Bilbao Masters Final opened - all info & pairings VIDEO ADDED

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Bilbao Masters Final openedThe second stage of the 2010 Grand Slam Masters Final was officially opened this afternoon in Bilbao, Spain. The opening ceremony took place outside, in beautiful weather and with the world famous Guggenheim museum in the background. The drawing of lots resulted in Kramnik-Carlsen and Shirov-Anand for round 1. VIDEO ADDED.

Tournament info

The second part of the 2010 Grand Slam Masters Final takes place 9-15 October in Bilbao, Spain. This year the participants are Viswanathan Anand, current world champion and world number two; Magnus Carlsen, winner of the Wijk aan Zee, Nanjing and Bazna tournaments and current world number one; Alexei Shirov, best Spanish player and ranked 12th in the world (11th in the live ratings); and Vladimir Kramnik, the world's number five.

Shirov and Kramnik qualified after placing first and second respectively in the preliminaries played in Shanghai from September 3 to 8. These four players raise this 3rd edition of the Masters Final to a category 22 event, making it the highest-level classical tournament in chess history according to Elo ratings. The presentation of the tournament, which took place today in front of the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum, was attended by the Mayor of Bilbao, Iñaki Azkuna, and the four main stars of the Final. Also present were coordinator of the Final, Andoni Madariaga, and Technical Director Juan Carlos Fernández, together with representatives from collaborating companies and institutions.

Drawing of lots

At the drawing of lots the four players had to choose one of the four pieces that had played in a position of a big chess set (where it seemed the opening moves had been 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 c5). Alexei Shirov picked first, and took Bg5, which had an envelop with number 2 under it. Kramnik then said to host Leontxo Garcia that he had also been planning to go for the bishop, but now naturally had to go for the white d-pawn. This had number one under it. Anand then picked the black pawn which had number 3, and Carlsen confirmed that the black knight was standing on number 4.

Bilbao Masters Final 2010

This leads to the following pairings.

Bilbao Masters Final 2010 | Schedule
Bilbao Masters Final 2010 | Schedule


iPhone/iPad users might want to subscribe to the iTunes RSS feed of the Bilbao videos.

Venue this year is one of the most iconic buildings in Bilbao: the Alhóndiga. This old wine storehouse designed by Ricardo Bastida (1909) is now AlhóndigaBilbao, a 43.000m² space opened this past May, aiming to become the new engine of leisure and culture.


The Alhóndiga in Bilbao | Photo Ron Brill, Wikipedia


The grandmasters will be playing in a glass room in view of the public. The final will begin on Saturday the 9th and go on until Friday the 15th, with a rest day on the 12th. It's a double round-robin with a rate of play of 90 minutes for the first 40 moves and another 60 minutes to finish the game, with 10 seconds increment from move 41. Again the so-called “Sofia rule” will be enforced as well as the system of three points for each game won, 1 point for a draw and 0 for a loss. Each day the rounds will begin at 16:30 CET.

Parallel activities

In the spectacular atrium of the Alhóndiga several parallel activities will take place:

  • The Meeting Room: a space for analysis, commentary and interviews, run by Leontxo García with the collaboration of chess experts and Bilbao’s International Master Santiago González de la Torre or chess historian Joaquín Pérez de Arriaga. The Alhóndiga’s big screen placed outside of the Meeting Room will allow the games to be viewed live.
  • 2nd Amistad Chess Club Bilbao e4 Tournament, on the evening of Saturday the 9th, in which teams from the Basque Country and from the rest of the State, made up of four players each, will take part
  • The 3rd Quick Chess Open, where around 100 enthusiasts will compete on the 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th and 15th, starting at the same time as the grandmasters.
  • Euskaltel Game-gunea, a game space for younger players.
  • Prize-giving and Closing Ceremony in the atrium of the Alhóndiga on Friday the 15th after the end of the day’s matches.

Websites; videos

All of the Masters Final’s matches can be followed live on the official tournament websites and The moves made by the grandmasters at the Alhóndiga will be streamed in real time on this website; images of the players will be captured by various cameras. All of this will allow for broadcast in real time via internet with audio included, with commentary, analysis (with electronic boards) and interviews carried out in the Meeting Room. In addition, throughout the tournament, the web will offer daily results and the leaderboard daily, as well as photos and videos (by yours truly) of each day’s proceedings and related news and interviews. Here's what was made in Shanghai one more time:


The final of the Bilbao Masters is sponsored by the Bilbao City Hall, the Biscay Provincial Council, the Basque Government, Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa, Euskaltel and the Hotel Meliã Bilbao, and organized by the Bilbao Chess Club e4. Also collaborating are the Biscayne and Basque Chess Federations and a number of companies and organizations: Bilbao Port Authority, Bilbao Chamber of Commerce, BilbaoCentro Merchants Association, Metro Bilbao, La Ribera Market, Ercoreca Supermarkets, Coca-Cola, Ayesa Ipar, The Cosimet Group, CV Engineering, GMSM Medioambiente, Inmogroup, Exbasa, Land Rover, Label Moda, Talleres Melma, Olabarri Construction, Ormazabal, Sacyr, Febide, S & F Consultants, Talleres de Gernika, Tecuni, Viconsa and Yandiola Restaurant, as well as the very AlhóndigaBilbao.

Grand Slam

The Grand Slam Chess Association, not to be confused with the Grand Prix (a series of FIDE events), includes four top tournaments: Pearl Spring (Nanjing, China), Corus (Wijk aan Zee), Ciudad de Linares (Spain) and the Kings’ Tournament (Bazna, Romania). The winners of these Grand Slam tournaments qualify for the annual Masters Final.

Bilbao Masters Final 2010

With the Guggenheim in the background, the four players are welcomed by the mayor of Bilbao...

Bilbao Masters Final 2010

...Iñaki Azkuna

Bilbao Masters Final 2010

Who do we have? Well, there's the world's number one...

Bilbao Masters Final 2010

...there's the world champion...

Bilbao Masters Final 2010

...there's an ex world champion, the man who beat Kasparov...

Bilbao Masters Final 2010

...and there's Spain's number one, the highly creative Alexei Shirov...

Bilbao Masters Final 2010

...who didn't 'change a winning team', Shirov' second Mikhail Rychagov and Shirov's wife Olga

Bilbao Masters Final 2010

Magnus brought his sister Ingrid...

Bilbao Masters Final 2010

...and father Henrik

Bilbao Masters Final 2010

Anand and Kramnik came to Bilbao alone. The former rivals for the highest throne chatted a lot with each other, catching up on Olympiad and other stories

Bilbao Masters Final 2010

The traditional 'family picture'

After the ceremony we spoke briefly with Alexei Shirov, who commented on the passing away of Janis Klovans. You can read this here.


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