Shanghai: Shirov wins again, qualifies for Bilbao

0 | Chess Event Coverage
Shanghai: Shirov wins again, qualifies for BilbaoAfter defeating Wang Hao today Alexei Shirov qualified for the second stage of the Masters Final. Vladimir Kramnik beat Levon Aronian with Black and tomorrow it will be clear which of the two players will join Anand, Carlsen and Shirov in October in Bilbao.

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.

Games round 5

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Round 5 report

The great Dutch writer and chess grandmaster J.H. Donner wrote that in the end chess is a game of luck. The Final Masters in Shanghai seems to be confirming Donner's notion - luck is on Alexei Shirov's side, and not on Wang Hao's. Again the Spaniard found himself in a lost position, and again he didn't just draw it, but even won. This way he claimed first price for the first stage, and qualification for the second. There will be excitement until the last round ends, since Vladimir Kramnik beat Levon Aronian and just one of them can join Shirov to meet Anand and Carlsen next month.

Shirov admitted that he played quite risky today, and his 14...Nd5 was a clear mistake. His ...Kd7 was only a "temporary defence" and felt close to lost until Rxf7. This was "simply a very strange illusion; I thought his king cannot go anywhere, had to stay on f8," was Wang Hao's explanation. After this move White had no more than a draw, but he wanted more and pushed too far, after which Shirov played and calculated well to clinch his third consecutive win.

Wang Hao-Shirov

Aronian and Kramnik played no less than 25 moves of (very fresh) theory - they followed a game Khairullin-Alekseev played on August 28th. Kramnik knew his homework, but Aronian didn't. "I remembered my analysis until ...Nc6, but I couldn't remember the conclusion."


The Armenian didn't like his position at all during the game and if Kramnik had played ...h6 a move earlier the Russian would have won much quicker. Interestingly, both players thought this ending with two fixed pawns on a2 and a3 and bishop versus rook to be a draw, but the tablebase shows mate in 53 as soon as the h-pawn was taken. "Finally I got some luck in this tournament," said Kramnik.

Update: as pointed out in the comments, 54...Rh4 was a mistake and White can draw with 55.Kxa3. While every now and then transmission errors pop up at tournaments, we shouldn't simply assume that such a move wasn't played. (Several media have even changed it to 53...Rh3.) I asked Levon this morning and he said he did play the move. He thought it was a draw anyway. As you'll see in the video, he basically thought he had set up a fortress.

Update 2: We also spoke to Kramnik, who agreed that 54...Rh3+ looked much more logical. "I thought I was winning after 55.Kxa3 Kc3 which is true when his bishop is on my side of the board, but he can put it onto his side."

So tomorrow it's all about Aronian and Kramnik. Normal tiebreak rules don't apply: if they finish on the same number of (football) points they will play two blitz games (4 minutes + 3 seconds increment) and in case of 1-1, an Armageddon with 5 against 4.


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

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

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


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