Shanghai: Kramnik beats Aronian in blitz play-off - VIDEOS added

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Shanghai: Kramnik beats Aronian in blitz play-offVladimir Kramnik will join Viswanathan Anand, Magnus Carlsen and Alexei Shirov at the second stage of the Masters Final in Bilbao. Just minutes ago the Russian defeated Levon Aronian in a blitz play-off; both won their White game and then Kramnik won on time in a dramatic Armageddon game. Round 6 video + play-off videos now added.

Tournament info

The first part of the 2010 Grand Slam Masters Final takes place 3-8 September in Shanghai, China. Rounds 1-3 were played at the Spanish Pavillion of the World Expo; rounds 4-6 take place in the Lu Bo Lang club in the Old Town. Aronian, Kramnik, Shirov and Wang Hao play for two qualification spots for part II.

The second part, where Anand and Carlsen are seeded players, will be held October 9-15 in Bilbao, Spain. Both tournaments are 4-player double round-robins. ChessVibes will produce videos at both tournaments.

Like at the first two editions 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.

This Masters Final will also use again 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. Games start 14.30 local time which is 08.30 CET.

Round 6 & Play-off games

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Round 6 Play-off report

The Shanghai Masters got better by the day, in terms of organization, games and many other aspects. For instance today there were finally a few spectators, including the reigning world under 12, who happens to be the son of the chief of the Shanghai Administration of Industry and Communication. He couldn't have come on a better day, with a spectacular and dramatic play-off that decided that Kramnik will be the fourth player in Bilbao, joining Anand, Carlsen and Shirov.

An exception are the two classical games, which were actually nothing special today. Shirov admitted after the game that he couldn't really find an improvement over Ni Hua-Sargissian, Dresden 2008 - indeed a game played by Aronian's second (though not in Shanghai) and good friend Gabriel. And so right from over 20 moves of Marshall theory a dead drawn ending was reached. Wang Hao defended a Queen's Gambit Declined quite easily to a draw with Black against Kramnik.


And so, as the regulations stipulated, a blitz play-off had to decide which player would go to Bilbao. Two games of 4 minutes and 3 seconds increment, and if necessary an Armageddon with 5 for White who needs a win, against 4 for Black (no increment) who needs a draw.

In the first game, an Exchange Slav, Kramnik more or less outplayed Aronian with fine technique. In the second he was also better, and with both players left with about 10 seconds (plus those 3 per move), the Russian had a perpetual. Probably a bit confused, because he could also win a rook, at the 59th move he pressed the clock just half a second too late.

Kramnik chose the black pieces for the Armageddon, and so after he had to beat Aronian with Black in the 5th round to keep chances, this time he needed a draw to qualify. On move 35 he bravely sacrificed a piece for long-term compensation, which Aronian failed to prove incorrect at this time control.

The end of the game was not exactly good advertisement for chess, but at the same time something we all have experienced at least once. At move 76 both players had 11 seconds left (no increment!) and started to play really fast. Kramnik was faster, but also threw over his king twice, while playing 80...Kb3 and 84...Kc3. Aronian complained audibly: "what are you doing?" while playing, but then also lost on time, after which Kramnik responded: "What is this, to play this position?"


It was the heat of the moment, and soon afterwards the players were on friendly terms again. Afterwards Kramnik said that he was looking forward to Bilbao, but thought that Anand and Carlsen have a considerable advantage. "While I'm playing the Olympiad, which is always very tough, they are preparing."

Prize giving

At the closing ceremony Shirov repeated how thrilled he had been to be in Shanghai. He thought that playing at the Expo was very good for the relations between China and Spain, but also for chess. He too was looking forward to what will be the strongest tournament in his career.

Update: Pandolfi -FICS translated the interview with Shirov (in Spanish, done after round 4) for us:

“Well, it seems that the qualification is almost guaranteed, so I won’t think in that. I will focus to play the last two games the best that I can, because ok I am a professional. I feel almost qualified, but of course, we are playing for ELO, the international ranking, and I feel very confortable here, I think I am getting a good shape then I’ll try to play good games, but yes, some part of my mind is going to be in Bilbao, that is true.

I always try to play the better chess that I can, if I reach complicated positions its ok. I think I know how to play quiet positions too. My goal is to make always the best moves, if they turn to complicate game its ok, if they turn to a simpler chess, more technique its ok too. I think that’s not going to change.

I think (Bilbao) is going to be the most important challenge of my career. By the way, the calendar is not well organized, because I’m going to play for the national team in -(Translator: some city I dont know)- I cant prepare in a 100% for the Bilbao final. I cant neither leave the national team. But anyway, I hope to reach my best shape and play my best chess.

The hotel is of very high quality, the only problem is that it is placed in a bussiness zone, then it is no so easy to move around and to find a restaurant. But the hotel is really very good.

It’s funny but we played half of the games in one place and half on other. Both places are completely different. I think after the last round I will decide which place I liked most, but of course, they are so different that you can’t compare. I think it is ok to change the playing hall, because sometimes you get bored when you play always in the same place. New blood circulates when you are in a new place.

I’m very happy here in general, I can not specify much. I’m fine, happy and that is the most important.”


The final video seems to get stuck at 07:17. As I'm about to travel back to Amsterdam, I cannot do anything about it right now. Check again tomorrow...

Grand Slam Masters Final 2010 (Shanghai) | Schedule & results
Grand Slam Masters Final | Shanghai | Schedule & results

Grand Slam Masters Final 2010 (Shanghai) | Round 6 Standings (Football System)
Grand Slam Masters Final 2010 (Shanghai) | Round 5 Standings (Football System)

Grand Slam Masters Final 2010 (Shanghai) | Round 6 Standings (Classical System)
Grand Slam Masters Final 2010 (Shanghai) | Round 6 Standings (Classical System)

Grand Slam Masters Final 2010 (Shanghai) | Blitz & Armageddon play-off
Grand Slam Masters Final 2010 (Shanghai) | Blitz & Armageddon play-off


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