London going as expected

by Alejandro Ramirez
12/13/2013 – The top seeds of their groups in the London Super Sixteen rapid tournament have taken a strong lead. In group A Adams and Anand seem untouchable while in Group B Svidler took out Kramnik and now shares the lead with him. Gelfand and Nakamura lead group C as do Caruana and Short in D, although Howell can still come back in that one. Will the leaders keep their positions?

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The London Super Sixteen rapid tournament has started. The main event of the London Chess Classic takes place from December 11th to December 15th at the Olympiad Conference Center in London, England. The tournament brings together many of the best players of the World as well as two qualifiers from the Open section of the London Chess Classic.

Players were divided into four groups initially, to play a double round robin between them and determine two qualifiers to the knock out stages.

Round 3

Round 03 – Group C: Thursday December 12th, 14:00
Gawain Jones 2633
0-1
Judit Polgar 2696
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
½-½
Boris Gelfand 2764
Round 03 – Group D: Thursday December 12th, 14:00
Fabiano Caruana 2779
 ½-½
David Howell 2644
Emil Sutovsky 2663
0-1
Nigel Short 2684
Round 03 – Group A: Thursday December 12th, 15:30
Andrei Istratescu 2709
0-1
Vishy Anand 2775
Michael Adams 2761
 ½-½
Luke McShane 2697
Round 03 – Group B: Thursday December 12th, 15:30
Jonathan Rowson 2573
0-1
Peter Svidler 2746
Matthew Sadler 2646
 ½-½
Vladimir Kramnik 2794

Nakamura played the Larsen (1.b3) against Gelfand following the logic of Lawrence Trent from yesterday's commentary: it's a better move than 1.b4. The game became somewhat wild after Nakamura sacrificed some material but when the dust settled an equal endgame was reached. Jones obtained a seemingly winning position against Polgar but through mistakes he managed to lose.

A little chit-chat before the game didn't help Jones convert his advantages

Howell missed a golden opportunity to beat Caruana with black as he was simply two pawns up. He made it too hard on himself and ended up drawing. Short outplayed Sutovsky through most of the game in a Spanish and ultimately a blunder by the Israeli cost him the game in a situation that was already bad.

Anand demolished Istratescu with good tactics and sound positional play, while Adams uncorked a beautiful tactic with 14.Nd5! and was probably winning at some point, but his follow-up was not the best, he let go of his advatange and McShane crawled his way back into a draw.

Sadler made an easy draw with Kramnik by not risking too much while Rowson faced a powerful exchange sacrifice by Svidler. Black quickly got a winning position and never let go of the throttle.

Interestingly all groups in round three ended with a black win and a draw!

The audience!

Round 4

Round 04 – Group C: Thursday December 12th, 18:00
Judit Polgar 2696 ½-½ Boris Gelfand 2764
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
1-0 
Gawain Jones 2633
Round 04 – Group D: Thursday December 12th, 18:00
David Howell 2644
0-1
Nigel Short 2684
Emil Sutovsky 2663
0-1
Fabiano Caruana 2779
Round 04 – Group A: Thursday December 12th, 19:30
Vishy Anand 2775
1-0
Luke McShane 2697
Michael Adams 2761
1-0 
Andrei Istratescu 2709
Round 04 – Group B: Thursday December 12th, 19:30
Peter Svidler 2746
1-0
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
Matthew Sadler 2646
1-0
Jonathan Rowson 2573

Polgar spoiled a slight edge against Gelfand and had to settle for a draw while Nakamura outplayed Jones from an equal endgame to share first with Gelfand in the group, and it seems unlikely they do not go through.

Howell played another good game, this time against Short, but his atrocious time management left him in a bad situation and Short fully exploited this, with some tactics he turned the game around and won a piece. Sutovsky lost his fourth game in a row and was simply demolished by Caruana.

Adams had the smallest of advantages for a long time against Istratescu, but a blunder by the French player on move 27 allowed Adams to win a pawn and subsequently convert the game. Istratescu, like Sutovsky, qualified from the Open and neither player has scored a single point in the rapids. Anand demolished McShane:

McShane felt the power of Anand's wrath

[Event "5th Classic GpA 2013"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2013.12.12"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "McShane, Luke J"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A07"] [WhiteElo "2773"] [BlackElo "2684"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez, Alejandro"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "2013.12.11"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 c6 3. Bg2 Bg4 4. O-O Nd7 5. d4 e6 6. Nbd2 Ngf6 7. Re1 Be7 8. e4 O-O 9. h3 Bh5 10. c3 Bg6 11. e5 Ne4 12. Nxe4 Bxe4 13. Nh2 Bg6 14. h4 h6 15. Bf1 c5 16. Bd3 Bxd3 17. Qxd3 cxd4 18. cxd4 Qa5 19. Be3 Rfc8 20. Qe2 Qa6 21. Qg4 Kh8 22. Qh5 {This type of positions are hard for computers and amateurs to understand. It seems that Black is solid and he will be able to gradually increase the pressure on the c-file and at the same time he will hold on to his kingside with a bishop on f8. Yet this is many times not the case, a swift sacrifice many times changes the situation.} Kg8 23. Bxh6 $1 {A bolt from the blue.} gxh6 24. Ng4 $1 {The accuracte follow up.} Bf8 {It seems that this should defend. After all the h6 pawn cannot be taken.} 25. Re3 $1 {This is the point of the combination; surprisingly the f7 pawn is impossible to defend and the simple threat of Rf3 is unstoppable.} (25. Nxh6+ $2 Bxh6 26. Qxh6 Qd3 $19) 25... Rc4 26. Rd1 {An amazing move. Anand takes his time to increase the pressure and first defends d4.} Qb6 $2 (26... Rc2 {was the last chance to create some counterplay.} 27. Rf3 Qe2 28. Qxf7+ Kh8 {and it looks like Black should be checkmated soon, but it is not yet so easy.}) 27. Rf3 {The rest is routine.} Rxd4 28. Rxd4 Qxd4 29. Rxf7 Qd1+ 30. Kg2 Qxg4 31. Rxf8+ {An important intermediate move seals Black's fate.} Rxf8 32. Qxg4+ Kf7 33. Qa4 Rd8 34. h5 Nf8 35. Qf4+ Ke8 36. Qxh6 d4 37. Kf1 Rd5 38. Qf6 1-0

Sadler still has realistic chances to advance if he pulls of a big upset tomorrow

Svidler took revenge on Kramnik for his round one loss, and this time he against found himself with two pieces against a rook. In this case however the Russian Champion annihilated his opponent with the two bishops. Sadler also reversed the result from round one and took out Rowson.

Svidler took out Kramnik, he now shares first with the other Russian in group b

Highlights of Day 2 by Daniel King

Standings

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

Schedule

Round 01 – Group A: Wednesday December 11th, 14:00
Luke McShane 2697
0-1
Vishy Anand 2775
Andrei Istratescu 2709
0-1
Michael Adams 2761
Round 01 – Group B: Wednesday December 11th, 14:00
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
1-0
Peter Svidler 2746
Jonathan Rowson 2573
1-0
Matthew Sadler 2646
Round 01 – Group C: Wednesday December 11th, 15:30
Boris Gelfand 2764
1-0
Judit Polgar 2696
Gawain Jones 2633
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
Round 01 – Group D: Wednesday December 11th, 15:30
Nigel Short 2684
½-½
David Howell 2644
Fabiano Caruana 2779
1-0
Emil Sutovsky 2663
Round 02 – Group A: Wednesday December 11th, 18:00
Vishy Anand 2775
½-½
Michael Adams 2761
Luke McShane 2697
1-0
Andrei Istratescu 2709
Round 02 – Group B: Wednesday December 11th, 18:00
Peter Svidler 2746
½-½
Matthew Sadler 2646
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
1-0
Jonathan Rowson 2573
Round 02 – Group C: Wednesday December 11th, 19:30
Judit Polgar 2696
0-1
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
Boris Gelfand 2764
1-0
Gawain Jones 2633
Round 02 – Group D: Wednesday December 11th, 19:30
David Howell 2644
1-0
Emil Sutovsky 2663
Nigel Short 2684
0-1
Fabiano Caruana 2779
Round 03 – Group C: Thursday December 12th, 14:00
Gawain Jones 2633
0-1
Judit Polgar 2696
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
½-½
Boris Gelfand 2764
Round 03 – Group D: Thursday December 12th, 14:00
Fabiano Caruana 2779
 ½-½
David Howell 2644
Emil Sutovsky 2663
0-1
Nigel Short 2684
Round 03 – Group A: Thursday December 12th, 15:30
Andrei Istratescu 2709
0-1
Vishy Anand 2775
Michael Adams 2761
 ½-½
Luke McShane 2697
Round 03 – Group B: Thursday December 12th, 15:30
Jonathan Rowson 2573
0-1
Peter Svidler 2746
Matthew Sadler 2646
 ½-½
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
Round 04 – Group C: Thursday December 12th, 18:00
Judit Polgar 2696 ½-½ Boris Gelfand 2764
Hikaru Nakamura 2772
1-0 
Gawain Jones 2633
Round 04 – Group D: Thursday December 12th, 18:00
David Howell 2644
0-1
Nigel Short 2684
Emil Sutovsky 2663
0-1
Fabiano Caruana 2779
Round 04 – Group A: Thursday December 12th, 19:30
Vishy Anand 2775
1-0
Luke McShane 2697
Michael Adams 2761
1-0 
Andrei Istratescu 2709
Round 04 – Group B: Thursday December 12th, 19:30
Peter Svidler 2746
1-0
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
Matthew Sadler 2646
1-0
Jonathan Rowson 2573
Round 05 – Group A: Friday December 13th, 14:00
Luke McShane 2697
 
Michael Adams 2761
Vishy Anand 2775
 
Andrei Istratescu 2709
Round 05 – Group B: Friday December 13th, 14:00
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
 
Matthew Sadler 2646
Peter Svidler 2746
 
Jonathan Rowson 2573
Round 05 – Group C: Friday December 13th, 15:30
Boris Gelfand 2764   Hikaru Nakamura 2772
Judit Polgar 2696   Gawain Jones 2633
Round 05 – Group D: Friday December 13th, 15:30
Nigel Short 2684
 
Emil Sutovsky 2663
David Howell 2644
 
Fabiano Caruana 2779
Round 06 – Group A: Friday December 13th, 18:00
Michael Adams 2761
 
Vishy Anand 2775
Andrei Istratescu 2709
 
Luke McShane 2697
Round 06 – Group B: Friday December 13th, 18:00
Matthew Sadler 2646
 
Peter Svidler 2746
Jonathan Rowson 2573
 
Vladimir Kramnik 2794
Round 06 – Group C: Friday December 13th, 19:30
Hikaru Nakamura 2772   Judit Polgar 2696
Gawain Jones 2633   Boris Gelfand 2764
Round 06 – Group D: Friday December 13th, 19:30
Emil Sutovsky 2663
 
David Howell 2644
Fabiano Caruana 2779
 
Nigel Short 2684

Photographs by Ray Morris-Hill

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 a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.



Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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