Carlsen beats Ivanchuk in blitz play-off, wins 4th Masters Final
Magnus Carlsen won the 4th Grand Slam Masters Final in Bilbao, Spain after beating Vassily Ivanchuk 1.5-0.5 in a blitz play-off. The two had finished shared first after drawing their last-round games. On the final day, Vishy Anand beat Francisco Vallejo.
|Event||4th Grand Slam Masters Final | PGN & Playoff via TWIC|
|Dates||September 25th - October 11th, 2011|
|Location||Sao Paulo, Brazil & Bilbao, Spain|
|System||6-player double round robin|
|Players||Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, Ivanchuk, Nakamura, Vallejo|
|Time control||90 minutes for the first 40 moves plus 60 minutes to finish the game, with 10 seconds increment per move from move number 41|
|Notes||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.|
Round 10 + play-off games
A great tournament deserves a great finish, and a great winner. On Tuesday the Grand Slam Masters Final in Bilbao got all this, with an exciting playoff match that had to determine whether Vassily Ivanchuk or Magnus Carlsen would take away the first prize. Both players had drawn their games relatively quickly, against Levon Aronian and Hikaru Nakamura respectively. The first game that ended in the last round was Ivanchuk-Aronian:
Levon Aronian after the game:
I think Vassily was trying to play safe. I thought the exchange of bishops would be OK for me but later I realized I didn't have good squares for my pieces. I think the critical point was 16.Qb3, I had the feeling 16.Ng5 was the best try. It's not specatular, but slighty better for White. Of course I wouldn't be honest if I would say I would be entirely satisfied. I'm happy yhat in the last two rounds I was able to play better. I think I know what I have to do and I'll try to work on it.
Quickly afterwards Nakamura and Carlsen also called it a day. The two had played the old main line of the Tartakowe QGD, with its most famous example the 6th match game Fischer-Spassky, Reykjavik 1972. Nakamura:
Magnus played well. Black's plan of a7-a5-a4 was strong. The ending is about equal.
About the incident in the penultimate round, Nakamura said:
It's already pretty well documented. That's chess: you play the game and things happen. But there's always tomorrow. You gotta move on, you can't really do much about what happened. Overall I'm pretty happy with how I played.
The third regular game in this round was Anand-Vallejo. It was a spectacular encounter, but not without mistakes.
After the game we spoke to Anand, who said:
At some point I lost the thread completely. 19.bxc3 is one of these moves, yeah, I guess they say you cut your hand off before you make such a move. But OK, in this tournament this was not the worst game I played. That's probably the only consolation. I just played atrociously. I will try and do some work later; there's no point analyzing it already. About yesterday... some days your head just doesn't work. I more or less missed everything.
And so Ivanchuk and Carlsen had finished shared first, with 15 points out of 10 games. According to the regulations they had to play a 2-game blitz match with 4 minutes and 3 seconds increment on the clock (and if necessary an Armageddon game). This match started at 20.15 local time and was watched by hundreds of local spectators and in fact thousands more, as this playoff was broadcast live on Basque tv. It was a thrilling and memorable evening in the Alhondiga Bilbao!
In the first game at some point Carlsen won an exchange, but Ivanchuk defended well and escaped with a draw.
In the second game Carlsen directed all his pieces towards his opponent's king. Ivanchuk could only defend, which was, in a way, more easy than finding the right way to attack. Therefore Ivanchuk had more time on the clock for most of the game. However, the position on the board was becoming just overwhelming for Black, and Ivanchuk had to resign at move 39, just before Black would cash on h3.
Ivanchuk has just resigned after 39...Qg3+ - Carlsen is the winner of the tournament!
One could say that justice prevailed, because in the classical score Carlsen in fact already finished clear first in the tournament, and he also defeated Ivanchuk in both of their two mutual games. By the way, the playoff was not just about the title: in BIlbao the prizes (not disclosed, but similar to other big tournaments) are not shared.
Obviously the Norwegian was happy to add another big one to his growing list of tournament victories. To the organizers and the spectators he said:
Always happy to be in Bilbao. Normally I don't play well here but this time I did, so I'm happy!
Remarkably, at the closing ceremony one player was missing: Hikaru Nakamura. As it turned out, there had been some miscommunication between him and the organizers, and he simply didn't know it would be held at the venue. The American thought it would be at the hotel, where later that evening the players, journalists and others joined for a cocktail & pintxos party, which lasted until way after midnight. The fact that this (full) final report was posted a bit late on Wednesday, might have something to do with that... ;-)
Photos: Eva Zubero
Grand Slam Masters Final 2011 | Schedule & results
|Round 1||26.09.11||20:00 CET||Round 6||06.10.11||16:00 CET|
|Round 2||27.09.11||20:00 CET||Round 7||07.10.11||16:00 CET|
|Round 3||28.09.11||20:00 CET||Round 8||08.10.11||16:00 CET|
|Round 4||30.09.11||20:00 CET||Round 9||10.10.11||16:00 CET|
|Round 5||01.10.11||20:00 CET||Round 10||11.10.11||16:00 CET|
Grand Slam Masters Final 2011 | Round 10 Standings (football)
1-2 Magnus Carlsen, Vassily Ivanchuk 15
3-5 Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian, Vishy Anand 12
6 Francisco Vallejo 10
Grand Slam Masters Final 2011 | Round 10 Standings (classical)
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