Things went my way yesterday much like the final day last year.
Surprisingly my key competitor in this tournament, Caruana, accepted repetition of moves very early on as black against Francisco Vallejo. The latter is normally a great fighter, but he was disheartened by many good positions ending in drawn or lost games in time trouble. The news of his plan to retire from chess (at least for a long time) that circulated on internet the night before, made the early draw less of a surprise.
Caruana ended with 17 points, and I needed to win with black against Aronian to win outright and a draw for play-off. Needless to say I was quite happy about the early draw of my main opponent.
Aronian sprung a surprise (Ne5) in the Queen Indian opening, and I struggled to equalize. His knight on c6 and my weakness on c7 was a continuous theme throughout most of the game and through a fairly tenacious defense the position was equal around move 30. Unfortunately there were nothing left to play for and the rook ending ended as a draw.
I felt very confident before the tiebreak blitz games, partly because I felt in good shape yesterday (maybe from the coke), partly because I.ve played a few tiebreaks before, and partly because I.ve got a clear edge over Caruana in blitz chess historically.
I followed .the flow. of my hand and played quickly.
My opponent seemed a bit nervous and blundered a pawn in the first game and a piece in the second. 2-0 and I had won the trophy and 1st prize on tiebreak ahead of Caruana with Aronian in 3rd followed by Karjakin, Anand and Vallejo.
The 8-day break between the Sao Paulo part and Bilbao and the event in Dublin for one of my main sponsors Simonsen Lawfirm, (the others are Arctic Securities and newspaper VG) made the Bilbao part feel like a new tournament. And it sure looked that way too. I felt I played really well, I.m especially satisfied with the wins against Caruana and Anand.
I gained another another 5 rating points, expecting 2848 on the November 2012 list, the highest ever for me and 33 points ahead of Aronian in 2nd.

The glass cube and the nearby commentary attracted quite a crowd of spectators daily. Thank you all for a great event! I hope to be back in Sao Paulo and Bilbao next year!

In November I have a few events in the US and the Mexico City Chess festival and rapid tournament, going directly to London for the Chess Classics afterwards.

Magnus Carlsen, Bilbao, October 14, 2012