London Classic Rd4: Nakamura beats Anand in rollercoaster game

12/6/2011 – It was another action-packed round in which three of four games ended in Black wins. The nailbiter was Anand's game against Nakamura, in which he seemed headed for a clean victory; however a mistake changed the course and the American never looked back. McShane overcame Howell in a hard game, Short beat Adams, while Carlsen and Kramnik drew. 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 four

Round 4: Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Magnus Carlsen
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik 
Michael Adams
0-1
Nigel Short 
Vishy Anand
0-1
Hikaru Nakamura
David Howell
0-1
Luke McShane 
Levon Aronian (bye) – assisting commentary

It was an enthralling round of chess, with three wins, all for Black, and enough excitement and drama for an entire event, much less a mere round.

It was heartwarming to see Nigel Short (above) ultimately overcome Michael Adams, and not only post his first score, but a full point no less (or three per London scoring). The opening was quite odd, though Short has long been known to resurrect offbeat variations at will, with a 3...h6 in a French Tarrasch.


Michael Adams ran into a determined Nigel Short in round four

Levon Aronian, who was the guest commentator of the day, was quiet as GM Daniel King explained the purpose behind this move to the audience. When he was done, Aronian commented, "I am kind of glad you said that, and managed to find a point for the move." King laughed, "Because you think the move is pointless." The Armenian smiled. IM Lawrence Trent, commenting with King, then added, "We just got Twittered that John Watson wrote about ...h6 in his book "Dangerous Weapons in the French". Aronian added, "A better title would be Endangered Species in the French."

In spite of the odd opening, Short soon managed to develop an initiative and pressure against Adams's monarch, and though it took over 70 moves to close the deal, Nigel brought home the bacon.

The commentary was interrupted near this point as Ray Edwards announced the prize for the British Chess Federation's chess book of the year, awarded this year to John Nunn for his two-volume work, "Nunn's Chess Endings".

Levon Aronian gave the award to a beaming John Nunn, and then added that he had read and studied the two books from cover to cover during his preparation for the Candidates Matches earlier this year. When he had first started them, he explained, he had expected them to be quite dull, being books on endgames after all, but instead found that the examples given were each more beautiful than the other. It became clear to him that this was not merely yet another technical treatise but a true labor of love. Needless to say, he wholeheartedly recommended them.


John Nunn with his Chess Book of the Year award

Magnus Carlsen (above) and Vladimir Kramnik played a typical technical game in which Carlsen took an infinitely small advantage and proceeded to milk it for all it's worth, and then some. It eventually ended in a draw, though the game contained many fights for subtle advantages that might decide the game much later. It was fascinating watching the two players during the post-mortem.

 
Carlsen and Kramnik in their post-mortem


Vladimir Kramnik, who has played one round less and could easily be in the mix for first


Definitely in the mix for first: Norwegian GM Magnus Carlsen


Good mood before the start of the game Anand-Nakamura

The game of the day was without a doubt the epic battle between World Champion Vishy Anand and rising start Hikaru Nakamura. Anand played the Bayonet against Nakamura's King's Indian, choosing a line that Hikaru had faced against Kramnik during the Olympiads in 2010. The buildup became quite ugly for Black, as a tempo lost in the opening proved to have far more dire consequences than expected, and it all seemed like a clean victory for the Indian. Suddenly a mistake by White changed everything and Black's attack was suddenly very much alive.

After 32...Rc8 Trent commented: "I think it's squeaky buns time." – King, "You mean Anand is squirming around in his chair." – Trent, "I think so. I think his position has gone terribly wrong."


Nakamura analyzes his fascinating battle against Anand

Andrew Martin: Game of the Day Rd 4 London Chess Classic

Although it was not over soon, there was little doubt. In fact, after Carlsen and Kramnik were shown the game as they ended their post-mortem, despite being thanked for their time, the Russian showed no signs of getting up, and instead just studied the screen for a couple of minutes, caught up in the drama of the moment.

David Howell faced his other young compatriot Luke McShane (above), and theirs was a hard-fought game that eventually went in McShane's favor, taking him to equal first with Carlsen. Note that Kramnik has played one round less so far, and could easily be in the mix for first.

 
David Howell and McShane had a lively encounter

Pictures by Ray Morris-Hill, Frederic Friedel, Pascal Simon


Standings after four rounds (London scoring)

Standings after four 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
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik 
Michael Adams
0-1
Nigel Short 
Vishy Anand
0-1
Hikaru Nakamura
David Howell
0-1
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.


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