Carlsen takes down Caruana, moves to 2nd place in Bilbao
In today's 6th round of the Masters Final tournament leader Fabiano Caruana lost his first game. The Italian GM was ground down in an ending by Magnus Carlsen, who avoided theory and started his game with a Philidor set-up. The other two games, Karjakin-Aronian and Vallejo-Anand, ended in draws. Carlsen is now 2 points behind Caruana with four rounds to go.
Round 6 in action in the Alhondiga in Bilbao | Photos thanks to @bilbaomasters
The presentation of the players before the start of the round
After eight days of rest, and getting accustomed to the Central European time zone, the players continued the Masters Final tournament on Monday in Bilbao, Spain. Fabiano Caruana performed best in the surprisingly chilly weather in Sao Paulo and left Brazil's largest city with 11 points out of a possible 15. The world's highest rated players, Levon Aronian and Magnus Carlsen, followed with 7 and 6 points respectively. World Champion Vishy Anand drew all his games in Sao Paulo which got him 5 points, while Paco Vallejo and Sergey Karjakin took just 3 points with them to the Basque country.
Like in previous years the games are played in the Central Atrium of the Alhondiga Bilbao, in a soundproofed glass box with view to the public. This glass room measures 8x8m witdh, with a high of 3,5m and weighs 8 tons
The first game in round 6 ended rather quickly. In a Marshall Ruy Lopez Karjakin and Aronian reached an opposite-coloured bishop ending after about two hours of play, and a brief look at Chief Arbiter Anil Surender of Sweden was enough to legally shake hands two moves later. The Sofia Rule is in effect in Bilbao, but as we know, in many cases it doesn't have the desired effect.
The big moment in this game was of course Black's 20th move. Aronian:
I found this idea in Nalchik at one of th e Grand Prix tournaments, three years ago. I was very excited and couldn't wait to play it. I already lost hope, because it's a nice idea. Together with my second Gabriel Sargissian we guessed that in the first game everybody will take on d5 and it's basically a forced draw.
Karjakin in fact started his comment at the press conference (attended by many spectators) by apologizing for the short draw.
After such an interesting novelty it was very risky to take on f4 or to play something more ambitious. It was clear that Levon analyzed it deeply so therefore I decided to take on d5, but of course it's nothing.
Commentator Leontxo Garcia, who has always been a strong advocate of measures to stimulate fighting chess, asked whether there's a "solution" for games like this one. Aronian said:
I've always been rooting for Chess960 and hopefully during my career I will be able to play more of that.
Yes, it's a little bit too much. Sometimes you just want to play chess without my analysis but you cannot do it. I have two suggestions. First I completely agree with Levon, I also like Chess960. This is I think the future of the game, to play this at least in some tournaments. And, as was suggested before by other grandmasters, if we make a short draw, let's say in less than two hours, we can play one rapid game.
Somewhat later, but still just before the first time control, Vallejo and Anand also split the point - the 6th draw now for the World Champ. Vallejo said he expected Anand to play the Sicilian, and Anand said he didn't because he expected his opponent to expect that! The Spaniard's 18.e5 was a safe choice, but doesn't seem to offer White very much.
Vallejo and Anand talking about their game
Carlsen seemed determined from the start to avenge his unnecessary first round loss against Caruana. He played 2.d3 against the French, and then put his king's bishop on e2. Because Caruana played e6-e5 at an early stage this started to look like a Philidor with colours reversed.
Sometimes in order to create a fight you need to choose lines that aren't necessarily the most thoroughly analysed
said Carlsen after the game. The Norwegian managed to outplay the tournament leader little by little, profiting from only tiny inaccuracies. As one of our readers, a llife-long fan of the 12th World Champion, put it in a private message:
Carlsen is the new Karpov, but better. Karpov+ !
Carlsen himself said about the ending:
It's clear that it is favourable for White. The only question is whether Black can hold it or not.
I thought I should be able to hold the endgame. It doesn't seem like a losing position.
Caruana and Carlsen after their game
Grand Slam Masters Final 2012 | Schedule & results
|Round 1||24.09.12||20:00 CET||Round 6||08.10.12||17:00 CET|
|Round 2||25.09.12||20:00 CET||Round 7||09.10.12||17:00 CET|
|Round 3||26.09.12||20:00 CET||Round 8||10.10.12||17:00 CET|
|Round 4||28.09.12||20:00 CET||Round 9||12.10.12||17:00 CET|
|Round 5||29.09.12||20:00 CET||Round 10||13.10.12||16:30 CET|
Grand Slam Masters Final 2012 | Round 6 standings (football)
Grand Slam Masters Final 2012 | Round 6 standings (classical)
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