London Chess Classic: Nakamura wins his first Grand Chess Tour

12/17/2018 – Live games and commentary from the 10th London Chess Classic, the final leg of the 2018 Grand Chess Tour. All rounds start at 15:00 CET (14:00 UTC) with commentary by GM Yasser Seirawan, WGM Jennifer Shahade, GM Maurice Ashley, GM Cristian Chirila and GM Alejandro Ramirez.

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Final Rapid and Blitz

Press release

Hikaru Nakamura won his first Grand Chess Tour with a clutch victory in the last round over Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. The newly crowned champion earned an additional $120,000 for his efforts, bringing his winnings to a total of $225,000. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave finished second for the second year in the row, picking up a total of $160,000.

Fabiano Caruana defeated Levon Aronian earning the last automatic qualification spot to the 2019 Grand Chess Tour, along with Nakamura and Vachier-Lagrave.

In addition, the Grand Chess Tour made the announcement of the plans of expanding the tour, adding a new classical event in Croatia and two more rapid and blitz events in India and Ivory Coast. The prize fund will be increased to at least $1.5 million, a significant raise from this year’s prize pool of $1,050,000. 

All reports

The time controls are as follows (NB: delay, not increment is in use!):

  • Classical: 100 min / 40 moves, 60 mins for the rest of the game, plus a 30-second delay from move one
  • Rapid: 25 min. / Game, plus 10 sec. delay
  • Blitz: 5 min. / Game, plus 3 sec. delay

Complete LCC regulations (PDF)

In the classical games, players receive 6 points for a win, 3 points for a draw.


Final standings G2

Live games and commentary


GM Yasser Seirawan, WGM Jennifer Shahade, GM Maurice Ashley and GM Alejandro Ramirez

British Knockout Championship — Live games

Gawain Jones beat Luke McShane in the second classical game and leads heading into rapid and blitz.


Final results

Final results

The schedule (all times in UTC)

  • Tuesday, December 11th, 14:00: Semifinals Game 1
  • Wednesday, December 12, 14:00: Semifinals Game 2
  • Thursday, December 13, 14:00: Semifinals Rapid & Blitz
  • Friday, December 14th: Rest day
  • Saturday, December 15, 14:00: Final Game 1
  • Sunday, December 16, 14:00: Final Game 2
  • Monday, 17th December, 14:00: Final Rapid & Blitz

The first three days are held at the London headquarters of Google DeepMind. The final games will take place at the traditional home of the London Chess Classic at the Olympia Conference Centre.


Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


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Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 12/15/2018 10:42
@ royce campbell:

Caruana's statement was: "It's not really my job to create excitement with Black is can play the Sicilian, you can play anything, and White can steer the game towards equality"

Taken as a whole, this means that, if your opponent wants to draw with White, he will draw and that you cannot really do anything about it, so this corresponds exactly to the rather specific context of this tournament.

So, yes, in a way, his statement was "absolute", but about a very specific context, so I don't think that this really changes anything, as what I said would apply to any other tournament corresponding to this context...
Bob Tausworthe Bob Tausworthe 12/15/2018 10:27
Frederic 12/11/2018 09:29
If Caruana had won this game against Nakamura he would have overtaken Carlsen and become number one on the Live Rankings, I believe. Will someone with the mathematical skills I do not possess tell us what he needs to do in the remaining games to achieve the top spot?

Beat Carlsen....
KSCHAPEL KSCHAPEL 12/15/2018 09:53
I know Chess 960 is not the same as "classical chess" for some , but the skills required are more like traditional chess than current classical chess with computer preparation . I can understand why Carlsen took Caruana to rapids. It was making him have to think himself about the moves rather than remembering computer analysis. This is not to taking anything away from Caruana or in my opinion Karjakin as I think they played exceptionally and the chess elite as a whole have certainly closed the gap on Carlsen in my opinion. I just like watching classical games with the tension involved over a tournament or match - it's like test cricket in my country Australia - there are a lot of other formats for cricket but test cricket is the best - I am sure that Pater Svidler would agree !!
royce campbell royce campbell 12/15/2018 09:02
@Petralsen: Actually, the current tournament doesnt apply to Caruana's statement. The statement he made was absoute, even if it was in the context of the tournament, which was not explicit. Thus my inquiry.

@Jacob: Topalov: Sac exchange, prove the win. That happened sooooo often! Gotta love it.

@Chessbase: Sigh.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 12/15/2018 06:12
For once, I would say that I rather hope for two draws between Nakamura and Vachier-Lagrave in classical games (...or, ideally, for one win each, but this would perhaps be to ask a little too much!...), because to see these two powerhouses of accelerated time controls (in particular in Blitz: Vachier-Lagrave is World N° 2 and even World N° 1 in live ratings, and Nakamura is World N° 3) play a Rapid + Blitz match for the global tournament win appears to me as being particularly interesting!...
Jacob woge Jacob woge 12/14/2018 06:26
Larsen would play less aggressively, flank openings as White. But as black, seek to disturb the equilibrium. Unforgettable is the opening vs. Pomar: 1 d4 f5 2 Nc3 d5 3 f3 c5 4 e4 e5 . Four moves, and white stares at four central pawns.

Topalov’s success prior to his WC matches was based on black wins. When a lot of strong players were content with staying solid, this really rattles the cage.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 12/14/2018 03:32
I don't think either that Tal frequently played for a draw with Black, but, for Caruana in this tournament, it was also quite a specific situation, as Nakamura obviously wasn't very interested in a win ( he quite knew that he is better than Caruana in "accelerated time controls"...). In general, Caruana isn't either a very drawish player; it is just that as, compared to other absolute top-players, he is rather subpar in accelerated time controls, the best Rapid and Blitz players can tend to rather play for a draw against him (when Rapid or Blitz games follow), knowing that it will be rather easy for them to beat him later, in Rapid or Blitz...
royce campbell royce campbell 12/14/2018 02:46
I dunno. Seems to me he very seldom, although probably occasionally, used discretion as Black.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 12/14/2018 09:07
@ royce campbell: No; it would not be true of Tal, as he wrote in "The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal": "To play for a draw, at any rate with white, is to some degree a crime against chess." (I don't remember were this quote comes from exactly in the book, but it can be found here:

Obviously, Tal considered that it could be understandable, in some cases, to play for a draw with Black; otherwise he wouldn't have included "at any rate with white" in this phrase...
royce campbell royce campbell 12/14/2018 03:22
Jacob w0be: Yup. I thought too of Tal of course, and Fisher, and Steinitz. And there are lots of others.
royce campbell royce campbell 12/14/2018 03:20
What good is the video commentary in an article where you already have reported the results? I'd rather come here to watch after work, but I guess if I want to enjoy it [ie, no spoilers], I have to go to youtube. How much trouble is it to make a separate post with the results and leave the commentary intact on the live! page? Why update the live! page with results? It's just frustrating how inconsiderate that is. I get you are going to report the results. I can navigate around that. But you make it impossible to view the commentary after the fact without knowing the results. I wish I could watch live, but it just isn't possible. So I go to youtube from now on. Bleah.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 12/13/2018 11:22
@ Air Bubble:

The context is the same as for the World Championship: Classical games followed by Rapid and Blitz games. The "rapid and blitz specialists" have every interest to draw (without taking any risks) their Classical games and to win in Rapid or Blitz. So I don't think that we can really deduce anything from such a mixed Classical + Rapid + Blitz event. (In my opinion, tournaments should be either, on the one hand, pure Classical, or, on the other hand, Rapid, Blitz or Rapid + Blitz, but not a mix of the three categories, as it can encourage drawing strategies in Classical games.)
Jacob woge Jacob woge 12/13/2018 10:52
“Fabi: "Well, it's not really my job to create excitement with Black, is it?"

Who is the most likely grandmaster rolling over in his grave at this comment?”

Bent Larsen?
Air Bubble Air Bubble 12/13/2018 08:27 the World championship score happening in London....draws this the final endgame of Chess ? Chess by humans has reached its limits.

A pitty, but a true thing...
royce campbell royce campbell 12/12/2018 04:32
Fabi: "Well, it's not really my job to create excitement with Black, is it?"

Who is the most likely grandmaster rolling over in his grave at this comment?
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 12/11/2018 09:40
Hi Frederic,

I found this rating calculation tool. If you want to see how the rating of a player evolves in a tournament, you put that player's rating, the opponent's ratings and, of course, the results of the games.

I do not know if that could be useful. Or maybe you have something like that. At least, this permits trial and error and know in advance, at each round, what would be the resulting live rating depending of the coming result.

Here it is: (in French, but you can figure it out):
Frederic Frederic 12/11/2018 09:29
If Caruana had won this game against Nakamura he would have overtaken Carlsen and become number one on the Live Rankings, I believe. Will someone with the mathematical skills I do not possess tell us what he needs to do in the remaining games to achieve the top spot?