Grischuk increases lead in Bilbao

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Bilbao r2After two rounds Alexander Grischuk is still on a 100% score at the Grand Slam Final. Today he defeated Alexei Shirov with the white pieces, to reach 6/2 in the football system that's applied in Bilbao. After his loss of yesterday, Levon Aronian scored an easy win against Sergey Karjakin and is now on 3/2.

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 2

It must be a very comfortable feeling to realize that, playing two games in a glass cube, you have actually collected six points on the leaderboard. That's the case for Alexander Grischuk, who drew number one at the drawing of lots on Saturday which meant he could start the tournament with two White games.

The Russian profited optimally from this slight advantage by defeating both Aronian and Shirov. In the second round his advantage out of the opening, which almost directly led to an ending, was very small, but enough to keep Shirov busy for several hours. It's not easy to say at which point the ending turned from bad into lost, but taking the pawn on g2 is probably a mistake.

Bilbao r2

The glass cube already looks too big this year with just two boards inside, but yesterday one of those was already empty after about two hours. Sergey Karjakin had a bad day and simply played far below is normal level. In bad shape, with Black against Aronian, you know you'll get into trouble.

The game had started with an ancient line of the Nimzo-Indian (Rubinstein variation) which pops up games like Tal-Gipslis, Donner-Portisch and Gligoric-Unzicker when browsing through the database. Aronian came up with an interesting novelty, but it doesn't look terribly dangerous actually. It was a bit of a surprise that Karjakin went for an ending that was clearly better for White, allowing a rook on the seventh. Just a few more inaccurate moves and the game was over.

Bilbao r2

Round 2 games

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Bilbao 2009

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

Bilbao r2

Grischuk also tries to remember the old Nimzo line

Bilbao r2

Shirov, perhaps listening to Leontxo Garcia's commentary? (As we've understood, just like last year, sometimes the players can hear sounds from outside)

Bilbao r2

Daily blitz tournaments next to the glass cube

All photos by Manu de Alba courtesy of the official website


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