Masters Final: Bilbao part officially opened, tournament resumes tomorrow

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage

On Wednesday the second leg of the Grand Slam Masters Final was officially opened in Bilbao, Spain. Five of the six players were present - Vassily Ivanchuk, who was robbed on Monday in Sau Paulo, arrives in Bilbao on Wednesday and has informed the organizers that he wants to play his game against Nakamura on Thursday, 'without privileges'.

Event4th Grand Slam Masters Final  | PGN via TWIC
DatesSeptember 25th - October 11th, 2011
LocationSao Paulo, Brazil & Bilbao, Spain
System6-player double round robin
PlayersCarlsen, Anand, Aronian, Ivanchuk, Nakamura, Vallejo
Time control90 minutes for the first 40 moves plus 60 minutes to finish the game, with 10 seconds increment per move from move number 41
NotesPlayers are not allowed to agree to a draw without the arbiter’s permission. In case both players request it to him, the arbiter will make his decision after consulting with the technical assistant. The football scoring system is used: 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 for a loss.

Bilbao opening ceremony

Today the opening ceremony of the Masters Final's second half was held at the Melia Hotel in Bilbao. Present were the Councillor Delegate for the Euskera Area, Youth and Sports of the Bilbao City Hall, Sabin Anunzita, Technical Director of the tournament Juan Carlos Fernández and five of the six participants of the Final - Vassily Ivanchuk couldn't make it in time.

Like last year, the venue in Bilbao will be the Alhóndiga Bilbao, an old wine storehouse designed by Ricardo Bastida (1909). It's a 43.000m² space opened in May 2010, aiming to become the city's new engine of leisure and culture. And like in Sao Paulo, the players will be playing their games in a soundproof glass booth in full view of the public. This glass room measures 8 x 8 m and is 3.5m high, weighing 8 tonnes.

Players' reactions

At the opening ceremony the players were asked about their chances in the remainder of the tournament, and about their opinion of the football scoring system. Here's the video from the organizers, and below a transcript of what the players answered.

Magnus Carlsen:

Truthfully I'm not at all concerned with who will win the tournament, really. I'm just trying to do my best and try to win it myself, so... that's about all I can say. Of course now Ivanchuk is in the lead but anything can happen. And I think especially in situations like this the Bilbao scoring system with three points for a win and one for a draw is interesting, because it makes the tournament more dynamic and it's easier to catch up from a deficit.

Hikaru Nakamura:

OK, I think I have to agree with Magnus quite a bit in regards to the tournament. I think all of us are very strong, we're all very close in points, so pretty much anything can happen. I know for myself I certainly would like to win this tournament but it's gonna come down to who has the best nerves and who plays the best here in the final playing rounds. As far as the points scoring system is concerned, I think actually with the three points for the win and one for the draw, it makes it a lot more exciting, because certain players can lose some games, but if you win a couple of games at the end it suddenly all turns around very quickly. I'm not sure what to think of the scoring system overall but for this event in particular it keeps it much more exciting till the final round. Thank you.

Levon Aronian:

I think this tournament is kind of really spectacular and very important for the world of chess. Of course I guess any player would want to be the winner here. Since I think the tournament started not so bad for me, less than I expected, but I still think I'll be one of the players who'll be trying to compete. Regarding to the second question: I'm not a big fan of this but if some people like it... if in the opinion of the organizers the three points for a win makes the chess more interesting, I'm glad to be a part of it.

Paco Vallejo replied in Spanish, so what follows is our translation.

Ivanchuk is the leader with a certain margin and that's why I think he's relatively the favourite. For me it didn't go so well, I haven't had much luck but the games were good fights and I'm going to try to recover a bit here. Regarding the three-point rule: I think that strictly speaking it's unjust, but also more interesting. Perhaps sometimes we need to sacrifice a bit of 'devine justice' to get to a tournament that's more interesting for the spectators, more dynamic, more fun.

Vishy Anand, who also replied in Spanish:

Regarding the tournament, well, there are five more rounds to go and so it's difficult to make a prognosis, especially taking into account the system of the Bilbao rule. So everything is still uncertain and I think there will be a big fight until the end.

Photographic Exhibition

Coinciding with the tournament, metro passengers can view the history of this great sporting event through images. A photographic exhibition entitled “Bilbao mueve pieza" (Bilbao moves pieces) traces the evolution of the tournament since 1999 when it was in its infant stages as a modest competition organized by a group of chess fans from Bilbao, to 2010 when it definitively became one of the foremost chess events in the world. The exhibition, made up of a total of 12 large panels measuring 2.31 by 1.3 metres, will be in place from October 6 at the Indautxu (Urquijo exit) and Moyúa (Diputación exit) stations.

The photographic retrospective shows the transformation of the tournament from a modest chess festival promoted by the Bilbao E4 Chess Sporting Club until becoming the Grand Slam Final in 2008 and consolidating its expansion as an even more internation franchise in Shanghai in 2010. In the 36 photographs comprising the exhibit, stellar chess moments are captured, such as the blind duel between Veselin Topalov and Judit Polgar; the historic battle between World Champion Viswanathan Anand and the number one player in the world ranking, Magnus Carlsen (a duel that will again take place in this 4th edition); or the visit of such mythical former World Champions as Anatoly Karpov and Boris Spassky, stars of many of the most significant matches in chess history.

Grand Slam Masters Final 2011 | Schedule & results

Round 126.09.1120:00 CET Round 606.10.1116:00 CET
Nakamura½-½Ivanchuk Ivanchuk-Nakamura
Anand½-½Carlsen Carlsen-Anand
Aronian1-0Vallejo Vallejo-Aronian
Round 227.09.1120:00 CET Round 707.10.1116:00 CET
Ivanchuk1-0Vallejo Vallejo-Ivanchuk
Carlsen½-½Aronian Aronian-Carlsen
Nakamura½-½Anand Anand-Nakamura
Round 328.09.1120:00 CET Round 808.10.1116:00 CET
Anand0-1Ivanchuk Ivanchuk-Anand
Aronian½-½Nakamura Nakamura-Aronian
Vallejo1-0Carlsen Carlsen-Vallejo
Round 430.09.1120:00 CET Round 910.10.1116:00 CET
Aronian0-1Ivanchuk Carlsen-Ivanchuk
Vallejo0-1Anand Vallejo-Nakamura
Carlsen½-½Nakamura Aronian-Anand
Round 501.10.1120:00 CET Round 1011.10.1116:00 CET
Ivanchuk0-1Carlsen Ivanchuk-Aronian
Nakamura1-0Vallejo Anand-Vallejo
Anand½-½Aronian Nakamura-Carlsen

Grand Slam Masters Final 2011 | Round 5 Standings (football)

1  Vassily Ivanchuk 10
2  Hikaru Nakamura 7
3-5  Levon Aronian, Vishy Anand, Magnus Carlsen 6
6  Francisco Vallejo 3

Grand Slam Masters Final 2011 | Round 5 Standings (classical)


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