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Grand Slam Final

Bilbao

The duel between Ivanchuk and Carlsen is expected to be the most interesting game today. Both are in great form this year. The Norwegian outplayed in an impressive manner Aronian in the first round as Black and has the lead. The Ukrainian had good chances to defeat the World Champion Anand but got twice in severe time trouble and only managed to draw. May be some tiredness is accumulating - 3rd tournament in a row - but let's remember that almost every game at M-Tel Masters he was with mere seconds on the clock and started 5 out of 5. It is hard to predict Vasily's opening move but there is no doubt that an fascinating game between two extraordinary players, each of them fighting for the win, is to be expected.

**1.e4**
The first move of Ivanchuk implies a desire to test Carlsen's new pet line - the Sicilan Dragon.

**1... c5
2.Nf3
d6
3.d4
cxd4
4.Nxd4
Nf6
5.Nc3
g6
6.Be3
Bg7
7.f3
Nc6
8.Qd2
O-O
9.Bc4**
(9.O-O-O
is a popular option to fight for opening advantage. The Ukrainian prefers not to let Black play d6-d5.)

**9... Bd7
10.O-O-O
Rc8
11.Bb3
Ne5
12.Kb1**
(
As White finds it hard to demonstrate any advantage in the lines after
12.h4
h5
, the Ukrainian goes for a fashionable alternative.)

**12... a6**
(
A rare move which makes Ivanchuk to start thinking for a long time.
12... Re8
is considered as best after moves like)
(12... Nc4)
(
or
12... b5
were refuted. Of course Magnus has his own opinion about the position, surely based upon a lot of analysis. He played 3 games in this line during the last two months. Although scoring only two draws and a loss, some repairs must have been made. Still no move by Ivanchuk for more than 30 minutes.)

**13.Rhe1**
(
A new move.
13.h4
h5
14.g4
is the topical continuation which White avoided after 40 minutes of considering the resulting complications.)
(
The typical exchange of the dark-squared Bishop is met tactically by
13.Bh6
Rxc3
14.bxc3
Bxh6
15.Qxh6
a5
16.a4
Qb6
with excellent positional compensation.)

**13... b5
14.Bh6
Bxh6
15.Qxh6
Rxc3**
Standard for such positions exchange sacrifice, but the difference is that White may go directly f3-f4 and e4-e5.
(15... Rc5
taking control over the 5th rank deserves attention. There is a tactical trick behind such move:
16.f4
Nf3
17.Nxf3
Rh5)
(15... a5
looks interesting as well:
16.Ndxb5
(16.Ncxb5
a4
17.Bxa4
Qa5
18.b3
Nc4)
16... a4
17.Bxa4
Qa5
18.Qd2
Rc5
19.Nxd6
with complications.)

**18.Qh4
a4
19.Bxf7+**
(
The simple
19.h3
axb3
20.cxb3
seems stronger.)

**19... Rxf7**
(
Now lines like
19... Rxf7
20.h3
Qc7
21.hxg4
Qxc3
22.Rd3
Qb4+
23.Ka1
Nxg4
lead to good compensation for the sacrificed exchange.)

**20.e5
Nd5
21.e6**
(
Ivanchuk plays all the thematic moves but did he manage to calculate everything in lines as
21.e6
Nxc3+
22.Ka1
Bxe6
23.Nxe6
Qc8
24.Rd4
Nxa2
25.Qh3
Rf6)

**21... Nxc3+
22.Kc1**
(
After this move Black probably has to force a perpetual
22.Kc1
Bxe6
23.Nxe6
Nxa2+
24.Kb2
Qc8
25.Qxg4
Qc3+)

**22... Bxe6
23.Nxe6
Qa5
24.Qxg4
Nxa2+
25.Kb2
Qc3+
26.Kxa2
Qxc2+
27.Ka1
Qc3+
28.Kb1
Qb3+
29.Ka1
Qc3+**
Draw agreed. True to his creative spirit the Ukrainian came up with a new idea in the opening. Its value is to be determined by detailed analysis and further practice, but the game resulted a very complicated one with a lot of sacrifices and counter-sacrifices, finishing in a draw by perpetual check. Carlsen keeps his leading position and will have our attention tomorrow against Topalov in the featured game.
**
1/2
**