The 8th Bilbao Masters 2015 took place from October 26th to November 1st, in Bilbao, a city in Spain, the capital of the province of Biscay.
The event was a double round-robin tournament, consisted of four of the World’s best chess players – 5-time World champion and last-year winner, GM Viswanathan Anand, #6 GM Anish Giri, #7 GM Liren Ding and #9 GM Wesley So.
The rare score system, 3 points for a victory, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss, made the tournament tense until the very last round. Wesley So and Anish Giri finished with 8 points, leaving the “tiger of Madras” and Chinese prodigy full 3 points behind.
So and Giri played a 2-game playoff to decide the title but the USA player of Filipino origin took the lead in the first encounter. He chose the Exchange Variation of Slav Defence and after 30 moves nothing was promising victory for So, since he was a clear pawn down. However, his activity was enough compensation for black extra passed pawn and the game was soon equalized. The final mistake was made by Giri who blundered a knight in a dead drawn endgame.
In a sharp second duel in Italian Game Giri didn’t manage to convert his material advantage and the draw was fixed after no less than 98 moves. Thus Wesley So was crowned new champion of Bilbao Masters 2015.
1. GM Wesley So (2760) USA – 8
2. GM Anish Giri NED (2798) – 8
3. GM Viswanathan Anand (2803) IND – 5
4. GM Liren Ding CHN – 5 (2782)