Reports | September 30, 2012 7:49

Three draws in Sao Paulo, narrow escape for Caruana

Fabiano Caruana saves a lost game against Levon Aronian

Fabiano Caruana will travel from Sao Paulo to Bilbao as the clear leader of the Masters Final. He'll start the second half of the tournament four points ahead of Levon Aronian, who was very close to beating the Italian on Saturday. Anand-Carlsen and Vallejo-Karjakin also ended in draws.

Fabiano Caruana saves a lost game against Levon Aronian | Photo 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.

Although nothing has been decided yet, by now Fabiano Caruana should be considered at least slight favorite to win the Masters Final. After surviving a lost position against Levon Aronian in round 5, the 20-year-old Italian kept his four-point lead at half-time. The players will now travel to Bilbao, Spain where the second leg will start on Monday, October 8th.

Aronian really should have beaten Caruana on Saturday. He missed several winning moves, although it was never easy.

PGN string

Anand also drew his fifth game, with White against Carlsen. In the endgame Black had a tiny edge but it was never serious. 

PGN string

After the somewhat strange 21.Ra3 Vallejo found himself in a slightly worse rook ending, but he continued to play well and held it to a draw.

PGN string

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

Grand Slam Masters Final 2012 | Round 4 standings (football)

1. Caruana,F   11
2. Aronian,L   7
3. Carlsen,M   6
4. Anand,V   5
5-6. Vallejo,F   3
5-6. Karjakin,S   3 

Grand Slam Masters Final 2012 | Round 4 standings (classical)


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.


Anthony Migchels's picture

I've been so badly brainwashed by Modern Chess and its bishop vs space fetish that I automatically assume that position is close to lost for Vishy after 20 moves......

But seriously: are we really getting extra value for money to see two of the best players ever give away their pieces in order to avoid having to ask an arbiter for 'permission' to cease fire?

Chess Fan's picture

Very good point - very well put. That is why we had the old "commonsense" rules where they could agree to a draw in such positions and go on to prepare to win the next way.
On the other hand, from our perspective, we get to see two of the greatest players play such positions towards two kings without the mistakes that we would make, which would be instructional to lesser chess mortals like us. Win for us, lose for the Champions, I guess!

Chess Fan's picture

My compliment and comment was meant for Anthony Migchels, and was positioned wrongly from where I intended.

Excalibur's picture

Ever? Is there a Kasparov-Karpov match going on somewhere?

syzygy's picture

two of the best, not the best two.,,

Chess Fan's picture

Very good. I agree.
And what well-meaning people fail to note is how they might perform against this kind of competition.
At the time of Kasparov and Karpov, we did not have the Karjakins, Aronians, and Magnus. The moment Kramnik came, Kapsparov at his historic 2851 rating was crushed 2-0 in 15 games. Anand was not in a psychological tough level he became as a world champion, where is no longer intimidates by his opponent's psychological tactics and used it to motivate and crush his opponents. Different players, different times, with due respect to Kasparov and Karpov (one of my all time favorite Chess players).

Chess Fan's picture

...where he is no longer intimidated...
...and uses it to crush his opponents....
Sorry for the typos.

Hugh Jass's picture

Tootsy is surprising me in this tournament, maybe he is better than I thought, hes young too.

Anonymous's picture

oh is he?

choufleur's picture

Naka 2800+ by the end of the year ?

Anonymous's picture

Choufleur, since you repeatedly ask the same question, I'd like to inform you that Naka's goal of reaching 2800+ will be postponed to the end of 2013. As you already know, Naka isn't in a hurry to get there, even if you wish he was already world #1. We just need a little patience.

Chess Fan's picture

Why year, if all all. Wait another two to five years when due to inflated Elos, 2800s become like 2700s now. Your hero might then be one among many to hit 2800.

Chess Fan's picture

"Which" year, not "Why year". I should start typing in Mandarin.

Anonymous's picture

The world champion managed to draw all his games so far. I didn't expect him to do so well, so this the real surprise to me. Can he avoid losing a game in Bilbao as well?

columbo's picture

ah !?!? what did you expect from the WORLD CHAMPION ? Anand should have lost 2, 3, 4 , 5 games ? Just explain to us what is what and who is who !!!

Chess Fan's picture

Wait and see till the end how the "World Champion" performs even without trying. It might be instructional for your Chess.
PS: I have actually played him multiple times in actual chess competitions and know how good he really is.

RealityCheck's picture

@ChessFan Most people blogging here don't understand the evolution of Anand's play. They missed the swash buckeling, daring play of his early years-- the print media was at the time promoting Short, Adams, Dreev, Gelfand, Ivanchuk.
Anand's recent style, solid as a rock, now takes a back seat to the internet media fetish with the Kaffeehaus chess giants Carlsen, Nakamura etc.

So, how old was Vishy when you played against him? What's the score?

S3's picture

Karjakin continues to surprise. Vallejo is no pushover but Karjakin had to win that game in order to make something of this tournament. And Caruana's escape against Aronian must be upsetting too, Aronian could have been 1rst, yet now he is 4 whole points behind. Good thing that they can take a break now.
I'd be really amazed if Caruana can keep his lead in Spain.

Anonymous's picture

Each win is worth 3 points, Therfore regardless of the result of yesterday's game, Caruana will still have stayed the leader.

S3's picture

You are right. But all the more reason to be upset. It's gonna be hard to catch up with this scoring system.

Chess Fan's picture

My chess friend, all those things can still happen. At this level, nothing is NORMALLY decided till the last game. Aronian is definitely my dark horse to win this tournament (along with Magnus) though, I am rooting for the World Champion. But I could be wrong with the way Caruna is playing. So surprise at all to me with his talent.

Jimbo's picture

Why do Anand & Carlsen have different performance ratings? They've both got 2.5 pts from playing exactly the same players, so shouldn't their performance ratings be the same? (regardless of their current rating)

redivivo's picture

They haven't played exactly the same players

Truth's picture

What's happening with chess? Serious, the two highest players blundering in almost every game, Carlsen against Caruana and Aronian (making losing moves),
Aronian against Carlsen and Caruana (missing the win), and a World Champion that only knows how to draw, this is a shame for chess. That is why i'm rooting for Caruana took keep surfing through the tourney and winning it in the end, to teach a lesson to Aronian, Carlsen and Anand.

Truth's picture

And of course, there's still Karjakin's and Vallejo's mistakes. A disgrace to chess, super gms playing like mere 2500 gms.

Lola's picture

the time-control for the first 40 moves is not far away from rapid-chess time-control, so the quality of play adapts ...

strana's picture

It is not a problem to find a convincing answer, Truth.
All the elite players nowadays are overrated. Anand and was very good in the past, but is clearly a decadent player now. Ivanchuk was also excellent, but his nerves... . Carlsen and Aronian are good, but no more than this. They make too many mistakes, not only in this tournament. Maybe bacause Carlsen is a novelty, coming from the West, people think he is better than he really is. The same could be said about Nakamura. Honestly speaking, I can not see them playing succesful in the past aganist the soviet stars, when chess was much more supported than now. I can be completely wrong but both Carlsen and Aronian would be completely dominated by a 40 year old Karpov and Kasparov, for example.

giovlinn's picture

So the game Carlsen played as a 15?year old against Kasparov was just a coincidence?. He almost won that game.

Chess Fan's picture

To be fair to them, it is easy for us to be armchair quarterbacks sitting with computer engines. Play one to one against them in a tournament (I have played Anand) and you gain an awesome respect for their world stature and ability.

Raj's picture

Appropriate response! Someone at GM-level and knows their mindset well would be the right person to criticize. Boris Gelfand handled the WC Press Conference questions with aplomb by his superb responses.

giovlinn's picture

Ever heard of setbacks? You think the best rated players are always on top of their game? Besides Carlsen hasn't played much lately. Aronian too.

Anonymous's picture

Were the last flurry of of moves in Carlsen-Anand a joke?

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