Reports | September 26, 2011 9:41

Grand Slam Masters Final starts today - pairings and poll

Grand Slam Masters Final: pairings and poll

This year's Grand Slam Masters Final includes the world's top 3 players and starts today in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The first round pairings are Nakamura-Ivanchuk, Anand-Carlsen and Aronian-Vallejo. Who do you think will win?

The six participants together with the mayor of Sao Paulo

The 4th edition of the Grand Slam Masters Final runs from September 25th until October 11th and will be played in two different venues. The first five rounds of this double round-robin event will be played in Sao Paulo, Brazil from 25th of September to 1st of October, and the second leg will be played in Bilbao, Spain from 6th to 11th of October. In both venues, the Ibirapuera Park in Sao Paulo and the Bilbao Alhóndiga, the traditional big class cube will be installed, inside which Magnus Carlsen, Vishy Anand, Levon Aronian, Vassily Ivanchuk, Hikaru Nakamura and Paco Vallejo will play a double round-robin.

The tournament was officially opened on Sunday, September 25th in the Sao Paulo Ibirapuera Park, a major urban park. The Parque Ibirapuera has a large area for leisure, jogging and walking, as well as a convention center. Inaugurated in 1954 for the 400th anniversary of the city, with buildings designed by famous architect Oscar Niemeyer and landscape by designer Roberto Burle Marx, Ibirapuera Park covers an area of almost 2 square kilometres (0.77 sq mi). It is the second biggest park in the city. The park complex contains several buildings, including the Grande Marquise (home of the Modern Art Museum), the Manoel da Nóbrega Pavilion (until 1992 the city hall) and the Cicillo Matarazzo Pavilion (home for the Museum of Contemporary Art, University of Sao Paulo, and a space for events and expos, including the Sao Paulo Art Biennial and the Sao Paulo Fashion Week).

The ceremony was chaired by the prefect (mayor) of the city, Gilberto Kassab, who highlighted the importance of the chess event as a platform to attract other sporting events to Sao Paulo. A Basque business delegation was also present at the ceremony, and of course the organizers from Bilbao, headed by the tournament's general coordinator, Andoni Madariaga. In a huge tent, a first social contact between Basque and Brazilian business people took place.

World Champion Vishy Anand and Sao Paulo mayor Gilberto Kassab shake hands, IM Herman van Riemsdijk on the left

Grand Slam Masters Final 2011 | Schedule & pairings

Round 1 26.09.11 20:00 CET   Round 6 06.10.11 16:00 CET
Nakamura - Ivanchuk   Ivanchuk - Nakamura
Anand - Carlsen   Carlsen - Anand
Aronian - Vallejo   Vallejo - Aronian
Round 2 27.09.11 20:00 CET   Round 7 07.10.11 16:00 CET
Ivanchuk - Vallejo   Vallejo - Ivanchuk
Carlsen - Aronian   Aronian - Carlsen
Nakamura - Anand   Anand - Nakamura
Round 3 28.09.11 20:00 CET   Round 8 08.10.11 16:00 CET
Anand - Ivanchuk   Ivanchuk - Anand
Aronian - Nakamura   Nakamura - Aronian
Vallejo - Carlsen   Carlsen - Vallejo
Round 4 30.09.11 20:00 CET   Round 9 10.10.11 16:00 CET
Aronian - Ivanchuk   Carlsen - Ivanchuk
Vallejo - Anand   Vallejo - Nakamura
Carlsen - Nakamura   Aronian - Anand
Round 5 01.10.11 20:00 CET   Round 10 11.10.11 16:00 CET
Ivanchuk - Carlsen   Ivanchuk - Aronian
Nakamura - Vallejo   Anand - Vallejo
Anand - Aronian   Nakamura - Carlsen

The rate of play will be 90 minutes for the first 40 moves plus 60 minutes to finish the game, with 10 seconds increment per move from move number 41. 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: GM Jose Luis Fernandez. The football scoring system will be used: 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 for a loss.

The first round starts today at 15:00 local time, which is 20:00 Central European Time. Who do you think will win?

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, 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.


RealityCheck's picture

Anand vs Carlsen 1 - 0

Chess Fan's picture

I agree. It is also possible that it is 1/2-1/2 and 0-1 in favor of Anand.
Anand tends to clam up if he plays 1.e4 and faced with the Berlin or the Dragon.

Akim gettings's picture

Carlsen has took his game to another level he will be champion very soon

Sergio's picture

Anand vs Carlsen 3 - 0

columbo's picture

Dear Reality, you will feel alone tonight

RealityCheck's picture


Sorry to disapoint you but, we already put the Champaign on ice.

Pssst. It's not too late for you go round-up a six-pack of Miller Lite... Stash it in the fridge behind the hotdogs, mustard, and ketchup. :-)

In the coming days, weeks, months we'll see GM Anand put an end to this split title debate:
World Champion vs NoOne. Trust me.

columbo's picture

Ketchup ? Miller ? Hotdogs ? what zat ?!?!!?

Anand - Carlsen 0 -1

RealityCheck's picture

What zat? Zat's fast-food. Cheap beer. The stuff people consume at soccer games, in parks.

CheckReality's picture

Anand vs Carlsen 0- 1

Saji's picture

Anything may happen in top events but I think Anand has a small edge.


What is this again. Anand will win...

Tarjei's picture

Peter, why are the photos in so small size? Personally I just think it looks so much better with larger photos that at least cover the column from left to right. Especially the one on the top, you can hardly see who is on it. But maybe it's just me?

Peter Doggers's picture

This is how I got the photos from the organizers. I asked for higher-res versions and might get them later.

Chess Fan's picture

I thought the same thing about the pictures.
But I love the fact that Peter reads all our comments and replies to the ones that deserve a reply. This makes this my favorite chess site in the whole world.
Thanks Peter.

Harish Srinivasan 's picture

Over the last few classical games between Anand and Carlsen I have got the impression that Anand wantedly plays in a manner that gives Carlsen some chances and then Carlsen just self destructs. May be that is just a small weakness in Carlsen that Anand has found. Happened in Bilbao last year and again in London last year. In both of those games Carlsen came out fine after the opening and got a tiny edge and then after energetic and double edged play by Anand, Carlsen ended up worse. Carlsen uses his push for win strategy well against the lower 2700 players but does poorly against Anand. Lets see how it goes today.

Chess Fan's picture

Very good observation Harish.I agree.

vivek's picture

It is difficult for many Indians to follow the games starting at 11.30 pm IST. It is very unfortunate.

christos's picture

The World Champion is usually the favorite, in my opinion.

Chess Fan's picture

My opinion is the same. Like the "President of the United States" a World Chess Champion deserves respect on account of that title. World Champion (especially undisputed winner of an united match format) is a World Champion for a very good reason ;-)

noyb's picture

The individual doesn't deserve respect because of the title. The individual determines respect for the themselves based upon their behavior. Hopefully, the individual respects the office and treats it accordingly.

john's picture

The only problem is that the WC has not won a classical tournament in more than three years.

Septimus's picture

And? So Anand is somehow undeserving or inferior because he does not smash everybody in classical tournaments? Dude seriously...

David's picture

Hi All looking forward to some cracking games. lets see if magnus can improve his results against Anand. As he seems to constantly strive for improvement.

saheed saibu's picture

i love anand and carlsen too. is difficult for me to go for one. in d spirit of sportsmanship i think anand has an edge nw

Hughbertie's picture

Naka to finish last is a great bet.....fill youre boots!

Harish Srinivasan's picture

If this article turns out true then he is a serious contender in Bilbao

christos's picture

He is clearly a step below the top three players, in my opinion.

Szoker's picture

I Can't wait !!!

let's hope that the coverage will be as amazing as the World Cup one ;)

go go Levon and Chucky !

Maarten's picture

Do not like the rate of play. 40 moves in 90 minutes is too fast.

stevefraser's picture

But aren't they in "book" up until about move thirty?

Webbimio's picture

This is an idea many beginners have, but it's wrong. Of course there are *certain* variations in which theory covers 30 or more moves. But actually in many, many games the players start thinking very soon, sometimes around move 10

stevefraser's picture

I follow international chess fairly closely, yet I have no idea of the significance of this tourney....Does it fit into the WC cycle in any way? Who is sponsoring it? What are the prizes? Please start your essay on each major tourney answering these most basic questions. Thanks.

Anonymous's picture

Anand clearly has the talent to win an event at this level, however it is most likely that he will save his best opening preparation for his coming match with Gelfand. Without showing serious opening novelties, I think Anand should be satisfied with an undefeated 2nd - 3rd place finish. In a match however second place is garbage. Yes, Carlsen is #1 rated now but Anand was #1 rated a few months ago. Once you've tasted the #1 rated spot I think it would be good to aim higher - for the world title. With all the hype surrounding him, I am sure that Carlsen's manager could find sponsors for a match against a player like Kramnik. I don't think Carlsen wants to go there. Tournament play is one thing and match play is another altogether. So with all due respect to Carlsen's fans, if and when he has the balls to play a match with someone on the level of Vladimir Kramnik AND WIN, then and only then is it reasonable to believe that he could beat Anand in a match.

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