LCC R2: Carlsen, Kramnik win again, Magnus now at 2856

12/2/2012 – Vladimir Kramnik defeated Hikaru Nakamura with the black pieces, and Magnus Carlsen scored a fine victory over the second seed Levon Aronian. This hoists the Norwegian to a stratospheric 2856 in the live rating, five more than Garry Kasparov's all-time record. The World Champion Vishy Anand had to fight for a draw against Luke McShane. Full round two report with analysis by the players.

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The 2012 London Chess Classic is taking place in the Olympia Conference Centre from Saturday, December 1st until Monday, December 10th. Games start each day in general at 14:00h London time, except for round four (16:00h) and the final round (12:00h). Time controls are classical forty moves in two hours, then twenty moves in one hour and thirty minutes for the rest of the game. A win is counted as three points, a draw as one, and a loss zero. Tiebreaks: 1) number of wins, 2) number of wins with black, 3) result of the individual game between the tied players. In the unlikely event that there is still a tie then: 4) 2 x 15'+2" games, and if necessary 5) Armageddon game: 6'+2" vs 5'+2" with draw odds for black. If there is a tie involving more than two players then the Rapid games will be conducted as a double round all play all.

Round two

Round 2: Sunday, Dec. 2nd, 2012, 14:00h
Judit Polgar
½-½
Gawain Jones 
Hikaru Nakamura
0-1
Vladimir Kramnik
Magnus Carlsen
1-0
Levon Aronian
Vishy Anand
½-½
Luke McShane 
Michael Adams (bye) – assisting commentary


The playing hall at the start of round two, with the pairings...


Anand-McShane, Nakamura-Kramnik, Carlsen-Aronian, Polgar-Jones


Vishy Anand and Luke McShane get to work on their round two game

It could hardly get any more exciting for the audience where despite ‘only’ two of the four games ending in decisive results, all four were certainly headed in that direction. Vishy Anand came very close to being on the receiving end of such a result, when he found himself fighting for his life against Luke McShane. He cannot fault his opening preparation either as he found himself with a very nice position after the opening, and space and threats on all sides. Sadly, this was the highlight of the game for him as everything went downhill from there, for a bad day at the office. His fans and friends had every reason to bite their fingernails, but with great resourcefulness he held fast and drew.


Hikaru Nakamura and Vladimir Kramnik in excellent spirits before the start of the round

If McShane came close to a winning position, Judit Polgar actually had one for a significant amount of time, and the British fans no doubt felt that the great female player would dispatch him extra quick. It was not to be though much to her chagrin, and Gawain miraculously avoided having the burning building collapse over his head.


Judit Polgar vs Gawain Jones at the start of their round two game in London

Game of the Day (Polgar-Jones) by Andrew Martin

 

The American Hikaru Nakamura was not so lucky against Vladimir Kramnik. One thing that must be said about these two players of extreme contrasting styles is that their games are almost always a lot of fun to watch. Nakamura opted for a Scotch defense, quickly ditching the ultra-analyzed main lines, but quite possibly overdid the attempts at originality. His piece development lacked harmony and it was not long before the Russian had taken over the initiative. With a player of Kramnik’s caliber that is usually all it takes, and sure enough he took home the point.


Carlsen and Aronian check the screen display to see what the others are playing

The game of the round was the titanic encounter between world number one, Magnus Carlsen, who touched history in round one, and Levon Aronian, the world number two, and his most visible challenger. If last year, the Big Four drew all their games between themselves, while hammering the British hopefuls, this year history will not be repeating itself. Carlsen emerged from the opening-middlegame transition with an extra pawn, and played the endgame to perfection as he took his Live Rating to a precious 2855.7, the….second highest in history. Indeed, if this unequivocally beats Garry Kasparov’s highest rating of 2851, after Garry’s world championship victory over Anand, his own live rating had stood at 2856.5. Since ratings were not published on a monthly basis then, it had dropped to 2851 by the time of publication.

A reader went into detail on this and brought it to our attention:


It seems youngest grandmaster production is slowing down, but I'm betting young Wei Yi will be up before he's 14 sometime next April.

On another subject, the chessbase article about the London classic and Carlsen breaking Kasparov's records are incorrect.

Kasparov's official FIDE record is 2851 as of July 1999 and remained that way for FIDE's January 2000 rating list because he played no rated games in the rating period between the two lists. At this point his live rating was the same as his FIDE rating, as the 2851 resulted from wins in the last three games of the rating period leading up to July 1999.

After January 2000, Kasparov played a number of games that overall resulted in his FIDE rating falling to 2849 in July 2000. However, before then at Linares in Feb 2000, when he beat Anand in round 4, his live rating, had it been calculated then would have been 2856 or 2857, depending upon how it was calculated at the time. The exact highest
possible figure is 2856.7 although it could be as low as 2855.9.

Here is a Norwegian chessblog that discusses this at length. The article itself is flawed, but if you scroll down into the comments you will find someone has posted detailed calculations in a large table, including
reasoning behind the calculations.

Regards, James Satrapa (Australia)


No matter how you look at it though, he is now over 50 Elo over his closest rivals, a dominating difference that has not been seen since the great Russian’s reign.

Replay all the games of the round

Photos by Ray Morris-Hill

Standings (London scoring)

Standings (traditional scoring)


Analysis of the games by the players


Live analysis immediately after the game, with the players Levon Aronian and
Magnus Carlsen, and commentators Danny King and Lawrence Trent


The record-breaking Magnus Carsen during the analysis


Levon Aronian, who turned up for the postmortem even after his second loss


Judit Polgar discussing her near win against...


... English GM Gawain Jones


Spotted in the audience: Magnus' second Ian Nepomniachtchi, who got his visa in
the end and is now in London assisting the Norwegian superstar

Pictures by Pascal Simon and Jeroen van den Belt for ChessBase

Daniel King: Highlights of round two


Pairings and results

Round 1: Saturday, Dec. 1st, 2012, 14:00h
Luke McShane
0-1
Magnus Carlsen
Levon Aronian
0-1
Hikaru Nakamura
Vladimir Kramnik
1-0
Judit Polgar
Gawain Jones
0-1
Michael Adams
Vishy Anand (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 2: Sunday, Dec. 2nd, 2012, 14:00h
Judit Polgar
½-½
Gawain Jones 
Hikaru Nakamura
0-1
Vladimir Kramnik
Magnus Carlsen
1-0
Levon Aronian
Vishy Anand
½-½
Luke McShane 
Michael Adams (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 3: Monday, Dec. 3rd, 2012, 14:00h
Levon Aronian
  Vishy Anand
Vladimir Kramnik
  Magnus Carlsen
Gawain Jones
  Hikaru Nakamura
Michael Adams
  Judit Polgar
Luke McShane (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 4: Tuesday, Dec. 4th, 2012, 16:00h
Hikaru Nakamura
  Michael Adams
Magnus Carlsen
  Gawain Jones
Vishy Anand
  Vladimir Kramnik
Luke McShane
  Levon Aronian
Judit Polgar (bye) – assisting commentary
Wednesday, Dec. 5th, 2012 Rest day
Round 5: Thursday, Dec. 6th, 2012, 14:00h
Vladimir Kramnik
  Luke McShane
Gawain Jones
  Vishy Anand
Michael Adams
  Magnus Carlsen
Judit Polgar
  Hikaru Nakamura
Levon Aronian (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 6: Friday, Dec. 7th, 2012, 14:00h
Magnus Carlsen
  Judit Polgar
Vishy Anand
  Michael Adams
Luke McShane
  Gawain Jones 
Levon Aronian
  Vladimir Kramnik
Hikaru Nakamura (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 7: Saturday, Dec. 8th, 2012, 14:00h
Gawain Jones 
  Levon Aronian
Michael Adams 
  Luke McShane
Judit Polgar
  Vishy Anand
Hikaru Nakamura
  Magnus Carlsen
Vladimir Kramnik (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 8: Sunday, Dec. 9th, 2012, 14:00h
Vishy Anand
  Hikaru Nakamura
Luke McShane
  Judit Polgar
Levon Aronian
  Michael Adams
Vladimir Kramnik
  Gawain Jones 
Magnus Carlsen (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 9: Monday, Dec. 10th, 2012, 13:00h
Michael Adams
  Vladimir Kramnik
Judit Polgar
  Levon Aronian 
Hikaru Nakamura
  Luke McShane
Magnus Carlsen
  Vishy Anand
Gawain Jones (bye) – assisting commentary

The games – except for rounds four and nine – start at 2 p.m. or 14:00h British time = 15:00h CET, 17:00h Moscow, 7:30 p.m. Chennai, 22:00h Beijing, 01:00 a.m. Melbourne, 03:00 a.m. Auckland, 6 a.m. San José, 9 a.m. New York. You can check your location here. Naturally the games will be covered live on the official web site (below) and on Playchess. The games of round four begin two hours later, those of the final round two hours earlier.

Watch the live stream from the London Chess classic here.


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