.d8Q+ Nxd8 40.Nxd8 Nc5 41.b7 Nd7 42.Nc6 a4 43.Ne5 Nb8 44.Nc4 and the position is equal. 33...Nxd4 34.b7 Nec6 35.Ba4 Be8 36.Nxa6 Kf8 37.Kg3 Ke7.








38.Kf4? White had to play 38.Bd1! which leads to a forced line (for him) in which he can survive if he walks the tightrope with care. 38...Kd6 39.Bh5 g6 40.Bd1 Bd7 41.h4 Be6 42.Ba4 Bc4 43.b8Q+ Nxb8 44.Nxb8 Ne2+ 45.Kh2 Nc3 46.Be8 and in spite of the anxious looking position of the knight on b8, Black has no forced win. 38...Ne6+! Black is winning now. 39.Ke3 Ned8 40.Bxc6 Nxc6 41.h4 Kd6 42.g4 Bd7 43.g5 hxg5 44.hxg5 g6 45.f4 Be6 0-1 [Click to replay]

Kramnik on the other hand has to be positively buoyant as he is going through the exact opposite situation, and is now on his third consecutive win (including his last round at the Olympiad). The Russian faced Shirov with his second white, and was undoubtedly surprised to see Shirov initiate the opening with a Slav. Several moves later, with the blessing of both players, they transposed to a very standard IQP, however almost immediately Shirov embarked on an incomprehensible series of moves, trying to exchange off Kramnik’s white-squared bishop, while utterly ignoring his development. This met a very quick punishment which left him with two ugly choices: swallow his pride and get ready for a long battle to save the half-point, or go down in flames.


Kramnik scored his third consecutive win and second against Shirov.

Kramnik,Vladimir (2780) - Shirov,Alexei (2749) [D16]
Grand Slam Final Masters Bilbao ESP (2), 10.10.2010

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 e6 An unusual decision. It isn't just that Shirov has never played this line in competition before, but that it doesn't lead to the most dynamic positions either, which better suit his style of play. 6.e3 c5 7.Bxc4 Nc6 8.0-0 Be7 9.Qe2 cxd4 10.Rd1 0-0 11.exd4 The game has now transposed to a very standard IQP. 11...Nd5 12.Bb3.








12...Na5 Shirov embarks on a bishop hunt with both his knights. It is truly strange seeing such a strong player spurn his development this way. 13.Ba2 Nb4?








14.d5! Since black was kind enough to unlock the d-file, white graciously accepts. 14...Nxa2 15.Rxa2 Bf6 16.dxe6.








16...Qe7? Whether despair or going for broke, black had to just accept his lumps and play 16...Qe8 17.exf7+ Qxf7 18.Nd5 Re8 19.Be3 Be6 and begin the long fight for the draw. 17.Nd5 Qxe6 18.b4 Nc6 19.b5 Ne5 20.Nc7 White wins the exchange and the ensuing endgame is won, especially in the hands of Kramnik. 20...Nxf3+ 21.gxf3 Qxe2 22.Rxe2.








22...Be6 22...Rb8 was no help after 23.Ba3! Bh3 24.Bxf8 Kxf8 25.Nd5 Rd8 26.Red2 Bg5 27.f4+- 23.Nxa8 Rxa8 24.Bb2 Rc8 25.Rc1 Rd8 26.Bxf6 gxf6 27.Kg2 a6 28.bxa6 bxa6 29.Rc6 Kg7 30.Re4 30.Rxa6? Bc4 30...f5 31.Rh4 Ra8 32.a5 Kg6 33.Kg3 Kg5 34.Rd4 h5 35.h4+ Kf6 36.Kf4 Rb8 37.Rxa6 Rb2 38.Ra4 Rxf2 39.Rxe6+ fxe6 40.a6 Re2 41.a7 1-0 [Click to replay]

When counting using traditional scoring, Kramnik would only be be a half-point ahead of Anand with 2.0/2 over the latter’s 1.5/2, however, using the Bilbao scoring which strongly favors wins, the Russian actually leads with 6.0/6 over the Indian’s 4.0/6. Anand’s best chance of wresting the title, as the final is only six rounds long, is by beating Kramnik outright, which he will have a chance to do tomorrow when he faces the leader with the white pieces.

Bilbao system scores

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

A day in Bilbao


The entrance to the magnificent locale.


Kramnik on his way to the playing hall.


Fans waiting in front of the cordoned area while the players arrive. If you look carefully
you can make out Shirov's head below his picture on the banner.


Bilbao organiser Juan Carlos Fernández with Elisabeta Polihroniade, a well-known
chess promoter from Romania, stand behind Alexei Shirov while the players arrive.


Alexei Shirov


Kramnik settling in as the arbiter starts the games.


Vladimir Kramnik


Carlsen initiates the psychological warfare as he fingers the second queen before
his game with Anand.


Anand's turn as he takes off his jacket to show he means business.


Magnus Carlsen


Carlsen and Anand


Reigning world champion, Viswanathan Anand


The press getting their last shots before their time is up.


International Arbiter Faik Gasanov, also vice-president of the Azerbaijani chess federation.


The huge entrance hall...


...where commentary is provided live and free.


Famed Spanish chess journalist Leontxo Garcia (middle) on the stage.


The enraptured audience was not only the one seen above, but also online as it is
relayed on both the official website, and on Playchess.


The giant overhead display showing the current games as well as the webcam shots.


Visitors could satisfy a sudden urge to not just watch and hear chess, but play it as well.

Pictures by Nadja Wittman/Chessbase

Watching the games

It goes without saying that although the options to watch the games live are wide and varied, we invite you to watch them at no cost on Playchess, enjoying the software's new options to display multiple boards at the same time. If you aren't already one, consider becoming a Premium member and enjoy the simuls, lectures, and live commentary among other perks.

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 
 Magnus Carlsen
Viswanathan Anand 
 Vladimir Kramnik

Round 4: Wednesday, 13th October 2010

Magnus Carlsen 
 Vladimir Kramnik
Viswanathan Anand 
 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

Sponsors and organisers

Links

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