Bilbao Masters – Ivanchuk runs over Nakamura

10/6/2011 – One would have been justified in thinking that after his fifth round loss to Carlsen, and the terrible incident that marred his trip to Bilbao, Ivanchuk would be unable to continue his Grand Slam Masters ravage. However, the tire marks he left on Nakamura, after he ran over the American's Sicilian, dismissed this thought. The other games drew. Pictorial and video with analysis by GM Romain Edouard.

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The first leg of the Grand Slam was staged in São Paulo, Ibirapuera Park, from September 25th to October 1st, the second leg takes place in Bilbao, Alhóndiga, from 5th to 11th October. Tournament system: double round robin with six players over ten rounds. Time control: 90 minutes/40 moves + 60 minutes + 10 seconds/move starting with the first move. Games begin at 16:00h local Spanish time (10 a.m. New York, 18:00h Moscow).

Round six

Round 6: Thursday, October 6, 16:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
1-0
 Hikaru Nakamura
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Viswanathan Anand
Francisco Vallejo 
½-½
 Levon Aronian


A group shot with Vallejo, Anand, Carlsen, tournament director Juan Carlos Garcia,
Nakamura, Aronian, and Ivanchuk.


The audience comes to watch the players while overhead screens
display show the action from afar.

In spite of the fact that Carlsen and Anand are solidly entrenched in the top two spots in the world ranking, albeit with Aronian breathing down their necks, their game soon lost its appeal when it became clear no fireworks were forthcoming. It was all very correct, but nothing to break a sweat over.


A pas-de-deux in which neither dancemaster had any trouble with the steps


Carlsen has had trouble getting his game into top gear

[Event "Chess Masters Final 2011"] [Site "Bilbao/Spain"] [Date "2011.10.06"] [Round "6"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E32"] [WhiteElo "2823"] [BlackElo "2817"] [Annotator "Romain Edouard"] [PlyCount "98"] [EventDate "2011.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 b6 5. Qc2 Bb7 6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. Qxc3 O-O 8. Bg5 d6 9. Nd2 Nbd7 10. f3 h6 11. Bh4 Rc8 12. e4 c5 13. Bd3 d5 14. exd5 exd5 15. O-O dxc4 16. Bxc4 $146 {Both a novelty and the computer's first choice!} (16. Nxc4 cxd4 17. Qxd4 Nc5 {was just equal in Van Wely-Leko (2008).}) 16... cxd4 17. Qxd4 Nc5 18. Bxf6 Qxf6 19. Qxf6 gxf6 20. Rfd1 (20. Rfe1 {is no improvement after} Rfd8 21. Nf1 Na4 22. b3 Nb2 23. Re7 Nxc4 24. Rxb7 Nd2) 20... Na4 $1 21. Rab1 Rfd8 22. Bb5 Bc6 23. Be2 Bd5 24. Nf1 Be6 25. Ne3 f5 (25... Bb3 {is a different route with the same destination.} 26. Rd3 (26. Rxd8+ Rxd8) 26... Rxd3 27. Bxd3 Ba2 28. Ra1 Be6) 26. g3 Kg7 27. Kf2 Kf6 28. Ba6 Rb8 29. b4 Nc3 30. Rxd8 Rxd8 31. Rc1 Nd5 32. Ng2 (32. Rd1 Ke7 33. Nxd5+ Rxd5 34. Rxd5 Bxd5 { should just be a draw, as Black has not enough weaknesses.}) (32. Nxd5+ Rxd5 33. Ke3 Rd7 {should also be nothing special, though White stands a little bit better.}) 32... Rd7 33. Rc2 Rc7 34. Ne3 Rxc2+ 35. Nxc2 f4 36. Nd4 Bd7 37. Ke2 fxg3 38. hxg3 Ne7 39. Ke3 Nf5+ 40. Nxf5 Kxf5 41. Kd4 Ke6 42. Bc4+ Ke7 43. f4 f6 44. Bd5 Kd6 45. Bf3 Be6 46. Ba8 Bf5 47. Bf3 Be6 48. Ba8 Bf5 49. Bf3 Be6 1/2-1/2

The game between Vallejo and Aronian was a different affair, in which the Armenian chose to leave the well-travelled roads, even at the risk of being worse off than usual as Black, in the hopes of outplaying his lower-rated opponent as the game unfolded.


Always ready to fight, Aronian came close to losing

The stratagem certainly highlighted his combativity, however it came dangerously close to blowing up in his face as he got into considerable trouble, before regaining control, and the draw.


To his credit, Vallejo nearly succeeded in punishing Aronian for not giving him his
due respect.

[Event "Chess Masters Final 2011"] [Site "Bilbao/Spain"] [Date "2011.10.06"] [Round "6"] [White "Vallejo Pons, Francisco"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D20"] [WhiteElo "2716"] [BlackElo "2807"] [Annotator "Romain Edouard"] [PlyCount "77"] [EventDate "2011.??.??"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 c5 3. c4 dxc4 4. e4 cxd4 5. Qxd4 Bd7 (5... Qxd4 6. Nxd4 Bd7 { or 6...a6 was the normal way to play. A strange opening choice by Aronian in my opinion. As several people asked me to explain it, I thought it could be a cool idea to try! Indeed, somehow White should be always slightly better everywhere, while Black hopes to make a draw if White makes one or several inaccurate moves. For me, it is very hard to know at what moment in a game top players like Aronian go for a draw, or decide to go for a win. If I were playing this opening with Black, it was planning for both a draw, and for some side-line just to change a bit from the usual stuff. But Aronian played 5... Bd7, declining a drawish queen exchange, though White should be very slightly better after that. As a result I would say Aronian didn't want to go desperately for a win, but also wanted to be creative, feeling that it should be possible to hold even a slightly worse position due to the (almost) hundred points difference. However, Vallejo is an extremely strong player, and I think Aronian was not far from getting punished right after the opening.}) 6. Bxc4 Nc6 7. Qe3 e6 8. O-O Qb8 $146 (8... Nge7 9. b3 {was much better for White in Tregubov-Jonkman (2002), though Black won.}) 9. b3 Ne5 10. Bb2 Bd6 (10... Nxc4 $6 11. bxc4 {and Black cannot develop.}) 11. Nbd2 Nf6 12. Qg5 {A decent move. White is slightly better, though I think 12.Qc3! is the real way to punish Black, though I might be missing a good defensive concept.} ({To illustrate, after} 12. Qc3 $1 Nxf3+ (12... Nxc4 13. bxc4 Be7 14. e5 Ng4 15. h3 Nh6 16. Ba3 $16) 13. Nxf3 b5 14. Bd3 $1 (14. Be2 {gives a long forced line:} O-O 15. Rfd1 e5 $8 {Forced.} 16. Nxe5 Nxe4 17. Qd4 Bxe5 18. Qxe5 Qxe5 19. Bxe5 Rfe8 20. f4 Re7 21. Rac1 f6 22. Bb2 Rae8 23. Bf3 f5 {and White is better, though I cannot say by how much.}) 14... Qb7 (14... O-O 15. e5 Nd5 16. Bxh7+ $18) 15. Qa5 $5 ( 15. Rfd1 Rc8 16. Qa5 Bc5 17. Ne5 Bb6 18. Qd2 O-O 19. Qe2 $14) 15... Be7 (15... Rc8 16. e5 Bc7 17. Qd2 Nd5 18. Qg5 $16) 16. Rac1 Bd8 17. Qd2 O-O 18. Rfd1 {and White seems much better to me.}) 12... Ng6 13. Bxf6 h6 14. Qa5 Bc7 (14... gxf6 15. Bb5 $14) 15. Qc5 (15. Qc3 $1 gxf6 16. Rac1 $5 (16. Qxf6 b5 17. Be2 Rg8 18. g3 Nf4 $1 (18... e5 19. Kh1 a6 {(threatening ... Bd8)} 20. Ne1 {doesn't give Black full compensation.}) 19. Rae1 e5 20. Kh1 Nxe2 21. Rxe2 Rg6 22. Qh8+ Ke7 23. Qxb8 Rxb8 24. Rc1 {and Black surely has compensation due to the two bishops, but I think White should be slightly better anyway.}) 16... Be5 (16... Bd8 17. Rfd1 $16) 17. Nxe5 Qxe5 18. Qe3 {and White is simply better.}) 15... Bd6 16. Qa5 Bc7 17. Qh5 $6 gxf6 18. Bb5 (18. Rfd1 {might be better, keeping the Queen on h5, and aiming to advance slowly but surely, with Bf1, g3... White is slightly better and it is still a question of how Black is going to secure his king.}) 18... Bxb5 19. Qxb5+ Kf8 20. Rad1 Kg7 21. Nc4 $6 (21. g3 a6 22. Qe2 h5 {is equal.}) 21... h5 ({After} 21... a6 $1 22. Qh5 b5 23. Nb2 (23. Ne3 Qb7) 23... Qb7 {followed by ...Bb6, I actually think Black starts to be slightly better. No big deal probably, but still a bit unpleasant for White...} ) 22. Rd7 a6 23. Qb4 b5 24. Nd6 Bxd6 25. Rxd6 Qc7 26. Rfd1 Rad8 {Ok, dead draw. } 27. g3 h4 28. Rxd8 Rxd8 29. Rxd8 Qxd8 30. Qd4 Qc8 31. Nxh4 Nxh4 32. gxh4 Qc2 33. e5 fxe5 34. Qxe5+ Kh7 35. Qh5+ Kg7 36. Qg5+ Kh7 37. Qh5+ Kg7 38. Qg5+ Kh7 39. Qh5+ 1/2-1/2

The last game to end was also the one that held the audience enraptured. Pundits and spectators alike would be perfectly justified in thinking that after his fifth round loss to Carlsen, and the tragic incident that marred his trip to Bilbao, Ivanchuk's ravage of the Grand Slam Masters would end. His sensitivity is well-known after all.


Leontxo García provided animated live commentary

However, it is extremely fitting that the most active player in the elite (by far!) instead continued what he does best, by playing brilliant chess. This is after all, a player whose sheer number of brilliancies could easily fill up several books, and he was in bright form this round as he ran over Nakamura's Sicilian Kan with creativity and verve.


For Nakamura, it was one of those days where things just didn't work out

[Event "Chess Masters Final 2011"] [Site "Bilbao/Spain"] [Date "2011.10.06"] [Round "6"] [White "Ivanchuk, Vasili"] [Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B43"] [WhiteElo "2765"] [BlackElo "2753"] [Annotator "Romain Edouard"] [PlyCount "77"] [EventDate "2011.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Bd3 Nf6 7. f4 Bb4 8. Nb3 Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 d6 (9... Qxc3+ $2 10. Bd2 Qc6 11. Qe2 {gives White huge compensations.}) 10. Ba3 O-O 11. Qd2 Rd8 12. O-O Nc6 13. Rf3 b5 14. Rg3 Kh8 15. Rf1 Bb7 16. f5 Rg8 17. Qg5 e5 $6 {A tempting move: closing the position and aiming to play ...d5 very soon. Of course, Nakamura is taking risks, playing sharp positions as always, which is more than pleasant for the spectators.} ({ I think the brave} 17... exf5 18. Rxf5 Qd8 $1 {should simply be fine for Black, since after} 19. Qh4 {(with the idea of e5! opening the diagonal for the d3-bishop)} (19. Rh3 $2 Bc8 {or even just 19...Ne5} 20. e5 $2 Nxe5 21. Rxf6 Bxh3 $19) {Black is in time to play} 19... Ne5) 18. Qh4 Ne7 $2 {A losing move in a very complicated position.} ({Black had to play} 18... Nb8 $1 {with the idea of} 19. Rh3 (19. Rxg7 Rxg7 20. Qxf6 Nd7 $13) 19... Nbd7 $1 20. Bc1 {and now Black would be able to realize his plan with} d5 $1 21. exd5 (21. g4 dxe4 22. Be2 Nf8 {is good for Black.}) 21... Qd6 {and the position is quite unclear. Of course Black had to find only moves, and will probably need to find more!}) 19. Rh3 $1 {A good move, though 19.Bc1 is also very strong.} (19. Bc1 $5 d5 $8 {Otherwise Bg5 just wins.} 20. Nd4 $1 {This is purely a computer move, and while not the only strong move, it is the best: so let's put it as a main move, even though it is completely impossible to find without assistance :) I checked several lines with my engine, but as it wasn't extremely deep, there might be mistakes!} (20. Rh3 $5 Rgd8 $8 21. g4 (21. Bg5 $2 Neg8 $132) 21... dxe4 22. Be2 {and Black wants to go reply Nxf5! if White pushes g5 followed by ...Bc8, but White can even prepare slowly (starting with Be3) and I don't see what Black can do. It seems winning for White.} (22. g5 Nxf5 23. Rxf5 Bc8 24. Rxf6 Bxh3 25. Qxe4 (25. Bxe4 Rd1+ 26. Kf2 Rf1+ 27. Kg3 Rg1+ 28. Kxh3 Qc8+ 29. Bf5 Qxc3+ 30. Bd3 Qc8+ 31. Rf5 g6 32. Qf2 Rxc1 33. Nxc1 gxf5 {is not entirely clear.}) 25... g6 26. Bb2 $16)) (20. Bg5 Qb6+ 21. Be3 $1 Qd6 (21... Qc7 22. Rh3 Rgd8 23. g4 dxe4 24. g5 Nxf5 25. Rxf5 Bc8 26. Rxf6 Bxh3 27. Bxe4 Rd1+ 28. Kf2 Rf1+ 29. Kg3 $18) 22. Rh3 dxe4 (22... Rgc8 23. g4 $18) 23. Bg5 Ned5 24. c4 (24. Bxe4 Rgc8 {is not so clear.}) 24... bxc4 25. Bxc4 e3 $8 26. Rff3 Qb6 27. Bxd5 e2+ 28. Be3 Qd6 29. c4 Rgc8 30. Bd2 Bxd5 31. cxd5 Rc2 32. Re3 a5 33. Rxe2 a4 34. Nc1 Rxd2 35. Rxd2 Qc5+ 36. Kf1 Qxc1+ 37. Qe1 $16) 20... dxe4 (20... exd4 $140 $2 21. Bg5 Qd6 22. Rh3 $18) (20... Qd6 21. Rh3 $1 Rge8 22. g4 dxe4 23. g5 $18) (20... Qb6 21. Be3 $18) (20... Qxc3 21. Nf3 $18) 21. Bg5 Qd6 22. Rh3 Ned5 23. Bxe4 Rgb8 24. Bxd5 Qxd5 25. Nf3 $18) 19... d5 20. Nc5 $6 {Only "dubious", even though the evaluation of the position drops down a lot. In my opinion this is a brillant conception by Ivanchuk, though the game is going to carry on longer!} (20. Rff3 $1 {just wins, though Black can get "only" a lost endgame after finding some genius moves:} Rgc8 $1 {Far from easy to find in my opinion!! But anyway, all lines are pretty computer-like, so Ivanchuk must have miscalculated something, since 20.Rff3 is a very attractive and logical move.} (20... dxe4 $2 21. Qxh7+ {Oops!} Nxh7 22. Rxh7+ Kxh7 23. Rh3#) (20... h6 21. Bc1 $18) (20... Rgd8 $2 21. g4 Neg8 22. g5 dxe4 23. gxf6 Nxf6 24. Rfg3 $1 $18) 21. Bxe7 (21. g4 Neg8 22. g5 dxe4 23. gxf6 Nxf6 24. Rfg3 Qb6+ {The rook on c8 avoids Bc5!} 25. Kf1 exd3 26. Rxg7 Kxg7 27. Rg3+ Kh8 28. Qh6 Rg8 29. Be7 Rxg3 30. Bxf6+ Qxf6 31. Qxf6+ Rg7 32. cxd3 {is is not entirely clear.}) 21... Qxe7 22. g4 h6 (22... dxe4 23. g5 h6 24. gxf6 Qxf6 25. Bxe4 $18) 23. g5 Nh7 ( 23... Ng8 24. f6 Qf8 25. fxg7+ Qxg7 26. Rfg3 $18) 24. f6 Qf8 $8 25. exd5 (25. Rfg3 dxe4 26. Bxe4 Rc4 27. Nd2 Rxe4 28. Nxe4 Bc8 29. fxg7+ Qxg7 30. Qxh6 $16) 25... Bxd5 26. Rfg3 e4 $8 27. Bxe4 Bxe4 28. Qxe4 Re8 29. Qf3 Re1+ 30. Kg2 Rae8 31. Nd4 R8e3 32. fxg7+ Qxg7 33. gxh6 Qxg3+ 34. Rxg3 Rxf3 35. Rxf3 {should be winning.}) (20. g4 dxe4 21. Be2 Ned5 22. g5 e3 {is not so clear.}) (20. Bc1 $5) 20... dxe4 (20... Rac8 21. Rff3 $1 (21. g4 dxe4 22. Bxe4 Bxe4 23. Nxe4 Qa7+ { preventing Bc5 is, once again, the idea of playing ...Rc8.}) 21... Qb6 22. Kh1 Rgd8 $8 23. Nxb7 Qxb7 24. Bxe7 Qxe7 25. g4 h6 $8 26. g5 Nxe4 27. f6 Qf8 28. Bxe4 dxe4 29. fxg7+ Qxg7 30. Rf6 $18) 21. Bxe4 Bd5 22. g4 h6 (22... Qb6 { should be best, but White is much better:} 23. Rf2 $1 (23. g5 $4 Bxe4 $19) (23. Bxd5 Nexd5 24. g5 Rac8 25. gxf6 Nxf6 26. Qf2 Ng4 27. Qh4 Nf6 $11) 23... Rgd8 ( 23... h6 24. Bd3 e4 25. Bc1 Nxg4 26. Qxg4 exd3 27. cxd3 $16) 24. Nd3 $1 h6 $8 ( 24... Bxe4 25. Bxe7 $18) 25. Bxd5 Nexd5 26. g5 Nf4 27. Nxf4 Rd1+ 28. Kg2 Qc6+ 29. Rhf3 Ne4 30. Nh3 Nxf2 31. Nxf2 Rg1+ 32. Kxg1 Qxf3 33. f6 h5 {and the position is not entirely clear, but of course Black had to defend like crazy and find very difficult moves.}) 23. g5 Nh7 (23... Nxe4 24. Nxe4 Bxe4 25. Qxe4 Rad8 26. f6 Ng6 27. Bc1 {is better for White, and probably better than the game.}) 24. f6 Ng6 25. fxg7+ $2 {In these kinds of positions, it's easy to blunder with Black, but not only...} ({White should go} 25. Qg4 $1 {in order to play fxg7+ and then take with the rook on h6, which is a much better concept.}) 25... Rxg7 26. Qxh6 Rd8 27. Bxg6 fxg6 28. Rf6 Qc8 29. Rh4 Bf7 $2 { Black misses a way to escape!} ({After} 29... Bg8 $1 {Black seems to be fine:} 30. Ne4 ({With the idea} 30. Rxg6 $2 Rd1+ 31. Kg2 Bd5+ 32. Ne4 Rf7 $1 $19) (30. Nd3 Qxc3 $13) 30... Qc4 $1 31. Bf8 Rd1+ 32. Kg2 Rf7 {is not clear.}) 30. Nd3 $2 {White misses a way to win!} (30. Ne4 $1 Rd1+ (30... Qb7 31. Bd6 Qd5 32. Be7 Re8 33. Rxf7 Rxf7 34. Bf6+ $18) 31. Kg2 $1 (31. Kf2 $2 Qc4 $1 $11) 31... Qb7 ( 31... Qc4 32. Bf8 $18) (31... Re1 32. Qxg7+ $1 (32. Kf2 $18) 32... Kxg7 33. Rxf7+ Kxf7 34. Nd6+ $18) 32. Bf8 $18) 30... Kg8 $2 {And... Black misses a way to escape!} (30... Rxd3 $1 31. cxd3 Qxc3 {seems to be enough to make a draw!}) 31. Bd6 $1 e4 $2 (31... Re8 $8 32. Nxe5 Qxc3 33. Qxg7+ $1 (33. Rxf7 Qe3+ 34. Rf2 Qb6 {is less clear: thank you, engine!}) 33... Kxg7 34. Rxf7+ Kg8 35. Rhxh7 Qe1+ 36. Kg2 Qe2+ 37. Kh3 Qe3+ 38. Rf3 Qxf3+ 39. Nxf3 Kxh7 40. Be5 {and I suppose this should be winning for White...}) 32. Be5 $18 {Now it's over.} Rd5 33. Rc6 Qf8 34. Bxg7 {Just for chess beauty?} (34. Rc8 $18) 34... Qxg7 35. Rxe4 Rxg5+ 36. Qxg5 $1 Nxg5 37. Rc8+ Be8 38. Rcxe8+ Kh7 39. Rh4+ 1-0

With this victory, Ivanchuk's first place is almost assured, in spite of four rounds to go. The reason is that with the Bilbao scoring system, rewarding three points per win, his lead of four wins to everyone else's one, gives him a huge lead. Even though anything can still happen, the real question is how the next four will fare as they are all tied for 2nd-5th.


Ivanchuk is asked about a move on the screen


"Then I got ready to blow his king to kingdom come"

Video report

 
A video report courtesy of liveteleshows  & Vijay Kumar

Impressions of Bilbao


Near the Parque Iturriza Dona Casilda


The Guggenheim Museum


The Guggenheim Museum at dusk


Sunset over the riverside


The access ramp to Pasarela Zubi-Zuri


Pasarela Zubi-Zuri


Puente Principes de Espana

Photos by Pascal Simon


Bilbao scoring crosstable after six rounds

Traditional crosstable after six rounds

Schedule and results

Round 1: Monday, September 26, 15:00h
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Hikaru Nakamura 
½-½
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Levon Aronian 
1-0
 Francisco Vallejo
Round 2: Tuesday, September 27, 15:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
1-0
 Francisco Vallejo
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Hikaru Nakamura 
½-½
 Viswanathan Anand
Round 3: Wednesday, September 28, 15:00h
Viswanathan Anand 
0-1
 Vassily Ivanchuk 
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Hikaru Nakamura
Francisco Vallejo 
1-0
 Magnus Carlsen
Round 4: Friday, September 30, 15:00h
Levon Aronian 
0-1
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Francisco Vallejo 
0-1
 Viswanathan Anand
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Hikaru Nakamura
Games Report
Round 5: Saturday, October 1, 15:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
0-1
 Magnus Carlsen
Hikaru Nakamura 
1-0
 Francisco Vallejo
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Games Report
Round 6: Thursday, October 6, 16:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
1-0
 Hikaru Nakamura
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Viswanathan Anand
Francisco Vallejo 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Round 7: Friday, October 7, 16:00h
Francisco Vallejo 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
Levon Aronian 
   Magnus Carlsen 
Viswanathan Anand 
   Hikaru Nakamura
GamesReport
Round 8: Saturday, October 8, 16:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Viswanathan Anand
Hikaru Nakamura 
   Levon Aronian
Magnus Carlsen 
   Francisco Vallejo
GamesReport
Round 9: Monday, October 10, 16:00h
Magnus Carlsen 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
Francisco Vallejo 
   Hikaru Nakamura
Levon Aronian 
   Viswanathan Anand
GamesReport
Round 10: Tuesday, October 11, 16:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Levon Aronian
Viswanathan Anand 
   Francisco Vallejo
Hikaru Nakamura 
   Magnus Carlsen 
GamesReport

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