São Paulo Masters – Both Carlsen and Anand lose

by Albert Silver
9/30/2011 – In terms of statistical oddities, round three ranks right up there. Not only did Carlsen, the highest ranked player, lose to Vallejo, but Anand also lost to Ivanchuk. This not only meant the top rated players in the world lost in the same round in the same tournament, but both are now the tail-enders of the event. Report on round three and rest day by Albert Silver with analysis by GM Moradiabadi.

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1st leg in São Paulo, Ibirapuera Park, from September 25th to October 1st.
2nd leg in Bilbao, Alhóndiga, from 5th to 11th October.
Tourney sytem: double round robin with 6 players over 10 rounds
Time control: 90 minutes/40 moves + 30 minutes + 10 seconds/move starting with the 1st move
Game start: 15h for all rounds in São Paulo (14h - NY time / 20h Paris time) --- 16:00 in Bilbao
Rest day: 29th September and 9th October

Round three

By Albert Silver

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

It is hard to imagine a more astonishing round than what transpired in the third. In one fell swoop, both the World Champion Viswanathan Anand and the world number one not only lost their respective games, but landed, even if temporarily, at the bottom two places of the crosstable!

Individually, neither of these individual circumstances is absolutely unique, even if extremely unusual. In the Sofia Mobiltel Masters in 2005, after the sixth round, both Topalov and Anand, the top-rated active players in the world (Kasparov had officially retired a couple of months earlier) shared the bottom places. Before you go tsk-tsk and shake your head, know that by the end of the tournament, they occupied sole first and second place respectively!

As to both losing in the same round, Morelia-Linares 2007 brought the same heroes to the stage, when Topalov and Anand, again ranked one and two at the time, both lost in round five, however ...by the end of the tournament (you guessed it) Anand had won the event a full point ahead of the field. Topalov was less fortunate that time though. This isn't to suggest that is necessarily what will happen here, just don't be shocked if it does.

The first game to finish was between Aronian and Nakamura who split the point after reaching mutual time-trouble. Despite being better, Aronian had spent some ten moves doing very little, except maintaining his edge, while Nakamura's clock began to dwindle at an alarming rate. The general belief was that the Armenian was planning on using Hikaru's time trouble to press his advantage and have an extra factor in his favor. The American was wily enough to know what was coming, and being an extremely strong speed player, was very cautious when it came to this, and sidestepped the potential mines.

[Event "4th Final Masters"] [Site "Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP"] [Date "2011.09.28"] [Round "3"] [White "Aronian, L."] [Black "Nakamura, Hi"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D94"] [WhiteElo "2807"] [BlackElo "2753"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "92"] [EventDate "2011.09.26"] {After getting his two bishops, Aronian tried a lot of maneuvers to try and break through and takes advantage of his bishop pair, however, despite getting into moderate time trouble, Nakamura stayed cautious and managed to extinguish the possible dangers.} 1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 c6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nc3 g6 5. d4 Bg7 6. Bd3 O-O 7. O-O Bg4 8. h3 Bxf3 9. Qxf3 e6 10. Rd1 Nbd7 11. b3 a5 12. Bf1 Qb8 13. Bd2 Rd8 14. Be1 Ne8 15. Rab1 Nd6 16. Qe2 Re8 17. Qc2 h5 18. Be2 Qd8 19. Bf3 Rb8 20. Qd3 Qe7 21. Qf1 Nf5 22. Be2 Ra8 23. Bd3 Nd6 24. Rbc1 Qd8 25. Bb1 Bh6 26. Na4 Bf8 27. Nc5 Qc7 28. Nd3 a4 29. Nf4 axb3 30. axb3 Qd8 31. Bb4 Nc8 32. Bxf8 Nxf8 33. Bd3 Ra3 34. b4 Nb6 35. b5 Qe7 36. bxc6 bxc6 37. cxd5 cxd5 38. Rc6 Nbd7 39. Ra6 Rxa6 40. Bxa6 Rb8 41. Rb1 Rxb1 42. Qxb1 Qd6 43. Be2 Qb8 44. Qxb8 Nxb8 45. Bb5 Nbd7 46. Bxd7 Nxd7 1/2-1/2

The second game was the first fatality of the day, wherein Carlsen, with black, tried very hard to make something from nothing against Vallejo, who held tenaciously with creative resources. In fact, when asked about it the next morning, Paco, who had had time to look over the game a little more closely, was quite proud of the unexpected 17.Ra2 he had played. Even so, it wasn't all roses for Vallejo, as slips finally appeared, and Magnus crept into the position.


A historic win as Francisco Vallejo became the first Spanish-born player to beat a
world number one.

Things were looking dire indeed when the Norwegian missed a clear win to end the Spaniard's misery. The uncharacteristic oversight didn't stop there unfortunately, since a couple of moves later Carlsen lost most of his advantage with another error. Unable to recover his focus in time, the boat truly capsized after a further couple of moves when he went from equal to lost in a single blow as he dropped a full piece.

[Event "4th Final Masters"] [Site "Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP"] [Date "2011.09.28"] [Round "3"] [White "Vallejo Pons, F."] [Black "Carlsen, M."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A04"] [WhiteElo "2716"] [BlackElo "2823"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "83"] [EventDate "2011.09.26"] 1. Nf3 g6 2. e4 {The game transposes into a Pirc Defence.} Bg7 3. d4 d6 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. Qe2 O-O 6. O-O Bg4 7. Rd1 {A rare choice by Vallejo.} Nc6 8. Bb5 $6 { Loss of tempo?!} (8. h3 Bxf3 9. Qxf3 Nd7 (9... e5 10. c3 Qe8 11. Bg5 Nd7 12. Qe3 Kh8 13. Na3 a6 14. Bd5 Nb6 15. Bxc6 Qxc6 16. d5 Qa4 17. Be7 f5 18. Bxf8 Rxf8 19. c4 Nd7 20. Qb3 Qxb3 21. axb3 Nc5 22. b4 Nb3 23. Ra2 fxe4 24. Nb1 Bh6 25. Ra3 Nd4 26. Nc3 e3 27. fxe3 Nc2 28. Rd3 Nxe3 29. Ra1 Nxc4 30. b3 Nd2 31. Rd1 Nxb3 32. Rf1 Rf5 33. Ne2 Rxf1+ 34. Kxf1 Nd2+ 35. Kf2 Ne4+ 36. Kf3 Nf6 37. Nc3 Nd7 38. Ne4 Nb6 39. Nf6 Bg5 40. Ne4 Bd8 41. g4 Bh4 42. Rd1 h6 {1/2-1/2 (42) Timman,J (2635)-Delemarre,J (2235) Wijk aan Zee 1995}) 10. c3 e5 11. Be3 a6 12. Na3 exd4 13. cxd4 Qh4 14. Rac1 Nf6 15. Bd3 Rfe8 16. Rc4 Nd7 17. Bb1 Rad8 18. b4 Nb6 19. Rcc1 d5 20. e5 Qe7 21. Nc2 Nc4 22. a3 b5 23. Ba2 Nb8 24. Re1 c6 25. Qg3 Qf8 26. h4 Nd7 27. h5 Ra8 28. Rcd1 a5 29. Bc1 Qe7 30. Bb1 Qe6 31. hxg6 fxg6 32. Rd3 axb4 33. Nxb4 c5 34. Nc2 Qc6 35. f4 Qb6 36. Qf3 Rad8 37. Ne3 Nxe3 38. dxc5 Nxc5 39. Bxe3 Qa5 40. Bd2 Qb6 41. Qf2 Re6 42. Rh3 {1-0 (42) Aronian,L (2773) -Docx,S (2384) Ohrid 2009}) 8... Nd7 {Carlsen follows the classical which was introduced by Geller in the King's Indian defence.} 9. c3 e5 10. Bxc6 {A novelty!} (10. d5 Ne7 11. h3 Bxf3 12. Qxf3 f5 13. Bg5 {saw a promising position for Black in: 1/2-1/2 (20) Kovacevic,V (2480)-Jansa,V Sombor 1976}) 10... bxc6 11. h3 Bxf3 12. Qxf3 exd4 13. cxd4 c5 {Calrsen opens up the eye of his "Dragon" bishop on g7.} 14. Be3 Rb8 15. Qe2 Rb4 (15... f5 $6 {is not to Carlsen's taste as it leads to a complicated game in which Black's king becomes vulnerable.} 16. exf5 gxf5 17. dxc5 $1 Bxb2 18. cxd6 cxd6 (18... Bxa1 $4 19. Qc4+ {is winning for White}) 19. Bd4 $1 Bxa1 20. Bxa1 {And only a computer can save Black's king!}) 16. a3 Rb3 17. Ra2 $5 {Very original!} Qb8 18. Qc2 a5 (18... Re8 {is for sure a strong "alternative".}) 19. dxc5 Nxc5 20. Bxc5 dxc5 21. Qxc5 {Black has no worries if he wants to draw, but Carlsen is hoping to get more out of the position.} Rd8 22. Nc3 Rxd1+ 23. Nxd1 Qd8 24. Ra1 Qd2 {Carlsen's persistence proved good enough, and Black has a dangerous initiative which is developing by the moment.} 25. Rc1 $4 {A dramatic blunder by Vallejo which could put and end to the Brazilian stage of his tournament!} Qe1+ 26. Kh2 Qxe4 $4 {In order to make it even more dramatic, Carlsen decides to return the gift!} (26... Rd3 27. Ne3 Qxf2 28. Ng4 Qg3+ 29. Kh1 h5 {Is a simply winning for black.} 30. Nh2 Rd2 31. Qg1 Bd4 32. Qf1 Rf2 33. Qg1 {and Black has a singular "windmill" against White's queen of all pieces, instead of the usual king. The queen cannot leave the protection of g2.} Rxb2 34. Qf1 Rf2) 27. Qc2 Be5+ 28. g3 Rd3 $6 {Carlsen is losing the thread.} ({He could keep his still dangerous initiative with} 28... Qf3 $1) 29. Ne3 h5 30. Nc4 Qd5 $4 {Simply losing a piece! I do not remember when I saw such blunders from Carlsen, but in this game he produced a couple of them!} ({after} 30... Bf6 31. Rd1 Rd4 32. Qxe4 Rxe4 33. Nxa5 Bxb2 {White's chances to draw are higher than Black's chances to win.}) 31. Nxe5 Rd2 32. Qc5 {I suppose that this is what probably Carlsen missed.} Qxc5 33. Rxc5 Rxf2+ 34. Kg1 Rxb2 35. Rxc7 Rb3 36. Kg2 Rxa3 37. Nxf7 a4 38. Ra7 Ra1 39. Ne5 g5 40. g4 hxg4 41. hxg4 a3 42. Nf3 {A painful defeat for the world No.1. He played fairly well and managed to outplay his opponent step by step, but then threw it all away at two points! It is very hard to explain except to say that... everyone has his bad days... even Carlsen!} 1-0

The tale of the World Champion's loss was quite different though, and though of course errors took place, it wasn't a game of wild swings as the previous. The opening was noteworthy in itself, and Ivanchuk chose a Schliemann for the first time, eschewing we don't really know what in its favor. It isn't a normal part of his repertoire, though the Ukrainian has such a wide choice of opening weapons, who can say whether he didn't simply feel like trying something new. Anand chose to avoid the sharper and more tactical lines, and kept it sane, however there was a point when White was no longer calling the shots, and despite being balanced, it was clear the tide was turning. An oversight cost him a pawn, and after that it was pretty much lost, though he fought for the longest time.


Hoping for the miracle

The reason was that after nearly 60 moves, the players were down to less than five minutes each, and the increment was a meager ten seconds per move, not the usual 30 often used, so there was still room for a miracle. In the final position, Anand resigned, not because he had finally given up, but because he had touched his king, and realizing this meant a forced queen exchange, he extended his hand instead.

[Event "4th Final Masters"] [Site "Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP"] [Date "2011.09.28"] [Round "3"] [White "Anand, V."] [Black "Ivanchuk, V."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C63"] [WhiteElo "2817"] [BlackElo "2765"] [Annotator "Elshan Moradiabadi"] [PlyCount "138"] [EventDate "2011.09.26"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 f5 {This is the Tabiya move of the "Schliemann Defence". It is a rare guest at the top though, it has been seen in the repertoire of Azeri Super-GM Teimor Radjabov, who is using it successfully. What, I wonder, did Ivanchuk choose to abandon to try it instead?!} 4. d3 { This is the solidest approach. There are a lot of fireworks in this opening, from which Anand refrains to face.} (4. Nc3 fxe4 5. Nxe4 d5 6. Nxe5 dxe4 7. Nxc6 Qg5 8. Qe2 Nf6 9. f4 Qxf4 10. d4 Qd6 11. Ne5+ c6 12. Bc4 Be6 13. c3 Bxc4 14. Qxc4 Qd5 15. Qb3 {is what has to be investigated and will become one of the main positions in this developing opening. 1-0 (66) Karjakin,S (2776) -Nisipeanu,L (2659) Medias 2011}) 4... fxe4 5. dxe4 Nf6 6. O-O {There are other options such as:} (6. Qd3 Bb4+ 7. c3 Be7 8. Bxc6 dxc6 9. Qxd8+ Bxd8 10. O-O O-O {which yields positions similar to the Spanish Exchange 1/2-1/2 (46) Karjakin,S (2760)-Aronian,L (2801) Moscow 2010}) (6. Be3 $5 {was another interesting recent novelty by another Azeri Super-GM!} Bb4+ 7. c3 Be7 8. Bxc6 bxc6 9. Nxe5 Ba6 10. Nd2 Rb8 11. Qa4 Qc8 12. O-O-O {with much preferable position for White 1-0 (23) Gashimov,V (2760)-Azarov,S (2648) Khanty Mansiysk 2011}) 6... Bc5 7. Nc3 ({Another alternative is} 7. Qd3 d6 (7... Nd4 {This rare move is bound to become fashionable, both as a result of Black's success and the engines' support of it.} 8. Nxd4 Bxd4 9. Nd2 a6 10. Ba4 Qe7 11. Nf3 Bb6 12. Bg5 O-O 13. Bxf6 gxf6 14. Nh4 d6 $132 {1/2-1/2 (31) Nisipeanu,L (2659) -Radjabov,T (2744) Medias 2011}) 8. Qc4 {would lead to a long theoretical battle}) 7... O-O 8. Bg5 d6 9. Nd5 Kh8 10. c3 {A rare choice but still very much theory.} Ne7 11. Nxf6 gxf6 12. Be3 Bxe3 13. fxe3 Ng6 {White's doubled pawns on the e-file are Black's compensation for his backward pawn on f6. Tit for tat!} 14. Nd2 c6 15. Bd3 Be6 16. Rf2 Qb6 17. Nf1 Rf7 {Both parties are regrouping their pieces.} 18. Qh5 Rg8 19. Re1 d5 ({The greedy} 19... Bxa2 { could causes Black some problems such as} 20. Ng3 {However after} Be6 {White has nothing more than "compensation".} (20... Ne7 $2 21. b3 $1 Bxb3 (21... Qxb3 22. Ra1 {and the Bishop is trapped.}) 22. Rb1 Qxe3 23. Rxb3 {with a winning position for White.})) 20. Ng3 $6 {I believe that this where Anand starts to go astray. The position is still balanced but it is Black now who is dictating the game. This is a fact that Anand seemed to refuse to acknowledge during the game.} (20. exd5 cxd5 21. Bf5 {would have resulted in a dynamic equilibrium.} ( 21. Ng3 $6 e4 22. Bb1 Ne5 {causes White trouble.})) 20... d4 21. exd4 exd4 22. e5 $2 {Optimism? miscalculation? This is too much. Anand loses a pawn and the pin on f2 will become a deadly weapon in Black's hand.} dxc3 23. Bxg6 Rxg6 24. bxc3 Bg4 25. Qh4 fxe5 26. Ne4 Be6 27. Kh1 Rxf2 28. Nxf2 Qb2 29. Rd1 Qe2 30. h3 h6 $6 {This just makes things a bit shaky. Instead, Ivanchuk could place his Bishop on tthe excellent post of d5. This multi-purpose move closes the d-file and attacks the g2 point at the same time.} (30... Bd5 $1 31. Qd8+ Kg7 32. Qe7+ Bf7 {And White's queen retreat is mandatory.} 33. Qh4 h5 $1 {followed by Bd5 which this time is deadly because this time Black's king is sheltered on the h-file. Who can blame Ivanchuk for not seeing this in time trouble?!}) 31. Kh2 Qe3 $6 {seems like a waste of time but it is crucial to take drastic measures from a human point of view.} 32. Rd8+ Kh7 33. Rb8 $6 (33. a4 {could keep White into the game.}) 33... Rg7 34. Rf8 Qg5 35. Qe4+ Qg6 36. g4 Bxa2 {Ivanchuk could have played this after trading queens and made it easier on himself.} 37. Qxe5 Qe6 38. Qf4 Rf7 39. Rxf7+ Qxf7 40. Qe4+ Kg7 41. Nd3 Qc7+ 42. Ne5 Qd6 43. Kg3 a5 $1 {The free pawn has to be pushed!} 44. Qf4 a4 45. g5 hxg5 46. Qxg5+ Kf8 $1 {After time trouble, Ivanchuk's nerves are calm. This is the most accurate.} 47. c4 c5 48. Qf5+ Ke7 49. Kg2 Bb3 $6 {Loss of a tempo?} 50. Qe4 b6 (50... a3 {would have sealed the fate much earlier.} 51. Qxb7+ Ke6 52. Qxb3 Qd2+ 53. Kf3 a2 $3 {And Black wins!} 54. Nd3 Kf5 $3 {Look at the position! It is insane!}) 51. Ng4+ {Now Black is clearly winning and Ivanchuk gradually converts his advantage.} Qe6 52. Qb7+ Kf8 53. Qb8+ Kg7 54. Qc7+ Kg6 55. Qf4 Bc2 56. Qh6+ Kf7 57. Qf4+ Kg7 58. Qc1 Be4+ 59. Kg3 Qd6+ 60. Kh4 Qe7+ 61. Kg3 Qd6+ 62. Kh4 Kf7 63. Qb2 Bf5 64. Qf2 Kg6 65. Qa2 Bxg4 66. hxg4 Qd8+ 67. Kg3 Qd3+ 68. Kh4 a3 69. Qa1 Kf7 0-1

With his fine win, Ivanchuk has also taken a strong lead with 2.5/3, or 7/9 using the Bilbao scoring system, and a near ideal start, with Aronian right behind, followed by Nakamura and Vallejo.

The rest day

During the rest day, there were no special activities organized, and the players were left to use the day as they saw fit. I had lunch with Anand at a Japanese all-you-can eat, typical of the country. The first and most common type of all-you-can-eat in Brazil is the classic churrascaria, which will serve meats of all kinds at the table until you tell them to stop. The fee will come with a right to typical accompaniments such as rice, beans, fries, not to mention a salad bar which always has more than just salad. At the Japanese restaurant, the fare was other, but equally delicious, and don't think for a minute that quality was spurned in favor of quantity. After lunch, we went for a walk, and were pointed to a park called the "Parque do Povo", or the "People's Park". This turned out to be a rather unique park, which only had one fully grown tree to shelter from the afternoon sun. We dubbed it the "Park with One Tree".


Anand enjoying the one place of shade in the park

On the way back we ran into Aronian, who, with his second, Brazilian GM Krikor Mekhitarian, was headed to the basketball courts for a game of one-on-one. At first I thought he was just pulling our leg, but it was soon clear that was really the plan. As to Carlsen, he spent the afternoon with his manager and a close friend of mine, seeking not only to stay away from the press but to put his previous day's reversal behind him, and come to the Friday game refreshed and renewed.

Magnus Carlsen's Blog:

"Even though a draw, as black, would be a pretty normal result, I felt eager to try for more. Things went well and I achieved a position I felt was close to winning. Having a big lead on the clock as well, I tried to figure out a forced win with 26 Rd3. The win was there, but I didn't manage to calculate it to the end. I went for Qxe4 instead, which is also a good move, but having squandered most of my time advantage, I started to drift and even managed to blunder a piece and the game with it. It's outrageous and painful, but with seven rounds to go it's possible to repair. Today is a day off, and I'm on my way to do some sports."

Pictures by Albert Silver and Official Site

Bilbao system scores after three rounds

Traditional crosstable after three 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 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
Francisco Vallejo 
   Viswanathan Anand
Magnus Carlsen 
   Hikaru Nakamura
Games Report
Round 5: Saturday, October 1, 15:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Magnus Carlsen
Hikaru Nakamura 
   Francisco Vallejo
Viswanathan Anand 
   Levon Aronian
Games Report
Round 6: Thursday, October 6, 17:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Hikaru Nakamura
Magnus Carlsen 
   Viswanathan Anand
Francisco Vallejo 
   Levon Aronian
GamesReport
Round 7: Friday, October 7, 17:00h
Francisco Vallejo 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
Levon Aronian 
   Magnus Carlsen 
Viswanathan Anand 
   Hikaru Nakamura
GamesReport
Round 8: Saturday, October 8, 17:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Viswanathan Anand
Hikaru Nakamura 
   Levon Aronian
Magnus Carlsen 
   Francisco Vallejo
GamesReport
Round 9: Monday, October 10, 17:00h
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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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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