Reports | September 07, 2009 7:46

Grischuk beats Aronian in 1st round Bilbao

Grischuk beats AronianIn the first round of the Grand Slam Masters Final in Bilbao, Alexander Grischuk defeated Levon Aronian with White in an Anti-Moscow Gambit. Alexei Shirov played the Dragon against Sergey Karjakin and drew easily.

The 2nd Grand Slam Masters Final takes place September 6-12 in Bilbao, Spain. It's a 4-player, double round-robin with Levon Aronian, Alexander Grischuk, Sergei Karjakin and Alexei Shirov. The prize fund is € 110,000.

The rate of play is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves and then 60 minutes to finish the game, with 10 extra seconds per move from move number 41. Like last year, the Masters Final will use both the “Sofia Rule” and the “football” scoring system: players will get 3 points for winning a game, 1 point for drawing and 0 points for losing.

Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony of this year's Grand Slam Final took place on Saturday in the San Mamés football stadium of Athletic de Bilbao. Four players of the club that finished 13th in the Primera Division last season were present: Fernando Llorente, Markel Susaeta, Mikel San José and the goal keeper of the women's team, Erika Vázquez. They carried the numbers for the drawing of lots, and also brought four, typically red/white striped shirts for the chess players to wear.

Also present at the ceremony were journalist Leontxo García, the President of Athletic Club de Bilbao, Fernando García Macua, Andoni Madariaga, tournament director of the Grand Slam Masters Final and Jon Sustatxa, councillor of Labour, Youth and Sports of the Municipality of Bilbao.

Round 1

This year's Grand Slam Final has only four players, only two games a day over a period of just one week, so we'd better enjoy it while we can. Luckily the players who are in Bilbao, Aronian, Grischuk, Karjakin and Shirov, are usually in for many good fights, and so it may well be a very entertaining week for the chess fans.

Levon Aronian, who substituted Veselin Topalov only a few weeks ago, went down in the first round already against the winner of the Moscow blitz tournament last week: Alexander Grischuk. Somehow it's still easy to underestimate the Russian player, who never seems to take classical chess a hundred percent seriously (he prefers rapid or blitz, as he has said many times), but in the end he's simply a very, very strong player, who can beat anyone and does so regularly.

Grischuk beats Aronian

Grischuk and Aronian after their first move in the glass cube

In round 1 Aronian was his victim, in a sharp Anti-Moscow Gambit line in which Grischuk has huge experience with the white pieces. He smoothly responded to Aronian's exchange sacrifice and proved that his material plus was more important than his (temporary) bad minor pieces, neutralizing Black's initiative more and more before taking over with decisive effect. (It helped that Aronian got into timetrouble; only around move 30 Black's position seems to collaps.)

The oldest participant, Alexei Shirov, can be satisfied with his start, against the youngest of the four, Sergey Karjakin. Surprising his opponent with the Sicilian Dragon (an opening he only played about twelve times late 80s and early 90s, and once in 1999 against Leko), he could quickly force a draw after Karjakin didn't want to go for the most critical lines.

All in all not a bad start for this small and short tournament. On Monday the second round starts at 17.00 CET.

Karjakin-Shirov

Karjakin and Shirov starting the tournament with a smile

Games round 1

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Bilbao 2009 | Round 1 Standings

Bilbao 2009

Bilbao Grand Slam Final Masters 2009 | Schedule & results

Bilbao 2009

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Shirov receives his Athletic de Bilbao shirt at the opening ceremony

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Drawing of lots: Karjakin pics no. 1

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An exhibition bullet session

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Who are the chess players and who are the football players?

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Setting up the now famous glass cube...

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...on the Plaza Nueva in Bilbao, Spain

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The glass cube at night

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The players with in the middle Iñaki Azkuna, mayor of Bilbao

All photos by Manu de Alba courtesy of the official website

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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.

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Comments

Thomas's picture

"A number" is missing in the report:
"It helped that Aronian got into timetrouble; only around move Black’s position seems to collaps."
Which move?

T. Goto's picture

Looks like Grischuk has been in a good form lately. Linares, Meinz, and Moscow... I hope he will continue to show what he is capable of.

Mauricio Valdes's picture

Aronian is my favourite player in the tournament but Grischuk beat him nicely.
Is this Karjakin first tounament playing for Russia?

Petr's picture

I am fan of Alexei Shirov, so I hope we will see many attacking games from him and also his win of the tournament ;) But it will not be easy.

T. Goto's picture

I really liked that Shirov used Dragon this time! I am rooting for Grishuk this time, but I think it is a fantastic mix of players. I am not saying that I don't miss Topalov, but I am not so hard to please, I guess. I am happy with current players.

karel odink's picture

Thomas,

according to grischuk and aronian after the game (I heard the comment) black went wrong on move 27 and 28: Grischuk thought that black should have played 27.. Nd3! to keep the white knight away from f4 and Aronian thought that his 28..Rh8 was wrong.

Karel

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