Bilbao Masters: Aronian beats Grischuk, takes lead

9/11/2009 – It was the third consecutive win for Armenia's top grandmaster, after he had lost his first game in Bilabo. And it was the second consecutive loss for the Russian, who had won is first two games in this event. Levon Aronian vs Alexander Grischuk was definitely the game to watch in round four of the Grand Slam Final, which Aronian now leads with nine "Bilbao points". Illustrated report.

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The II Grand Slam Final Chess Masters 2009

The II Grand Slam Final Chess Masters 2009 is being held in Bilbao from September 6th to September 12th, in a sound-proof glass cube in the Bilbao Plaza Nueva (central square). The four players competing: Sergey Karjakin, the winner of Wijk ann Zee, Alexander Grischuk, winner of Ciudad de Linares, Alexei Shirov, winner in Sofia, and Levon Aronian, second-place winner of Nanking. The games start at 17:00h CEST (= 19:00h Moscow, 16:00h London, 11 a.m. New York), with a rate of play of 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes to finish the game, with 10 extra seconds per move from move number 41. The “Sofia Rule” is enforced, which means that players are not allowed to agree a draw without arbiter's permission. The prize fund is 110,000 Euros. The full schedule and results of the tournament are given below.


Round 4: Thursday, 10 September 2009
Alexei Shirov 
1-1
 Sergey Karjakin
Levon Aronian 
3-0
 Alexander Grischuk


The playing venue: a glass cube under a sun shade on Bilbao's Plaza Nueva


The players are in the sound-proof glass "aquarium"...


... while on the right there is commentary for the spectators

Aronian-Grischuk was a Chebanenko Slav in which Armenian GM Levon Aronian uncorked a dramatic novelty that had Alexander Grischuk pondering and once again running into time trouble.

Aronian,L (2773) - Grischuk,A (2733) [D11]
2nd Grand Slam Masters Bilbao ESP (4), 10.09.2009
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.e3 a6 5.Nc3 b5 6.c5 Nbd7 7.a3 a5 8.Bd3 e5 9.dxe5 Ng4

Our Mega and ChessBase Live databases know 10.e6 and 10.Nd4 in this position. Fritz 11 prefers the former slightly (less than a tenth of a pawn) over Aronian's novelty, Rybka 3 immediately goes for the novelty, giving it 0.2 pawns more than 10.e6. 10.Bxb5!?N. The point is that the position becomes very complicated after this move, and Grischuk, who must assume that Aronian has worked everything out in home computer analysis – and with fellow Armenians Movsesian and Lputian, who favour this opening – has to go into a deep think and use up a lot of his time finding the right plan over the board. It took Grischuk almost an hour to play his next move: 10...cxb5 11.Qxd5 Rb8. Both Fritz and Rybka prefer 11...Ra6 12.h3 Nh6 13.c6 Nc5, which appears to be playable for Black. But Grischuk's move, which prepares ...b4, has Aronian thinking for the first time in this game. 12.h3 b4 13.axb4 axb4 14.Ne4

Black has decided to return the piece in a flurry of exchanges – once again Fritz and Rybka give their blessings. 14...Nxc5 15.Qxd8+ Kxd8 16.Nxc5 Nxf2 17.Kxf2 Bxc5 18.Bd2 Kc7 19.Rhc1 Kb6 20.Nd4 Rd8 21.Rc2 Rd5 22.Rac1 Be6 23.Nb3

Grischuk has defended well, but has less than ten minutes left for the next eighteen moves. Now he misses an opportunity to draw pretty much by force: 23...Rbd8? Instead our electronic advisors show us 23...Rc8 24.Bxb4 Bxe3+! 25.Kxe3 Rxc2 26.Rxc2 Rxe5+ 27.Kd4 Bxb3=; or 24.Nxc5 Rdxc5 25.Rxc5 Rxc5 26.Kf3 Rxc1 27.Bxc1=.

24.Ke2 Bf8 25.Nd4 Bc5 26.Nxe6 fxe6 27.e4 Rxe5 28.Rc4 Rd4 29.Rxd4 Bxd4 30.b3 Rc5 31.Rf1 Kb5 32.Rf7 Bc3 33.Be3 Rc6 34.Rb7+ Ka6 35.Rb8 Ka5 36.Bg5 h6 37.Be7 e5 38.g4 Re6 39.Bf8 g5 40.Rd8

Once again Grischuk has defended stubbornly and, in spite of some inaccuracies, can still hope to eventually escape with a draw. With seconds left on the clock ("O tempora o mores!" – Oh give me more time, as Marcus Tullius used to say) Grischuk blunders on his final move before the time control: 40...Rf6? 40...Kb5 was the only playable move. Now White can trade rooks, pick up a pawn and reach a won endgame: 41.Rd5+ Kb6 42.Rd6+ 1-0. [Click to replay]

Addendum: Kajetan Wandowicz of Poland writes: "Oh give me more time – that's a joke, right? I certainly hope so!" Mauro Nervi of Pisa, Italy: "So many people will correct your wrong translation of "o tempora o mores", while it is of course at the same time intentional and witty." Absolutely, but we need to be more careful in the future. "I believe the author of this sensation should maybe revise Latin a little. This is really the flaw of the year. Congratulations, Chessbase! Shame on undereducated pseudo-journalists!" That came from Luke of Poland. Others wrote in similar vein. Come on, guys, the undereducated pseudo-journalist had to read Cicero's (including First Oration) at university. Probably we need to introduce a special tag in HTML to clearly identify our little jokes: and .

Postgame analysis


Shirov-Karjakin was a Closed Ruy Lopez Zaitsev, with at least 25 moves having been played before.


Patxi Mutiloa, Sports Director of the Province of Biscay, starts the clocks

Shirov,A (2730) - Karjakin,Sergey (2722) [C92]
2nd Grand Slam Masters Bilbao ESP (4), 10.09.2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d6 9.h3 Bb7 10.d4 Re8 11.Ng5 Rf8 12.Nf3 Re8 13.Nbd2 Bf8 14.a4 h6 15.Bc2 exd4 16.cxd4 Nb4 17.Bb1 c5 18.d5 Nd7 19.Ra3 c4 20.axb5 axb5 21.Nd4 Rxa3 22.bxa3 Nd3 23.Bxd3 cxd3 24.Nxb5 Qa5 25.Nd4 Qc3 [25...Nc5 26.Nf5 g6 27.Ng3 Bg7 28.Nf3 Bc3 29.Re3 Ba6 30.Nd2 Bb5 31.Ngf1 Qb6 32.Qg4 Bd4 33.Rf3 h5 34.Qf4 Qc7 35.g4 Re5 36.gxh5 Rxh5 37.Kg2 Qe7 0-1 Nagaradjane,A (2388)-Nielsen,M (2382)/England 1999/Corr 2002] 26.Nf5 Nc5 27.f3 Bxd5 28.exd5 Rxe1+ 29.Qxe1 Nb3 30.Qe8 Qxc1+ 31.Kh2 Nxd2 32.Ne7+ Kh7 33.Qxf8 Nf1+ 34.Kh1 Ng3+ 35.Kh2 Nf1+ 36.Kh1 draw. [Click to replay]

All photos by Nadja Woisin

Standings after four rounds

Player
wins
draws
losses
points
Levon Aronian
3
0
1
9
Alexander Grischuk 
2
0
2
6
Sergey Karjakin
1
2
1
5
Alexei Shirov
0
2
2
2
 
Scoring System:
3 - Points per win
1 - Point per draw
0 - Point per loss

Traditional cross table (for rating purposes)


Schedule and results

Round 1: Sunday, 6th September 2009
Sergey Karjakin 
1-1
 Alexei Shirov
Alexander Grischuk 
3-0
 Levon Aronian
Round 2: Monday, 7th September 2009
Levon Aronian 
3-0
 Sergey Karjakin
Alexander Grischuk 
3-0
 Alexei Shirov
Round 3: Tuesday, 8 September 2009
Sergey Karjakin 
3-0
 Alexander Grischuk
Alexei Shirov 
0-3
 Levon Aronian
Round 4: Thursday, 10 September 2009
Alexei Shirov 
1-1
 Sergey Karjakin
Levon Aronian 
3-0
 Alexander Grischuk
Round 5: Friday, 11 September 2009
Alexander Grischuk 
 
 Sergey Karjakin
Levon Aronian 
 
 Alexei Shirov
Games – Report
Round 6: Saturday, 12 September 2009
Sergey Karjakin 
 
 Levon Aronian
Alexei Shirov 
 
 Alexander Grischuk
Games – Report

Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse the PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!


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