Kramnik beats Carlsen in first round Bilbao

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Bilbao Masters Final openedVladimir Kramnik today took an early lead at the Masters Final in Bilbao with a smooth win against Magnus Carlsen in a Queen's Indian. Alexei Shirov and Viswanathan Anand drew a Berlin Wall.

Tournament info

The 3rd Masters Final takes place 9-15 October in Bilbao, Spain. Viswanathan Anand, Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik and Alexei Shirov play 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” is 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. More info here.


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Round 1 report

The Spaniards said goodbye to the glass cube at the Plaza Nueva, the square in old town Bilbao, where the tournament was held in 2008 and 2009. However, the new venue, this Alhondiga, is rather amazing, and certainly provides a great atmosphere as well. And in fact the players are still beind glass - they are put in a small niche at one side of this huge building with glass on one side, making it some kind of small aquarium. Hundreds of visitors came to watch them, enjoy the commentary by Leontxo Garcia and/or participate in the blitz tournament that was there too.

Bilbao Masters Final

Spectators looking at the small playing hall behind a glass wall

Bilbao Masters Final

Kramnik and Carlsen giving comments to their game afterwards

Bilbao Masters Final

An amateur chess tournament alongside the main event - always a good idea

Shirov, who did admit he was tired after the Olympiad, got a small plus with White against Anand. Like in his match against Topalov earlier this year, the World Champion again played one of Kramnik's favourite openings: the Ruy Lopez Berlin Wall.

He thought Black was doing reasonably well. "Perhaps I shouldn't have swapped the second pair of rooks. After that White suddenly had something. You shouldn't take too many risks; especially with Alexei. If there's something in an endgame, he'll find it."

Shirov: "After 17.Rxd8 I was just playing not to lose. If I wanted more I shouldn't have taken on d8. I was getting shorter and shorter on time and I didn't see any clear idea how to play for an advantage."

Bilbao Masters Final

Shirov and Anand moments before agreeing to a draw

White had long-term pressure and a comfortable game in Kramnik-Carlsen. The Norwegian tried in vain to make ...d5 work or get his knight to d4. Still, he thought he could still hold the position if he hadn't played ...gxf4. "I simply not counted on the possibility that I would get problems along the g-file." The position might have been tenable if Black had played ...d5 immediately.

Kramnik thought that White would still have quite a serious advantage there. According to the Russian Black's main mistake was 35...Ra5 and Black should have gone 35...Rb4. "I didn't check it with the computer yet but for the moment I'm pretty happy with the way I played."

Bilbao Masters Final

The playing hall

Games round 1

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Bilbao Masters Final 2010 | Schedule & results
Bilbao Masters Final 2010 | Schedule


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