London Chess Classic - Carlsen pulls a Houdini

12/14/2010 – The penultimate round saw four draws, but that had the spectators on the edges of their seats. Adams and Anand was a trench war draw, while Short and Howell exchanged blows in a King's Gambit. McShane and Nakamura also slugged it out, but the game of the round was Kramnik's crushing position against Carlsen, only to liquidate into an endgame that proved unwinnable. Round six report.

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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 50,000 Euros, 2nd 25,000 Euros, 3rd 15,000 Euros, 4th 10,000 Euros, 5th 10,000 Euros, 6th 8,000 Euros plus seven daily Best Game prizes of 1,000 Euros voted on by the public. 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.

Report on round six

By John Saunders / photos by Frederic Friedel and Christian Sasse

The sixth round at Olympiad consisted of four draws out of four, so the leader board didn’t change. All four games were hard fought, as usual, and winning chances came and went on various boards.

Round 6: Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Vladimir Kramnik 

½-½

 Magnus Carlsen

Nigel Short 

½-½

 David Howell

Luke McShane 

½-½

 Hikaru Nakamura

Michael Adams 

½-½

 Viswanathan Anand

The first game to finish was the all-English battle between Nigel Short and David Howell. Nigel treated us to some 19th century romanticism – a King’s Gambit. David chose a 1870s continuation by Blackburne (7...Bg7) rather than the older 7...Bd6, as played by Staunton amongst others. In the spirit of the opening, the players disdained to defend pawns and attacked hard but eventually the pieces came off and a level position appeared on the board.


David Howell facing Nigel Short

Short,N (2680) - Howell,D (2611) [C39]
2nd London Chess Classic London ENG (6), 14.12.2010

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 Nf6 6.Bc4 d5 7.exd5 Bg7 8.d4 Nxd5 9.0-0 Nc6 10.Bxd5 Qxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Rxf4 Be6 13.Nc3 Qh5 14.Ne4 Qxh4 15.Nc5 0-0 16.Nxe6 fxe6 17.Rxg4 Qf2+ 18.Kh2 Kh8 19.Bg5 Rab8 20.Bh4 Qf5 21.Rb1 c5 22.dxc5 Be5+ 23.g3 Rg8 24.Rxg8+ Rxg8 25.Qe2 Rg4 26.Kg2 Re4 27.Qd3 Qg4 28.Rf1 Rd4 29.Qe3 Re4 30.Qf3 Re2+ 31.Rf2 Qxf3+ 32.Kxf3 Rxf2+ 33.Kxf2 Bxb2 34.c6 Kg7 35.g4 Be5 36.Kf3 Kf7 37.Ke4 Bd6 38.Bd8 Ke8 39.Bh4 Kf7 40.Bd8 Ke8 41.Bh4 Kf7 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Adams-Anand was a cagey struggle. Mickey perhaps had slightly more targets to aim at but he couldn’t make significant progress. It lasted 54 moves but always seemed likely to be a draw.


England's top GM Michael Adams


World Champion Vishy Anand

Adams,Mi (2723) - Anand,V (2804) [B92]
2nd London Chess Classic London ENG (6), 14.12.2010

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Be3 Be6 10.Qd2 Nbd7 11.a4 Rc8 12.a5 Nc5 13.Nxc5 dxc5 14.Rfd1 Qxd2 15.Rxd2 Rfd8 16.Rxd8+ Bxd8 17.b3 Be7 18.Bc4 Bxc4 19.bxc4 Ne8 20.g4 Nd6 21.Ra4 h6 22.Nd5 Bd8 23.f3 Kf8 24.Kf1 Ke8 25.Ke2 Kd7 26.Kd3 Kc6 27.Bd2 Ra8 28.Bc3 f6 29.h4 b6 30.axb6 Bxb6 31.h5 a5 32.Bd2 Bd8 33.Ra3 Ra7 34.Ra4 Ra8 35.Be1 Ra7 36.Bc3 Ra8 37.Ne3 Ra7 38.Kd2 Nf7 39.Ke2 Ng5 40.Nd5 Ne6 41.Kd3 Ra8 42.Ke3 Kd6 43.Kd3 Kc6 44.Bd2 Nd4 45.f4 exf4 46.Bxf4 Ra7 47.Ra1 Ne6 48.Bg3 Ng5 49.Bf4 Nf7 50.Ra4 Rb7 51.Ra1 Ra7 52.Ra4 Rb7 53.Ra1 Ra7 54.Ra4 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

McShane-Nakamura saw Luke repeat his 1 g3 experiment of the fourth round. It transposed into the English Four Knights variation. Luke might have improved with Qa4 around move 18 and it did get mightily complex in the lead up to the move 40 time control, with both players short of time. Hikaru could probably have improved his play and was close to winning but Luke was allowed to get his queen near the black king, setting up some perpetual check opportunities. Hikaru found a way to win material but Luke’s queen rescued the draw on her own.


Top US GM Hikaru Nakamura


Tournament leader Luke McShane

McShane,L (2645) - Nakamura,Hi (2741) [A00]
2nd London Chess Classic London ENG (6), 14.12.2010

1.g3 e5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Bg2 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Nc3 Nb6 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.a3 0-0 9.b4 Re8 10.d3 Bf8 11.Bb2 a5 12.b5 Nd4 13.Nd2 c6 14.bxc6 Nxc6 15.Nc4 Be6 16.Nxb6 Qxb6 17.Rb1 Qa6 18.Bc1 Rac8 19.Re1 b6 20.Bd2 Red8 21.a4 Nd4 22.Nb5 Bc5 23.Nxd4 Bxd4 24.Be3 Rc5 25.Bxd4 exd4 26.Rc1 Qc8 27.Rxc5 Qxc5 28.Qa1 Rc8 29.h4 Qc3 30.Bb7 Rc7 31.Be4 f5 32.Bf3 Bb3 33.Kf1 Kf8 34.e3 Qxd3+ 35.Kg2 Qc3 36.Qa3+ Ke8 37.Qd6 Rd7 38.Qe5+ Re7 39.Qb5+ Kf8 40.Qxf5+ Rf7 41.Qe5 Rxf3 42.Kxf3 Qxe1 43.Qb8+ Ke7 44.Qc7+ Kf6 45.Qd8+ Kf7 46.Qd7+ Kf8 47.Qd8+ Kf7 48.Qc7+ Kf6 49.Qd8+ Kf7 50.Qc7+ 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Magnus Carlsen snaffled a slightly warm pawn in the early middlegame but Vlad won it back and then proceeded to set up a typical Kramnik grind. GMs shook their heads at Magnus’s grim defensive task as Vlad’s big central pawns trundled inexorably down the board. The Russian eventually won a piece for a pawn but the reduced material gave Magnus a glimmer of hope. But the win proved elusive: Vlad could probably have won after 62 Rd3 and may also have missed a difficult computer-inspired variation based on 69.g5! and 70.g3, and the game was drawn. A remarkable escape for the young man from Norway and a tribute to his resourcefulness in an utterly depressing position.

Kramnik,V (2791) - Carlsen,M (2802) [D07]
2nd London Chess Classic London ENG (6), 14.12.2010

1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bf4 Bd6 6.Bg3 Nf6 7.e3 0-0 8.a3 Ne7 9.Qb3 b6 10.Ne5 c5 11.Nxg4 Nxg4 12.Rd1 Bxg3 13.hxg3 Nf6 14.cxd5 exd5 15.Be2 Qd6 16.Qc2 h6 17.0-0 c4 18.b3 Qxa3 19.bxc4 dxc4 20.Bf3 Rab8 21.Ra1 Qd6 22.Nb5 Qd7 23.Qxc4 a5 24.e4 Rfc8 25.Qe2 Rc6 26.Rab1 Rd8 27.Rfd1 Rdc8 28.d5 Rc2 29.Qe3 R2c5 30.Nd4 Re8 31.Qd3 Qd6 32.Qa6 Rb8 33.Nb3 Rc2 34.Nd4 Rc5 35.Nb3 Rc2 36.Qd3 Rcc8 37.Nd2 Ng6 38.Be2 Qc5 39.Rb5 Qc3 40.f4 a4 41.e5 Nd7 42.Qxc3 Rxc3 43.Ne4 Rc7 44.Ra1 Ra7 45.d6 Ngf8 46.Nc3 Nc5 47.Nd5 Ra5 48.Rxb6 Rxb6 49.Nxb6 Nfe6 50.Bc4 Kf8 51.f5 Nd8 52.Rf1 Ncb7 53.Re1 a3 54.e6 fxe6 55.fxe6 Nxd6 56.e7+ Ke8 57.exd8R+ Kxd8 58.Rd1 Kc7 59.Ba2 Rg5 60.Nd5+ Kc6 61.Nc3 Rc5 62.Rxd6+ Kxd6 63.Ne4+ Kc6 64.Nxc5 Kxc5 65.Kf2 Kd4 66.Kf3 Kd3 67.g4 Kd2 68.Be6 Kd3

69.Kg3. 69.g5!! Deep Hiarcs 13.2 here sees mate. 69...Kd4 (69...hxg5 70.g3 Kd4 71.Kg4 Ke5 72.Bb3 Kf6 73.Bc4 Ke5 74.Kxg5 Tablebase mate in) 70.Kf4 Kd3 71.g6 Kc3 72.Ke5 h5 73.Kd6 h4 74.Ke7 Kd4 75.Kf7 Ke4 76.Kxg7 Ke5 77.Kf7 Kd4 78.g7 Kd3 79.g8Q.

69...Ke3 70.Kh4 Kf2 71.Bd5 g6 72.Kh3 g5 73.Kh2 Kf1 74.Be6 Kf2 75.Bc4 Ke3 76.Kg3 Kd4 77.Be6 Ke3 78.Kh2 Kf2 79.Bc4 Ke3 80.Kg1 Kf4 81.Be6 Ke5 82.Bb3 Kf4 83.Be6 Ke5 84.Bb3 Kf4 85.Be6 Ke5 86.Bb3 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Note: Wednesday’s final round starts at 12 noon GMT.


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 

1-0

 David Howell

Magnus Carlsen 

1-0

 Hikaru Nakamura

Nigel Short 

0-1

 Viswanathan Anand

Luke McShane 

½-½

 Michael Adams

Round 5: Sunday, December 12, 2010

Michael Adams 

½-½

 Vladimir Kramnik

Viswanathan Anand 

½-½

 Luke McShane

Hikaru Nakamura 

1-0

 Nigel Short

David Howell 

0-1

 Magnus Carlsen

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rest day

Round 6: Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Vladimir Kramnik 

½-½

 Magnus Carlsen

Nigel Short 

½-½

 David Howell

Luke McShane 

½-½

 Hikaru Nakamura

Michael Adams 

½-½

 Viswanathan Anand

Round 7: Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Viswanathan Anand 

-

 Vladimir Kramnik

Hikaru Nakamura 

-

 Michael Adams

David Howell 

-

 Luke McShane

Magnus Carlsen 

-

 Nigel Short

Games – Report

Standings after round six

Nr
Sd
Name Rating Fed
Score
TPR   Born Tiebreak
1
2
Carlsen, Magnus 2802 NOR
10
2776   1990 4 x black
2
1
Anand, Viswanathan 2804 IND
10
2825   1969 3 x black
3
7
McShane, Luke J 2645 ENG
10
2882   1984 2 x black
4
4
Nakamura, Hikaru 2741 USA
9
2779   1987 4 x black
5
3
Kramnik, Vladimir 2791 RUS
9
2757   1975 3 x black
6
5
Adams, Michael 2723 ENG
7
2722   1971  
7
8
Howell, David W L 2611 ENG
3
2564   1990  
8
6
Short, Nigel D 2680 ENG
2
2446   1965  

Traditional cross table

Remaining tournament schedule

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!

 


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 

1-0

 David Howell

Magnus Carlsen 

1-0

 Hikaru Nakamura

Nigel Short 

0-1

 Viswanathan Anand

Luke McShane 

½-½

 Michael Adams

Round 5: Sunday, December 12, 2010

Michael Adams 

½-½

 Vladimir Kramnik

Viswanathan Anand 

½-½

 Luke McShane

Hikaru Nakamura 

1-0

 Nigel Short

David Howell 

0-1

 Magnus Carlsen

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

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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