Bilbao Chess Masters final 2016
Posted: 05 July 2016 07:11 AM  
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This year the Bilbao Chess Masters final announces to be a very interesting event, with the two most followed players of the circuit, Magnus and Hikaru, and the world Championship challenger Karjakin, in the last tournament together with the World Champion before their duel which will take place later this year. Also, the young rising start, the Chinese Wei Yi, will be part of the lot. Wei Yi made the headlines when he passed the 2700 barrier going to the playing hall with his teddy bear, figuratively speaking. After that, he had to settle down a bit. But he’s still so young that time plays in his favor, and it will be interesting to see him fighting with the top guys. Anish Giri and Wesley So complete the line-up, making this event one of the most interesting tournaments of the year.

ICC will cover the Bilbao tournament with LIVE Audio commentary, video recap service and the usual TRIVIA contests.

Play starts July 13th at 10am EDT - 16:00 local time (CEDT).

You will find here posts with round recaps and videos.

Check out the web article HERE

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Posted: 13 July 2016 07:22 PM   [ # 1 ]  
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Round 1

When I saw “black wins” I had to rub my eyes, clean the specs and look again. Komodo 10 had evaluation at -m7 but you know, it ain’t over until it is over. But then, all of sudden, it was there! Nakamura, after 12 losses and 18 draws, beat - soundly - Magnus Carlsen in a classical game. Today is an important day for the American ace, who finally managed to overcome what many thought be a psychological issue. Hikaru played it down about this achievement during the interview, saying “Obviously winning against Magnus is very nice… but it’s not that big of a deal”. Well, maybe, but we’re pretty sure Nakamura was feeling pretty good. The socials got flooded by tweets and FB posts about this amazing result. Susan Polgar’s tweet was quite amusing: “To borrow a famous line from tennis legend Gerulaitis: ‘And let that be a lesson to you all. Nobody beats Nakamura 13 times in a row!”. The game was pretty tense, with Magnus trying to discombobulate his opponent in the opening, going apparently for a closed Sicilian, only to revert - with a rather odd move order - to an open Sicilian, which though was not Nakamura’s loved Najdorf. Carlsen played aggressively, pushing Nakamura into his half of the field. But the world champion missed a simple reply to his apparently good move 21.g5. Nakamura played the little pawn move e6, and from there on Magnus realized he was in trouble. Hikaru was able to play precise and sharp moves, giving the Norwegian no chances to recover. Wei Yi, the Chinese prodigy, drew an interesting game against Giri, with a thrilling endgame, full of opportunities for both sides. Karjakin and So drew a good game. Nakamura is the early leader with 3 points, with all the rest of the gang with 1 point. Tomorrow Round 2 at 10am EDT - 16:00 CEDT.

IM John Watson’s VIDEO RECAP

Today we had 4 winners in the GTR contest: cool64chess, nikenwidiartto, Corocotta and Radja. Well done!

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Posted: 14 July 2016 06:30 PM   [ # 2 ]  
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Round 2

It’s a fact: Carlsen is the best player of the known - and unknown - Universe. But that’s not all about the Norwegian ace; he’s also amazingly good at bouncing back after a loss. Magnus doesn’t lose often, but when it happens, you can be fairly sure that his next opponent is going to have a rough day at the office. Today Wei Yi, who’s thought to be a probable challenger in the near future, had to taste the power of the present and, despite fighting hard, lost his game with the World Champion. Wei played a good game, showing his deep understanding of the positional subtleties he was presented with, but Carlsen didn’t let his young foe escape Magnus’ trademark strangling in the endgame. Nakamura vs. So was a solid draw, without any thrill. Karjakin, apparently worried about not showing his preparation, went for an Italian job against Giri. Anish got a nice development advantage out of the opening, but Sergey played well, going for an interesting counter-attack plan. Karjakin sacrificed a rook, getting into a position that looked full of possibilities for the Russian challenger. Both Giri and Karajan played the best moves in a very tactical position, which could have easily led to checkmate. After the dust settled down, the two contenders entered a theoretically drawn position. A great game. After 2 rounds Nakamura is in the sole lead with 4 points, followed by Carlsen with 3. With 2 points Giri, Karjakin, and So. Wei closes the list, with 1 point. tomorrow the first game between the World Champion and the Challenger: one of the reasons that make this event so interesting. Play starts at 10am EDT—16:00 CEDT.

GM Lars Bo Hansen’s VIDEO RECAP

Today only one participant in the GTR contest was able to guess all the three reusltS: CaseMoney. Bravo!

The winner of the GOTD Trivia contest for Round 1 is pandit22. Congratulations!

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Posted: 15 July 2016 07:14 PM   [ # 3 ]  
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Round 3

The most awaited game between World champion Magnus Carlsen and challenger Sergey Karjakin went in favor of the Norwegian, who won in good style, crushing his Russian opponent. Let’s say that if Karjakin wanted to hide his preparation, he was very successful. His play looked weak; nothing that could worry the World Champion.  Magnus said, in an interview after the game: “the early defeat forced me to play sharper”, and today it showed. Carlsen was able to change his usual strangling technique into a dangerous and irresistible attack, only partly because of Karjakin’s weak reaction. The World champion is always ready to go for the kill when the position allows him to strike. We will see whether Sergey is able to come back with colors reversed. For now, after the “historical” loss against USA ace Hikaru Nakamura, Carlsen seems to be walking the right path, with two wins in a row. He’s now leading alone, with the soccer-like score, at 6 points, followed by Nakamura with 5. Hikaru today drew with the Chinese kid, and Giri-So ended in a draw too.  Tomorrow Round 4 at 10am EDT—16:00 CEDT. Here the pairings: Carlsen-So, Nakamura-Giri, Wei-Karjakin.

GM Alex Yermolinsky’s VIDEO RECAP

Today we have TWO winners in the GTR contest: fearlessone and Theunrock. Well done!

The winner of the GOTD TRIVIA contest is springrain1361. Congratulations!

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Posted: 16 July 2016 08:08 PM   [ # 4 ]  
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Round 4

The trend continues: only one decisive game per round in Bilbao. And the last three rounds the one to shake the score is always the same: Magnus Carlsen. It’s not every day you see a player of Wesley’s strength being totally lost after 21 moves. Magnus makes it look easy. even too much easy, sometimes. Even the commentators and the analysts weren’t able to spot the “bad” moves that got So in trouble. It’s just that the World Champion played apparently without effort the best possible moves, outplaying his opponent. Nakamura and Giri drew an interesting game, with the young Dutchman having some chances in the middlegame, which he wasn’t able to capitalize on bringing home the full (3) point(s). Wei Yi and the Challenger drew a rather uneventful game. there’s still plenty to play in this amazing tournament, but if Carlsen keeps on with this pace, it’ll be hard for the rest of the lot to fight, if not for the second place. tomorrow Round 5 at 10am EDT—16:00 CEDT. Pairings: So-Wei, Karjakin-Nakamura, Giri-Carlsen.

GM David Smerdon’s VIDEO RECAP

Today we have THREE winners in the GTR contest: cool64chess, gfv and fearlessone. Well done!

The winner of the GOTD TRIVIA contest for Round 3 is toktok. Congratulations!

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Posted: 17 July 2016 07:19 PM   [ # 5 ]  
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Round 5

A tenacious and precise Giri today stopped the Carlsen-locomotive, holding the amazing Norwegian to a draw. Magnus went for a Queen Gambit accepted, an opening that he has played a couple of times in his career, and in Blitz games. Magnus’ preparation showed to be very good, and he was able to play aggressively. But Anish, against whom the World Champion has never won a classical game, defended superbly, dodging all the bullets Magnus tried to shoot at him. Then Magnus tried to use his strangling technique in the endgame, but again Giri was able to play all the best - and often only - moves, and the world Champion had to give up and accept the fate: the game was a draw. Giri maintains his plus record against Carlsen, and there are not many players around that can brag about that! Wei Yu and Wesley So played a solid game. Wesley tried to get an advantage, but the Chinese talent held the fort, and the game ended in a draw. Nakamura and Karjakin drew a short but interesting game. Nakamura played the opening aggressively, but Karjakin showed that his preparation is more than just solid. the game ended with a repetition of moves, that analysis showed be inevitable. Tomorrow is the only rest day, halfway the tournament.
Play resumes Tuesday, July the 19th.  Magnus still leads, with the standings unchanged.

GM Ron W Henley’s VIDEO RECAP

Today we have SIX winners in the GTR contest: arnav311004, cool64chess, Jude, nikenwidiartto, Fork and Radja. Well done!

The winner of the GOTD TRIVIA is AbsoluteZero. Congratulations!

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Posted: 19 July 2016 06:30 PM   [ # 6 ]  
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Round 6

Everyone was waiting for the “revenge time” today in Bilbao. Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura played again each other, after the resounding victory of the American ace, who finally interrupted what was starting to look like a spell. Unfortunately, they both seemed anxious to bail out today and, after some skirmish during the opening, they went straight to an announced draw. The real deal today was the first win in the tournament for the Chinese prodigy. In a Berlin defense, Wei Yi was able to push, and Giri, in a quite uncharacteristic way, blundered in the endgame, giving the victory to his younger opponent. Karjakin and Wesley So drew a hard fought game, with some chances missed by both players. After six round and with four rounds to go, Carlsen is still alone at the top, with 11 points, followed by Nakamura with 8 and Wei Yi with 7. Karjakin, Giri and So share last place with 5 points. tomorrow round 7 at 10am EDT—16:00 CEDT. Pairings: Nakamura-So, Carlsen-Wei, Giri-Karjakin.

GM Jon Speelman’s VIDEO RECAP

Today we have FIVE winners in the GTR contest: arnav311004, ECP, nikenwidiartto, SirDavid92 and Radja. Well done!

The winner of the GOTD TRIVIA contest is GreenLantern. congratulations!

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Posted: 20 July 2016 05:50 PM   [ # 7 ]  
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Round 7

It looks like Karjakin is not going to reveal any of his preparation for the World Championship match, looking at his rather insipid games. Today he played again a super-solid, risk-free game, drawing easily. Nakamura tried harder, creating some issues to Wesley So to resolve. Wesley though managed to set up an interesting counter-play plan, forcing the game into a drawish endgame. Carlsen chose a rather unusual fianchetto opening, probably to avoid heavy-studied theory. The opening transposed into a quasi-classic line of the Grunfeld. Wei played a sold and mature-looking game, preventing Carlsen’s initiative. We know Carlsen’s prowess at keeping the flame of the game alive, trying to induce his opponent in error. In this game, however, Magnus and Wei reached a very simplified position, which in turn led to a clearly drawn endgame. Magnus tried for a while, as it is in his style, but Wei played precise moves and didn’t falter, holding the Norwegian to a draw. The standings after 7 rounds see Carlsen leading with 12 points, followed by Nakamura with 9 and We with 8. The rest of the pack is way behind with 5 points. With the soccer-like score it’s not yet the end of the matter in Bilbao, but from what we’ve seen so far, it looks hard for everyone to catch the World champion. We’ll see. Tomorrow round 8, at 10am EDT—16:00 CEDT. Pairings: So-Giri, Karjakin-Carlsen, Wei-Nakamura.

IM Christof Sielecki’s VIDEO RECAP

Today we have THREE winners in the GTR contest: arnav311004, Fork and TiredDad. Well done!

The winner of GOTD TRIVIA is blunder23. congratulations!

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Posted: 21 July 2016 09:06 PM   [ # 8 ]  
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Round 8

In their last game until the World Championship Match, to be held in November, Carlsen and Karjakin didn’t make their fans very happy today. Game drawn in 19 moves. There’s not much to say about the game, if not that probably Carlsen is happy with what he’s got until now in Bilbao and, with two rounds to go, he’s probably sure about who will win the event. And Karjakin is most likely hiding everything he’s preparing for the big match. For sure, from what we saw in Bilbao, Karjakin doesn’t seem to be anything that can cause any worry to the World Champion. But a match is always a story by itself, and we will see. Wei Yi is having a fantastic tournament. He is playing good chess, and neither his young age nor his lower rating is keeping him from playing at the same level of the “monsters” he’s facing in the tournament. We all hope he will get more and more invitations, as he’s the future of the game. And now, let’s talk about poor Giri. He’s having a horrible tournament. It looks like he just can’t get himself together and play a single notable game. Today he lost to Wesley So in a dramatic game, which our GM Ronen Har-Zvi analyzes for us in the recap video. With today’s win, Wesley reaches Wei in third, after Nakamura in second and Carlsen comfortably leading the pack. Giri lingers sadly in last, with 6 points out of 24. Tomorrow the penultimate round starts - as usual - at 10am EDT—16:00 CEDT. Pairings: Wei-So, Nakamura-Karjakin, Carlsen-Giri.

GM Ronen Har-Zvi’s VIDEO RECAP

Today we have a sole winner in the GTR contest: TallTower, who got all three results right. Well done!

The winner of GOTD TRIVIA contest is PawnGrabber. Congratulations!

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Posted: 22 July 2016 07:29 PM   [ # 9 ]  
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Round 9

Magnus again. It’s getting almost boring, isn’t it? I have to steal a line that a friend of mine sent me today, right after the Norwegian won his game with Giri and the tournament: “The dust from the last event was just settling into a pale gray blanket when the Carlsen train steamed through Bilbao. A thick and choking fog enveloped the venue and the other combatants fell to the floor, unable to withstand…”. This quasi-poetic joke about Magnus’ dominance of the chess scene is actually a nice way to put what’s in front of our eyes: the World Champion wins everything he plays in. And not only does he win, he literally dominates. Bilbao started with a major upset, when Nakamura won his first classic game against Carlsen, but all that did was unleash Magnus’ rage and willpower. Giri is having what looks like to be the worst major event in his still young career, and today he had his chances to come out of this game with half a point in the pocket. But Magnus, with his unbelievable patience and skills, kept on pressing the Dutch GM, who blundered horribly in time pressure. Great victory by the reigning World Champion. The other two games were uneventful draws, with the players who almost seemed not to try hard enough, and Magnus has been the only one showing what he can do in these 9 rounds. Tomorrow Last Round starts earlier, at 9am EDT - 15:00 CEDT. Pairings: So-Carlsen, Giri-Nakamura, Karjakin-Wei.

GM Alex Yermolinsky’s VIDEO RECAP

The winner of the GTR contest is TiredDad, the only one who predicted all the three results rightly! Well done.

The winner of the GOTD TRIVIA contest is pandit22. Congratulations!

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Posted: 23 July 2016 03:22 PM   [ # 10 ]  
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Round 10

Well, we all knew that today, after that yesterday Magnus secured the victory of the Bilbao Masters Final, was going to be a peaceful round. And the six players didn’t disappoint us, by playing some of the most boring round ever seen on the chess scene. There is really little to say about today’s games, so let’s try to analyze how this event went for each of the top guys participating. Magnus: what to say, he wins each and every event he participates in. He belongs to a different league, and it will probably be years before anyone can worry Carlsen. Nakamura: a solid tournament. He had his moment of glory for beating Magnus in the first round, but after that, it was like Nakamura’d got all he wanted from this event, and played being very careful about not losing games. Hikaru gets an honorable second place, far, far away from the King. Karjakin: we can only hope Sergey decided to hold back and hide all his preparation, otherwise the WC match will be a one-way business. The Russian played badly, without any apparent justification. Wei Yi: great event for the 17-year-old Chinese prodigy, who showed he can compete with the top guys. Well done. Giri: a disaster. Anish went through a real nightmare, playing what must be the worst top event he’s participated in so far. Anish is a talented young man, and we know he will be able to come back strong and ready to win. Wesley So had a relatively solid event, though without much sparkling. We could say, with a too-easy play of words, that it was just so-so for the American GM. ICC wants to say thank you to all the followers, the commentators and the people who have worked to make this coverage happen. See you all soon!

GM John Fedorowicz’s VIDEO RECAP

Today we have NINE winners in the GTR contest: Pancake, Fork, cool64chess, TallTower, ECP, AbsoluteZero, Radja, nikenwidiartto, bennywins. Well done!

the winner of the GOTD TRIVIA contest is smeagol. Congratulations!

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