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Submitted by SonofPearl on Wed, 09/08/2010 at 11:02am.
With Alexei Shriov already having wrapped up first place in the Shanghai Masters, it was left to Vladimir Kramnik and Lev Aronian to stake their claim for the second qualifying spot.
Both games in the final round were drawn, and as it turns out (it was nowhere to be found on the official website) they had to play blitz games to decide who would claim second place and qualify for Bilbao.
The time control was 4 minutes plus a 3 second/move increment.
Kramnik (pictured) won the first blitz game with the white pieces, but Aronian struck back in game two (Kramnik lost on time) to take the tie-break to a sudden death game. Aronian had to win with white and 5 minutes on his clock, while Kramnik could draw with 4 minutes.
In the end it was Kramnik who emerged victorious. Congratulations to him, and commiserations to Aronian on missing out in the cruelest way - losing on time.
You have to wonder at the wisdom of deciding qualification for what will be one of the strongest tournaments of all time on a sudden-death blitz game!
Nevertheless, we now know that the Grand Slam Final in Bilbao from 9-15 October will feature Vishy Anand, Magnus Carlsen, Alexei Shirov and Vladimir Kramnik. A truly mouthwatering prospect!http://www.chess.com/news/kramnik-gets-second-spot-in-bilbao-2133