Masters Final R9: Carlsen beats Ivanchuk in dramatic round

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage

Magnus Carlsen beat Vassily Ivanchuk in the 9th round of the Grand Slam Masters FInal in Bilbao, Spain. The Norwegian now shares the lead with the Ukrainian, with one round to go. Levon Aronian defeated Vishy Anand but the biggest drama was seen in Vallejo-Nakamura: in a better position the American lost on time - but that wasn't the whole story (see below).

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.

Round 9

A nice and sunny Monday in Bilbao saw the most dramatic, and also most exciting round of the tournament thus far. Magnus Carlsen caught Vassily Ivanchuk in the standings with a victory in a direct encounter, Levon Aronian beat World Champion Vishy Anand in just 25 moves and Hikaru Nakamura lost on time against Francisco Vallejo, filed an official protest and saw it rejected by the Appeals Committee. All that in just one round!

In chronological order, Levon Aronian's victory against Vishy Anand came first and it was an incredibly smooth one. The Armenian grandmaster gained the initiative right from the opening - a rare line from the Queen's Gambit Accepted.

[Event "4th Final Masters"]
[Site "Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP"]
[Date "2011.10.10"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Aronian, L."]
[Black "Anand, V."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "2807"]
[BlackElo "2817"]
[PlyCount "49"]
[EventDate "2011.09.26"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. e4 Bb4 6. Bxc4 Nxe4 7. O-O Nf6 8.
Qa4+ (8. Bg5 O-O 9. Qe2 h6 10. Bh4 Be7 11. Rad1 Nbd7 12. Ne5 Nb6 13. Bd3 Nfd5
14. Bg3 f5 15. h3 Bd6 16. Rfe1 Qg5 {
Mamedyarov,S (2719)-Kramnik,V (2772)/Moscow blitz 2009}) 8... Nc6 9. Bg5 (9.
Ne5 Rb8 (9... Be7 10. Nxc6 bxc6 11. Qxc6+ Bd7 12. Qf3 Rb8 13. Bb3 O-O 14. Bf4
Bd6 15. Rfd1 Qe8 16. Be5 Bc6 17. Qg3 Qe7 18. Rac1 Rfd8 19. h3 h6 20. Bxd6 Rxd6
21. Qe5 Nd7 22. Qa5 Nb6 23. Qxa7 Ra8 {
0-1 Gustafsson,J (2572)-Aronian,L (2648)/internet blitz 2004}) 10. Nxc6 bxc6
11. Qxc6+ Qd7 12. Qxd7+ Bxd7 13. Bg5 O-O 14. Rfc1 Ba5 15. Rab1 Rfd8 16. Bb3 Bc6
17. Rd1 {Halkias,S (2580)-Fressinet,L (2670)/Rijeka CRO 2010}) 9... Be7 10.
Bxf6 Bxf6 11. d5 exd5 12. Rfe1+ Be6 13. Bxd5 O-O 14. Bxe6 fxe6 15. Rad1 $5 (15.
Rxe6) 15... Qe8 16. Ne4 Qe7 17. Qb3 Rab8 (17... Rad8 $5 18. Qxb7 Nd4) 18. Nxf6+
Rxf6 19. Ng5 Qb4 $2 ({With} 19... Kh8 {
Black should be able to limit the damage.}) 20. Qc2 Rg6 21. Re4 $1 {
An important Zwischenzug.} Qa5 22. h4 Re8 23. Rd7 h6 24. b4 Qf5 ({
Another nice line is} 24... Qb5 25. a4 Nxb4 26. Qxc7 Qxa4 27. Qd8 $1 $18 Rf8
28. Rf4 $1 Rgf6 29. Rxg7+ $1 Kxg7 30. Nxe6+) 25. Rxe6 $1 1-0

Afterwards Aronian said:

I'm very happy to recover from the tournament by winning today. I think I was playing terribly the whole tournament and maybe only today I was concentrating. Maybe on the first day and today I was showing some kind of chess. It's a strong tournament and everybody is playing very good chess so I think this tournament everybody can win.

Levon Aronian beats Vishy Anand with remarkable ease - the World Champion is now in last place

Magnus Carlsen did what he had to do: beat Vassily Ivanchuk and close the gap of three points. In a Nimzo-Indian that also had some Dutch Defence tendencies, Carlsen tried the original bishop development move Bf1-h3. Already at move 14, Ivanchuk went for a line in which he must have missed something.

[Event "4th Final Masters"]
[Site "Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP"]
[Date "2011.10.10"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Carlsen, M."]
[Black "Ivanchuk, V."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E21"]
[WhiteElo "2823"]
[BlackElo "2765"]
[PlyCount "67"]
[EventDate "2011.09.26"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 b6 5. Qc2 Bb7 6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. Qxc3 Ne4 8.
Qc2 f5 9. g3 Nf6 10. Bh3 $5 {'Over-the-board inspiration.' (Carlsen)} (10. Bg2
Be4 11. Qc3 a5 12. O-O Nc6 13. Bg5 Qe7 14. Bxf6 Qxf6 15. Ne5 Bxg2 16. Kxg2 Nxe5
17. dxe5 Qe7 18. b4 O-O 19. f4 d6 {Djukic,Z (2380)-Karlsson,L (2460)/Nis 1981})
10... O-O 11. O-O a5 12. Rd1 Qe8 (12... Be4 $5) 13. d5 Na6 14. Bf4 exd5 $6 {
Too risky.} ({Black should have played} 14... Qh5 15. Bg2 exd5 16. Nd4 Rae8)
15. Bxf5 dxc4 (15... Ne4 $5) 16. Ng5 $1 Qh5 17. Rxd7 $1 {"Here I thought he is
completely finished." (Carlsen) It's a great blow, probably missed by Ivanchuk.
Without this move things are not so clear.} Kh8 (17... Nxd7 18. Bxh7+ Kh8 19.
Bg6 $18) 18. Re7 Nd5 19. Bg4 Qg6 20. Nf7+ Kg8 21. Bf5 Qxf5 $1 {"I had seen
Qxf5 earlier but I I got lost in the other complications and I forgot it.
After this I don't think it's clear at all." (Carlsen)} 22. Qxf5 Nxe7 23. Nh6+
$1 {Spoiling the pawn structure in front of the opponent's king.} gxh6 24. Qg4+
Ng6 25. Bxh6 Rf7 26. Rd1 Re8 27. h4 Nc5 28. h5 Bc8 29. Qxc4 Ne5 30. Qh4 Nc6 31.
Rd5 Ne6 32. Qc4 Ncd8 $2 {"Essentially when he plays Nd8, well, his position is
very difficult then." (Carlsen) In fact according to the computer it's
immediately losing.} ({However} 32... Ne7 33. Qa4 c6 34. Re5 {
is no picnic either.}) 33. Qg4+ Ng7 (33... Kh8 34. Bd2 Nb7 35. Bc3+ Ng7 36. Qg5
$18) 34. Qxc8 1-0

Ivanchuk realizes that Carlsen is going to take the bishop on c8 with his queen, and resigns

It was great to see that Ivanchuk, after losing such an important game, entered the stage anyway to please the spectators. To the question what went wrong, Chuky mentioned a small anecdote:

Some scientist needs to explain to spectators Einstein's relativity theory. Before his explanation, he says: 'I have to suffer a lot explaining something I don't understand myself.' This relates to my game: I didn't understand anything!

Before that, Carlsen had explained in detail what could have happened in this game. But while he was doing this, the third and last game of the round saw a very unexpected turn of events. Hikaru Nakamura had been worse for a while, but eventually got a nice advantage against Francisco Vallejo, who afterwards admitted that he had been outplayed when he got into timetrouble. But just as things went his way, Nakamura lost on time, at move 39.

[Event "4th Final Masters"]
[Site "Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP"]
[Date "2011.10.10"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Vallejo Pons, F."]
[Black "Nakamura, Hi"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E91"]
[WhiteElo "2716"]
[BlackElo "2753"]
[PlyCount "79"]
[EventDate "2011.09.26"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. d4 O-O 6. Be2 Nbd7 7. Be3 e5 8. O-O
Re8 9. dxe5 dxe5 10. b4 c6 11. c5 Nh5 (11... Qe7 12. Nd2 Nf8 13. Nc4 Rd8 14.
Qa4 {1/2-1/2 Markos,J (2555)-McNab,C (2474)/Edinburgh 2009}) 12. Nd2 Nf4 13.
Nc4 Nxe2+ 14. Qxe2 Qe7 15. Rab1 Nf8 16. Nd6 Rd8 17. Na4 Ne6 18. Nb2 b5 19. a4
a6 20. Ra1 Rb8 21. axb5 axb5 22. Ra3 Nf4 23. Qd2 Be6 24. g3 Nh5 25. Rfa1 Nf6
26. Bg5 Qf8 {"I missed this." (Vallejo). White keeps a nice advantage anyway.}
27. Bxf6 Bxf6 28. Nd3 (28. Ra6 $5 Ra8 29. Nd3) 28... Be7 29. Nxe5 Bxd6 30. cxd6
Rxd6 31. Qc3 Rbd8 32. h4 Qe8 33. Ra6 $2 ({After} 33. Qf3 {or}) (33. Ra7 {
the position is about equal.}) 33... f6 $1 34. Nf3 Bg4 {
"I also missed this, a very strong move." (Vallejo)} (34... Bc8 {
might have been even stronger.}) 35. Qb3+ Kh8 36. Nh2 $2 ({
White could save himself with} 36. Qe3 $1 Rd3 37. Qf4) 36... Qxe4 (36... Rd1+
$5 37. Nf1 Qxe4 38. Rxd1 Rxd1 39. Ra8+ Kg7 40. Kh2 $1 Rxf1 41. Ra7+ Bd7 $1 (
41... Kh6 42. Rxh7+ $1 Kxh7 43. Qf7+ $11) 42. Rxd7+ Kh6 43. Qe3+ (43. Rxh7+
Kxh7 44. Qf7+ Kh6 45. Qf8+ Kh5 $19) 43... Qxe3 44. fxe3 Rb1) 37. Nxg4 Qxg4 38.
Qf7 Qf3 39. Rf1 $2 (39. Ra8 $11) 39... Rd1 40. Ra1 {time} 1-0

Here's what happened. With about 25 seconds on the clock, Nakamura asked the arbiter if he had reached move 40 and according to Nakamura the arbiter had nodded. After getting a fresh glass of orange juice, to his horror he saw that the game had been declared lost. Here's what Vallejo told us:

What happened is he asked the arbiter: 'Is it move 40?' I didn't hear anything from the arbiter. Of course, he can't say anything obviously. Then he stood up and I realized it's not move 40. His clock went down and then he was claiming something like, the arbiter moved his head or something, something like that. I didn't see it and I didn't hear any sound. I'm not very happy to win like that. He had a clear advantage; I don't know if it's  winning or not. To win that game is very lucky from my part.

Chief arbiter Anil Surender of Sweden stops the clock...

...and as soon as Nakamura returns with a fresh orange juice, he tells the American that he lost on time... the surprise of Nakamura, who thought the arbiter had nodded 'yes' when he asked him if he had reached move 40

Nakamura still arguing with the arbiter, while Technical Director Juan Carlos Fernandez has entered the cube

Nakamura filing an official protest

Nakamura filed a protest and then stayed inside the glass cube for about half an hour, while the organizers were dealing with it. The Appeals Committee, consisting only of Technical Director Juan Carlos Fernandez, eventually rejected the protest on the basis that witnesses hadn't noticed the arbiter clearly nodding, and on the fact that an arbiter isn't allowed to say anything about the moves anyway. After hearing this, Nakamura left the playing hall with his father, (quite understandably) not in the mood to give signatures or talk to the press. Later he would tweet:

I've lost many chessgames and I've won my fair share too, but none have been this painful ever. Thankfully there are other things in life.

Tomorrow everything will be decided. There are many scenarios possible, and here are the tie-break rules provided by organizers:

If two players are tied for first place, there will be a tie-break in a lighting chess duel which will be played immediately after the last round. This duel will consist of two games, with 4 minutes per player and 3-second increments for each move made, alternating colours with the first to be decided by a draw. If there is still a tie a “sudden death” match will be played, with white having 5 minutes and black 4, black winning in the case of a draw. The colours of this match will be decided by draw. If the number of players tied for the top spot is more than two, what is outlined in point 3 below will be applied to determine which two players will play in the duel.

The traditional points system will be applied. Win: 1 point, draw: 0.5 points and loss: 0 points. From the resulting placings, it will then be observed if the third and fourth places are tied with first and second. If this is so the scores of the worst player in the tournament are eliminated, and this is done until the tie is broken.

Photos: Manu de Alba

Grand Slam Masters Final 2011 | Schedule & results

Round 126.09.1120:00 CET Round 606.10.1116:00 CET
Nakamura½-½Ivanchuk Ivanchuk1-0Nakamura
Anand½-½Carlsen Carlsen½-½Anand
Aronian1-0Vallejo Vallejo½-½Aronian
Round 227.09.1120:00 CET Round 707.10.1116:00 CET
Ivanchuk1-0Vallejo Vallejo1-0Ivanchuk
Carlsen½-½Aronian Aronian½-½Carlsen
Nakamura½-½Anand Anand½-½Nakamura
Round 328.09.1120:00 CET Round 808.10.1116:00 CET
Anand0-1Ivanchuk Ivanchuk½-½Anand
Aronian½-½Nakamura Nakamura1-0Aronian
Vallejo1-0Carlsen Carlsen1-0Vallejo
Round 430.09.1120:00 CET Round 910.10.1116:00 CET
Aronian0-1Ivanchuk Carlsen1-0Ivanchuk
Vallejo0-1Anand Vallejo1-0Nakamura
Carlsen½-½Nakamura Aronian1-0Anand
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 9 Standings (football)

1-2  Magnus Carlsen, Vassily Ivanchuk 14
3-4  Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian 11
5  Francisco Vallejo 10
6  Vishy Anand 9 

Grand Slam Masters Final 2011 | Round 9 Standings (classical)



Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

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