Bilbao: So wins after tie-break

by André Schulz
11/2/2015 – Twelve games were played at the Chess Masters Final in Bilbao but only two had a winner. In the first half Wesley So defeated Ding Liren, in the second half Anish Giri won against Vishy Anand. But So won the tournament by beating Giri 1.5-0.5 in the tie-break. In the Ibero-American Championship Lazaro Batista Bruzon leads with 6.5/7, one point ahead of the field.

ChessBase 15 - Mega package ChessBase 15 - Mega package

Find the right combination! ChessBase 15 program + new Mega Database 2020 with 8 million games and more than 80,000 master analyses. Plus ChessBase Magazine (DVD + magazine) and CB Premium membership for 1 year!


The VIII Grand Slam Masters Final in Bilbao is played from 25. October to 1. November. Viswanathan Anand, Anish Giri, Ding Liren and Wesley So play a double round-robin event, in which the 3-points rule applies. A player receives 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss.

Watch it live on Playchess!

Four of the world's best players took part in the Chess Masters Final in Bilbao. They played twelve games but only two of them had a winner. The Sofia-Rules (no draws before move 30) and the three-point-for-a-win rule did not reduce this high ratio of draws. But that is a risk you have to run when inviting four almost equally strong top players. However, the organiser was happy to show interesting fighting games and there was no shortage of those.

In the first half of the tournament Wesley So was the only player who could win a game. He brilliantly defeated Ding Liren in the King's Indian. In the second half of the tournament Anish Giri was the only player to win a game. In the fourth round Vishy Anand played with Black against the young Dutchman, and suffered from a blackout. In a well-known line of the English opening Giri tried a rare move and Anand failed to see the venom of this approach. Thus, after eleven moves Giri had a won position and the game was practically over.

Anish Giri



"Probably the worst game I have ever played in my life," Anand said after his defeat. Giri was euphoric after the game and remarked that "only very few players, World Champion Carlsen included, had a won position against Anand after eleven moves."

Anand began the game confidently.

A short chat...

... after the game.

In the end the two players who had won one of their games shared first place and a tie-break had to decide who would win the tournament. It turned out to be Wesley So who defeated Anish Giri 1.5-0.5 and thus won the Grand Slam Masters Final.

Ruslan Ponomariov watches the game between Ding Liren and
Wesley So. The former FIDE World Champion lives in Bilbao.

Round 5





Tie-break games



After seven rounds the Cuban grandmaster Lazaro Batista Bruzon leads the Ibero-American Championship with an impressive score of 6.5/7. One point behind follow four players with 5.5/7 each.

Board one

Lazaro Batista Bruzon (left) and Francisco Vallejo Pons

View from above

Standings after 7 rounds

1 m Bruzon Batista, Lazaro CUB 6,5 28.5 32.0 23.0 2659
2 m Granda Zuniga, Julio E PER 5,5 31.5 34.5 25.0 2667
3 m Fier, Alexandr BRA 5,5 28.5 32.0 23.0 2624
4 m Pichot, Alan ARG 5,5 28.5 31.5 23.0 2523
5 m Bachmann, Axel PAR 5,5 27.5 31.0 22.0 2593
6 m De La Riva Aguado, Oscar AND 5,5 27.5 30.5 22.0 2497
7 m Del Rio De Angelis, Salvador G. ESP 5,5 27.5 30.0 22.0 2512
8 m Martinez Romero, Martin COL 5,0 29.0 30.5 22.5 2402
9 m Peralta, Fernando ARG 5,0 28.5 32.5 22.0 2563
10 m Martinez Duany, Lelys Stanley CUB 5,0 26.0 29.0 20.5 2470
11 m Roselli Mailhe, Bernardo URU 5,0 26.0 28.5 20.5 2411
12 f Vega Gutierrez, Sabrina ESP 5,0 22.5 24.5 18.5 2391
13 m Blanco Acevedo, Cristobal Jose VEN 5,0 22.0 23.5 16.5 2306
14 m Vallejo Pons, Francisco ESP 4,5 29.0 33.0 23.5 2684
15 m Santos Latasa, Jaime ESP 4,5 29.0 32.0 22.5 2518
16 m Barria Zuniga, Daniel CHI 4,5 27.0 30.5 21.5 2413
17 f Matnadze, Ana ESP 4,5 26.5 29.5 20.0 2353
18 m Fernandez Borrego, Pablo ESP 4,5 26.5 29.0 21.0 2410
19 m Gonzalez Trigal, Jose Luis ESP 4,5 26.5 28.5 21.0 2268
20 m Perez Mitjans, Orelvis ESP 4,5 25.5 29.0 20.0 2457
21 m Gonzalez Acosta, Bernal CRC 4,5 25.0 28.5 20.0 2497
22 m Arias Garcia, Luis Javier ESP 4,5 24.5 24.5 19.0 2147
23 m Larrea, Manuel URU 4,5 23.0 25.5 18.0 2311
24 m Murillo Tsijli, Alexis CRC 4,5 21.0 23.0 16.5 2291
25 m Gonzalez Pereira, Asier ESP 4,5 19.5 19.5 14.5 2080

... 93 players



Photos: Organiser

Tournament site...

Tournament blog...


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register

Denix Denix 11/3/2015 11:45
Glad to see you Ruslan!!! Any news of a comeback to World Championship?
guest1227491 guest1227491 11/3/2015 06:12
There were four players, and they already played a double round robin against each other. How many more rounds can you have? Sometimes there are just too many draws. There is nothing you can do about it.

I am happy for Giri, but sad to see Anand's inevitable decline. (Already overdue at age 46.) I hope he has it in him to give at least one more brilliant performance at the Candidates.
daftarche daftarche 11/3/2015 12:15
Double round robin is enough games played but I think they should have invited more players. Anyway high number of draws happen in top level once in a while and as long as games are fighting and interesting, it is OK.
excalibur2 excalibur2 11/2/2015 05:32
"This is a classical tournament. However, the winner has won one classical game only."

This is why classical tournaments at this level must have more rounds. This was a a bit of a farce. An entertaining farce.
Rfield Rfield 11/2/2015 04:47
Liren lost to So, Anand lost to Giri. In the standings Anand took 3rd and 4th spot for Liren. No tie break supposed to be as Giri won against Anand the 3rd place player while So won against Liren the 4th placer. A tie break was required by the organizer only for 1st place to 2nd; and why not required for Anand vs. Liren for 3rd place since both tallied an equal score?
jhoravi jhoravi 11/2/2015 03:34
You can win in chess only if your opponent makes a blunder. A world top 10 SuperGM opponent will blunder very rarely so DRAW is a likely outcome. That's the reason why Shortening the time such as in rapid will create more decisive results because there are more occurrence of blunders. Inviting weak players too will increase the possibilities of decisive result.
Denix Denix 11/2/2015 02:39
Wesley So's first game against Ding Liren is a rare gem. It is usually Black sacrificing the queen as in the games of Kings Indian giants - world champions Garry Kasparov, Bobby Fischer, and Mikhail Tal, and prominent grandmasters Viktor Korchnoi, Miguel Najdorf, Efim Geller, John Nunn, Svetozar Gligorić, Wolfgang Uhlmann, Ilya Smirin, Teimour Radjabov and Ding Liren. Memorable games are the games of Eduard Gufeld against Vladimir Bagirov USSR 1973 and Arthur Yusupov's games against Vassily Ivanchuk Brussels 1991. It spoiled Ivanchuk's career.
CostaMaison3 CostaMaison3 11/2/2015 02:21
This is a classical tournament. However, the winner has won one classical game only.