London Chess Classic and the history-making 2800 club

by ChessBase
11/10/2011 – The 2011 London Chess Classic is now just a month away – and it just got a little bit stronger. The latest ratings published by FIDE are the ones which will apply to the event. At the top of the list, for the first time in the history of chess competition, there are four players rated 2800 or more. All are playing in London. So that's not a bad place to be, from December 3-12.

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News release

London Chess Classic 2011

The 2011 London Chess Classic is now just a month away – and it just got a little bit stronger. The latest ratings published by FIDE, the World Chess Federation, are the ones which will apply to the event. At the top of the list, for the first time in the history of chess competition, there are four players rated 2800 or more. And it just so happens that these four gentlemen are playing in London next month! Have a look at the table below...

Name Title
Carlsen, Magnus grandmaster
Anand, Viswanathan world champion
Aronian, Levon grandmaster
Kramnik, Vladimir ex-world champion
Nakamura, Hikaru grandmaster
Adams, Michael grandmaster
Short, Nigel grandmaster
McShane, Luke grandmaster
Howell, David grandmaster

... and you can see that Vladimir Kramnik has enjoyed a great run of form recently and hauled himself back up to 2800 for the first time since he ceased to be world champion. It also means the London Chess Classic will have an average rating over 2730, making it comfortably the strongest event ever held on these shores.

The 2800-club, with Magnus Carlsen, Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik and Levon Aronian

In a strange way, London will actually have 4½ members of the ‘2800 Club’. Don’t believe me? Well, we have it on very good authority that Hikaru Nakamura is now being coached and assisted by Garry Kasparov, one of only two former members of the ‘2800 Club’ (Topalov being the other) not in the London line-up. Garry retired from chess several years but his gaze is still firmly fixed on events in London, as it was last year, when he paid us a two-day visit and enjoyed the play as a VIP guest.

Garry's Revenge?

Hikaru will be hoping that Garry brings him what he brought Magnus Carlsen in 2009, when Kasparov was coaching the Norwegian from afar. It seems he brought him not just chess expertise but a large slice of luck! It was Garry who advised Magnus to prepare the English Opening (1.c4) against his major rival Vladimir Kramnik in 2009.

At the drawing of lots, the players were invited to pick up a white pawn from a giant
chess set. Magnus went first – and chose the pawn he intended to play against Vlad.

It had the number “one” underneath! Vlad Kramnik was seen to shake his head...

He stepped up, chose a pawn and found the number “eight” underneath it

That meant the first round pairing was Carlsen (White) versus Kramnik. The next day Magnus duly pushed 1.c4 and won – something his coach didn’t manage to achieve when defending his world title against Kramnik in 2000. Is Garry trying to gain revenge for 2000 via his protégés? If Hikaru is “channelling” Kasparov and manages to beat Vlad, then Garry will have achieved a measure of revenge for the two losses he suffered against Kramnik eleven years ago.

Garry Kasparov giving an interview to CNN at the London Chess Classic 2010

Chanelling Magnus or Hikaru? In 2010 Garry gave the first prize to his Nowegian student

Of course, the London Classic is not just about the guys mentioned above. Ask any elite chessplayer what they want Santa to bring them for Christmas and it would be the London Chess Classic trophy. The tournament rounds off the chess year and all the players will be motivated to end on a high note as they head off for their winter break.

Timetable, course details and tickets are available official web site, given at the bottom of the page.

Play Chess!

If all this talk of chess rivalries is only making you thirst for some chess action yourself... you can play chess at the London Chess Classic, under the same roof as the super-stars! There are all sorts of events and prizes for all chess standards and tastes, from the humblest beginner, and tournaments which last days at a time, or over the weekend – or for just part of a day (e.g. evening blitz events lasting no longer than 2½ hours). Entry forms are available for download NOW from the tournament website.

Apart from the elite Classic tournament, there is a nine-round world-rated open which attracts professional grandmasters from around the world, chasing the £2,500 first prize. One of the legendary figures of the game, Viktor Korchnoi, will be playing simultaneous displays, where amateur players can experience what it is like to face the player who contested world championship matches with Anatoly Karpov in the 1970s and 1980s.

For more information and to buy tickets to The London Chess Classic, please go to Tickets are on sale now from the website or from the London Chess Centre, 44 Baker Street, W1U 7RT (tel. 020 7486 8222).

The timetable of the 2011 London Chess Classic

Friday December 2nd
Press Day

Saturday December 3rd
Classic round 1
1st Weekender
Open round 1

Sunday December 4th
Classic round 2
1st Weekender
Open round 2

Monday December 5th

Classic round 3
CSC Schools 1
Open round 3

Tuesday December 6th
Classic round 4
CSC Schools 2
Open round 4

Wednesday December 7th
Classic free day
Chess Cultural Festival
Open round 5

Thursday December 8th
Classic round 5
CSC Schools 3
Open round 6

Friday December 9th

Classic round 6
CSC Schools 4
Open round 7

Saturday December 10th
Classic round 7
2nd Weekender
Open round 8

Sunday December 11th
Classic round 8
2nd Weekender
Open round 9

Monday December 12th
Classic round 9
CSC Schools 5
Charity Fundraising Dinner

Malcolm Pein (IM)
Tournament Director

Chess Promotions Ltd
44 Baker Street, London, W1U 7RT


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