All games drawn in eighth round Masters Final
Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana continue to lead the Masters Final in Bilbao as all games in round 8 ended in draws. Levon Aronian was under big pressure with Black against Paco Vallejo and low on time as well, but still managed to hold the game.
Lots of cameras inside the "aquarium" in the Alhondiga in Bilbao | Photos © Manu de Alba courtesy of the official website
Karjakin, Carlsen and Anand seen through the "B" logo on the glass
With three draws on Thursday, the Masters Final is heading for a very exciting finish. Carlsen and Caruana are still tied for first and there are just two rounds to go. Aronian is in third place with three points less, but on Friday he faces Caruana with Black and on Saturday Carlsen with White! The Armenian can play a very important role in the outcome of the tournament, but will he be strong enough to do so?
In today's game the double Olympic gold medal winner was on the verge of losing against rating tailender Vallejo. Well, at least that's what it looked like. If you followed the game with an engine running in the background, it might have seemed fine for Black all the time, but in practice, at the board, Aronian was defending like a lion.
The start of Vallejo-Aronian with Carlsen watching...
I didn't really have the time to be afraid. I was just playing and I was kind of happy that I was not getting mated immediately. I think my position was alright but I was just playing some mediocre moves. After he played g4 it looks upleasant. I guess if you want to stay playing at a certain level you've got to be playing well when you're up against the wall!
The game between Anand and Caruana was very interesting as well. To start with, the Italian played the Grünfeld (one of his main openings against 1.d4) which meant he was "ready to meet World Championship preparation", as Grischuk put it last week. Anand went 3.f3, which he played more than once against Gelfand as well. Caruana's pawn sac 14...c5! will probably be studied in depth after this game.
...and the world's numero uno is also interested in Anand-Caruana
Carlsen played the French against Karjakin and that wasn't the first time (and not the second either). However, he hadn't played 3...Bb4 against this opponent yet. It went well from Black's perspective because at move 18 he had already equalized.
Carlsen plays the French, watched by Kings' Tournament organizer Elisabeta Polihroniade and Masters Final organizer Juan Carlos Fernandez
I played it in a slightly unusual way (Nd7, Nf6). It's not so easy for White to do much. By the way, it has to be said that this is the 5th game with the French in this tournament and the first draw for Black so I'm quite happy!
The two leaders Caruana and Carlsen
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 8 standings (football)
Grand Slam Masters Final 2012 | Round 8 standings (classical)
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