London Chess Classic - Anand beats Carlsen; McShane escapes

12/10/2010 – Although the count in decisive games (one) was calmer, the games were anything but. Anand got into trouble against Carlsen, then Magnus was completely lost, almost saved it and finally succumbed. McShane suffered terribly against Kramnik, and was on the brink of losing when a last minute blunder changed this. Howell drew with a clever fortress against Nakamura. With pictures and videos.

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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 50000 Euros, 2nd 25000 Euros, 3rd 15000 Euros, 4th 10000 Euros, 5th 10000 Euros, 6th 8000 Euros plus seven daily Best Game prizes of 1,000 Euros voted on by the public. To further incentivate combativity, there is a winners’ pool of 20,000 Euros for each game won. At the end of the tournament the number of wins is counted with a proportionate prize is awarded for each win, all of equal value. For example if there are twenty decisive games then the prize will be 1000 Euros per win.

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.

Express report of round three

By John Saunders

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

Today was the big one – world number one plays world number two, right here in London town (we had to pinch ourselves that it was really happening). Note that I didn’t specify precisely which was which – Vishy is numero uno on the official November list but Magnus is no. 1 on the unofficial but authoritative ‘live list’. Prior to today they had met nine times in 2010 with five of those at longplay chess (the other shorter stuff doesn’t really count to purists). This year Vishy leads 3-2 with one win (in Bilbao, with Black, two months ago to the day) and four draws. Linares 2009 was the last time Magnus beat Vishy in a longplay head-to-head. So Magnus needed a win to emphasise to the chess public that he is not just a serial conqueror of lesser names, while Vishy’s immediate problem was his position in the tournament: two draws are only worth two points under the 3-1-0 system and McShane was already on 6. Plenty to play for, then.


The moment everyone tries to catch: the handshake before the start of the game


A young girl from the scholastic event executes the first move for Anand: 1.e4

The game started with a fairly standard Ruy Lopez and Vishy thought his opening had gone wrong around move 24 – nothing too drastic but not quite the position he was aiming for. But then the move 24...Be6, which Magnus described as a “huge oversight”, changed the complexion of the position in the world champion’s favour. It was still mind-numbingly hard to convert and came down to an endgame where White’s main advantage was his vastly superior king safety and his ability to point all his pieces at Magnus’s weak pawns. Carlsen tried a desperate last stand as Vishy’s pieces circled and tormented his depleted forces but in the end he couldn’t hold out. This was a great win for Vishy (the day before his 41st birthday) and a psychological blow for the young man with designs on his crown.

Anand,Viswanathan (2804) - Carlsen,Magnus (2802) [C95]
2nd London Chess Classic London ENG (3), 10.12.2010

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Nb8 10.d4 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 Bb7 12.Bc2 Re8 13.a4 Bf8 14.Bd3 c6 15.b4 Rc8 16.axb5 cxb5 17.Bb2 d5 18.exd5 exd4 19.Rxe8 Qxe8 20.c4 bxc4 21.Nxc4 Nxd5 22.Nxd4 Nxb4 23.Nf5 Nxd3 24.Qxd3 Be4 25.Qd4 Bxf5 26.Nd6 Qd8 27.Nxf5 f6 28.Rd1 Rc2 29.Nh6+ gxh6 30.Qg4+ Bg7 31.Qe6+ Kh8 32.Rxd7 Qf8 33.Ba3 Qg8 34.Qxa6 Qe8 35.Qa7 Qg8 36.Be7 Rc8 37.Qa6 Qe8 38.Ra7 Kg8 39.Qe6+ Kh8 40.Qa6 Kg8 41.Qe6+ Kh8 42.Kh2 Rc6 43.Qb3 Rc8 44.Bd6 Qg6 45.Qb7 Rd8 46.Bg3 Rg8 47.h4 Qf5 48.Qc7 Qd5 49.Ra5 Qe4 50.Qd7 Qc4 51.Qf5 Qc8 52.Qf3 Qd7 53.Bf4 Qf7 54.g3 Re8 55.Be3 Rg8 56.Ra6 Re8 57.Ra7 Re7 58.Qa8+ Qf8 59.Ra6 Re8 60.Qc6 Rc8 61.Qf3 Qf7 62.Ra7 Qe6 63.Qb7 Qg8 64.Bf4 Rd8 65.Qa6 Re8 66.Rc7 Ra8 67.Qc6 Re8 68.Be3 Rb8 69.Bd4 Qf8 70.Qc3 Re8 71.Rc6 Qf7 72.Bxf6 Rf8 73.Bxg7+ Qxg7 74.Qe3 Qb2 75.Kg2 Qb7 76.Qxh6 Qf7 77.Rc2 1-0. [Click to replay]


After the game Anand and Magnus analyse with GMs Daniel King and Chris Ward
for the audience in London and at the same time on the Playchess server


Anyone watching big-time chess for the first time in London today will have learned that the elite game can be highly attritional. If Vishy versus Magnus was tough, Vlad versus Luke was utter torture. Eventually, via Vlad’s favourite Berlin Wall (patented right here in Hammersmith), it came down to rook and bishop versus rook - the endgame dreaded by players, arbiters and chess journalists who fancy putting their feet up for the evening, dammit. A draw with best play, apart from a few specific positions, but always damnably hard to defend at the end of a long game. As British chess writer Bill Hartston once said (I’m probably misquoting): “other players make you suffer when they get the chance, so you have to make them suffer when you’ve got the upper hand.” Why do chessplayers put themselves through this punishment? Love of the game? More like because we are total masochists. Come on, FIDE - you like messing around with the rules of the game? Why don’t you declare rook and bishop versus rook to be a statutory DRAW so that some of us with lives to lead can go home, have something to eat and maybe reacquaint ourselves with our poor suffering spouses and children? Sorry - got a bit emotional there - I’ve calmed down now. Anyway, finally, at 9.37pm, 7 hours and 37 minutes after they started play, Vlad stalemated his opponent - draw! Thus Luke remains the overnight leader going into round 4 and ensured that not one Englishman lowered his colours in this toughest of tough rounds of chess. No wonder the delighted home fans went on their way chanting ‘Enger-land, Enger-land, Enger-land!’

McShane,Luke J (2645) - Kramnik,Vladimir (2791) [C67]
2nd London Chess Classic London ENG (3), 10.12.2010

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Nc3 Ke8 10.h3 h5 11.Ne2 b6 12.Bf4 c5 13.Rad1 Bb7 14.Ng5 Rh6 15.Ng3 Nh4 16.f3 Be7 17.Rfe1 Rg6 18.N5e4 Bc6 19.Kh2 Nxg2 20.Kxg2 h4 21.c4 hxg3 22.Nc3 Rd8 23.Nd5 Rd7 24.b3 Bd8 25.Re4 Bb7 26.Bxg3 b5 27.Kf2 Rh6 28.h4 Kf8 29.Ke2 Ra6 30.Rd2 bxc4 31.bxc4 c6 32.Nc3 Rxd2+ 33.Kxd2 Bc8 34.Bf2 Be7 35.Re1 Bf5 36.Kc1 Be6 37.Re4 Rb6 38.Na4 Rb4 39.Nb2 g6 40.a3 Rb3 41.Re3 Rb7 42.Rc3 Bf5 43.Na4 Kg7 44.Kd2 Bd8 45.Ke2 Rb1 46.Bxc5 Bxh4 47.Bxa7 Re1+ 48.Kd2 Rh1 49.Ke2 Re1+ 50.Kd2 Rh1 51.Ke2 Rh2+ 52.Kd1 Bg5 53.Nc5 Bf4 54.Nb3 g5 55.Nd4 Bh3 56.Rc2 Rh1+ 57.Ke2 Bd7 58.Bb8 c5 59.e6 Ba4 60.Bxf4 gxf4 61.Nf5+ Kf6 62.exf7 Rh8 63.Rd2 Kxf5 64.Rd5+ Kf6 65.Rxc5 Bc2 66.Rd5 Kxf7 67.Rd4 Rh2+ 68.Ke1 Ke6 69.Rxf4 Ke5 70.Rf7 Kd4 71.Re7 Bd3 72.a4 Ra2 73.a5 Bxc4 74.Re4+ Kd3 75.Re5 Kc3 76.Re7 Bd3 77.Re8 Kd4 78.Re7 Bb5 79.Re4+ Kd3 80.Re6 Bc4 81.Re5 Rb2 82.Re7 Bb5 83.Re6 Ra2 84.Kf1 Bc4 85.Re7 Bd5 86.Rd7 Kc4 87.Ke1 Bxf3 88.Rd2 Ra3 89.a6 Bd5 90.Rc2+ Kd3 91.Rd2+ Ke4 92.Re2+ Kf4 93.Kd2 Be4 94.a7 Ra2+ 95.Ke1 Rxa7 96.Kf2 Rd7 97.Rb2 Rd3 98.Ra2 Rf3+ 99.Ke1 Rh3 100.Rf2+ Bf3 101.Rb2 Rh8 102.Kd2 Rd8+ 103.Kc3 Ke3 104.Rb6 Rc8+ 105.Kb4 Kd4 106.Rd6+ Bd5 107.Rb6 Rc1 108.Rb5 Bc6 109.Rb6 Kd5 110.Ka5 Ra1+ 111.Kb4 Ra8 112.Kc3 Kc5 113.Rb2 Bd5 114.Rf2 Ra3+ 115.Kd2 Kd4 116.Rf4+ Be4 117.Rf2 Bf3 118.Ke1 Re3+ 119.Kd2 Rd3+ 120.Kc2 Kc4 121.Rh2 Be4 122.Re2 Bf5 123.Kc1 Rd8 124.Rd2 Bd3 125.Rf2 Kc3 126.Rc2+ Kd4 127.Rb2 Ke3 128.Rb6 Rd4 129.Kb2 Kd2 130.Ka3 Bc2 131.Rb8 Kc1 132.Ra8 Rc4 133.Ra7 Kd2 134.Rb7 Rh4 135.Rb6 Kc1 136.Ra6 Rc4 137.Ra7 Kd2 138.Rb7 Kc3 139.Rb3+ Bxb3 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


David Howell once again showed his talent for brinksmanship, both on the board and on the clock. He defended a Fianchetto Grünfeld Defence, following a line played by Karpov and Kasparov in their ‘nostalgia match’ of 2009. David, who had not expected the opening played, ate up gigantic amounts of time on his clock trying to decide what to do around move 12, while Hikaru evidently thought he was playing an online bullet game. Only kidding - the real reason for his speed was that he had prepared the line in some depth. After around 25 moves played, David only had five minutes or so left while Hikaru had only used some 12-15 minutes for all the moves on his clock. However, David came up with a very nice plan to save the day; his rook, knight and king huddled together for safety whilst simultaneously protecting a couple of key pawns and preventing Hikaru’s king from entering the fray. Hikaru’s queen prodded and poked, and his king huffed and puffed, but the American couldn’t blow the Englishman’s house down.

Nakamura,Hikaru (2741) - Howell,David W L (2611) [D72]
2nd London Chess Classic London ENG (3), 10.12.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nb6 7.Ne2 0-0 8.0-0 c5 9.d5 e6 10.Nec3 Na6 11.a4 Nb4 12.Be3 Bd4 13.Bxd4 cxd4 14.Na2 Nxa2 15.Rxa2 e5 16.b3 Bd7 17.f4 f6 18.Raf2 Qe7 19.a5 Nc8 20.fxe5 Qxe5 21.Nd2 Nd6 22.Nf3 Qxe4 23.Re2 Qxd5 24.Ne5 Qxe5 25.Rxe5 fxe5 26.Bd5+ Kg7 27.a6 Bc6 28.Rxf8 Rxf8 29.Qe1 Bxd5 30.Qxe5+ Rf6 31.Qxd5 bxa6 32.Qxd4 h5 33.Qxa7+ Nf7 34.h4 Kg8 35.Qe7 Kg7 36.b4 Rf5 37.Qc7 Rf6 38.Kg2 Kg8 39.Qc8+ Kg7 40.Qc7 Kg8 41.Qc8+ Kg7 42.Qc7 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Mickey Adams and Nigel Short have long been rivals for the title of English number one. Nigel pinched it from Mickey a year or so but Mickey raised his game and pinched it back again. Their game today was hard fought, with Nigel playing a g6 move in the Caro-Kann which has been played quite a lot by his fellow Greek residents Skembris and Nikolaidis (for those who didn’t know, Nigel lives in Athens and occasionally likes to refer to himself as an “olive farmer”. Mickey played the very plausible 11 e6 to break up Black’s structure and then start an attack rolling down the kingside. Some cagey shadow-boxing ensued. It was a tough game though not quite the grim struggle the other three games were. White had a long-lasting initiative but nothing came of it - draw agreed (slightly naughtily, without consulting an arbiter, but it was the deadest of dead draws.

Adams,Michael (2723) - Short,Nigel D (2680) [B17]
2nd London Chess Classic London ENG (3), 10.12.2010

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Ng5 Ngf6 6.Bd3 g6 7.N1f3 Bg7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Ne5 Nxe5 10.dxe5 Nd5 11.e6 Bxe6 12.Nxe6 fxe6 13.c3 Qd6 14.Bc2 b5 15.a3 a5 16.h4 Rad8 17.Qg4 b4 18.axb4 axb4 19.cxb4 Rb8 20.Ra4 Nxb4 21.Be4 Nd5 22.Qe2 Nf4 23.Qc4 c5 24.g3 Nd5 25.Ra6 Rb6 26.Rxb6 Nxb6 27.Qe2 Nd5 28.Kg2 Bd4 29.h5 gxh5 30.Bh6 Rb8 31.Qxh5 Nf6 32.Qg5+ Kf7 33.Bf3 Rg8 34.Qh4 Bxb2 35.Bg5 Kg7 36.Rh1 Qd3 37.Bxf6+ Bxf6 38.Qg4+ Kf7 39.Qh5+ Kg7 40.Qxc5 h6 41.Qc6 Qd6 42.Qe4 Qe5 43.Qg4+ Bg5 44.Be4 Rd8 45.Re1 Rd2 46.Re2 Rxe2 47.Qxe2 Bf6 48.Qg4+ Kf8 49.Qg6 Qg5 50.Qxg5 hxg5 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


The games of round three in London are under way


John Nunn and the amazing Viktor Korchnoi following the games in the VIP room


As always: Viktor's wife Petra sits on the sofa reading a book


In the lobby John Nunn and Lawrence Trent analyse, with Henrik Carlsen watching


The Carlsens in London: Henrik, Sigrun, Ingrid (16) and Signe (12) – the two sisters
have played in musicals like "Cats"

All photos by Frederic Friedel in London

Commentary and interviews

After the games the players always congregate to the commentary room to discuss what has just transpired for the audience in London and worldwide on Playchess.com. The live commentary during the games and the post mortems with the players are archived and can be watched "on demand" by Playchess members. Here are three samples from an earlier round on YouTube.


Standings after round three

Nr
Sd
Name Rating Fed
Score
TPR   Born Tiebreak
1
7
McShane, Luke J 2645 ENG
7
3031   1984  
2
4
Nakamura, Hikaru 2741 USA
5
2860   1987 2x black
3
1
Anand, Viswanathan 2804 IND
5
2843   1969 2x white
4
3
Kramnik, Vladimir 2791 RUS
4
2689   1975 2x black
5
5
Adams, Michael 2723 ENG
4
2698   1971 2x white
6
2
Carlsen, Magnus 2802 NOR
3
2599   1990  
7
8
Howell, David W L 2611 ENG
2
2631   1990  
8
6
Short, Nigel D 2680 ENG
1
2447   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 

-

 David Howell

Magnus Carlsen 

-

 Hikaru Nakamura

Nigel Short 

-

 Viswanathan Anand

Luke McShane 

-

 Michael Adams

Games – Report
Round 5: Sunday, December 12, 2010

Michael Adams 

-

 Vladimir Kramnik

Viswanathan Anand 

-

 Luke McShane

Hikaru Nakamura 

-

 Nigel Short

David Howell 

-

 Magnus Carlsen

Games – Report

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

Saturday December 11th Classic Round 4 14:00
Sunday December 12th Classic Round 5 14:00
Monday December 13th Free day  
Tuesday December 14th Classic Round 6 14:00
Wednesday December 15th Classic Round 7 12:00

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 the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!


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