Wesley So Leads In Bilbao After Brilliant KID Game

Wesley So Leads In Bilbao After Brilliant KID Game

20 | Chess Event Coverage

Winning one of the most spectacular games of the year, Wesley So is leading the Bilbao Masters Final after two rounds.

Later than normal, because of the World Cup and other strong tournaments, the Bilbao Masters Final is under way in the capital of Bisqay. 

For the eighth edition the tournament has moved to the Campos Elíseos theater, which was first opened in 1902 and reopened in 2010.

The total surface is 7,891 square meters, but not much of that is needed for the main event. Again it's a modest, four-player round robin.

Viswanathan Anand, the 45-year-old still-roaring tiger, takes it up against three young opponents, not cubs anymore but still in the early years of their careers: Anish Giri (21), Ding Liren (22) and Wesley So (21).

Here you can see impressions of the first round (videBilbao Masters Final):

The Philippine-born American grandmaster has a slim lead after two rounds of play, based on a truly spectacular victory in the first round. The opening was a King's Indian (yes, the Mar del Plata variation!), with the fearless Ding Liren behind the black pieces.

The game saw sacrifices and counter-sacrifices, and resulted in a position where White had three minor pieces for a queen. Without giving more spoilers, here it is, annotated by GM Dejan Bojkov:

What a game! | Photo Manu de Alba, Bilbao Masters Final.

Anish Giri must have the toughest schedule of all top GMs this fall. He played his last game in Skopje on Saturday and was behind the board again on Monday in Bilbao. His opponent? None other than Vishy Anand. Nice!

It was a 4.d3 Berlin in which Anand deviated from one of his rapid games in Berlin; the Indian had found an interesting setup with an early g2-g4. He directed his knights to the kingside while Giri tried to create “something” on the queenside.

That something wasn't much, and at some point Anand certainly had the upper hand but after one or two inaccuracies his advantage slipped away. At the end the players repeated moves because draw offers are not allowed in Bilbao.

Bilbao mayor Juan María Aburto about to play Anand's
first move. | Photo Manu de Alba, Bilbao Masters Final.

The next day Anand faced wounded tiger Ding Liren. The Chinese player had carefully looked at Peter Svidler's recent black games, and followed his Spanish repertoire exactly. Again Anand was a bit better out of the opening, and again he couldn't make much progress.

Anand plays the topical 6.d3 against Ding's Closed Ruy
Lopez. | Photo Manu de Alba, Bilbao Masters Final.

Some 33 percent of the games started as a Ruy Lopez, and 50 percent were Berlins, both involving Giri! As White he played the 5.Re1 line and followed recent games by Yu Yangyi, but his bishop pair wasn't enough for a serious advantage.

The second round in action. | Photo Manu de Alba, Bilbao Masters Final.

Besides the Sofia Rule (or Corsica rule, as organizer Leo Battesti likes to call it) Bilbao also continues its tradition of giving three points for a win and one for a draw. This leads to the following standings:

2015 Bilbao Masters Final | Round 2 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 Pts SB
1 So,Wesley 2760 2980 phpfCo1l0.png 1 3 4
2 Giri,Anish 2798 2782 1 phpfCo1l0.png 1 2 1.25
3 Anand,Viswanathan 2803 2790 1 phpfCo1l0.png 1 2 0.75
4 Ding,Liren 2782 2591 0 1 phpfCo1l0.png 1


Here you can see impressions of the second round (videBilbao Masters Final):

The Bilbao Masters Final consists of six rounds and has a rest day on Thursday, October 29. 

Alongside the main event there is also the sixth Ibero-American Championship, basically for federations in the Americas that are former colonies of Portugal and Spain. Paco Vallejo (Spain), Julio Granda (Peru), Lazaro Bruzon (Cuba) and Alexander Fier (Brazil) started with three wins each.

Francisco Valleo Pons vs Bernal Gonzalez Acosta in round three. | Photo Manu de Alba, Bilbao Masters Final.
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