London Classic: Bartel and Tabatabaei grab full points in wild games

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
12/9/2023 – The fun continues in London. Round 7 of the 10-player round-robin featured two highly entertaining, decisive games. Mateusz Bartel, who has yet to draw a game in the event, never gave up in a losing-yet-tricky position and ended up beating Hans Niemann, while Amin Tabatabaei grabbed his fourth win of the tournament by defeating Nikita Vitiugov in a sharp tactical struggle. Michael Adams is still the sole leader. | Photo: Tao Bhokanandh

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It’s all about the adventure!

After losing his first-round game out of a French Defence gone wrong, Mateusz Bartel replied to an amusing social media post by Anish Giri with the phrase:

Life is not about [the] result, it’s about an adventure. Though, this time it was not especially entertaining.

True to his statement, the Polish grandmaster has been playing exciting game after exciting game at the London Chess Classic. Bartel has yet to draw a game in the event, as his four wins and three draws have allowed him to enter the final two rounds at a 1-point distance from sole leader Michael Adams.

In round 7, Bartel fearlessly pushed the pawns standing in front of his king and seemed to be headed to a loss in his game against Hans Niemann. There was no lack of tactical tricks in the position, though, and Bartel not only managed to survive but even went on to grab a full point in the rollercoaster encounter lasting 75 moves.

Also exciting was Amin Tabatabaei’s victory over Nikita Vitiugov. The Iranian grandmaster has been showing great fighting spirit in the event as well — he has only drawn one game so far. Thanks to his win on Friday, his fourth of the tournament, he climbed to shared second place, a half point behind Adams.

Sharing second place with Tabatabaei is Gukesh, who drew underdog Shreyas Royal with the black pieces in the seventh round. With two rounds to go, the Indian ace will need a number of results to go his way to get sole first place — which, importantly, would allow him to overtake Anish Giri in the FIDE Circuit leaderboard.

According to Tai Pruce-Zimmerman, a.k.a. Chess by the Numbers, only getting a half point against the lowest-rated in the field greatly reduced Gukesh’s chances of winning the tournament outright:

As pointed out above, Adams still has to face Royal (in the final round), while his remaining opponent will be Luke McShane, who has been struggling in the event. Gukesh, on his part, will face Tabatabaei and Niemann in the tournament’s final two rounds.

Shohreh Bayat

Chief Arbiter Shohreh Bayat observes the games | Photo: Tao Bhokanandh

Niemann 0 - 1 Bartel

Analysis by GM Karsten Müller and IM Wolfram Schön

Hans Niemann, Mateusz Bartel

Hans Niemann and Mateusz Bartel | Photo: Tao Bhokanandh

Tabatabaei 1 - 0 Vitiugov

Analysis by GM Karsten Müller

Amin Tabatabaei, Nikita Vitiugov

Amin Tabatabaei and Nikita Vitiugov | Photo: Tao Bhokanandh

Standings - Round 7

All games


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.


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