Two draws in last round, Aronian wins Grand Slam Final Masters

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Bilbao r6Both games in the 6th and last round of the Grand Slam Final in Bilbao ended in a draw. Levon Aronian won the tournament convincingly, finishing five points ahead of Grischuk (one and a half according to the classical system).

The 2nd Grand Slam Masters Final takes place September 6-12 in Bilbao, Spain. It's a 4-player, double round-robin with Levon Aronian, Alexander Grischuk, Sergei Karjakin and Alexei Shirov. The prize fund is € 110,000.

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. Like last year, the Masters Final will use 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.

Round 6

Two draws in the last round raised the drawing percentage in this tournament from 30% to 42% - still very low at this level. It's probably a combination of factors that made this short event very fightful and interesting to watch. None of the four players is of the super-solid, cautious kind, the Sofia Rule has played a role and probably also the short time control.

In the last round, Aronian had the better end of the draw against Karjakin but the Armenian was satisfied with a draw. The game could be relevant theoretically speaking, since Black's setup looks like another good way of answering the Ruy Lopez Exchange Variation.

Bilbao r6

Caissa didn't allow Shirov one victory in Bilbao; in good shape the tailender would certainly have found a knockout blow somewhere against Grischuk, whose position (and clock situation) was again on the verge of defeat.

Bilbao r6

Aronian's winning streak of four games is very rare at this level and in a tournament that runs just six rounds, it's obviously more than enough for clear first. In the classical scoring system Aronian finished 1.5 point clear, and in the football system (which basically only worked as a tiebreaker in Bilbao, just like last year) his victory looks even more impressive.

It has been a great year for Aronian - well, two years, in fact. In 2008 he shared first at Corus, won the Amber tournament, won the Grand Prix in Sochi and finished 2nd in Nanjing; this year he retained his "title" at Amber, won the Grand Prix in Nalchik and then secured overall GP victory with a shared 2nd place in Jermuk last month, followed by a good show in Mainz and then this victory in Bilbao.

The future looks bright for Armenia's number one, who seems destined to fight for the World Championship in the coming years. In Topalov, Anand and Kramnik he will find his toughest opponents, and then there's of course Magnus Carlsen. Of the new generation, Aronian and Carlsen are making the difference - these two players seem to have that little bit "extra" that's needed to climb to the absolute top. Who will get there first is the exciting question that only the future can answer.

Bilbao r6

Don't miss Macauley's material on the Chess.FM blog, where at the moment of writing a video with Aronian has been published, but also for example an audio clip with his girlfriend Arianne Caoili.

Round 6 games

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Bilbao 2009

Bilbao Grand Slam Final Masters 2009 | Schedule & results Bilbao 2009

Bilbao r6

Bilbao r6

All photos by Manu de Alba courtesy of the official website


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