London Chess Classic – analysis of round five

12/14/2010 – Nigel Short tried a sacrificial sideline of the Marshall Attack. Hikaru Nakamura was able to find a stable continuation and ultimately won. Nigel was his usual ebullient self in the commentary room and burst into song. David Howell found the cruel truth of the biblical quotation “he that has not, from him shall be taken even that which he has”. Commentary and postgame analysis of the player.

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London Chess Classic 2010

The tournament is an eight-player round-robin for seven rounds played at 40/2h + 20/1h + g/15'+30" using the Sofia Rules. Prizes: 1st 50,000 Euros, 2nd 25,000 Euros, 3rd 15,000 Euros, 4th 10,000 Euros, 5th 10,000 Euros, 6th 8,000 Euros plus seven daily Best Game prizes of 1,000 Euros voted on by the public. Tie Breaks: In order of priority. 1. Number of games with Black. 2. Number of games won with Black. 3. Number of games won. 4. Ranking based on the games between the tied players only.

Analysis of round five

By John Saunders

Round five’s chess was an unofficial ‘England versus the World’ match as well as a critical juncture in the tournament as the joint leaders Vishy Anand and Luke McShane clashed. By the end of the round the number of leaders had swelled to three, as Magnus Carlsen took advantage of the ‘football scoring system’ to join Vishy and Luke at the head of the field.

Round 5: Sunday, December 12, 2010

Michael Adams 

½-½

 Vladimir Kramnik

Viswanathan Anand 

½-½

 Luke McShane

Hikaru Nakamura 

1-0

 Nigel Short

David Howell 

0-1

 Magnus Carlsen


 Liberty and Luke help World Champion Vishy Anand with his first move

Anand,Viswanathan (2804) - McShane,Luke (2645) [C67]
London Chess Classic 2nd London (5), 12.12.2010
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.Re1 Nd6 6.Nxe5 Be7 7.Bf1 Nxe5 8.Rxe5 0-0 9.d4 Bf6 10.Re1 Nf5 11.d5 d6 12.Nd2 Nh4 13.g3 Ng6 14.a4 Ne5 15.Ra3 a5 16.Ne4 Be7 17.f4 Ng4 18.Bg2 h6 19.c4 Nf6 20.Nc3 Nd7 21.Nb5 Nc5 22.Rae3 Bf6 23.Bf3 Bd7 24.b3 Rb8 25.Kg2 Re8 26.Ba3 Rxe3 27.Rxe3 Bxb5 28.cxb5 b6 29.Bg4 g6 30.h4 Bg7 31.Be2 Qf6 32.Bc4 Kf8 33.Bxc5 dxc5 34.Qf3 Re8 35.Rxe8+ Kxe8 36.d6 Qxd6 37.Qe4+ Kf8 38.Qa8+ Ke7 39.Qg8 Qf6 40.Qc8 Qd6 41.Qg8 Qf6 1/2-1/2.

Postgame analysis as broadcast on YouTube


Anand-McShane part one


Anand-McShane part two


Nigel Short had another off-day. In a spirit of recklessness born of desperation, he tried a sacrificial sideline of the Marshall Attack (9...e4) for which Hikaru was barely prepared but was able to find a stable continuation based on 11 g3 which suggests that this line may not be feasible at super-GM level. Short’s position after 20 Qf5 looked hopeless and so it proved. Nigel was his usual ebullient self in the commentary room and even treated us to a burst of his singing voice at the end.


Nigel Short in great spirits before the start of the game

Nakamura,Hikaru (2741) - Short,Nigel (2680) [C89]
London Chess Classic 2nd London (5), 12.12.2010 [Saunders,J]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5. The Marshall. Nigel has played this a handful of times over the years but Hikaru was probably not expecting it. 9.exd5 e4!?








The Steiner variation. It may be that, after GMs have analysed this game thoroughly, that the exclamation and question marks shown here swap places. "/portals/all/_for_legal_reasons.jpg" (Short). "I had an idea Nigel would play something a little bit crazy" (Nakamura). Nigel claimed that Malcolm Pein plays this line and jokingly suggested that he played it in his honour but no game by our esteemed tournament director could be found on the Mega database. 10.dxc6 exf3 11.g3. This logical continuation, simply aiming at emerging from the opening with an extra pawn, was more or less improvised by Hikaru at the board. It has been played before but barely mentioned in books on this line. "The book recommendation is 11.d4 - maybe there will be a new book recommendation after this game" (Short); 11.Qxf3 is another way to play and one chosen by Bobby Fischer a couple of times. 11...Re8 12.d4. Black's innocuous-looking last move actually carried a payload of venom. If 12.Qxf3? Bc5! and White is suddenly vulnerable to tricks against his rook and back rank, e.g. 13.Rf1 Bg4! 14.Qg2 Qc8 , etc. 12...Bg4 13.Bg5 h6. 13...Qd6 14.Qd3 h6 15.Bxf6 Bxf6 16.Nd2 Qxc6 17.Qg6!? Be6 18.Qh5 rounds up the f3 pawn and ensures White keeps his one-pawn advantage. 14.Bxf6 Bxf6. White's decision to give up his dark-squared bishop wasn't too problematic as the residual black dark-squared bishop doesn't have much of a future against White's preponderance of pawns on black squares. 15.Nd2 Qd6 16.h3! Bh5 16...Rxe1+ 17.Qxe1 Bxh3 18.Qe4 and White will soon be a pawn up once again, with an enhanced positional advantage. 17.Qc2! With the threat of Qf5, embarrassing the h5 bishop. 17...Bg5 18.Ne4 Qxc6. If 18...Qg6 White can step up the pressure with 19.Qd3 and then 11 Bc2, while Black has only succeeded in bottling up his own pieces on the kingside. 19.Nxg5 hxg5 20.Qf5








Nigel told us that, paradoxically, he still had some belief in his position while he was a pawn down, but now the material was level, he completely despaired of it. 20...Rxe1+. 20...Qg6 21.Qxg6 Bxg6 22.Bd5 wins the f3 pawn, leading to a comfortable technical win. 21.Rxe1 Re8 22.Re5. Not 22.Rxe8+? Qxe8 when the back rank threat would necessitate 23.Qe5 Qxe5 24.dxe5 and White has endangered his winning chances. 22...Rxe5 23.dxe5 Bg6. Once again 23...Qg6 allows 24.Qxg6 Bxg6 25.Bd5 and the f3 pawn drops off. 24.Qxg5 Qe4 25.Qd8+ Kh7 26.Qh4+ Qxh4 27.gxh4 f6. Annoyingly for Black, the doubled h-pawns almost help White's cause. If he tries to defend his f-pawn with 27...Bh5 the white king can now march out to attack it via h2 and g3 and then play Bd1 to win it. 28.exf6 gxf6 29.Bd5 a5 30.b4 axb4 31.cxb4 Bd3 32.Kh2 Bc4 33.Be4+. 33.Bxc4?? we can discount; 33.Bxf3? is also sub-optimal as after 33...Bxa2 Black might have a few tricks based on driving the b-pawn through (on a very good day, anyway). 33...Kh6 34.a3








At this point in the commentary room, Nigel concluded the session with a short snatch of song with the first line "/portals/all/_for_legal_reasons.jpg" to the tune of the 1960s hit "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" by Bobbie Gentry (you can hear it at the end of the second video below, at 7 min 50 sec). It was a show-stopping rendition, with the crowd on their feet begging for more and throwing garlands of flowers. A whole new career suddenly opens up for Nigel – this year Olympia, next year the Albert Hall. You can hear it for yourself on video 5.3 at the website. Nigel graciously attributed the libretto to former British champion and joker extraordinaire GM Jonathan Mestel. But, returning reluctantly to the chess, Black is right to quit at this point: 34...Be6 35.Bxf3 Kg6 36.Kg3 f5 37.Kf4 Bd7 38.h5+ Kf6 39.Be2 Bc6 40.Bd3 Bd7 41.h6 is hopeless. 1-0. [Click to replay]

Postgame analysis as broadcast on YouTube


Analysis of Nakamura-Short part one


Analysis of Nakamura-Short part two


Mickey Adams confronted Vlad Kramnik’s celebrated Berlin Wall with 4 d3, which the great Russian said he thought of as the “second main line” against his trademark barricade. After some exchanges, the players reached a position with a small edge for White but one which proved readily defensible by Black. After some further exchanges a draw was agreed.


Former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik

Adams,Michael (2723) - Kramnik,Vladimir (2791) [C65]
London Chess Classic 2nd London (5), 12.12.2010
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.c3 0-0 6.0-0 d6 7.Nbd2 a6 8.Ba4 b5 9.Bb3 Bb6 10.Re1 Ne7 11.Nf1 Ng6 12.Ng3 Re8 13.Ng5 Nh8 14.d4 h6 15.Nf3 Ng6 16.h3 Bb7 17.Bc2 d5 18.Nxe5 Nxe5 19.dxe5 Nxe4 20.Nxe4 dxe4 21.Qh5 g6 22.Qxh6 Rxe5 23.Be3 Qf6 24.Rad1 Rae8 25.Bb3 Bc8 26.Bxb6 Qxb6 27.Qf4 Rf5 28.Qg3 Qf6 29.Rd5 Ree5 30.Rxe5 Rxe5 31.f4 Re8 32.Qe3 Be6 33.Qxe4 Bd7 34.Qb1 Rxe1+ 35.Qxe1 Qxf4 36.Qf2 Qc1+ 37.Kh2 Bf5 38.Qg3 Qxb2 39.Qe5 Qa3 40.Qxc7 Be6 41.Qd8+ Kg7 42.Qd4+ Kg8 43.Qd8+ Kg7 44.Qd4+ Kg8 45.Qd8+ 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]



Joining the leaders: Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen

David Howell, like his senior English colleague, found the cruel truth of the biblical quotation “he that has not, from him shall be taken even that which he has”. There is always a tendency to gang up on players who are not doing too well in a tournament. Of course, the fact that he was paired with Magnus Carlsen didn’t help. Even so, David was alive and only suffering from a slight disadvantage at the time control. However, he went astray almost immediately with 42 g5 and then the disastrous 43 Qg3 which cost him a piece.

Howell,David (2611) - Carlsen,Magnus (2802) [B81]
London Chess Classic 2nd London (5), 12.12.2010 [Saunders,J]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.h3 e6 7.g4 Be7 8.Bg2 Nfd7 9.Be3 Nc6 10.Qd2 0-0 11.0-0 Nde5 12.b3 Nxd4 13.Bxd4 Ng6 14.Be3 Qc7 15.Ne2 b5 16.c4 bxc4 17.Rac1 Bb7 18.Rxc4 Qd7 19.Rfc1 Rac8 20.Bb6 Rxc4 21.Rxc4 Rc8 22.Qc2 Rxc4 23.Qxc4 Qe8 24.a4 Qa8 25.f4 h6 26.Bf2 Bh4 27.Be3 Bf6 28.Qd3 Bc6 29.Ng3 Be7 30.Nh5 Bf8 31.Bf2 Qb7 32.Qc4 Ne7 33.Qd3 d5 34.e5 d4 35.Bf1 Bd5 36.Qxa6 Qxb3 37.Qd3 Qxa4 38.Qxd4 Qa8 39.Qa7 Qc8 40.Qc5 Nc6 41.Qc3 Qa8








Black has the safer king and other small advantages but it doesn't add up to much. 42.g5? David prefers to seek counterplay but he should have been content to sit and suffer as this has a tactical flaw. 42...Qa4! Black's immediate threat is now Qe4 and Qh1 mate. White could defend with Ng3 but that would cost him his f-pawn and his position would collapse. 43.Qg3? This loses a piece. White's best might have been 43.Qe3 when 43...Qd1 44.Qe2 Qxe2 45.Bxe2 hxg5 46.fxg5 Nxe5 would probably win for Black. 43...Qd1!








44.Nf6+. Desperation. White could do nothing to defend his knight on h5. If 44.Qh4 Bc4 45.Ng3 Black plays 45...Nd4! and all the tactics work for Black. For example, 46.Bxd4 Qxd4+ 47.Kh1 Bd5+ 48.Bg2 Bc5 49.Ne2 Qd1+ and wins. 44...gxf6 45.gxf6+ Kh8 46.Qd3 Qxd3 47.Bxd3 Nb4 48.Bb1 Ba2 49.Be4 Nd5 50.f5 Nf4 51.Kh2 exf5 52.Bxf5 Be6 53.Bg4 Bxg4 54.hxg4 Ne6 55.Kg3 Bc5 0-1. [Click to replay]

Standings after round five

Nr
Sd
Name Rating Fed
Score
TPR   Born Tiebreak
1
2
Carlsen, Magnus 2802 NOR
9
2728   1990 3 x black
2
1
Anand, Viswanathan 2804 IND
9
2902   1969 2 x black
3
7
McShane, Luke J 2645 ENG
9
2942   1984 2 x black
4
4
Nakamura, Hikaru 2741 USA
8
2752   1987 win over Kramnik
5
3
Kramnik, Vladimir 2791 RUS
8
2764   1975 loss to Nakamura
6
5
Adams, Michael 2723 ENG
6
2685   1971  
7
8
Howell, David W L 2611 ENG
2
2572   1990  
8
6
Short, Nigel D 2680 ENG
1
2419   1965  

Traditional cross table


Pairings of the London Chess Classic

Round 1: Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Nigel Short 
0-1
 Vladimir Kramnik
Luke McShane 
1-0
 Magnus Carlsen
Michael Adams 
1-0
 David Howell
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Hikaru Nakamura
Round 2: Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vladimir Kramnik 

0-1

 Hikaru Nakamura

David Howell 

½-½

 Viswanathan Anand

Magnus Carlsen 

1-0

 Michael Adams

Nigel Short 

0-1

 Luke McShane

Round 3: Friday, December 10, 2010

Luke McShane 

½-½

 Vladimir Kramnik

Michael Adams 

½-½

 Nigel Short

Viswanathan Anand 

1-0

 Magnus Carlsen

Hikaru Nakamura 

½-½

 David Howell

Round 4: Saturday, December 11, 2010

Vladimir Kramnik 

1-0

 David Howell

Magnus Carlsen 

1-0

 Hikaru Nakamura

Nigel Short 

0-1

 Viswanathan Anand

Luke McShane 

½-½

 Michael Adams

Round 5: Sunday, December 12, 2010

Michael Adams 

½-½

 Vladimir Kramnik

Viswanathan Anand 

½-½

 Luke McShane

Hikaru Nakamura 

1-0

 Nigel Short

David Howell 

0-1

 Magnus Carlsen

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rest day

Round 6: Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Vladimir Kramnik 

-

 Magnus Carlsen

Nigel Short 

-

 David Howell

Luke McShane 

-

 Hikaru Nakamura

Michael Adams 

-

 Viswanathan Anand

Games – Report
Round 7: Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Viswanathan Anand 

-

 Vladimir Kramnik

Hikaru Nakamura 

-

 Michael Adams

David Howell 

-

 Luke McShane

Magnus Carlsen 

-

 Nigel Short

Games – Report

Remaining tournament schedule

Monday December 13th Free day  
Tuesday December 14th Classic Round 6 14:00
Wednesday December 15th Classic Round 7 12:00

Links

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