Bilbao R9: all games drawn, Topalov leads

9/12/2008 – Anand vs Topalov was a Caro-Kann, with unambitious play by the World Champion, who seemed satisfied with a draw-and-nothing-more. Radjabov vs Carlsen was a tough fight that ended in a 53-move draw. Ivanchuk vs Aronian saw the Ukrainian achieve a winnable position and then spoil it to a draw in time trouble. Note: the final round begins on Saturday at 4 p.m. local time. Illustrated report.

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Grand Slam Chess Final Masters Bilbao

The Chess Grand Slam Final is being staged in Bilbao, Spain, from September 1st to 13th 2008. It is a six-player double round robin event, one of the strongest in the history of the game (at least by Elo average, 2775.6, making it a category 22 tournament). Games start at 17:00h local time (CEST). The scoring system in this tournament is different and experimental. Players get three points for a win, one point for a draw and zero points for losing a game. For rating purposes the traditional 1-½-0 system will be used. The prize fund for the event is 400,000 Euros, with the winner receiving €150,000, the second place €70,000, etc. with the 6th player getting €30,000. The sums are unprecedented for an event like this. Only World Championships have exceeded the amount.

Round nine report

Round 9: Friday, 12th September 2008
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Teimour Radjabov 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov


The usual suspects: photo journalist wait for the obligatory handshake at the start of the round


Gotcha! Topalov and Anand shake at the to the flash of a dozen digital cameras


The game begins with Topalov playing a suprise Caro-Kann


Vassily Ivanchuk takes an interest in the development of this game


Viewed through the glass: Anand ponders during his game with Topalov

Vishy Anand vs Veselin Topalov: The Indian World Champion has had a dreadful time so far in the Masters and was in no mood for desperate measures against the tournament leader. Veselin Topalov surprised him with a Caro-Kann and Anand countered with super-solid play. The game ended in a draw on move 41.


Magnus Carlsen kibitzes in the game Ivanchuk vs Aronian


Always cheery and amusing, a connoisseur of hot foods – Armenian GM Levon Aronian

Vassily Ivanchuk vs Levon Aronian: The Ukrainian GM played a fine game and gained a winning advantage. But just as everyone was prepared for yet another win by the current number one on the unofficial Live Ratings list, which would have brought him the lead (with Topalov) in Bilbao, he got into time trouble and allowed Lev Aronian back into the game. The Armenian GM was able to hold and the game ended on move 69 with king and knight vs king, material that is insufficient even for a theoretical helpmate.


Why can't I beat this kid? Teimour Radjabov presses against 17-year-old Magnus Carlsen


Always ready for a fight: Magnus Carlsen from Norway

Teimour Radjabov vs Magnus Carlsen: Instead of taking a day off and playing for a draw the young Norwegian, who looks a little pale and a bit thinner after his stomach infection (it is over now) once again went for a full fight with the black pieces. Carlsen was unable to gain an advantage in the middlegame, lost a pawn and ended the game with a repetition on move 53.


The setup in Bilbao: a giant awning protects the glass cabin and visitors from the elements


The spectators can approach fairly closely and be as noisy as they like – the cabin is well sound-proofed


Spanish GM Francisco Vallejo, one of Veselin Topalov's seconds (in Bilbao we spotted in addition Ivan Cheparinov, Ruslan Ponomariov and Silvio Danailov of the Topalov team)


Children at the venue playing with the Spanish version of Fritz & Chesster


Our favourites: Maite and Pilar, who look after the players and, more relevantly, the press

Bilbao scores

Player
games
wins
draws 
losses
points
Veselin Topalov
9
3
5
1
14
Levon Aronian
9
3
4
2
13
Magnus Carlsen
9
3
3
2
12
Vassily Ivanchuk
9
2
6
1
12
Vishy Anand
9
0
7
2
7
Teimur Radjabov
9
0
7
2
7

Traditional scores (for rating purposes)

The final round is on Saturday at 4 p.m. local time.


Video reports and interviews by Europe Echecs

These reports are being produced by Vijay Kumar for the French chess magazine Europe Echecs


Schedule and results

Round 1: Tuesday, 2nd September 2008
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Teimour Radjabov 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Levon Aronian 
0-1
 Magnus Carlsen
Round 2: Wednesday, 3rd September 2008
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Veselin Topalov 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Teimour Radjabov
Round 3: Thursday, 4th September 2008
Teimour Radjabov 
½-½
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Magnus Carlsen 
 0-1
 Veselin Topalov
Round 4: Friday, 5th September 2008
Levon Aronian 
1-0
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Teimour Radjabov
Veselin Topalov 
1-0
 Vishy Anand
Round 5: Saturday, 6th September 2008
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Teimour Radjabov 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Round 6: Monday, 8th September 2008
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Veselin Topalov 
½-½
 Teimour Radjabov
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0 
 Levon Aronian
Round 7: Tuesday, 9th September 2008
Magnus Carlsen 
0-1
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Levon Aronian 
1-0
 Veselin Topalov
Teimour Radjabov 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Round 8: Wednesday, 10th September 2008
Vassily Ivanchuk 
1-0
 Teimour Radjabov
Vishy Anand 
0-1
 Levon Aronian
Veselin Topalov 
1-0
 Magnus Carlsen
Round 9: Friday, 12th September 2008
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Teimour Radjabov 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Round 10: Saturday, 13th September 2008
Veselin Topalov 
 
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Magnus Carlsen 
 
 Vishy Anand
Levon Aronian 
 
 Teimour Radjabov
Games – Report

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