London Chess Classic, Rd. 4: Nakamura turns up the heat

by André Schulz
12/12/2016 – In round four of the London Chess Classic Hikaru Nakamura scored his second win in a row. He won a wild and inspired game with Black against Veselin Topalov. Wesley So was close to a win against Anish Giri but the dutch player defended stubbornly and saved the draw - Georg Meier shares his impressions about this encounter. The other three games also ended in a draw, but they were also entertaining. See our report.

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London Chess Classic 2016, Rd. 4

Round 4, Anish Giri - Wesley So / Notes by Georg Meier


Georg Meier's commentary will be delivered with the next ChessBase Magazine #176, together with most of the games of the London Chess Classic annotated - and many more. You can find the fresh ChessBase Magazine #175 with annotations by Vladimir Kramnik, Wesley So, David Navara, Pavel Eljanov, Simon Williams, Daniel King any many other exclusive authors in our shop → here.

Daniel King shows Topalov v Nakamura from Round 4

Photos: Lennart Ootes

Veselin Topalov - Hikaru Nakamura

A young chessplayer who participates in the "Chess in Schools" program played the first move in the game between Topalov and Nakamura and opened round four of the London Chess Classic.

1.d4 - may the round begin. Tournament director Malcolm Pein moderates.

Hikaru Nakamura has played the Caro-Kann before but never against Veselin Topalov. Currently the Advance Variation is seen as the main line against the Caro-Kann and this was also Topalov's choice. Nakamura countered with 3...c5, Topalov took the pawn on c5, gave his pawn on e5 and a wild game ensued. Eventually Topalov gave his queen for rook and two bishops but this was not enough because his king was too exposed. White soon had to give more material and lost in the end.


Anish Giri - Wesley So

Nominally, this was the top encounter of round 4 because Wesley So was leading the London tournament with 2.5/3 after three rounds and was also leading the overall standings of the Grand Chess Tour. Anish Giri has White and tried the London System which probably was less a reverence to the host city of the tournament but more in line with the recent trend in top-level chess to avoid classical main lines which do not seem to promise White much. With 6... cxd4 and 7... Nh5 So opted for a rare line and sharpened the play.

So managed to get some advantage and reached an endgame with an extra-pawn. But Giri defended well and saved the draw.

Fabiano Caruana - Levon Aronian

In a Ruy Lopez with 3...a6 Fabiano Caruana followed fashion with 5.d3 - nowadays only very few players want to play the complex, often drawish but still very dangerous lines of the Marshall Gambit with White. Now Aronian showed some sophistication by first developing his bishop to e7 before bringing it to c5. A quiet and closed game ensued which finally ended in a draw through a perpetual.

Today Aronian's (sorry to spoil, Fiona) red trousers and black and white shoes provoked more excitement than his game.


Viswanathan Anand - Michael Adams

Perhaps it is the fear of the drawish nature of the Berlin that leads to a renaissance of the Italian. After many Spanish duels against Michael Adams Vishy Anand this time tried the Italian - and was close to winning. After Anand's central advance 10. d3-d4 Adams decided to give his pawn on e5, hoping for compensation on the kingside.



But Adams did not get enough compensation and Anand kept his extra-pawn - until he blundered. This allowed Adams to regain his pawn with a tactical stroke that immediately led to a draw.


Vladimir Kramnik - Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Vladimir Kramnik currently also likes to avoid classical openings. Against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave he started with 1.Nf3 2.g3 3.Bg2 which, however, soon led to a line of the Fianchetto-Grünfeld. With the rare 7...e5 Vachier-Lagrave left the well-known paths but a few moves later he found himself in an endgame with a pawn down.

But an inaccuracy cost Kramnik his extra-pawn and though he tried for some time to still create winning chances in the endgame he finally had to settle for a draw.

Results of round 4

Br. Title Name Country ELO Res. Title Name Country ELO
1 GM Anish Giri
2771 ½ - ½ GM Wesley So
2 GM Vladimir Kramnik
2809 ½ - ½ GM Maxime Vachier Lagrave
3 GM Fabiano Caruana
2823 ½ - ½ GM Levon Aronian
4 GM Viswanathan Anand
2779 ½ - ½ GM Michael Adams
5 GM Veselin Topalov
2760 0 - 1 GM Hikaru Nakamura

Games - rounds 1 to 4


Standings after round 4

Rk. Title Name Country ELO 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pts. Perf. TB
1 GM Wesley So
2794   ½     1 ½     1   3.0 / 4 2961  
2 GM Levon Aronian
2785 ½   ½ ½         1   2.5 / 4 2882 5.00
3 GM Fabiano Caruana
2823   ½   ½     ½     1 2.5 / 4 2871 4.00
4 GM Vladimir Kramnik
2809   ½ ½         ½   1 2.5 / 4 2881 3.75
5 GM Hikaru Nakamura
2779 0         ½ 1     1 2.5 / 4 2864 3.50
6 GM Anish Giri
2771 ½       ½     ½ ½   2.0 / 4 2781 4.00
7 GM Viswanathan Anand
2779     ½   0     1 ½   2.0 / 4 2788 3.25
8 GM Maxime Vachier Lagrave
2804       ½   ½ 0     ½ 1.5 / 4 2692  
9 GM Michael Adams
2748 0 0       ½ ½       1.0 / 4 2592  
10 GM Veselin Topalov
2760     0 0 0     ½     0.5 / 4 2466  

Live video round 4

"Train yourself with Vishy Anand" - Round 4 report on ChessBase India

Tournament page London Chess Classic...

Grand Chess Tour...

London Chess Conference...

Translation: Johannes Fischer

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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