Bilbao Masters 04: Anand rolls forward

by Alejandro Ramirez
9/19/2014 – Anand continues with a very impressive performance in the Bilbao Grand Slam Masters Final as he demolished Vallejo Pons in a simple game where all White had to do was put the pieces where they belonged. Ponomariov prepared against the wrong opponent, and could only reach a draw against Aronian. Meanwhile as consolation Paco Vallejo did win the Basque Games Triathlon!

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2014 Bilbao Masters Final

This super-GM double round robin tournament is being played September 14th until September 20th, 2014.

The players – Levon Aronian (Armenia), Viswanathan Anand (India), Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine) and Francisco "Paco" Vallejo Pons (Spain).

The tournament is being held alongside the European Club Cup, which we will have reports for separately. The average rating of this event is 2754, making it a category 21.

The event is being scored in the "soccer" format: three points for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss.

Rest Day

by Gerardo Fernandez Llana

The players had the opportunity to try their hand at an interesting trio of games, all of them very traditional to the Basque region.

In the first round of lokotxak and txingas, Ruslan Ponomariov won against Anand. The five time World Champion in chess needed 1 minute and 05 seconds to solve all tasks, but the youngest World Champion in history, Ruslan Ponomariov, needed only 58 seconds!

In Lokotxak blitzea (cob gathering) cobs are placed in a line, with a distance of 1.25m between them, 25 in a line at the most. The competitors have to collect these in order (the nearest first) and put them in a basket standing at one end of the row of cobs.

It seemed as if the thin, but athletic, Ponomariov would make it to the final, but in the second duel, in which Spanish Champion Paco Vallejo and Levon Aronian, defending Champion of the Grand Slam Masters, competed against each other, a surprise was waiting. Paco Vallejo needed on 52 seconds to gather all the cobs but was only one second faster than Aronian who needed 53 seconds for that task. So both qualified for the final.

Vallejo displaying skill, but Aronian is not far behind

Txinga eramatea, or weight carrying

In the final the two had to battle it out in soka-tira (tug-of war) and here Paco Vallejo quickly won. Though Aronian is in enviable physical shape, the size and power of the Baelaric gave him the title in a matter of seconds.

Harri jasotzea, stone lifting!

The winner of this first rural Basque triathlon, Paco Vallejo, received a trophy that accredited him as such, (a sculpture representing an aizkolari), while his three rivals received honorable mentions (a harrijazotzaile).

Vallejo with his well-earned trophy

All the participants

Round Four

Round 04 –September 18, 2014
Ponomariov, Ruslan 2717
½-½
Aronian, Levon 2804
Anand, Vishy 2785
1-0
Vallejo Pons, Francisco 2712

Ponomariov came ill prepared to the game... he wasn't expecting to play Aronian! The Ukrainian player thought that it would be a repeat of round one (where he faced Vallejo) with colors reversed, as are most double-round robins, but the pairings were slightly altered to avoid giving a player the same color three times in a row...

The game was interesting but nothing too exciting. Aronian decided to take a pawn and then turtle in, and although Ponomariov had pressure there was simply no breaking point. The game ended in a draw as neither side could improve their position.

Anand dismantled Vallejo very easily. As the World Championship challenger said, the Spaniard simply made some strange and bad practical decisions near the beginning of the game and it ended up costing him the game.

(interview with Anand and Ponomariov in Spanish)

Photos by Manu de Alba from Bilbao's Facebook site

Round Four Games

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

Standings

Schedule

Round 01 – September 14, 2014
Vallejo Pons, Francisco 2712
½-½
Aronian, Levon 2804
Anand, Vishy 2785
1-0
Ponomariov, Ruslan 2717
Round 02 –September 15, 2014
Aronian, Levon 2804
1-0
Ponomariov, Ruslan 2717
Vallejo Pons, Francisco 2712
0-1
Anand, Vishy 2785
Round 03 –September 16, 2014
Anand, Vishy 2785
½-½
Aronian, Levon 2804
Ponomariov, Ruslan 2717
1-0
Vallejo Pons, Francisco 2712
Round 04 –September 18, 2014
Ponomariov, Ruslan 2717
½-½
Aronian, Levon 2804
Anand, Vishy 2785
1-0
Vallejo Pons, Francisco 2712
Round 05 –September 19, 2014
Aronian, Levon 2804   Vallejo Pons, Francisco 2712
Ponomariov, Ruslan 2717   Anand, Vishy 2785
Round 06 –September 20, 2014
Aronian, Levon 2804   Anand, Vishy 2785
Vallejo Pons, Francisco 2712   Ponomariov, Ruslan 2717

Links

The games are being 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 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

 



Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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MrL2014 MrL2014 9/19/2014 11:54
The web interface for playchess stopped working. It loads but does not allow to make moves. I used Android and windows mobile devices. Fyi
vandal vandal 9/19/2014 05:08
playing chess home is more difficult which is not true for Basque triathlon
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