Reports | September 25, 2012 8:45

Sao Paulo R1: Aronian beats Karjakin, Caruana beats Carlsen

The fifth Grand Slam Masters Final started with a bang. In Sao Paulo, Brazil world's number one Magnus Carlsen immediately suffered a loss against Fabiano Caruana. Levon Aronian won against Sergey Karjakin while Vishy Anand and Paco Vallejo drew their first game.

Caruana beats Carlsen in round 1 | Photos by Albert Silver courtesy of the official website

Event 5th Grand Slam Masters Final | PGN via TWIC
Dates September 24-29, 2012
Location Sao Paulo, Brazil & Bilbao, Spain
System 6-player round robin
Players Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, Vishy Anand, Sergey Karjakin, Fabiano Caruana, Paco Vallejo
Rate of play

90 minutes for the first 40 moves, then 60 minutes for the remaining moves with a 10-second increment

Extra Players are not allowed to agree to a draw without the arbiter’s permission. In case both players request it to him, the arbiter will make his decision after consulting with the technical assistant. The football scoring system is used: 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 for a loss.

The tournament is still called "Grand Slam Masters Final", although there doesn't seem to be much left of the "Grand Slam" concept. Events like Linares or Mtel Master have disappeared from the chess calendar, and so has the Kings' Tournament in Romania (although the organizers told us that this will take place this autumn in Bucharest). But even without a strong connection with other tournaments, the annual tournament in Sao Paulo and Bilbao obviously has plenty of raison d'être. With five players from the world's top 10 it's simply one of the major chess events in 2012.

Vishy Anand playing his first official game after successfully defending his title against Boris Gelfand in May 

Vishy Anand, Levon Aronian, Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Sergey Karjakin and Francisco "Paco" Vallejo Pons play a double round robin, so ten rounds in total. The first five are played in Sao Paulo, the last five in Bilbao. Traditionally the cooperation between two cities stimulates business interaction for the sponsors involved.

In fact several traditions are kept alive at this event. The players are again playing inside a glass cube, with a light and dark squared floor, located in the Ibirapuera Park so that the chess fans can watch the action from different angles. To stimulate fighting chess they cannot offer a draw directly to their opponent, and the "football" scoring system is used.

For the first round GM Ian Rogers (l.) joined GM Gilberto Milos in the commentary

Monday's first round saw two decisive results. World's number one Magnus Carlsen immediately suffered a loss against Fabiano Caruana. Levon Aronian won against Sergey Karjakin while Vishy Anand and Paco Vallejo drew their first game. This means that after one round Aronian and Caruana are on 3 points, Anand and Vallejo on 1 and Carlsen and Karjakin on 0.

Levon Aronian used a piece of opening preparation that he had been wanting to use for a while already. His victim was Sergey Karjakin, who miscalculated and had to resign at move 30.

PGN string

Please note that this game and its theoretical importance will will be analyzed in full in the next ChessVibes Openings.

Levon Aronian: strong preparation, strong finish

Magnus Carlsen played the French Winawer against Fabiano Caruana, and as always the Norwegian tried hard to win the game. It seems that indeed he could have won at one point, but he missed his chance and a move later he threw away the draw as well.

PGN string

Carlsen starts with a loss against Caruana

The game between Vishy Anand and Paco Vallejo was quite interesting too. In a Ragozin the Spaniard started an original plan which involved pushing both his a- and h-pawns. He then castled queenside, while the World Champion kept his king in the centre and started play on the queenside. After some exchanges Anand seemed to be creating some threats against the enemy king, but with a positional queen sac Vallejo reached a fortress. 

PGN string

Anand shakes hands with Sao Paulo organizer Davy D'Israel, who stands next to Bilbao organizer Juan Carlos Fernandez

Grand Slam Masters Final 2012 | Schedule & results

Round 1 24.09.12 20:00 CET   Round 6 08.10.12 16:00 CET
Anand ½-½ Vallejo   Vallejo - Anand
Aronian 1-0 Karjakin   Karjakin - Aronian
Caruana 1-0 Carlsen   Carlsen - Caruana
Round 2 25.09.12 20:00 CET   Round 7 09.10.12 16:00 CET
Vallejo - Carlsen   Carlsen - Vallejo
Karjakin - Caruana   Caruana - Karjakin
Anand - Aronian   Aronian - Anand
Round 3 26.09.12 20:00 CET   Round 8 10.10.12 16:00 CET
Aronian - Vallejo   Vallejo - Aronian
Caruana - Anand   Anand - Caruana
Carlsen - Karjakin   Karjakin - Carlsen
Round 4 28.09.12 20:00 CET   Round 9 12.10.12 16:00 CET
Caruana - Vallejo   Karjakin - Vallejo
Carlsen - Aronian   Carlsen - Anand
Karjakin - Anand   Caruana - Aronian
Round 5 29.09.12 20:00 CET   Round 10 13.10.12 16:00 CET
Vallejo - Karjakin   Vallejo - Caruana
Anand - Carlsen   Aronian - Carlsen
Aronian - Caruana   Anand - Karjakin


Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Abbas's picture

Why did Carlsen refuse draw by perpetual check and keep playing at move 75? Its non sense to play in an obvious drawn position when you are running out of time.

RG13's picture

Pressing on in obviously drawn positions was a hallmark of Fischer's. Also sometimes your own time trouble can make your opponent rush his moves (trying to flag you) and weaken his position. That is a technique that Grischuk has used with success. If Carlsen was so practical he wouldn't have such a high rating. Taking risks rewards more often than it punishes IF you have the talent to get away with it. Carlsen does.

S3's picture

Fischer usually had a plan and better technique. Carlsen doesn't do a lot and just tries to tire his opponents hoping they will make a mistake. With an aging Kramnik that might work, but Caruana and other youngsters don't fall for it. I don't think Carlsen has a very good score against younger guys like Caruana, Nepomniachi, Karjakin, Lagrave, Giri, Sjugirov. By rating alone he should have a monster score though.

Anonymous's picture

The position was objectively won a few moves later.
It's Nonsense to criticize so. for trying to win a better position.

Bas's picture

Hmm, Carlsen's try to win was justified I think. 80...Kg2? was the losing move; 80...Rb2 would've won on the spot (80...Rb2 81.f6 Kg2! (right time) 82.Ke3 Rxc2 83.d5 c3 84.Kxe4 Re2+ and wins

welwitchia's picture

You didnt think, the computers spell it out for all of us. Everybody has an engine running in the background otherwise its just hard to keep up with this players

S3's picture

Very nice bluff by Caruana, Carlsen immediately fell for it.

Morley's picture

Why do you think it was a bluff and not a blunder? Caruana cracked under pressure, then Carlsen cracked, and played Rb2 a move too late, with less than 30 seconds on his clock. They traded errors after Carlsen had been pressing for 4 hours; Caruana just made the second to last mistake.

S3's picture

Why do you think the opposite?
Caruana suddenly sac'd an exchange when there was a safe alternative. After Rxe4 he got two menacing free pawns. Looks like a winning attempt to me, possibly a mutual blunder, but it was defenitely the only move that might give a win.

cam4 hack tokens adder's picture

That ωay you cаn conѵey yoursеlѵes superior and there will
bе almost nοthіng to distract yοu.
The engine features an elеctronic fuel injеctіon system, and a stainless steel exhаust hеader.
Τhe Coѕwοrth package incluԁes a 'torque arm' rеaг suspensіon ωhiсh pгoνides oрtimum rear axle pоwer control.

RealityCheck's picture

Great play by Fabio!! He didn't fall for the bluff, Nor did he succumb to pressure, nerves, dumb attacks, jet-lag.
Anyone get his opinion on the position after Re1?

Zeblakob's picture

It is always gooder to not to lose than to lose.

Anonymous's picture

I sometimes wonder if you really pass the Turing test.

Frits Fritschy's picture

Sorry, I'm not anonymous.

Zeblakob's picture

I wonder if you understand what doez "Turing Test" mean. I am also wondering if consciousness can be reduced to a pure dumb chemistry in the same way positional chess understanding can be reduced to pure (complex) calculations.

Anonymous's picture

A. Yes, I know, to a certain extent.
B. How interesting.

Frits Fritschy's picture

Still not anonymous:
A. new computer
B. new browser.

redivivo's picture

Caruana-Carlsen was a very nice game! Caruana is a very sympathetic guy and it was quite humorous to see how dejected he looked after winning. Carlsen just pressed and pressed hour after hour and spent all his time grinding out a winning position towards the end, but by then he had used up all his time and blundered in zeitnot by playing the wrong move order (Kg2-Rb2 instead of the other way around) when he finally had reach a winning position. Caruana's Rxe4 was probably one of the stronger losing moves played, it did lose objectively but gave Carlsen some chances to miss both win and draw given the time situation. So a deserved victory for Caruana and no need to look dejected or feel as if he didn't deserve it, he took his chance well.

Thomas's picture

How does black win after simply 79.Kc1 (rather than 79.Rxe4) ? If white can hold this, black didn't have a winning position when he rejected the move repetition. And 79.Rxe4 could be anything: not wanting to defend passively, desperation as white (wrongly) thought that he was lost, or a risky and objectively dubious winning attempt.

S3's picture

Looks to me like Caruana wasn't losing at all until Rxe4.Perhaps it was a bluff or perhaps both players miscalculated but it sure looked like an attempt to win. But where did you get the impression that Caruana is a symphatetic guy?

redivivo's picture

"But where did you get the impression that Caruana is a symphatetic guy?"

I just compared him with the horrible cheating coward Carlsen :-)

S3's picture

By the way, what a complete crush in Aronian - Karjakin. Is the exchange sac a theoretical line? What is supposed to be the compensation? And Nd7 (?) Qa4 ?..

B16's picture

Incredible play. Carlsen moved his king 22 times. I nearly didnt understand any of them, but enjoyed every one. Great fighting spirit by Carlsen, Caruana responded quick and damn accurate. Amazing play by 2 giants.

Anonymous's picture

Interesting comparison, Zeb! Z:-)
Regards, Feuer

Zeblakob's picture


purplecalx's picture

I thought the excahnge sac was a good choice by Caruana on move 79. Not the best move objectively but carlsen was in horrendous timetrouble at the time. It is interesting to speculate whether Caruana knew he was risking a loss by playing the move. As it was, the move set up too many problems for Carlsen to solve.

buy zolpidem's picture

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on buy ambien. Regards

Andre's picture

Carlsen should buy chessmaster and play the opening tutorials

Latest articles