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Theoretically Speaking in Bilbao

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Aggressive players and sharp lines. That's what we have plenty of at the Bilbao Grand Slam Final. And deep lines, plenty of those, too. Today we had two bishop sacrifices. One a startling novelty on move nine from Aronian in his win over co-leader Grischuk. The other was a bail-out by Karjakin in a position that looked good for him against Shirov. It was Aronian's third win in a row after starting out with a loss to Grischuk. It was Grischuk's second loss in a row after his impressive start. He's still in clear second place thanks to the 3-1-0 scoring system in use in Bilbao. On points he's tied with Karjakin on an even score. Shirov is still bringing up the rear without a win. If you're trying to keep score at home, that's 9, 6, 5, 2.

Grischuk played an awkward variation of the Slav that really doesn't look like it suits his dynamic style. But he's played it before, and so have Movsesian and... Aronian. 7.a3 is Aronian's compatriot Lputian's patent. I wonder if they'd looked at these positions together at some point, and how long Aronian's been waiting to play 10.Bxb5. It really doesn't look that shattering, easy for me to say. But both Larry Christiansen on Chess.FM and Garry Kasparov, who was spectating at the start of the round, thought Black was doing okay after 11..Ra6 12.h3 Nh6 13.c6 Nc5. Grischuk sank nearly 40 minutes of the first control's 90 to play a different, and soon clearly inferior, plan with 11..Rb8. The game turned into a mirror of their first round encounter, when Grischuk's novelty put Aronian into the tank for a long time.

Similarly, Grischuk battled well here against Aronian's imprecise play only to have his early clock usage catch up with him. Grischuk was well under ten minutes when he had a chance at a miracle save. 23..Rc8!? is a computer clockwork device: 24.Bxb4 Bxe3! 25.Kxe3 Rxc2 26.Rxc2 Rxe5+ 27.Kd4 Bxb3 with a miracle draw. Down to minutes even the Moscow blitz champion couldn't work that out and his 23..Rbd8 put him back into a lost endgame. Aronian, with 30 minutes, decided to blitz as well and that gave the Russian another lease on life. Down to seconds, Grischuk couldn't find the right moves and was soon lost yet again and for the final time. Surprisingly unsteady technique from Aronian, but in the long view his opening surprise and his quickplay strategy paid off.

Shirov spent a long time trying to envision a new shape against Karjakin, who surprised with the Zaitsev. He came back to the wheel after all, arriving at the well-trodden path of Kasparov-Karpov, 1986. 22.Re3 is the standard move, not the K-K 22.Bb2. Shirov took a long think, trying by sheer force of will to come up with something new. His 24.Nxb5 is technically new, though of course the obvious capture was analyzed in 1986. Karjakin responded aggressively and seemed to be getting the better of things. 27..g6 28.Ne3 Ba6 puts a lot of pressure on the white position. After the game, in comments to Macauley in Bilbao for Chess.FM, Karjakin said he couldn't see anything better than the bailout bishop sacrifice 27..Bxb5 that led to a quick repetition. Shirov might have played on with 30.Nxh6+!? but the black d-pawn is scary and there are many repetitions.

This was only the second draw of the tournament and it was between the same players who drew the first, and in similar fashion. Tomorrow it's Grischuk-Karjakin and Aronian-Shirov. It's double-barreled GM time on Chess.FM tomorrow, with Benjamin and Har-Zvi tag-teaming the mic. FYI, Macauley should be putting up my 10 minute train interview with Kasparov on the Carlsen coaching thing tomorrow at the Chess.FM blog.


"FYI, Macauley should be putting up my 10 minute train interview with Kasparov on the Carlsen coaching thing tomorrow at the Chess.FM blog."

I'll check it out.

For those who can't wait: There is already a summary on Chessvibes (published with permission).

Very interesting, thanks to everyone involved.

Glad to hear him confirm the impression that Magnus' chess belongs to the "Capablanca, Smyslov, Karpov" kind. Even today for some reason it seems like people often tend to view him as closer to having a "Kasparov" style.

I think part of that [the identification w. Gary's style] might be due to Carlsen's tendency to keep playing for a win, rather than "settle" for a draw in even positions; he keeps pushing, applying pressure, creating complications, imbalances, ways for the opponent to go wrong, etc. In terms of strategy vs. tactics, though, I'd agree with Gary that Carlsen's closer to the former.

Mig, may I ask whether you prefer not to embed videos in your blog, and if so why? I would have thought that your access to a strong candidate for the greatest player in history is a major reader magnet, and would boost your Google credentials even more! Why just give it away?

Because I'm sincerely not interested in exclusives, credit, traffic, and all that stuff anymore. I've transcended. Or descended. Or I'm just lazy. I gave it to Macauley and Peter Doggers a little early since they were sort of in on it on the other side with contacting Magnus and sending questions for Garry. But I'm happy for it to go everywhere freely now, which is why I just posted the YouTube version I put up. And embedded it here in a new item.

Oops, forgot the link.


I'm sure ChessBase will have it up in a few seconds.

True Rich. I would call it a difference between "style" and "approach".

Speaking about playing for wins, Aronian just won his fourth in a row. Amazing.

Poor Shirov is having a miserable tournament. Today, he lost to Aronian. His problems probably started when he opted for the more aggressive looking move 35...Qb4? instead of 35...Qd7. Perhaps after 36.Bc3 Qe7 37.Qxf4 he thought he could play 37...Qxe2, but discovered that loses dramatically to 38.Rxg6!. So he was reduced to playing 37...Rf8 with a lost position. Another Shirov gift to Aronian.

You mean, another crush by Aronian.

In the end, it was a crush, but it was Shirov's mistake on move 35 in a fairly even position that made it all happen.

With a win tomorrow Aronian will overtake Anand as #2 on live ratings. Go Lev !

If Anand loses the crown in the next 3 years, I think it will be to a top 5 player not named Carlsen. His time will come, but I don't think it's now and I think Topalov, Aronian, and Kramnik are better emotionally and psychologically prepared for the rigors of a WC match, especially Kramnik who's proven his toughness. You don't have to like Kramnik or his style of chess, but no one can deny he had not only the game, but the confidence to beat the greatest player of all time.

Just the one match, and then dodged every opportunity afterwards. Also he fell short of the standard every WC since Botvinnik to Kasparov met, to beat the rest of the world prior to the championship match and prove you were the best of the rest. As I said before the Anand match, his match invincibility was a myth created by one great result. And how right I was.

Carlsen has all the time in the world to become WC. Especially with this training with the King. Unless he is trying to beat GK's record as youngest ever.

Did not Kramnik lose to the greatest player of all time recently in a WC match in Bonn?

"Did not Kramnik lose to the greatest player of all time recently in a WC match in Bonn?"

Yeah, but only thanks to Anand's being trained by Carlsen before the match.

I think more than whatever they might have worked together on, Carlsen's mere presense must have boosted confidence for Anand. I thank Carlsen for that! :)

I would like Carlsen to work with Anand for the upcoming match with Topalov. But I don't know if that would be possible with Kasparov in the middle now! ;)

I thought he beat Topalov in a match.

No, I was busy with my own work.

I don't quite understand your reply, chessplayer. Don't worry anyway.

I didnt know he beat Topalov in a match before he beat Kasparov. Was that before or after he lost to Shirov? Must have been played under pretty stringent conditions of secrecy.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 10, 2009 10:32 PM.

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