Reports | October 09, 2012 20:09

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

Event 5th Grand Slam Masters Final | PGN via TWIC
Dates October 8-13, 2012
Location 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.

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.

PGN string

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. 

PGN string

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...

PGN string

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
Anand 1-1 Vallejo   Vallejo 1-1 Anand
Aronian 3-0 Karjakin   Karjakin 1-1 Aronian
Caruana 3-0 Carlsen   Carlsen 3-0 Caruana
Round 2 25.09.12 20:00 CET   Round 7 09.10.12 17:00 CET
Vallejo 0-3 Carlsen   Carlsen 3-0 Vallejo
Karjakin 0-3 Caruana   Caruana 1-1 Karjakin
Anand 1-1 Aronian   Aronian 1-1 Anand
Round 3 26.09.12 20:00 CET   Round 8 11.10.12 17:00 CET
Aronian 1-1 Vallejo   Vallejo - Aronian
Caruana 1-1 Anand   Anand - Caruana
Carlsen 1-1 Karjakin   Karjakin - Carlsen
Round 4 28.09.12 20:00 CET   Round 9 12.10.12 17:00 CET
Caruana 3-0 Vallejo   Karjakin - Vallejo
Carlsen 1-1 Aronian   Carlsen - Anand
Karjakin 1-1 Anand   Caruana - Aronian
Round 5 29.09.12 20:00 CET   Round 10 13.10.12 16:30 CET
Vallejo 1-1 Karjakin   Vallejo - Caruana
Anand 1-1 Carlsen   Aronian - Carlsen
Aronian 1-1 Caruana   Anand - Karjakin

Grand Slam Masters Final 2012 | Round 7 standings (football)

 

Grand Slam Masters Final 2012 | Round 7 standings (classical)

 

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, 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.

Chess.com

Comments

RG13's picture

+1

chill's picture

most of the Anand haters are actually his ex fans who will be more than happy to see Anand winning again. but the problem is Anand train has passes long back. Still the old man is holding his fort. if you have it in you go ahead do take his draw and press him and defeat him

john's picture

Dude, are you kidding. who will take risk of pressing against him. most of these chickens are happy to get a draw against him.

john's picture

Dude, are you kidding. who will take risk of pressing against him. most of these chickens are happy to get a draw against him.

Aingle Pack's picture

I fully appreciate's Carlsen's game but this whole tournament format has become a joke.
They played 5 rounds and then there was some 10 days of break (as a viewer, I don't care whether they play in 2 different cities or 2 different planets)

To top off the 10-day break, they play 2 more rounds and then there is another rest day!

Really? Is that how they want to draw viewers for chess tournaments? After some 20 days of this tournament, only 21 games have been played so far (7 rounds with 3 games each day) and a large number of them have been uneventful draws.

Thomas's picture

Most football leagues have games only during the weekend, with breaks of seven days in between - they still draw viewers, many more than chess tournaments.
Chess fans may also need rest days every now and then. BTW if you don't like the games from Bilbao, starting tomorrow you (and others) can also watch the European Club Cup with (if I counted correctly) 31 players rated above 2700.

Septimus's picture

Comparing chess to football is stupid.

Anonymous's picture

Rudeness shows immaturity.

Anonymous's picture

i'd rather be rude and right than polite and wrong

Anonymous's picture

No. Most professional football leagues during the play season have besides the regularly weekly fights, also european championship prelims, uefa cup prelims, local cup championship games in parallel to local championship games, friendly games, uefa playoffs, champions league playoffs, stay-in-category playoffs, and for several top teams also champions league games and uefa european cup games. A player belonging either to Bundesliga, Campionato NP, or Premier League plays all in all an average of one game per 3.3 days which is more than two games per week. Most if not all of these games are televised. Comparing football to chess is more than comparing apples to oranges, its plain ignorant and stupid

valg321's picture

No. Most professional football leagues during the play season have besides the regularly weekly fights, also european championship prelims, uefa cup prelims, local cup championship games in parallel to local championship games, friendly games, uefa playoffs, champions league playoffs, stay-in-category playoffs, and for several top teams also champions league games and uefa european cup games. A player belonging either to Bundesliga, Campionato NP, or Premier League plays all in all an average of one game per 3.3 days which is more than two games per week. Most if not all of these games are televised. Comparing football to chess is more than comparing apples to oranges, its plain ignorant and stupid

Thomas's picture

Whether chess-football comparisons make sense is anyone's pick: my point was just that football fans can 'patiently' wait for the next game which is, if not a whole week, then still several days later. Or they watch a different game by a different team in a different competition (which chess fans can also do).

I seriously doubt that the typical Bundesliga player plays on average more than two games per week. How often does he play three games in a single week, required for an average of more than two? Moreover, not every player makes it onto the national team, and not every club plays European competitions, let alone their later stages. Wrong as it seems to me, what's your source for "one game per 3.3 days"?

valg321's picture

you always have to have the last word dont you Thomas? the source you're looking for is UEFA and grow up Thomas, you're not 6 anymore...more like 9

Anonymous's picture

You would know Valg. You're a sad little troll.

valg321's picture

i must say, that 'anonymous' option can be pretty handy for some...

Anonymous's picture

+10

Aditya's picture

I think with all the preparation and theory that he has been around in past years, Anand has come to believe and live an idealistic view of chess. It is almost as if he thinks that there will always be perfect play on the board. So while Carlsen might stop only when there is a bishop and pawn v/s a bishop and pawn, Anand stops 15 moves before that if he thinks that's the ending he'll get to with both sides playing perfectly. I think he has to give his opponents a little less credit, expect that they might play inaccurately and press more than he usually does with less simplifying lines. Inaccuracies are the only way chess games will be won and they can happen at any stage of the game (not just the opening). But then again, it depends on the extent of the hunger to win.

Anonymous's picture

+3

hakapika's picture

Anand is satisfied with his achievements, leaning back and preparing for retirement. One cannot blame him for getting older.

Anand is a beast.  Carlsen too.  Aronian  too.   's picture

We are just spoiled rotten. We are so used to these guys playing at that level that we argue like little kids over toys.

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