The Shanghai shoot-out!

After finishing level in the Classical chess round robin Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik had to fight it out at Blitz to decide who would get their ticket the the Bilbao masters final.
Kramnik made the difference in an exciting Armaggedon game.

We all know Blitz from friendly games at our club, but few have ever played with so much at stake! The final qualification place for a mega-tournament in Bilbao was in the players' minds as they readied themselves for battle again. On paper, the two were evenly-matched but Kramnik had managed to beat Aronian with Black so perhaps he could have counted on a psychological edge.

NameRatingCountryBlitz 1Blitz 2ArmaggedonTotal
Levon Aronian2783ARM0101
Vladimir Kramnik2780RUS1012

The two-game Blitz match (4 minutes each, plus 3 additional seconds per move) finished 1-1 so the 'Armageddon' game (5' for White, 4' for Black who gets draw odds) was required as a decider.

After a win as White in the Slav, Kramnik then lost in the Reti setting up the final showdown. Aronian had White again and stuck to the same opening that was successful a few minutes earlier.

This time Kramnik sacrificed a piece for strong central pawns, a cunning ploy which was too tough to meet at this rate of play. Again Kramnik beat Aronian with black (in another long endgame), just like in round five of the main tournament.

This time he was fortunate as the final position is drawn, so I presume that he won on time.

Aronian: it wasn't to be. @

The players who will be in Bilbao (in the Spanish Basque Country) from the 9th to the 15th of October:

World rankNameratingCountryRecent successes/ reason for invite
1 Magnus Carlsen 2826NOR winner of Wijk aan Zee, Nanjing and Bazna
3 Viswanathan Anand2800IND World Champion
5 Vladimir Kramnik2780RUS Moscow
12 Alexei Shirov2749ESP top Spaniard and winner in Shanghai

....and roll on Bilbao!

For more information (and photos) go to the

Official site

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