Favorites qualify to quarters in London

by Alejandro Ramirez
12/14/2013 – Every first and second seed of the group stages was able to make it to the knock out system. Howell came close to giving a big surprise had he taken out Caruana, but a huge blunder left his chances in the dust. Kramnik got a little lucky that Sadler didn't capitalize against Svidler, which would have overtaken the World Cup winner. See the interesting quarterfinal pairings.

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The London Super Sixteen rapid tournament has started. The main event of the London Chess Classic takes place from December 11th to December 15th at the Olympiad Conference Center in London, England. The tournament brings together many of the best players of the World as well as two qualifiers from the Open section of the London Chess Classic.

Players were divided into four groups initially, to play a double round robin between them and determine two qualifiers to the knock out stages.

Eager fans going to see the last day of the group stage

Daniel King shows his highlights of the day

Round 5

Round 05 – Group A: Friday December 13th, 14:00
Luke McShane 2697
0-1 
Michael Adams 2761
Vishy Anand 2775
½-½
Andrei Istratescu 2709
Round 05 – Group B: Friday December 13th, 14:00
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
½-½
Matthew Sadler 2646
Peter Svidler 2746
1-0 
Jonathan Rowson 2573
Round 05 – Group C: Friday December 13th, 15:30
Boris Gelfand 2764
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
Judit Polgar 2696
0-1
Gawain Jones 2633
Round 05 – Group D: Friday December 13th, 15:30
Nigel Short 2684
1-0
Emil Sutovsky 2663
David Howell 2644
0-1
Fabiano Caruana 2779

The round today kicked off with a win by Adams (right) against McShane. White misplayed the Ruy Lopez and was arguably always worse. Anand risked almost nothing in his game against Istratescu and the French was able to achieve a comfortable position from the opening, but one that didn't really let him fight for more than half a point.

Kramnik was a too solid today and this almost backfired. Sadler's active pieces were certainly more important than his weak isolated pawn. At the end however he was unable to make progress and a draw was agreed. Svidler took advantage of a mistake by Rowson to emerge up a pawn and then eventually convert it, guaranteeing his spot in the knockout.

Gelfand played a known riskless variation against Nakamura and they drew in 25 moves, making both of them unreachable for Jones and Polgar could only qualify with two consecutive victories. However Jones took care of that as he beat Polgar in a very wild Dragon Sicilian.

Howell suffered what must definitely have been the heartbreak of the tournament. He was in a winning position against Caruana the entire game, but a silly blunder in move 45 made his position bad, and a subsequent blunder evaporated his chances to even obtain a draw. The final standings would've changed dramatically had Howell won this game. Short played a nice aggressive game against Sutovsky and won in good style.

Round 6

Round 06 – Group A: Friday December 13th, 18:00
Michael Adams 2761
½-½
Vishy Anand 2775
Andrei Istratescu 2709
1-0
Luke McShane 2697
Round 06 – Group B: Friday December 13th, 18:00
Matthew Sadler 2646
½-½
Peter Svidler 2746
Jonathan Rowson 2573
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
Round 06 – Group C: Friday December 13th, 19:30
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
½-½
Judit Polgar 2696
Gawain Jones 2633
1-0
Boris Gelfand 2764
Round 06 – Group D: Friday December 13th, 19:30
Emil Sutovsky 2663
1-0
David Howell 2644
Fabiano Caruana 2779
1-0
Nigel Short 2684

The last round in action, but some of the results were not so important

Round six was played with many games that didn't matter that much for the final standings. The top two players from each group advanced and in a few cases this was already set in stone.

Adams and Anand were already qualified, but they played an interesting game in which surely Anand was simply winning as he was up a piece; however his technique was faulty and Adams escaped with a draw. Istratescu gave McShane a lesson on why the Hippopotamus is not a playable defense at the 2700 level.

Finally someone didn't choose 1.e4

Sadler needed to win his last game to have a chance at qualifying. He had the opportunity to do so when Svidler blundered a pawn on move 29, but Sadler missed it and once that window was closed there was no other way for him to win. Kramnik drew Rowson from a dubious opening and advanced with Svidler.

Nakamura found himself in an endgame down a pawn against Polgar but he never had any serious difficulties in holding the draw. Meanwhile Jones finished his tournament with two strong victories, the last one being against Gelfand. The game was very nice, but unfortunately this was not enough for him to qualify.

Short played two games against Caruana in this tournament, and it is hard to say in which one he was lost quicker, but in any case neither was a serious contest and Caruana brushed him off the board. For Short it didn't really matter anymore as even a victory by Howell would not have been enough to catch him. Howell actually lost his last game against Sutovsky who at least didn't leave the tournament empty handed.

Results

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

Quarter-Finals match ups:

Quaterfinal 1 – Saturday December 14th, 14:00
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
-
Vishy Anand 2775
Michael Adams 2761
-
Peter Svidler 2746
Quarterfinal 1 – Saturday December 14th, 17:30
Vishy Anand 2775
-
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
Peter Svidler 2746
-
Michael Adams 2761
Quaterfinal 2 – Saturday December 14th, 15:30
Fabiano Caruana 2779
-
Boris Gelfand 2764
Nigel Short 2761
-
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
Quarterfinal 2 – Saturday December 14th, 19:00
Boris Gelfand 2764
-
Fabiano Caruana 2779
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
-
Nigel Short 2684

Schedule

Round 01 – Group A: Wednesday December 11th, 14:00
Luke McShane 2697
0-1
Vishy Anand 2775
Andrei Istratescu 2709
0-1
Michael Adams 2761
Round 01 – Group B: Wednesday December 11th, 14:00
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
1-0
Peter Svidler 2746
Jonathan Rowson 2573
1-0
Matthew Sadler 2646
Round 01 – Group C: Wednesday December 11th, 15:30
Boris Gelfand 2764
1-0
Judit Polgar 2696
Gawain Jones 2633
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
Round 01 – Group D: Wednesday December 11th, 15:30
Nigel Short 2684
½-½
David Howell 2644
Fabiano Caruana 2779
1-0
Emil Sutovsky 2663
Round 02 – Group A: Wednesday December 11th, 18:00
Vishy Anand 2775
½-½
Michael Adams 2761
Luke McShane 2697
1-0
Andrei Istratescu 2709
Round 02 – Group B: Wednesday December 11th, 18:00
Peter Svidler 2746
½-½
Matthew Sadler 2646
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
1-0
Jonathan Rowson 2573
Round 02 – Group C: Wednesday December 11th, 19:30
Judit Polgar 2696
0-1
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
Boris Gelfand 2764
1-0
Gawain Jones 2633
Round 02 – Group D: Wednesday December 11th, 19:30
David Howell 2644
1-0
Emil Sutovsky 2663
Nigel Short 2684
0-1
Fabiano Caruana 2779
Round 03 – Group C: Thursday December 12th, 14:00
Gawain Jones 2633
0-1
Judit Polgar 2696
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
½-½
Boris Gelfand 2764
Round 03 – Group D: Thursday December 12th, 14:00
Fabiano Caruana 2779
 ½-½
David Howell 2644
Emil Sutovsky 2663
0-1
Nigel Short 2684
Round 03 – Group A: Thursday December 12th, 15:30
Andrei Istratescu 2709
0-1
Vishy Anand 2775
Michael Adams 2761
 ½-½
Luke McShane 2697
Round 03 – Group B: Thursday December 12th, 15:30
Jonathan Rowson 2573
0-1
Peter Svidler 2746
Matthew Sadler 2646
 ½-½
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
Round 04 – Group C: Thursday December 12th, 18:00
Judit Polgar 2696
½-½
Boris Gelfand 2764
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
1-0 
Gawain Jones 2633
Round 04 – Group D: Thursday December 12th, 18:00
David Howell 2644
0-1
Nigel Short 2684
Emil Sutovsky 2663
0-1
Fabiano Caruana 2779
Round 04 – Group A: Thursday December 12th, 19:30
Vishy Anand 2775
1-0
Luke McShane 2697
Michael Adams 2761
1-0 
Andrei Istratescu 2709
Round 04 – Group B: Thursday December 12th, 19:30
Peter Svidler 2746
1-0
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
Matthew Sadler 2646
1-0
Jonathan Rowson 2573
Round 05 – Group A: Friday December 13th, 14:00
Luke McShane 2697
0-1 
Michael Adams 2761
Vishy Anand 2775
½-½
Andrei Istratescu 2709
Round 05 – Group B: Friday December 13th, 14:00
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
½-½
Matthew Sadler 2646
Peter Svidler 2746
1-0 
Jonathan Rowson 2573
Round 05 – Group C: Friday December 13th, 15:30
Boris Gelfand 2764
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
Judit Polgar 2696
0-1
Gawain Jones 2633
Round 05 – Group D: Friday December 13th, 15:30
Nigel Short 2684
1-0
Emil Sutovsky 2663
David Howell 2644
0-1
Fabiano Caruana 2779
Round 06 – Group A: Friday December 13th, 18:00
Michael Adams 2761
½-½
Vishy Anand 2775
Andrei Istratescu 2709
1-0
Luke McShane 2697
Round 06 – Group B: Friday December 13th, 18:00
Matthew Sadler 2646
½-½
Peter Svidler 2746
Jonathan Rowson 2573
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
Round 06 – Group C: Friday December 13th, 19:30
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
½-½
Judit Polgar 2696
Gawain Jones 2633
1-0
Boris Gelfand 2764
Round 06 – Group D: Friday December 13th, 19:30
Emil Sutovsky 2663
1-0
David Howell 2644
Fabiano Caruana 2779
1-0
Nigel Short 2684

Photographs by Ray Morris-Hill

Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.



Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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