Kramnik wins Bilbao Masters Final (UPDATE: last video added)

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Kramnik wins in BilbaoVladimir Kramnik won the Bilbao Masters Final after both games in the last round ended in a draw. Anand had some chances to beat Carlsen and force a play-off, but eventually the World Champion had to be satisfied with a draw. Round 6 video now up.

Tournament info

The 3rd Masters Final took place 9-15 October in Bilbao, Spain. Viswanathan Anand, Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik and Alexei Shirov played 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” was enforced as well as the system of three points for each game won, 1 point for a draw and 0 for a loss. More info here.


iPhone/iPad users might want to watch the videos here.

Round 6 report

Another blitz play-off seemed a very realistic scenario a couple of hours into the last round, after Kramnik had drawn with Shirov and Anand had a nice advantage against Carlsen. One could hardly blame Kramnik for splitting the point that quickly, as he played with the black pieces and faced the same opening variation in which he had lost against the same opponent in Shanghai.

This time the Russian was not surprised by Shirov's 4.f3 in the Nimzo - in fact he had spent some time on it yesterday. Kramnik could use a novelty that had been lying on the shelf for over a decade and reached a fine position quickly. Shirov kept a minimal edge but spent quite some time on the clock. At some point he decided to play it safe and force the draw. (He then found out that his wife, who had played in the daily blitz tournament for the second day in a row, had done very well, scoring 6.5 point and beating GM Stuart Conquest.)


More interesting was Anand-Carlsen, where the Norwegian, who played the same Breyer as against Shirov, refrained from an interesting pseudo-sacrifice on move 22. Later he directed all his pieces to the kingside, which was more or less born out of necessity because he wasn't doing so well on the queenside. Many ideas similar to the King's Indian came on the board, but indeed it was Anand who probably missed one or two chances for a considerable advantage.


And so after entering this Bilbao Masters Final through the 'back door', by winning a qualification play-off against Levon Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik managed to stay ahead of both the world's number one and the World Champion. In fact after this tournament these two titles belong to just one player: Viswanathan Anand. The Indian finished second in Bilbao and surpassed Magnus Carlsen on the live rating list, which is probably about the same as the official November 1st FIDE list.

Kramnik won what was advertised as the strongest classical tournament ever. The Russian scored four draws and two victories, which is a solid and strong score for a six-round tournament. His first win, against Carlsen in the first round, was a brilliant, vintage-Kramnik ending. As it turned out, the second win in round 2 against Shirov, who erred at an early stage in a Slav, was enough.


With four draws the leader maintained his lead, as none of the other players could make the difference. Anand came close, but missed at least one clear win in his White game against Shirov.

Magnus Carlsen started horribly with 0/2 but then repaired the damage to some extent by scoring plus one in the last four rounds. Alexei Shirov, who scored a slightly lucky but still fine victory in Shanghai, couldn't find his top shape after a tough Olympiad, and scored four draws and two losses.

This report was written just three hours before yours truly will take his flight back to Amsterdam, and right after an excellent party in Hotel Mélia, where all four players, a few journalists and all organizers finished the tournament in style, with unlimited drinks, tapas and a crowded dance floor. (Hopefully Fred Lucas will post a few pics, as he couldn't stop shooting!) The Spaniards sometimes create a bit of chaos while organizing, but they're surely the best as it comes to celebrating and having a good time.

Will try to put up the last video somewhere on Saturday. Hope you enjoyed the tournament - I certainly did. And before I know it I'll be in China again. Long live ChessVibes. The Carlsens will spend just 20 hours in Norway before taking off again; I guess I'm lucky with 36 hours in Amsterdam...

Games round 6

Game viewer by ChessTempo

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

Bilbao Masters Final 2010 | Final Standings (Football System)
Bilbao Masters Final 2010 | Schedule

Bilbao Masters Final 2010 | Final Standings (Classical System)
Bilbao Masters Final 2010 | Schedule


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