SIMPLECHESS

Vallejo upsets the leader

Vallejo Pons
Francisco Vallejo Pons made the most of his chances against Vassily Ivanchuk converting his early positional advantage in the endgame. A passed d-pawn tied down the Ukrainian, but it was the passed a-pawn that made all the difference. Ivanchuk still leads, but the group behind him is tightening up.

Hikaru Nakamura played a tricky manoeuvre which led to the cheeky win of a pawn. The World Champion however was able to retain enough activity to lead the game ultimately towards a repetition.

The early h2-h4 employed by Vallejo is a fairly off-beat theme in the 'Anti-Grünfeld' variation of the English opening. Play switched back to typical Grünfeld play with White expanding in the centre and Black hitting back with ...c5 and ...Qa5. Despite the lack of minor pieces, the passed d-pawn caused Black some difficulties and Vallejo kept winning chances throughout.

Levon Aronian and Magnus Carlsen entered some sharp complications, with Aronian having ideas of a direct kingside attack and the Norwegian biting back where he could. Mass simplification led to a bishop against knight endgame which turns out to be balanced.

Here is a summary of the seventh round:

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Opening
Viswanathan Anand IND 2817 ½-½ Hikaru Nakamura  USA   2753 Spanish Berlin
Levon Aronian  ARM 2807 ½-½ Magnus Carlsen NOR 2823 Queen's Gambit Orthodox
Francisco Vallejo Pons ESP 2716 1-0 Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2765 English (with transposition to Grünfeld)

The tournament table takes into account the Sofia rules: 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw, but the traditional scoring system can be found in brackets.

Rank Name Country Rating 1w 1b 2w 2b 3w 3b 4w 4b 5w 5b 6w 6b Points
1 Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2765 * * 1 ½ . 1 . 1 0 . 1 0 13 (4½)
2-5 Hikaru Nakamura  USA 2753 ½ 0 * ½ ½ . ½ . ½ 1 . 8 (3½)
2-5 Viswanathan Anand  IND  2817  0 . ½ ½ * * ½ . ½  ½ . 1 8 (3½)
2-5 Levon Aronian  ARM 2807 0 . ½ . . ½ * * ½ ½ 1 ½ 8 (3½)
2-5 Magnus Carlsen  NOR 2823 . 1 ½ . ½ ½ ½ ½ * * . 0 8 (3½)
6 Francisco Vallejo Pons ESP 2716 1 0 . 0 0 . ½ 0 1 . * * 7 (2½)

As a reminder, here is what happened in the earlier rounds in Sao Paulo:

First round

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Opening
Levon Aronian ARM 2807 1-0 Francisco Vallejo Pons ESP 2716 Slav Defence
Viswanathan Anand IND 2817 ½-½  Magnus Carlsen NOR 2823 Spanish Berlin
Hikaru Nakamura  USA 2753 ½-½ Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2765 Keres Defence

Second round

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Opening
Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2765 1-0 Francisco Vallejo Pons ESP 2716 English Opening
Magnus Carlsen NOR 2823 ½-½  Levon Aronian  ARM 2807 Spanish with d3
Hikaru Nakamura  USA 2753 ½-½ Viswanathan Anand  IND 2817 Semi-Slav, Botvinnik

Third round

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Opening
Viswanathan Anand  IND 2817 0-1 Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2765 Spanish Schliemann
Francisco Vallejo Pons ESP 2716 1-0  Magnus Carlsen NOR 2823 Modern Opening
Levon Aronian  ARM 2807 ½-½ Hikaru Nakamura  USA 2753 Slav/Grünfeld 

Fourth round

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Opening
Levon Aronian  ARM 2807 0-1 Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2765 Queen's Gambit Ragozin
Francisco Vallejo Pons ESP 2716 0-1  Viswanathan Anand IND 2817 English Opening
Magnus Carlsen NOR 2823 ½-½ Hikaru Nakamura  USA 2753 Queen's Gambit Declined

Fifth round

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Opening
Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2765 0-1 Magnus Carlsen NOR  2823 French Classical
Viswanathan Anand IND 2817 ½-½ Levon Aronian ARM 2807 Spanish with d3
Hikaru Nakamura USA 2753 1-0 Francisco Vallejo Pons ESP 2716 English Opening

Sixth round

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Opening
Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2765 1-0 Hikaru Nakamura  USA   2753 French Classical
Magnus Carlsen  NOR 2823 ½-½ Viswanathan Anand IND 2817 Spanish with d3
Francisco Vallejo Pons ESP 2716 ½-½ Levon Aronian ARM 2807 English Opening 

The official site for additional information www.bilbaofinalmasters.com and live games.

The remaining games will be on the 7th and 8th, followed by a rest day on Sunday the 9th, and then the final two rounds will be on the 10th and 11th.

All the rounds will be at the following times:

4pm Bilbao and Paris

3pm (London)

6pm (Moscow)

10am (New York)

7am (Los Angeles)

1am next day (Sydney)


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