The Bilbao half of the tournament provided some interesting chess. Here again are the players in order of decreasing rating.
Magnus ended with +2 as I predicted at the halfway mark. Given the run of the tournament, it is hardly surprising that he then won the playoff against Ivanchuk who was unrecognizable as White.
To his competitors, Magnus sent a clear and dangerous message: In every game, Magnus was equal or better in the opening and middlegame. To achieve such a feat in a double round robin against Anand, Aronian, Ivanchuk and Nakamura is amazing. Neverthless, as in other tournaments, the Norwegian had a slow start and had to play himself into form. Perhaps all the physical and mental preparation cannot recreate the environment of a real game and he needs time to adjust. If so, he should follow Botvinnik's model- although the Soviet Patriarch was an infrequent tournament player he kept himself battle-ready with secret training matches under tournament conditions.
Best moment: The three wins against Ivanchuk
Anand's 50% was disappointing and less than the +1 predicted. In principle, everyone at Sao Paulo/Bilbao would have scored a respectable +2 by beating Vallejo twice and drawing with everyone else. Anand was the only one to achieve the first part of the program but this was cancelled by losses to Ivanchuk and Aronian. It is true that Anand is focusing on the title match against Gelfand next year but one still expects a World Champion to finish with a plus score.
Best moment: The Sao Paulo grind against Vallejo
The Armenian should have done better than 50%. Overly sharp play cost him a point against Ivanchuk while he was surprisingly outplayed in an endgame by Nakamura.
Best moment: The win against a dispirited Anand
Nerves got the better of him in Bilbao and he finished on +1 as predicted. Vassily should really have taken clear first but the pressure and no doubt tiredness from his busy schedule took their toll. Here he was largely reacting to his opponents rather than pressuring them. Still, he deservedly gained rating points and hopefully will inch towards 2800 in the future.
Best moment: The wins against Aronian and Nakamura
The American finished on 50% but was on target for +1 until the self-inflicted loss on time against Vallejo. Overall a solid performance that reverses his recent form and proof that he can hold his own against the world elite. Perhaps the rumored lessons by Kasparov are working.
Best moment: The win against Aronian
Francisco Vallejo Pons
While the first half was a nightmare, back in Spain convincing wins against Ivanchuk and Nakamura showed that Paco earned his invitation. He finished with more wins than either Anand, Aronian or Nakamura.
Best moment: The wins against Ivanchuk and Nakamura
If we take Ivanchuk and Vallejo out of the tournament, here's how the crosstable would look like-
Na Ar Ca An
Nakamura x x =1 == == 3.5
Nakamura x x =1 == == 3.5
Aronian =0 xx == =1 3
Carlsen == == == xx 3
Anand == =0 == xx 2.5
Interestingly, these four had only two decisive results among each other. Most of the decisive games were played by Ivanchuk (4 wins, 3 losses) and Vallejo (3 wins, 6 losses) and I believe it's because these two were targeted by the rest. Vallejo obviously because he was the lowest rated competitor and Ivanchuk because anything can happen with him especially if he is in time pressure. So against Vallejo and Ivanchuk the rest were more aggressive and willing to reach riskier positions. But both players coped well and punished their opponents.