Grand Slam Final Masters 2009

Grand Slam Final Masters 2009

| 9 | Chess Event Coverage

The Spanish city of Bilbao is set to play host once again to the Grand Slam Final Masters from 6-12 September.

The tournament pits the winners of major tournaments during 2009 against one another.

Despite the withdrawal of Veselin Topalov, and the scaling back of the event from six players to four, it promises to be an exciting competition.

The contenders are:

 Sergey Karjakin (2717 Elo)
 Winner of Wijk Aan Zee 
 Alexander Grischuk (2733 Elo)
 Winner of Linares
 Alexei Shirov (2732 Elo)
 Winner of M-Tel
 Levon Aronian (2768 Elo)
 Runner-up in Pearl Springs

Clockwise from top left, Sergey Karjakin, Alexander Grischuk, Lev Aronian and Alexei Shirov (pictures from the official website)

The organisers will once again be using the innovative "Aquarium" i.e. a giant soundproofed glass box, which will be set up in the beautiful Plaza Nueva in the city's old quarter.

Another innovation retained from last year's inaugural event is the unusual scoring system giving three points for a win, 1 for a draw, and 0 for a loss.  This system aims to provide a greater incentive for the players to aim for wins.  Hopefully the prize fund will also be sufficient to motivate the players - although it wasn't enough to persuade Topalov to attend! 

  • Winner 35,000 euros
  • Runner-up 30,000 euros
  • Third place 25,000 euros
  • Fourth place 20,000 euros

Also in force are the "Sofia Rules" whereby the players can only agree a draw, with the arbiters permission, in a technically drawn position.

The format is a double round-robin with a rest day on the 9 September.  Games start at 5pm local time, except the first day and last day which start at 6pm and 4pm respectively.  Live coverage, with commentary, is promised at the official website.

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