Reports | September 29, 2011 1:15

Masters Final R3: Carlsen blunders, loses to Vallejo; Ivanchuk beats Anand

Masters Final R3: Carlsen blunders, loses to Vallejo; Ivanchuk beats Anand

In a crazy third round of the Grand Slam Masters Final both the World Champion and the world's number one player lost. After outplaying his opponent, Magnus Carlsen first missed a win and then blundered a full piece and lost with Black to Francisco Vallejo. Using 1.e4 World Champion Vishy Anand got into trouble right after the opening (a Schliemann / Jaenisch Ruy Lopez) and Vassily Ivanchuk eventually scored a fine win after 69 moves. Playing very solidly, Hikaru Nakamura with Black held Levon Aronian to a draw.

Event 4th Grand Slam Masters Final  | PGN 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
Prizes Undisclosed
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 3

Vassily Ivanchuk is the proud tournament leader after three rounds. The 42-year-old Ukrainian came to Sao Paulo after a gruelling World Cup that lasted three weeks, and so far he's been playing at the same high level he showed there. On Wednesday he defeated the World Champ himself, with the black pieces.

PGN string

The next time you blunder a piece, you can at least find comfort in the fact that it happens to the best - the very best. On Wednesday Magnus Carlsen seemed well on his way to inflict the third loss upon last seeded player Paco Vallejo, but it all went differently. First, the Norwegian missed a win, and then he just blundered a full piece:

PGN string

After the game Carlsen said:

I got a pleasant position from the opening. He probably played inaccurately at somepoint It became a huge, almost wining advantage. At one point I wasted too much time trying to find a forced win. Then I... blundered a piece very simply. I don't know if you can call it an optical illusion or whatever.

Hikaru Nakamura again made a good impression by drawing comfortably with Black against Levon Aronian. The American played in the style of his compatriot Gata Kamsky, going for his favourite Slav/Schlechter/Grünfeld hybrid, and was never in trouble.

PGN string

Again we'll mention a tweet by Nakamura:

Sometimes it is good to play like Kamsky. After all, most people think he is better than me anyway! :) Time to enjoy the rest day.

And so a very rare thing happened today: on one day both the highest rated player and the World Champion lost. Due to the football scoring system, Anand and Carlsen are now the two tail-enders of the tournament!

ICC: free pass

Before we'll leave you, here's a note from our friends at ICC:

In conjunction with the Sao Paulo leg of the Grand Slam Final in Brazil, Internet Chess Club (ICC - is granting everyone the opportunity to claim their FREE PASS to sample the benefits of the best online chess club in the world.

ICC’s free pass period will run through to midnight on Wednesday, 5th October 2011 - and during this time, not only will you be able to play blitz and watch top grandmaster blitz play, you will also be able to tune-in to Chess.FM’s live coverage of the Sao Paulo leg of the Grand Slam Final (Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, Ivanchuk, Nakamura and Vallejo) with our expert GM commentary team of Yasser Seirawan, Joel Benjamin, Alex Yermolinsky, Larry Christiansen, Miguel Illescas, Gregory Kaidanov, Ronen Har-Zvi and Suat Atalik. 

You will also have access during this period to ICC’s Game of the Day video recap by former US Champion GM Alex Yermolinsky - and there will also be the New In Chess trivia on GOTD, where each round viewers can enter (whether ICC members or not - but if you do win, you must join ICC to claim your prize) the contest to win a one year subscription to New In Chess magazine.

The ICC Free Pass will also allow you to view all of our regular weekly hit shows on Chess.FM - Sundays: Every Russian Schoolboy Knows with GM Alex Yermolinsky; Mondays: Ronen’s Opening Survey with GM Ronen Har-Zvi; Tuesdays: Beyond the Opening with IM John Watson; Wednesdays: Attack with LarryC with GM Larry Christiansen; Thursdays: Gambit Guide with GM Boris Alterman; Fridays: Game of the Week with GM Joel Benjamin; and Saturdays: Improve Your Chess with NM Dan Heisman.

ICC’s Free Pass period is only open till midnight on October 5 and is available for everyone - so claim your’s today, even if you have used in the past a free trial period on ICC!

Grand Slam Masters Final 2011 | Schedule & results

Round 1 26.09.11 20:00 CET   Round 6 06.10.11 16:00 CET
Nakamura ½-½ Ivanchuk   Ivanchuk - Nakamura
Anand ½-½ Carlsen   Carlsen - Anand
Aronian 1-0 Vallejo   Vallejo - Aronian
Round 2 27.09.11 20:00 CET   Round 7 07.10.11 16:00 CET
Ivanchuk 1-0 Vallejo   Vallejo - Ivanchuk
Carlsen ½-½ Aronian   Aronian - Carlsen
Nakamura ½-½ Anand   Anand - Nakamura
Round 3 28.09.11 20:00 CET   Round 8 08.10.11 16:00 CET
Anand 0-1 Ivanchuk   Ivanchuk - Anand
Aronian ½-½ Nakamura   Nakamura - Aronian
Vallejo 1-0 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

Grand Slam Masters Final 2011 | Round 3 Standings (football)

1  Vassily Ivanchuk 7
2  Levon Aronian 5
3-4  Nakamura, Vallejo 3
5-6  Anand, Carlsen 2

Grand Slam Masters Final 2011 | Round 3 Standings (classical)

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.


Knallo's picture

We all knew it. If Chuky is at his best, there is no better player in the world. I hope he can keep it up.

sab's picture

We all know that. If Anand is at his best, there is no better player in the world. If Kramnik is at his best, there is no better player in the world. If Carlsen is at his best, there is no better player in the world. If Grischuk is at his best, there is no better player in the world. Etc.

Bartleby's picture

Not true for Grischuk. And definitely not true for Etc.

pulern's picture


bombo's picture

I assume by Etc. you mean Edgar T. Colle. He was good, but I agree not unbeatable.

sab's picture

I guess you forget the candidates match and the world cup.

Bartleby's picture

Did anybody ever claim
"If Grischuk is at his best, there is no better player in the world."
I don't think so. Are you serious about this?

Al's picture

Today the chess world has been shaken up big time, Carlsen blundered a piece to Vallejo in a won position and most amazingly Anand lost as White to Ivanchuk – Anand never loses until now(seems like) – this will be a big shock to Anand and proves to the world he is actually beatable!

This will make for an exciting tournament indeed! Will Carlsen sort his S**T out and bounce back, will Anand recover from his lose? Ivanchuk and Nakamara will be deadly in this tournament.

Stay tuned...

sab's picture

You get a little bit too much excited. Anand lost the first game during his last world champion title defense ; THAT was a big a shock but he managed to recovers and finally win that match illustrating an amazing mental strength.

So wait until his next game before making statements like "this will be a big shock to Anand and proves to the world he is actually beatable!"

By the way, everyone know he is beatable.

sotov's picture

Lighten up. Wow. He was impersonating a TV announcer, adding drama to the news.

Excalibur's picture

Vishy Anand might be one of the finest players in the history of chess but there is nothing amazing when a chess genius like Chucky beats a chess genius like Anand even with the black pieces.

RealityCheck's picture

These geniuses have met on many occasions. Here's a look at the closing numbers:

By the way Congrat's Ivanchuk.

noyb's picture

Go Chucky Go! Very nice!

abdou's picture

it became a huge ,almost winning advantage: did you know it at the board or after using a computer?

iLane's picture

Chuky was great, no doubt about that, but Anand's e5 was WAAAAY too risky!

Daniel's picture

Amazing Chucky!

Bartleby's picture

Good positional fight in Anand-Ivanchuk. White focused on Black's weak f6, and build up an attack on the king side. Black had no good options there, so he just did enough to prevent the immediate break-through, and countered with a precise blow in the center. Uncharacteristically, Anand couldn't change gears on the spot, and played an attacking move that didn't work. With Black controlling the center, the white attack went nowhere, and Ivanchuk kept the pawn.

Arctor's picture

It's kind of hilarious that, after todays results, Vallejo is ahead of Anand, Carlsen and Nakamura. This highlights a glaring deficiency in the scoring system

Randomeister's picture

Que? Why does it show a deficiency in the scoring system? Carlsen hasn't won a game, Anand hasn't won a game, Naka hasn't won a game, but Paco has! It's a great scoring system!

Arctor's picture

Because Paco has played the worst chess. Rather than rewarding exciting chess as the system is supposed to do, it punishes those players who take risks in an attempt to get the all important win. The draw is an inextricable part of chess whether people like it or not, and it certainly isn't worth only 1/3 of a win (especially a draw with the Black pieces)

help's picture

1) Vallejo is not ahead of Nakamura.

2) Three players are on minus 1. Two of them only drew. One of them won. Who do you want to reward?

fen's picture

The Classical table needs an update I think. Vallejo Pons still showing a zero score.

Peter Doggers's picture

Corrected, thx!

Abbas's picture

From now, I expect an aggressive play by Carlsen.

Zeblakob's picture

These days there is no world champion but there is winner of world championship. Top 10 are all champions IMO.

ebutaljib's picture

World Champion is by definition the winner of last World Championship. Always has been, always will be.

redivivo's picture

Almost always, Alekhine in 1947 and Fischer in 1977 are a couple of exceptions though.

Webbimio's picture

I don't understand why were they an exception.

ebutaljib's picture

Neither do I. LOL

He somehow wants to disprove my sentence that the winner of last World Championship is the World Champion by definition, but can't do it. And he mixed up some dates too. LOL

redivivo's picture

In 1947 Alekhine was the winner of the last World Championship, in 1977 Fischer was the winner of the last World Championship. If the World Champion by definition always was the winner of the latest World Championship Alekhine would have been posthumous title holder until 1948 and Fischer would have kept the title until 1978. There's also the rule that Kramnik would have regained the title without playing if Anand-Kramnik had fallen through. Anand would have been the latest winner of a World Championship but Kramnik would have been World Champion. So if one is looking to split hairs there's no water tight definition.

ebutaljib's picture

On the morning of March 24th, 1947 Alekhine was the winner of last World Championship and hence he was the World Champion. Then he died and hence there was no World Champion - a period called interregnum.

On May 18th Mikhail Botvinnik won the World championhip and became the World Champion (as the winner of the last - just finished - World Championship).

No problem in definition here.

Karpov won the 1975 World Championhip by default because Fischer refused to play. So he became the World Champion by winning the last World Championhip by default. Next World championship was in 1978 not 1977.

No problem in the definiton here.

Kasparov was stripped of the title on March 23rd, 1993 and there was no (FIDE) World champion until November 1st 1993 when Karpov won the (FIDE) World Championship against Timman.

No problem in definition here either.

Now you are starting to make things up. by winning the 2007 World championhip Anand became the World Champion. by winning the 2008 World championship he continued to be World Champion. And no there was never such rule as you are talking about.

So no problem in definition here either.

World champion is a (living) person who won the last World Championship. Period!

If you really want to split hairs then you can use Lasker-Capablanca example. Lasker forfeited the title in 1920 and appointed Capablanca as the World Champion. When they played the World championship match in 1921 Capablanca was playing as the World Champion and Lasker only as the challenger! But his trasnfer of the title in 1920 is generally not recognized thats why you see everywhere that Capablanca's reign started in 1921 and not 1920.

redivivo's picture

"Now you are starting to make things up. by winning the 2007 World championhip Anand became the World Champion. by winning the 2008 World championship he continued to be World Champion. And no there was never such rule as you are talking about."

Kramnik played Mexico under the sole condition that he would get a title match in 2008, if not he would still be World Champion: "If Kramnik does not win Mexico himself he will for the moment recognize the winner of Mexico as the new world champion, but only under the condition that he gets a one-time return match in 2008" as it was stated back in the day. So no match against Anand in 2008 and Kramnik would have become World Champion again by default, at least as he interpreted the rules of the World Championship. Hadn't he played Mexico many would still see him as World Champion, as when he didn't play in San Luis two years earlier. So there's no waterproof definition of who The World Champion is. But I'm just trying to split hairs as much as possible.

ebutaljib's picture

There was never such a rule. Where did you read thatt??? the new cycle was already under way before Topalov and Kramnik played their unification match. Topalov was seeded directy into the 2007 World championhip whiule Kramnik wasn't in the cycle (he refused to participate in the candidates for which he was seeded by rating). In the end they both agreed and SIGNED that the winner will defend his title in 2007 World championship WITHOUT ANY special privilegies, while the loser will be out and will have to wait for the new cycle. However after winning the unification match, Kramnik ate his word and started making demands as a condition for his participation in Mexico. He practically extorted FIDE. FIDE gave in and give him a "rematch" in case he is not victorious in Mexico. But there was never any talk about reverting the title back or that the mexico winner is not the real Champion or whatever. After FIDE made this concossion to Kramnik Bulgarians raised their voices and bargained out special privilegies for Topalov in the next cycle too (direct seed into the challenger match).

Still there is no case in history where one would become the World Champion without winning the last World Championship. the winner of the last World championship is the World champion. It's like this in ANY sport. And you are the World champion until the next World Championship REGARDLESS how you perform before or after.

redivivo's picture

"Still there is no case in history where one would become the World Champion without winning the last World Championship"

Karpov was indeed FIDE Champion 1993-2000 as you point out but if he was "The World Champion" more than Kasparov is another thing, Kasimjanov in 2004 is another example of someone not everyone agrees was "The World Champion" just because FIDE said so. Who was "The World Champion" in 1975 was decided by FIDE after they refused to let Fischer defend under the Steinitz rules. He lost the title by a FIDE decision, but didn't agree that FIDE had a right to decide the rules and strip him of the title. And Euwe was voted World Champion for a couple of hours in 1947: "At the 1947 FIDE congress, Euwe was declared World Champion on a vote that took place just before the Soviet Union's delegates arrived, and the Soviet Union immediately supported the proposal for a World Championship Tournament - so Euwe was deposed after a two hour reign as World Champion". But these things don't happen too often, it's safe to say.

ebutaljib's picture

The entry in Wikipedia is wrong as has been proven by Edward Winter. Yes, there was a vote whther they should proclaim Euwe as the World champion, and yes the delegates voted for it, however they agreed that such a decision can not be made without Soviet delegates so the resolution was pending until the arrival of Soviet delegates. when they arrived the resolution to proclaim Euwe as World champion was discarded and the World Championship tournament was announced. So Euwe never had the 2nd stint as the World champion. Not even for a minute.

A title is not something an individual can own, and World Championship rules are not something a World champion can dictate. So Fischer and Kasparov were rightly stripped of the title. They were strippeed for the same thing - by not wanting to play by the rules of competition. They each had different reason for not wanting to do this, but they both got stripped of the title on the same grounds.

Given that the World champion title is not something an individual can own, Kasparov stopped being anykind of Champion when PCA ceased to exist in 1996. So there was nothing to pass on to Kramnik anyway.

Like it or not, except for the 1993-1996 period there has always been only one World Championhip - the one organised by FIDE. It is the only worldwide accepted chess organization and is hence the only one that can crown a World Champion. Everything else is mumbo jumbo because anyone can then set up his own rules and can crown their own Champion. things can not work like that.

redivivo's picture

"except for the 1993-1996 period there has always been only one World Championhip - the one organised by FIDE"

Many will disagree about Kasimjanov being the one and only World Champion in 2004, Topalov being the one and only World Champion in 2005, etc. But that subject has been debated enough already, I think.

ebutaljib's picture

So your position is that a World Champion owns the title and can dictate the rules of the competition? Does this apply only to chess or all the sports?

Lets say that FC Barcelona says that they want a two legged final instead of just one game, otherwise they wont play. UEFA would just laugh and refused. What now? Are they still Champions?

Sarunas's picture

Anand -Ivanchuk: major White mistake is of course timid 4.d3?, which issues a passport to 3...f5?! dasher at once. In my childhood chess class the boys were taught 4.d4 f:e 5.N:p N:N 6.p:N c6 7.Nc3 P:B 8.N:e4, whereas the girls 4.d3 for safety reasons.
Another path is 4.Nc3 p:p 5.N:e4 d5 6.N:p p:N 7.Qh5+ g6 8.B:N+ p:B 9.N:g6 Nf6 10.Qe5+ with strong attack in either case.
At last even 4.e:f e4 5.castle p:N 6.Q:p compensates knight by strong threats on 'e' file. Those are the tracks one could expect from World Champion rather than tasteless 4.d3?. A well deserved defeat...

redivivo's picture

4.d3 is what Ivanchuk plays himself:

Martin Matthiesen's picture

I wouldn't expect those lines from a world champion in the 21st century - and probably not even in the 20th either.

Webbimio's picture

Sarunas, you don't know what you are saying. There are many recent games by Radjabov and others that show that your old "attacking" lines are not so clear. And your knight sacrifice is completely unsound, as Rybka can tell you in a couple of minutes, while d3 is regularly played by top GMs. You know, world best players use know a trick or two...
p.s.: congratulation for your caveman feelings about gender issues :)

Janis Nisii's picture

Really? In chess class boys and girls were taught different moves? If it's not a joke, may I ask you when and in which country? Thanks.

redivivo's picture

Anand hasn't looked as if he will win this tournament either, it's still very early but he has been fighting to draw his games and created little if anything in his white games except inferior positions. He must play much better than this (both here and in Tal, London, Wijk) to finally get that tournament win. Carlsen has played much better than his score. Pressing hard for the win in a couple of games and then an unfortunate time trouble disaster against Vallejo. Such things happen and if he just keeps playing in the same way as in the first rounds and avoids time trouble he won't do too badly here. Ivanchuk is too uneven to expect anything from, so at the moment maybe Aronian is a good bet but I wouldn't rule out Carlsen this early.

Mattovsky's picture

I didn't like Vallejo's play at all. Unbelievable that he got 3 points for it. Chess can be so unfair...

Thomas's picture

"The next time you blunder a piece, you can at least find comfort in the fact that it happens to the best - the very best."
Last time I blundered a piece, I was thinking about Carlsen-Giri 0-1, Tata 2011 :)

S3's picture

Carlsen-Sjigurov might do as well.
Besides, it's worth pointing out that Vallejo blundered first. He obviously had a passive position but probably could have achieved a draw despite being "outplayed". In time trouble both played inaccurate but this is not so clear in the report.

By the way, it's fun to compare Ivan Sokolov his notes on this game with that of chessvibes(f.e. 16..Rxd4!? and Sokolov -indeed- missing the zwischenzug Rb4 in the line after 17. Nc3).

PircAlert's picture

Anand's mistake may be his ambitious 22.e5 which may have been prompted by this favorite-player-promoter football scoring system. The move was interesting nevertheless. His OTB play was brilliant afterwards. He almost drew the game except for some inaccuracies when he is down to last few minutes. I wouldn't be concerned about Anand play merely going by the result.

O'9's picture

The live rating list shows Carlsen ahead of Anand, Aronian, Kramnik and Ivanchuk. No disrespect to any other player, but in terms of pure playing strength, diversity of styles, personality and a respectful attitude this may be the most attractive top 5 ever (although there is no attacking monster like Topalov).

S3's picture

I pressume you think that Keene, Azmaiparishvilli, Kasparov, Gheorgiu and the like have an attractive personality + respectful attitude as well.?
Taking back moves, not shaking hands and making up excuses is not what I'd consider respectful or pleasant.

redivivo's picture

I presume it is Carlsen you mean is disrespectful and unpleasant, since that is the usual theme of your posts. It gets repetitive after a while but maybe it has some kind of therapeutical effect, I don't think many players have anything negative to say about Carlsen or the others in the top five though, it was different in the days of Fischer, Korchnoi, Petrosian etc. Or later with Kasparov, Bareev, Salov, Topalov etc.


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