Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tension in Bilbao

The last round of the Grand Slam in Bilbao is about to start in two hours time. Carlsen and Ivancuk are sharing the lead so anything can still happen. Despite losing the first round, Carlsen has come back into contention beating Ivancuk twice. No mean feat there. World Champion Anand is in an unfamiliar place - last spot!

In the pen-ultimate round all games were decisive with Carlsen beat Ivancuk and Aronian overcame the current world champion , Anand. Surprisingly Anand lost in only twenty-five moves. This game should be worth studying although I do not have time to go into that yet.

A shocking thing happened in Vallejo - Nakamura. Both players were short of time and on his 39th move, Nakamura asked the arbiter if the time control had been met. For some reason which is not clear, the American thought the arbiter had given a positive answer (by nodding his head). Naka left the table to get a drink and came back to find he had lost on time.

For Nakamura this was a big disappointment. A win could have seen him in a tie for first with Carlsen and Ivancuk. Facing Carlsen in the last round, anything could still happen.

What I do not understand is how a top player and an experienced one at that could make a mistake like this. You cannot depend on others to confirm that you have reached the time control. Besides, the arbiter cannot answer or offer such advice. If you are not sure than it is best to keep on playing until you feel comfortable. Nakamura lodged a written protest but it was rightfully turned down.

So the last round will be a tense one. If Nakamura beats Carlsen and Ivancuk loses to Aronian then there will be a three-way tie. Any tie will have to be broken by blitz play-offs. I forsee I will be staying up quite late tonight!


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