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Nakamura and Carlsen reduce the gap

Magnus Carlsen (Manu de Alba)
Wins by Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen have reduced the lead of Vassily Ivanchuk, who drew today. The victorious pair are now in equal second place. Both players employed a similar winning ploy: trapping a knight after their opponents had allowed their steeds to get stuck on the rim.

Vassily Ivanchuk and Viswanathan Anand fought out their game to the end, but at no point did their steady Queen's Indian ever really favour either player.

Hikaru Nakamura was able to win a fine technical game. He employed an unusual king manoeuvre to ensure that he regained his pawn, thus leaving him with a superior pawn structure. Later his king was able to advance up the board to pressurize Aronian's isolated pawn, and the Armenian had to suffer the indignity of getting his knight trapped.

Magnus Carlsen's revenge over Francisco Vallejo Pons also involved him trapping a sidelined knight, and two pawns weren't enough compensation for the Spaniard in the endgame.

Here is a summary of the eighth round:

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Opening
Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2765  ½-½ Viswanathan Anand   IND  2817 Queen's Indian Defence
Magnus Carlsen NOR 2823 1-0  Francisco Vallejo Pons ESP  2716 Slav 4.e3
Hikaru Nakamura USA 2753 1-0 Levon Aronian  ARM 2807 Queen's Gambit 3...Be7

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 * * 0 . 1 ½ ½ 1 . 1 1 0 14 (5)
2-3 Magnus Carlsen  NOR 2823 . 1 * * ½ . ½ ½  ½ ½ 1 0 11 (4½)
2-3 Hikaru Nakamura  USA 2753 ½ 0 . ½  * ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 . 11 (4½)
4 Viswanathan Anand  IND  2817  0 ½ ½  ½  ½ ½ * * ½ . . 1 9 (4)
5 Levon Aronian  ARM 2807 0 . ½  ½  ½ 0 . ½ * * 1 ½ 8 (3½)
6 Francisco Vallejo Pons ESP 2716 1 0 1 0 . 0 0 . ½ 0 * * 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

The first two rounds from Bilbao went as follows:

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 

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

There will be 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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