Last Rounds

I’m convinced that the later rounds of a tournament carry far more weight than the early ones. How can this be when the same number of points can be scored throughout a tournament? Well in the games leading up to them players are often trying to consolidate their position in the tournament, building hopes and expectations as they pull their punches or abandon their fears. And in this highly charged atmosphere dramatic swings in fortune become much more likely.

In the penultimate round of the Bilboa Masters there was just such a turnaround with Magnus Carlsen scoring a dramatic last round win against Vassily Ivanchuk to share first place. Actually it was a brilliantly creative effort, the moves I liked most being 10.Bh3 and 17.Rxd7. In the later stages it was the vulnerability of Black’s king that finally told against him.