London Classic R3: Carlsen beats Nakamura; McShane is second

12/5/2011 – It was a very exciting round, with three decisive games, almost four had Vishy Anand not pulled a miracle escape against David Howell. The biggest clash was Magnus Carlsen against Hikaru Nakamura, in which the Norwegian cracked open the American's kingside. Nigel Short lost to Levon Aronian, and Luke McShane beat Michael Adams. Report with video commentary by the players.

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London Chess Classic 2011

The 2011 London Chess Classic is taking place in the Olympia Conference Centre from Saturday, December 3rd until Monday, December 12th, starting at 14:00h London time each day (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 then 5) an 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. The total prize fund is €160,000 before tax.

Round three

Round 3: Monday, December 5, 2011
Levon Aronian
1-0
Nigel Short 
Magnus Carlsen
1-0
Hikaru Nakamura
Michael Adams
0-1
Luke McShane 
Vishy Anand
½ ½
David Howell 
Vladimir Kramnik (bye) – assisting commentary

It was hard to ask for a more exciting round, and the Brits had every reason to be pleased. The live commentary, available with video at the official site, or retransmitted through Playchess, has also been unusually fun, with lively banter from the key host IM/GM Lawrence Trent (the video labels him one or the other) with a wide assortment of players. In the first round, GM Daniel King co-hosted with him, but alternately he has brought in the opinions of others playing in the parallel FIDE event such as GM Gawaine Jones, GM Stuart Conquest, and several others.


Basic live commentary provided by GM Chris Ward and IM Lawrence Trent

Finally, the absolute cherry on top: each round the player who is with a bye steps in when the games are well underway, and liberally comments on all the positions. Today it was Kramnik's turn, and you could tell that even Trent was awed by this unique opportunity. The great player also answered a variety of questions, and one interesting reply was whom he saw as the successor to his generation dominated by himself, Anand, and Topalov. The obvious name was Magnus Carlsen, but who else? Karjakin? Nakamura? Another rising player such as Giri perhaps? In his opinion, Aronian is the player he sees vying with Carlsen for the top spot in the years to come.


Vladimir Kramnik, who has a bye in round three, assists with the commentary

When he arrived on stage, there was an animated discussion on whether David Howell really had winning chances against Anand, and when Kramnik was shown the position, his grimace showed he agreed. He did however note that the Englishman was taking too long and didn't seem to be making proper adjustments to the fact that here there is no increment of any kind. His words turned out to be prophetic as imprecisions allowed Anand to get back in and save the game.

 
The post-mortem with Vishy Anand and David Howell

Levon Aronian came alone to the post-mortem after Nigel Short's disheartening defeat and gave his usual friendly and objective commentary. While he never experienced any genuine trouble, exploiting Short's extravagant setup (per Aronian) required extremely precise play, and a serious mistake threw his edge away though the English player failed to make the most of it. Even the 'won' endgame presented subtle traps White had to sidestep, lines an engine doesn't mention as it is designed to tell you why the best moves are best, not why the second best move is not.


Levon Aronian in round three, playing against...


... the so far luckless Nigel Short

When asked about the organization, Aronian was very positive, explaining that it far exceeded his expectations, and he felt everything was beautiful and top-notch.

 
Levon Aronian gives detailed analysis and answers other questions


Magnus Carlsen, after a second victory in the sole lead


Hikaru Nakamura for whom Carlsen appears to be an angstgegner

The biggest clash of the round was between Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura, both of whom had 1.5/2 (or 4.0/6 in the London scoring), and which traditionally leads to spectacular battles with cutthroat chess. This time was no exception, and while the American seemed to be holding his own for quite some time, it was a sign of the potential vulnerability of his position that in a handful of moves his king was wide open, and the position was lost. Carlsen opined that Black was indeed fine, but the position was far easier to play as White than as Black.


Carlsen-Nakamura did not disappoint, and the players share what they saw


Luke McShane in round three, about to chalk up his first win


Michael Adams at the start of a game that ended badly for him

The final game was Luke McShane's victory over Michael Adams after a speculative bishop sacrifice against Adams's king. Upon seeing it, Kramnik said he had been analyzing it and had come to the conclusion it was a draw at best, with a perpetual, since the attack was easily staved off, however things unfolded differently and Luke's will to win prevailed in the end.


Standings after three rounds (London scoring)

Standings after three rounds (traditional scoring)

Schedule and results

Round 1: Saturday, December 3, 2011
Vladimir Kramnik
½ ½
Hikaru Nakamura
Levon Aronian
½ ½
Luke McShane 
Magnus Carlsen
1-0
David Howell 
Michael Adams
½ ½
Vishy Anand 
Nigel Short (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 2: Sunday, December 4, 2011
David Howell
½ ½
Michael Adams 
Luke McShane
½ ½
Magnus Carlsen
Hikaru Nakamura
1-0
Levon Aronian
Nigel Short
0-1
Vladimir Kramnik 
Vishy Anand (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 3: Monday, December 5, 2011
Levon Aronian
1-0
Nigel Short 
Magnus Carlsen
1-0
Hikaru Nakamura
Michael Adams
0-1
Luke McShane 
Vishy Anand
½ ½
David Howell 
Vladimir Kramnik (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 4: Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Magnus Carlsen
  Vladimir Kramnik 
Michael Adams
  Nigel Short 
Vishy Anand
  Hikaru Nakamura
David Howell
  Luke McShane 
Levon Aronian (bye) – assisting commentary
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 Rest day
Round 5: Thursday, December 8, 2011
Hikaru Nakamura
  David Howell 
Nigel Short
  Vishy Anand 
Vladimir Kramnik
  Michael Adams 
Levon Aronian
  Magnus Carlsen
Luke McShane (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 6: Friday, December 9, 2011
Michael Adams
  Levon Aronian
Vishy Anand
  Vladimir Kramnik 
David Howell
  Nigel Short 
Luke McShane
  Hikaru Nakamura
Magnus Carlsen (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 7: Saturday, December 10, 2011
Nigel Short 
  Luke McShane 
Vladimir Kramnik 
  David Howell 
Levon Aronian
  Vishy Anand 
Magnus Carlsen
  Michael Adams 
Hikaru Nakamura (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 8: Sunday, December 11, 2011
Vishy Anand
  Magnus Carlsen
David Howell
  Levon Aronian
Luke McShane
  Vladimir Kramnik 
Hikaru Nakamura
  Nigel Short 
Michael Adams (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 9: Monday, December 12, 2011
Luke McShane
  Vishy Anand 
Hikaru Nakamura
  Michael Adams 
Nigel Short
  Magnus Carlsen
Vladimir Kramnik
  Levon Aronian
David Howell (bye) – assisting commentary

All games 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 (sorry Murray!), 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. Stand by for further details on Saturday. The games of the final round start two hours earlier.


Links

The games are being 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 and get immediate access. Or you can get our latest Fritz 13 program, which includes six months free premium membership to Playchess.

Links


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