Reports | September 30, 2011 23:54

Masters Final R4: Ivanchuk beats Aronian, extends lead in Sao Paulo

Masters Final R4: Ivanchuk beats Aronian, extends lead in Sao Paulo

Vassily Ivanchuk won his third consecutive game at the Grand Slam Masters Final on Friday. In Sao Paulo, Brazil the Ukrainian defeated Levon Aronian with the black pieces to reach a score of 10/4. Vishy Anand joined Aronian in second place, with 5/10, after beating Francisco Vallejo with Black. The third game, between Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura, ended in a draw after 43 moves.

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 4

When Vassily Ivanchuk is in top shape he can be the world's best player - at least for a while. He already proved this back in 1989 when he won the Linares tournament ahead of Karpov, aged 19, and two years later he repeated this when Kasparov also participated - who famously lost to Ivanchuk in the first round, in a 3.Bb5+ Sicilian. Another good example is the MTel 2008 tournament which Ivanchuk won with the superscore of 8/10.

After becoming 3rd at the World Cup, everything is going Ivanchuk's way so far in Sao Paolo - this time even luck is on his side! On Friday, in terrible timetrouble he missed a winning continuation against Levon Aornian, who then, with enough time on the clock, blundered to lose anyway. After drawing with Nakamura in the first round this was the third consecutive win for Ivanchuk. Especially with the football score in use, victories taste very sweet in this tournament. The Ukrainian extended his lead to five points and although anything can happen with six rounds to go (one in Sao Paulo and five in Bilbao) it's clear that Ivanchuk is now the biggest favourite to win this tournament.

PGN string

Levon Aronian: "I think it was an interesting game until I started blundering."

Vishy Anand bounced back from his 3rd round loss by beating Vallejo with the black pieces. The Spaniard went for an ending he had drawn himself easily, in a recent game, but Anand proved that with accurate play Black might hope for an edge. When he mistakenly traded rooks at move 40, the resulting ending was just lost for Vallejo, who was struggling with an old issue again: getting into timetrouble even in positions that are not highly complicated. Afterwards the Spaniard said:

If in this tournament I play at my worst level, it's hard to do anything. I'm sorry.

PGN string

The start of Vallejo-Anand with the first move executed by the Sao Paulo investor André Gordon

Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura drew a 6.Bxf6 QGD in which White was only marginally better, with a more active bishop, but Black was always very solid.

PGN string

Hikaru Nakamura is having a solid tournament so far with four draws...

...while Carlsen is on minus one

On Saturday Ivanchuk plays Carlsen and Mexican GM Manuel Leon Hoyos sent the tweet:

Chuky has Magnus next. Has anybody ever beaten three 2800 players in a row?

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 0-1 Ivanchuk   Carlsen - Ivanchuk
Vallejo 0-1 Anand   Vallejo - Nakamura
Carlsen ½-½ 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 4 Standings (football)

1  Vassily Ivanchuk 10
2-3 Levon Aronian, Vishy Anand 5
4 Hikaru Nakamura 4
5-6  Magnus Carlsen, Francisco Vallejo 3

Grand Slam Masters Final 2011 | Round 4 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.


S3's picture

Ivanchuk puts =>2800 in perspective. Remind this, rating fetisjists!

Zeblakob's picture

Dear S;
That is the first time when you got wrong: you said before the tourneo that Chucky is not the favorite because he is very tired (coz World Cup) :)

S3's picture

I am amazed by his performance here for sure (my money was on Aronian ). And after over a month of playing I wouldn't be surprised if he collapses. But his performance up to now already shows that one shouldn't put to much faith in a bit of rating difference.

Anonymous's picture

Yeah, notice the 2800+ players don't play as much as Ivanchuk, Radjabov and Svidler. When you play more games against all level of opponents it is pretty hard to maintain a 2800+ rating. Gelfand said that a 2800 rating doesn't mean anything at this level of competition.

redivivo's picture

"Gelfand said that a 2800 rating doesn't mean anything at this level of competition"

Similar things have been said by many other below 2800 players.

Daniel's picture

Great to see someone 42 years old (chucky) fighting so hard and playing so amazingly well

Anonymous's picture

"Similar things have been said by many other below 2800 players."

True, but Gelfand has the stats to back him up:

Classical games: Boris Gelfand tied Levon Aronian 6 to 6, with 15 draws.
Including rapid/exhibition games: Boris Gelfand beat Levon Aronian 12 to 11, with 24 draws.

Classical games: Boris Gelfand beat Magnus Carlsen 1 to 0, with 8 draws.
Including rapid/exhibition games: Magnus Carlsen beat Boris Gelfand 6 to 5,
with 15 draws.

So I think Grandmaster Gelfand is qualified to talk about the skills of 2800+ players; there is a reason he is the official challenger for the World Title.
However I still think Grandmaster Anand will be successful in his title defense.

redivivo's picture

"I think Grandmaster Gelfand is qualified to talk about the skills of 2800+ players"

If a 2800 rating means nothing in events like this I guess it just has to be a coincidence that Gelfand never has won anything at this level.

Vasek's picture

Of course he won. Also the difference is only about 50 points which is almost nothing. And I believe Gelfand is really one of the few players who is not interested in rating.

redivivo's picture

It's so often said that this or that player isn't interested in ratings but I never understand what that means. I bet Gelfand has been interested in winning Linares, Wijk, Dortmund etc all the times he has participated, it's just that other players always have been better and he has usually finished in the bottom half. I don't think Kasparov cared about his rating as much as he cared about playing as well as possible and scoring good results in the events he participated in, his high rating was just a result of his being a strong player.

S3's picture

Not exactly true, Kasparov was always very "rating minded". In 1997 he made a big deal about the participation of a 2600 player in one of his tournaments-only because it might be detrimental to his own rating. So he chose his tournaments and events based on rating criteria, amongst other things. On the other hand you have players like Karpov who, according to himself, didn't care about his rating and play in all kind of events. And while I agree that any player would like to win tournaments it's still possible that some try harder in wch-cycle events.
Based on his results in several qualification cycles this seems to be the case for Gelfand.

Anonymous's picture

"I don't think Kasparov cared about his rating..." This has to be the joke of the day

delpanjo's picture

go chucky win this tournament

guest01's picture

How come anand was finding top moves churned by houdini. something vishy

Deep Mikey's picture

Because he is the World Champion.

RealityCheck's picture

Again. a relevant excerpt from Kramniks' interview about World Champion Vishy Anand on whychess:

"Each champion has had some sort of speciality, and his [Anands] is creating counterplay in any position out of absolutely nowhere. He’s got an amazing ability to constantly stretch himself so that even in some kind of Exchange Slav he nevertheless manages to attack something and create something. He also plays absolutely brilliantly with knights, even better than Morozevich".

Vlad may want to add the "bishop pair" to Anands long range arsenal.

Septimus's picture

Are you serious dude???? I really hope you are not suggesting what I think you are suggesting...if so, I'd suggest you excuse yourself from this discussion.

S3's picture

You want to silence people 'cause they have a sense of humor.Jeej.

Septimus's picture

A sense of humor is defined as the ability to laugh at oneself, of which, I can safely say that you lack both the humility and the wherewithal to do.

theun's picture

Is it me?
The pieces are missing in the player

Peter Doggers's picture

What browser are you using?

DocBones's picture

Yeah, player is blank, again. [IE 8]

theun's picture

IE 8

theun's picture

Ah there they are!
Peter je bent een kanjer!

Peter Doggers's picture

Yes gefixt.

jhoravi's picture

Does strength cycle at the same rhythm every year? I mean at this very exact date last year, Ivanchuk was dominating the team championship. At the same time Carlsen was loosing to unknown opponents.

S3's picture

Carlsen has only lost 1 game so far because of a blunder, but apart from that his play looks fine as usual.

Rob's picture

For me it is always the case that after (and also during) the summerbreak I'm playing really bad and starting from February its getting much better again. It wouldn't surprise me if there would be a cycle.

Mkie's picture

Since Chucky is playing with his place at the Candidates guaranteed, he is playing without pressure and at this condition he is the best of the World easily nowadays.

dvvvv's picture
Mauricio Valdes's picture

Two huge victory for Chucky with the black pieces!
Is Ivanchuck the next World Champion?
I hope so!

Hasmukhray M Mehta's picture

Great performance Anand... But what is happening .......?

Chess Fan's picture

The Ukarian "G"enius is on fire and though he beat my idol Anand with black, as a Chess Fan, I have to be fair and objective and support his genius. He beats Aronian with Black and demonstrably proves that he is playing at the level of a greatest chess player of all times, right now, the proverbial genius.
Question is, whether he can be consistent in this tournament from now and win. If he loses, it would be to a resurgent Carlsen, unless Carlsen is having one of his performances in a Anand+Kramnik participation kind of tournaments ;-)

Rini Luyks's picture

Enough euphoria, Ivanchuk lost to Carlsson, so in Bilbao evrything is still possible...

Septimus's picture

Pons is in really bad form. Looks like his confidence has been shattered. Poor guy. I hope he picks it up and scores a few 2800+ upsets.

Anonymous's picture

“If in this tournament I play at my worst level, it's hard to do anything. I'm sorry". What a pathetic statement from a supposed top-rated grandmaster. Why does he feel the need to apologize? It only makes himself look more like a poor loser. And no, Mr Vallejo, this doesn't make you more sympathetic to us.

Anonymous's picture

"I think it was an interesting game until I started blundering." You make good judgements, Mr Aronian... But the question is when will you start achieving results according to your huge potential? Or is this the best you can achieve?

Mr_Toad's picture

I attended the first leg in São Paulo (where I live) and wrote two posts about my experiences.


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