This article was summarized, for the original article on the 2011 Bilbao Chess Masters Final – Half Time Update with the interactive chess board of the game and more information please visit William’s site.
The first half of the 2011 Bilbao Chess Masters Final in Sao Paolo ended with the venerable Vassili Ivanchuk maintaining his first place standing despite losing in round 5 to the highest rated chess player in the world – Magnus Carlsen. Ivanchuk has played an incredibly high level of chess in 2011, and never ceases to amaze with his tireless creativity. Ivanchuk’s style is extremely fluid, and his fantastically deep understanding of the opening phase of the game has essentially enabled him to avoid opponents’ opponent preparation.
Ivanchuk’s round 4 win over Super Grandmaster Levon Aronian was one of the most spectacular games of 2011, featuring two of the world’s best in a tactical slugfest. Aronian entered a mess of complications with provocative opening play, and the situation came to a head with 16. f4!? and 17. f5!? – creating a situation of total chaos on the board. Ivanchuk cold-headedly calculated his way and found an exceptional positional idea to open up the a8-h1 diagonal and mating threats with 19. …d4! and 20. …Qd5! – temporarily sacrificing a piece to achieve a dangerous initiative against white’s king. Aronian was forced to sacrifice an exchange with 26. Rxf3 to deflect impending mate. Ivanchuk fell desperately low on time, often moving with 5 seconds left to stay alive with the 10-second increment. This double-edged battle is certainly a candidate for the Best Chess Game of 2011.
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Nakamura and Ivanchuk (my two favorite players) have been outplaying Anand, Carlsen and Aronian. Sharing places 3-5: Magnus Carlsen, Viswanathan Anand, and Levon Aronian are just a draw back from 2nd place Nakamura. The 3 highest-rated chess players in the world have been playing fighting chess at the 2011 Bilbao Chess Masters Final, however Ivanchuk has been playing absolutely out of his mind. Carlsen must be frustrated and I expect to see him make a serious push to win the tournament in the second half in Bilbao that starts on Thursday, October 6th. Anand will not let his average start to this Super-GM chess tournament with an average rating of 2780 affect his nerves, as the experienced and reigning World Chess Champion is infamous for his nerves of steel and iron will. Levon Aronian is rated 2800+ due to his exceptional creativity and resourcefulness, and will definitely test his opponents with some exciting chess for the second half of the tournament. Returning to Spain, the 2011 Bilbao Chess Masters Final will feature the absolute highest class of fighting chess, and it is a great pleasure to witness such a well-organized event.
For the original article on the 2011 Bilbao Chess Masters Final – Half Time Update with the interactive chess board of the game and more information please visit William’s site.