Bilbao Masters: Aronian wins Grand Slam Final

9/12/2009 – ... with a round to go! Levon Aronian defeated Alexei Shirov to take an unassailable lead of twelve Bilbao points. This means that the Armenian GM, currently number three in the world, is already the winner, and Saturday's final round can change nothing in that respect. Alexander Grischuk defended an interesting endgame against Sergey Karjakin to keep second place. Round five 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 5: Friday, 11 September 2009
Alexander Grischuk 
1-1 
 Sergey Karjakin
Levon Aronian 
3-0 
 Alexei Shirov

Aronian-Shirov was an English Opening in which Alexei Shirov seemed to be doing fine, until some dodgy queen moves brought about his downfall. Armenian GM Levon Aronian executed the win convincingly and with it took game, mini-match and tournament.


The Culture Provincial representative Josune Ariztondo and the Mayor of Linares (and
P resident of Grand Slam Chess) Juan Fernandez execute the first move in Shirov vs Aronian

Aronian,L (2773) - Shirov,A (2730) [A20]
2nd Grand Slam Masters Bilbao ESP (5), 11.09.2009
1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.0-0 Nb6 7.b3 Bd6 8.Bb2 0-0 9.d3 Bg4 10.h3 Bh5 11.Nbd2 Qe7 12.Ne4 f5 13.Nxd6 cxd6 14.b4 Nxb4 15.Qb3+ N4d5 16.Nxe5 dxe5 17.Bxd5+ Nxd5 18.Qxd5+ Kh8 19.Rfe1 Rae8 20.Rac1 f4 21.g4 Bf7 22.Qe4 Bg6 23.Qg2 Qf7

24.Rc5 Qxa2?! Black was doing fine, but after this the game starts to slip away. 25.Rb5 b6 26.Ra1 Qf7 27.Rxe5 Qb3 28.Rxe8 Rxe8 29.Bd4 Qb4 30.Qd5 Qe7 31.Rc1 h6 32.Qf3 Qd6 33.Bb2 Kh7 34.Rc4 b5 35.Rc6

35...Qb4?! Giving up the f-pawn... 36.Bc3 Qe7 37.Qxf4 Rf8 38.Qe3 Qf7 ...for this? 39.Be5 Re8 40.f4 Qd7 41.Qc5 Qe7 42.Rc7 Qxc5+ 43.Rxc5 1-0. Aronian won this game with technique and style. [Click to replay]


The winner of the Bilbao Final (with one round to go): Levon Aronian


Grischuk-Karjakin was another Zaitsev, with 27 moves of theory. After Alexander Grischuk's novelty Sergey Karjakin was able to equalise and go on the offensive. He gave up his bishop pair on move 43 and apparently pinned his hopes on winning a rook plus bishop vs rook endgame, which is theoretically drawn but difficult to defend. Unless of course your opponent knows how to do it...


Sergey Karjakin and Alexander Grischuk face off in round five

Grischuk,A (2733) - Karjakin,Sergey (2722) [C92]
2nd Grand Slam Masters Bilbao ESP (5), 11.09.2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Bb7 10.d4 Re8 11.Nbd2 Bf8 12.a4 h6 13.Bc2 exd4 14.cxd4 Nb4 15.Bb1 c5 16.d5 Nd7 17.Ra3 c4 18.axb5 axb5 19.Nd4 Rxa3 20.bxa3 Nd3 21.Bxd3 cxd3 22.Bb2 Qa5 23.Nf5 g6 24.Ne3 Ne5 25.Nb3 Qa4 26.Bxe5 Rxe5 27.Ng4 Re7

28.Nf6+N [28.e5 Bg7 29.exd6 Rxe1+ 30.Qxe1 Qxb3 31.Qe8+ Kh7 32.Qxf7 Bxd5 33.Nf6+ Kh8 34.Qxd5 Qb1+ 35.Kh2 Bxf6 36.d7 h5 37.d8Q+ Bxd8 38.Qxd8+ ½-½ Dolezel,J-Smalcl,F/Czech Republic 1999/Corr 2000]. 28...Kh8 29.Qxd3 Bg7 30.Qf3 Qxa3 31.Re2 Qa8 32.Rc2 Qd8 33.Qf4 Re5 34.Ng4 Re7 35.Nxh6 Qf8 36.Ng4 f5 37.exf5 Qxf5 38.Qxf5 Re1+ 39.Kh2 gxf5 40.Ne3 Be5+ 41.g3

41...f4 42.gxf4 Bxf4+ 43.Kg2 Bxe3 44.fxe3 Rxe3 45.Nd4 Rd3 46.Nxb5. White decides to give up his knight for the two remaining black pawns and to defend the R+B vs R ending. 46...Rxd5 47.Nxd6 Rxd6+

This position is a theoretical draw, but one which the defending side has been outplayed on numerous occasions. Here's an example (and guess who's doing the attacking):

Rychagov,Andrey (2528) - Grischuk,Alexander (2715) [D44]
RUS-ch superfinal 60th Moscow (10), 29.12.2007


Position after 56.Kf2xPf3

Grischuk actually managed to win this drawn endgame, and probably went through the moves with a computer to understand how his opponent could have defended it. Their game continued 56...Ra6 57.Kf4 Kg6 58.a4 Kf6 59.a5 Rxa5 60.Rb4 Bc6 61.Rc4 Rf5+ 62.Ke3 Re5+ 63.Kd4 Rd5+ 64.Ke3 Bb5 65.Rd4 Rh5 66.Kf4 Ke6 67.Ke4 Bc6+ 68.Kf4 Rf5+ 69.Ke3 Ke5 70.Rd3 Rh5 71.Rc3 Bd5 72.Kd2 Rh2+ 73.Ke3 Rh4 74.Kd3 Rg4 75.Ke3 Bc4 76.Kf3 Rh4 77.Ke3 Re4+ 78.Kf3 Be2+ 79.Kf2 Kf4 80.Rc2 Bd3 81.Rb2 Re3 82.Rb4+ Be4 83.Rb2 Rh3 84.Re2 Bd3 85.Rd2? Rf3+ 86.Kg2 Bf1+ 87.Kg1 Ke3 88.Rd5 Bd3 89.Rg5 Be4 90.Kh2 Kf4 91.Rg8? (91.Rg7 or 91.Rg3 was required) Rf2+ 92.Kg1 Ra2? (92.Rc2! with mate in 51) 93.Rb8? (93.Rc8!=) Bd5? (94.Rd8/Rc8=) 94.Rd8 Kg3 95.Kf1 Bf3 96.Ke1? (96.Re8/Rg8+ was required – now it is mate in 15) 96...Re2+ 97.Kf1 Re3 98.Rg8+ Bg4 99.Rg7 Re8 100.Rg5 Rh8 0-1. [Click to replay]

In his game against Karjakin in Bilbao Grischuk had no problem defending: 48.Kg3 Bc6 49.Kf4 Kg7 50.Rc5 Be8 51.Ke5 Rh6 52.Rc3 Rh5+ 53.Kd6 Bg6 54.Re3 Bf5 55.Ke5 Bc8+ 56.Kd4 Kf6 57.h4 Bf5 58.Rb3 Be6 59.Rb4 Rxh4+ 60.Kc3 Rh1 61.Kd4 Rd1+ 62.Ke4 Bd5+ 63.Kf4 Rf1+ 64.Ke3 Ke5 65.Ke2 Rh1 66.Kd2 Be4 67.Rb5+ Kf4 68.Rb3 Rh2+ 69.Kc3 Rh8 70.Kc4 Rc8+ 71.Kd4 Rd8+ 72.Kc3 Bd3 73.Rb4+ Ke3 74.Rb2 Rc8+ 75.Kb3 Kd4 76.Kb4 Rc6 77.Kb3 Rc1 78.Rd2 Rc8 79.Rb2 Bc4+ 80.Kb4 Kd3 81.Rh2 Rb8+ 82.Kc5 Rb5+ 83.Kd6 Rg5 84.Rh3+ Kd4 85.Rh4+ Kc3 86.Rh3+ Kb4 87.Rh7 Rd5+ 88.Ke7 Kc5 89.Rg7 Rh5 90.Kf6 Kd6 91.Rg5 Rh4 92.Rg7 Be6 93.Kg5 Rg4+ 94.Kf6 Rf4+ 95.Kg5 Rf2 96.Kg6 Ke5 97.Kg5 Bf7 98.Kh6 Kf6 99.Rg6+ Bxg6 draw. You are advised to replay this game (and Rychagov-Grischuk 2007) to study the endgame, which may happen to you sooner than you expect it.

All photos by Nadja Woisin

Standings after five rounds

Player
wins
draws
losses
points
Levon Aronian
4
0
1
12
Alexander Grischuk 
2
1
2
7
Sergey Karjakin
1
3
1
6
Alexei Shirov
0
2
3
2
 
Scoring System:
3 - Points per win
1 - Point per draw
0 - Point per loss

Traditional cross table (for rating purposes)

As you can see Aronian's performance is now at 2870. The Armenian GM is cementing his third place in the world rankings, distancing himself from the fourth-placed Magnus Carlsen and slowly creeping up to Vishy Anand in second place. Note that only three of the ten games played so far have been drawn, which translated to a sensationally low drawing quota of 29.99%.

Addendum: We had a rough time with our gratuitous o tempora joke yesterday. Letters are still coming in. We will treasure the one from Luke of Poland: "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!" Alarmingly few caught our intention. Kajetan Wandowicz of Poland wrote: "Oh give me more time – that's a joke, right? I certainly hope so!" And 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." In order to avoid such situations in the future we are introducing the humor tag in HTML. We hope this will alleviate the situation. Radicitus, comes!


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 
1-1 
 Sergey Karjakin
Levon Aronian 
3-0 
 Alexei Shirov
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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