Bilbao: Carlsen wins again, now tied for first place with Caruana
In Tuesday's seventh round of the Masters Final in Bilbao Magnus Carlsen won again. The Norwegian grandmaster beat Francisco Vallejo, and now shares first place with Fabiano Caruana, who drew his game with Sergey Karjakin. The encounter between Levon Aronian and Vishy Anand also ended in a draw. Wednesday is a rest day.
Vallejo resigns his game against Magnus Carlsen | Photos courtesy of the Masters Final
He had a bit of a slow start in Brazil, but in Bilbao the world's number one needed just two rounds to make up for that. After beating Vallejo in 43 moves on Tuesday, Carlsen caught Caruana in first place as the Italian drew his game with Karjakin. During the rest day, the "two Cs" have 12 points which is 3 more than Levon Aronian. The Masters Final is starting to look a lot like the 2011 edition, when Carlsen also made a comeback in the second half (and emerged as the winner).
Carlsen now joint first with Caruana
Contrary to what the official press release writes, Carlsen did not "raise" the "so-called 'Winawere variant' of the french opening." Instead, the Norwegian avoided the heavy Winawer theory by taking on d5 on the 4th move, transposing into the Exchange Variation. He said:
I wanted to avoid the most theoretical lines and besides I think it's possible to fight for a small advantage even in this variation.
The early middlegame started quietly, but soon thing got more complicated when White directed his pieces towards the opponent's king. Vallejo got into slight timetrouble and then made two inaccuracies which decided the game.
The final phase of the game Carlsen vs Vallejo
Caruana dropped two points as he couldn't break through Karjakin's defensive setup in a Berlin Ending. The Russian GM said something typical of top level chess these days:
It's one of the most critical lines in the Berlin. Of course I analysed it a lot but as there are many lines, I could not remember which was the best line for Black.
Did Vishy Anand ever play seven draws in a row? We'll leave that to our readers to sort out, but it does start to look like a personal record for the Indian.
Update: as Sigvat notes, the first eight games of the 1995 PCA World Championship Match Kasparov-Anand were all drawn. But in a tournament?
We'd like to add that it doesn't really say much: many top players play tournaments with lots of draws these days. But OK, at least the "fans" have something to talk about...
Aronian said about the game:
I thought I had pressure, I was happy to receive this position. I think I was not playing accurately and as in previous encounters with Vishy, if you don't play accurately, that's his strength, he neutralizes very well.
I had the feeling I had to go for g4 in many places, but I couldn't work it out. Somehow Black is in time, in my calculations. I thought perhaps it's a better idea to slowly put pressure on my opponent but maybe I went too slow at times.
Wednesday is a rest day in Bilbao. At the press conference Vallejo said that there would be a football match in the morning. On Twitter Karjakin mentioned that he was planning to join "if he didn't oversleep", while Aronian had something else in mind.
If the weather is good I'll try and go see one of the beaches here, maybe even swim. I know you guys don't swim right now, but for somebody born in a cold climate it's alright!
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||11.10.12||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 7 standings (football)
Grand Slam Masters Final 2012 | Round 7 standings (classical)
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