Shirov masterful in the Masters

Alexei Shirov continued his fine week with a draw and won the Shanghai event by 1.5 points.
Aronian and Kramnik both achieved 50% and will need to play-off for the other qualification spot for the Bilbao final.

Shirov had already won the tournament with one round to spare, but a further draw enabled him to amass 16 rating points whereas the other three players were all negative in this department.

The second qualification place remained undecided after two fairly even encounters.

Round 5 (7th of September)

White piecesRatingCountryResultBlack piecesRatingCountryMovesOpening
Alexei Shirov2749ESP0.5-0.5Levon Aronian2783ARM42C89 Spanish Marshall
Vladimir Kramnik2780RUS0.5-0.5Wang Hao2724CHN30D37 Queen's Gambit Declined 5 Bf4

Aronian was happy to test the leader in a popular theoretical line of the Marshall Gambit. His piece sacrifice is already known and led to him regaining the material with a rooks and opposite bishop pseudo-ending which proved to be drawish.

In the other game, Wang Hao reacted to 5 Bf4 in solid style and played a line which reduces White's opening advantage to nothing more than a nominal space pull. Kramnik couldn't find a way to make progress.

Two different styles: intense (Shirov) and zen (Kramnik) @

The tie between Aronian and Kramnik will have to be decided by Blitz games.

StandingPlayerRatingAgeCountry1W1B2W2B3W3B4W4BScore (Bilbao)Score (Standard)PerformanceRating change (approx)
1Alexei Shirov274938ESPXX==1=11124.5/62955+16
2Levon Aronian278328ARM==XX0==183/62751-2.5
3Vladimir Kramnik278035RUS=0=1XX==63/62752-2.5
4Wang Hao272421CHN000===XX21.5/62578-11

Shirov's gain of 16 points takes him (provisionally) up from 12th to 6th in the world ranking list. A remarkable leap emphasizing just how impressive he was in Shanghai.

Aronian against Wang Hao @

Here is a summary of the chess 'penalty shoot-out' to come and then after this we'll know who is going to Bilbao with Shirov!

NameRatingCountryBlitz 1Blitz 2ArmaggedonTotal
Levon Aronian2783ARM
Vladimir Kramnik2780RUS

More precision on the tie-break: A two-game Blitz match (4' plus 3" increment). If this ends 1-1 then the players must indulge in an 'Armageddon' game (5' for White, 4' for Black who gets draw odds).

I personally prefer taking Black in these circumstances, but attacking players often prefer White.

More later when the results are known!

For more information (and photos) go to the

Official site

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