Saturday, 4 September 2010

Shanghai Masters

The Shanghai Masters is a kind of semi-final of the "Grand Slam" tournament series. Originally the field was to consist of players who had won a "Grand Slam" event in the past year, but as Chessbase points out, Magnus Carlsen wrecked that by winning most of these tournament himself. So instead Aronian, Kramnik, Shoriv and Hao were invited "on the basis of their sports merit". The two winners of this event then join Carlsen and Anand in the Final, which will be played in Bilbao later this year.
Despite the significance of this series, as a kind of unofficial tournament World Championship, the organisers have three tournament conditions that aren't usually in play in most events. Firstly the time limit is 40 moves in 90 minutes (no increment) followed by 60 minutes for the rest of the game (with a 10 s increment). Certainly this is a little slower than the old 90m+30s time control, but slightly quicker than the new 40/90m+30m+30s inc time control, due to the faster increment. I'm assuming the 10s inc is more for the 'Australian' reason of allowing players to hold dead drawn positions, rather than providing the players with extra time to play difficult endings well.
Secondly, the event used the Bilbao scoring system (3-1-0). And finally the Sofia rules on draw offers are in play (ie no draw offers between players, just draw requests to the arbiter).
The first round saw a win for Aronian, who seems to spend some time preparing for such events on the tennis court. Maybe it was this 'sporting merit' that got him invited!

Wang Hao (2724) - Aronian,L (2783) [E10]
Shanghai Masters Shanghai CHN (1), 03.09.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 c6 7.Qc2 0-0 8.0-0 b6 9.Bf4 Ba6 10.Nbd2 Nbd7 11.Rfe1 Nh5 12.Ne5 Nxe5 13.Bxe5 f6 14.Bf4 Nxf4 15.gxf4 Bb4 16.Red1 Qd6 17.Nf1 dxc4 18.a3 Ba5 19.f5 Kh8 20.Ne3 b5 21.Qe4 Bb7 22.Qxe6 Qc7 23.Qe4 Rae8 24.Qg4 Bb6 25.Nf1 Bc8 26.Ng3 g6 27.e3 gxf5 28.Nxf5 Qd7 29.e4 Qf7 30.Qf3 Bxf5 31.Qxf5 Rg8 32.Kh1 Rg5 33.Qf3 Qg6 34.d5 Rg8 35.Bh3 (D)
35. ... Bxf2!0-1

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