Aronian secures victory in Bilbao

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Bilbao r5After losing his first game, Levon Aronian won four in a row in Bilbao and already secured tournament victory at the Grand Slam Final with one round to go. In the 5th round he defeated Alexei Shirov; Grischuk-Karjakin ended in a draw.

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.

Round 5

Nothing against Levon Aronian, who scored a wonderful winning streak of four games to clinch first prize in Bilbao with a round to go, but in round 5 it was more Shirov losing than Aronian winning. Thus far the Spanish Latvian hasn't been able to come close to his form at this year's MTel Masters.

In good shape he would certainly have played the key move ...e5-e4 at some point, to maximize the pressure on the kingside, but in this game it seemed that Shirov just couldn't make up his mind in the middlegame with opposite-coloured bishops, and then suddenly it was too late and Aronian had taken over the initiative, and never let go.

Bilbao r6

As if Sergey Karjakin is inspired by next week's first Kasparov-Karpov match in Valencia, instead of his usual Najdorf he played the Zaitsev Variation for the second time in a row. (Or maybe he just reacts to the news about Carlsen and Kasparov working together, saying "Magnus, you wanna play like Garry? Well, I'll be waiting for you like Anatoli!")

Perhaps thanks to his cooperation with Yuri Dokhian, Karjakin seems to know exactly what he's doing in those very tricky Zaitsev positions as well, and in his game against Grischuk, who was the first to deviate, he equalized comfortably. But then Grischuk showed that he knows his theory as well by going for the (in)famous R-RB ending, which he defended impeccably.

Bilbao r6

Round 5 games



Game viewer by ChessTempo


Bilbao 2009


Bilbao Grand Slam Final Masters 2009 | Schedule & results Bilbao 2009



Bilbao r6

All photos by Manu de Alba courtesy of the official website

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