Bilbao 08: All games drawn, Caruana and Carlsen lead

10/11/2012 – In this round the leaders did not showed anything special, and their games were drawn. However, this was compensated by the joint effort of Vallejo Pons and Levon Aronian. The Armenian opted for an extremely passive version of Modern Defense as if to invite Vallejo for a fierce attack. The invitation was duly accepted. Full report and commentary by Piotr Kaim.

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São Paulo / Bilbao Grand Slam Final

Round eight report

Round 8: Thursday, October 11, 17h
Francisco Vallejo 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Fabiano Caruana
Sergey Karjakin 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen


Inside "the glass cube", at the start of round eight


Arbiter Elisabeta Polihroniade and TD Juan Carlos Fernández watch the round start

The first game to finish was the encounter between Sergei Kariakin and Magnus Carlsen. The 7.Qg4 0-0 line of the Winawer French often leads to sharp play, but this time it produced a colorless draw after 35 moves. Kariakin had a small plus during most of the game, but no more than that. Finally, he liquidated to an ending with opposite-color bishops and two useless rooks on both sides. The draw was sealed a few moves later.


The co-leader in this tournament after eight rounds


Magnus Carlsen craning his neck to follow Anand vs Caruana


Italian GM Fabiano Caruana drew his black game against the World Champion

Vishy Anand, the World Champion, tried his 3.f3 anti-Grunfeld weapon on Fabiano Caruana. It was the same weapon that nearly gave him success in the 3rd game of the recent World Championship match against Boris Gelfand. Unfortunately, the Italian avoided the entertaining line that was seen in that game. Then the players exchanged queens and showed some top GM technique to agree for a draw on move 45.


Magnus watching the start of the game Vallejo (right) vs Aronian

The encounter between Francisco Vallejo Pons and Levon Aronian was entirely different. The Armenian played with Black and opted for a provocatively passive version of Modern Defence. It looked like Aronian deliberately invited the opponent’s wild attack in the hope that Vallejo would go astray and be punished for his mistakes. In fact, Vallejo committed one inaccuracy and his advantage disappeared. But he was never in any danger of losing. Simultaneously, the Spaniard showed imagination and courage that made the game highly spectacular.

Replay all games of the round

Game of the day

[Event "5th Final Masters"] [Site "?"] [Date "2012.10.11"] [Round "8"] [White "Vallejo Pons, Francisco"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B08"] [WhiteElo "2697"] [BlackElo "2816"] [Annotator "Kaim,Piotr"] [PlyCount "111"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] 1. e4 g6 2. d4 c6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. Bc4 d6 5. Bb3 Nf6 6. Nf3 O-O 7. O-O Bg4 8. h3 Bxf3 9. Qxf3 e6 {Black would like to play d6-d5 leading to a French-like position without a light-square bishop that is, usually, Black's main liability in that kind of position. However, White's natural developing moves make the d6-d5 thrust impossible. As a result, Black's space is reduced to the first three ranks.} 10. Bg5 Nbd7 11. Rad1 Qc7 12. Qf4 a6 13. Ne2 $5 { Multipurpose move. Vallejo anticipates Black's counterplay with b7-b5 and a6-a5 with the threat of a5-a4. Therefore, he prepares c2-c3 to retreat the bishop to c2 and to strengthen the centre. Besides, in the future, the knight may go to g3, where it will be closer to the black king.} Kh8 14. c3 Ng8 15. Qd2 {Black threatened 15...f6 followed by 16...g5.} Rae8 16. Be3 Ndf6 (16... d5 {would not be good due to} 17. Bf4 {and Black is vulnerable on black squares.}) 17. f3 $1 {The Spaniard conceived an aggressive setup including f2-f3, g2-g4, Ne2-g3 and h2-h4-h5.} Rd8 18. g4 b5 19. Ng3 Nd7 20. h4 a5 $6 (20... d5 {was probably better as} 21. Bf4 {could be countered with} e5 {After the text White uses his space advantage and gets a strong attack.}) 21. h5 a4 22. Bc2 e5 23. Kg2 exd4 {Black must open the game. Otherwise he would get strangled.} 24. cxd4 c5 25. Rh1 cxd4 26. hxg6 $6 ({Vallejo is anxious to go for an all-out attack along the h-file. Therefore, he misses much more practical solution} 26. Bxd4 $1 {that would leave him with big advantage. However, we should thank him for the decision, since the text move leads to play that is much more entertaining. }) 26... fxg6 27. Rxh7+ $1 ({Once the f-file is open,} 27. Bxd4 {is no longer attractive due to} Bxd4 28. Qxd4+ Ne5 29. Bd3 Rxf3 {.}) 27... Kxh7 28. Rh1+ Nh6 29. Bxh6 {The position is razor-sharp, and Aronian gets the opportunity to show his defensive skills.} Rh8 30. e5 $5 ({Another imaginative solution. White threatens 31.Bxg6+ Kxg6 32.Qg5+ with mate or huge gains. He could play the standard alternative} 30. Bg5+ Kg8 31. Bxd8 Qxd8 32. Rxh8+ Kxh8 33. Ne2 Qh4 34. Nxd4 Be5 {but despite being a pawn up, White's winning chances would be very limited.}) 30... Nxe5 (30... Bxe5 $2 {loses to} 31. Qd3 $1 Rhg8 $2 32. Bf8#) 31. Be4 $5 {Now White is threatening 32.Nf5! gxf5 33.Qg5! Ng6 34.Qxf5! with a winning attack. White could not enter into this line with his bishop hanging on c2 and therefore the bishop is transferred to e4. Besides, the text move provokes Black to play d6-d5.} d5 32. Bxg6+ $1 Kg8 ({Once the move d6-d5 is played, Black cannot capture the bishop with} 32... Nxg6 {owing to} 33. Bf4+ {and he loses his queen.}) 33. Bf5 Rd6 34. Bxg7 Qxg7 35. Nh5 Nc4 $1 (35... Qf7 36. Qxd4 Nc6 37. Qf4 {would leave White with a slight advantage. After the text move he has to liquidate into drawish endgame.}) 36. Be6+ $1 Rxe6 37. Nxg7 Nxd2 38. Nxe6 Rxh1 39. Kxh1 Nxf3 40. Kg2 Ne5 41. Nxd4 Nxg4 42. Nxb5 Ne3+ 43. Kf3 Nc4 44. Nc3 Nxb2 45. Nxd5 Kf7 46. Ke4 Ke6 47. Ne3 a3 48. Kd4 Kd6 49. Nc2 Na4 50. Nxa3 Kc6 51. Nc4 Kb5 52. a3 Kc6 53. Ne5+ Kb5 54. Nc4 Kc6 55. Ne5+ Kb5 56. Nc4 1/2-1/2


Game summary and analysis by Piotr Kaim, freelance journalist
who plays for the YMCA Warszawa (Warsaw) Club.


Daniel King's Play of the Day: Paco Vallejo Pons - Levon Aronian

Player portraits

Francisco Vallejo Pons – The High-Risk Artist

The best Spanish-born chess player, Paco Vallejo, under-18 world champion in 2000, won his first medal at age of nine. Silver in the 1991 Under-10 world championship in Milwaukee (USA). He placed in the top ten in eleven of the fourteen World or European Championships which he played at different ages. Today at 30, he takes a lot of risk, creates beauty and at times defeats the stars.

His precocity was always extraordinary. He learned the moves on his own at five, watching games his family played. His chessboard and his baby bottle are his earliest memories. “It was an unstoppable passion,” he stresses. The Marcote de Mondariz School in Pontevedra awarded him a scholarship at eleven years of age, with an exclusive trainer, grandmaster Zenón Franco. His study plan allowed him to combine school and chess training daily. His parents suffered. “The separation was painful; we only saw him during holidays. But we recognize it was a privilege,” they recalled.

After being proclaimed World U18 champion in Oropesa del Mar (Castellón), Vallejo made an important decision. “I will be a chess professional, but I am not prepared to undertake ten-hour training sessions daily. I want to enjoy life.” From that moment on his progression was not as fast as Spanish fans had wanted, despite three world champions (Kasparov, Anand and Topalov) making, independently, the same statement: ”Vallejo has enough talent to be at least in the top ten”. At last, in 2009, he broke the 2700 rating barrier and made a good impression at Linares 2010 – for his creativity and bravery.

Since then he has moved between 25th and 50th in the world, but he is still at an age where he can make a great leap if he desires and is ready to work for it. In the 2011 Grand Slam Final he managed to win games against Carlsen, Ivanchuk and Nakamura. It is no surprise the the organization chose to invite him again..

Leontxo García

Traditional crosstable after eight rounds

Bilbao crosstable after eight rounds


Schedule and results

São Paulo Grand Slam Final
Round 1: Monday, September 24, 15h
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Francisco Vallejo
Levon Aronian 
1-0
 Sergey Karjakin
Fabiano Caruana 
1-0
 Magnus Carlsen
Round 2: Tuesday, September 25, 15h
Francisco Vallejo 
0-1
 Magnus Carlsen
Sergey Karjakin 
0-1
 Fabiano Caruana
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Round 3: Wednesday, September 26, 15h
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Francisco Vallejo
Fabiano Caruana 
½-½
 Viswanathan Anand
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Sergey Karjakin
Round 4: Friday, September 28, 15h
Fabiano Caruana 
1-0
 Francisco Vallejo
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Sergey Karjakin 
½-½
 Viswanathan Anand
Round 5: Saturday, September 29, 15h
Francisco Vallejo 
½-½
 Sergey Karjakin
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Fabiano Caruana
Bilbao Grand Slam Final
Round 6: Monday, October 8, 17h
Francisco Vallejo 
½-½
 Viswanathan Anand
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Fabiano Caruana
Sergey Karjakin 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Round 7: Tuesday, October 9, 17h
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Francisco Vallejo
Fabiano Caruana 
½-½
 Sergey Karjakin
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Viswanathan Anand
Round 8: Thursday, October 11, 17h
Francisco Vallejo 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Fabiano Caruana
Sergey Karjakin 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Round 9: Friday, October 12, 17h
Sergey Karjakin 
   Francisco Vallejo
Magnus Carlsen 
   Viswanathan Anand
Fabiano Caruana 
   Levon Aronian
Round 10: Saturday, October 13, 16:30h
Francisco Vallejo 
   Fabiano Caruana
Levon Aronian 
   Magnus Carlsen
Viswanathan Anand 
   Sergey Karjakin

Links

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