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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
||2771||½ - ½||GM||Wesley So||
||2809||½ - ½||GM||Maxime Vachier Lagrave||
||2823||½ - ½||GM||Levon Aronian||
||2779||½ - ½||GM||Michael Adams||
||2760||0 - 1||GM||Hikaru Nakamura||
Games - rounds 1 to 4
Standings after round 4
||2794||½||1||½||1||3.0 / 4||2961|
||2785||½||½||½||1||2.5 / 4||2882||5.00|
||2823||½||½||½||1||2.5 / 4||2871||4.00|
||2809||½||½||½||1||2.5 / 4||2881||3.75|
||2779||0||½||1||1||2.5 / 4||2864||3.50|
||2771||½||½||½||½||2.0 / 4||2781||4.00|
||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|
||2748||0||0||½||½||1.0 / 4||2592|
||2760||0||0||0||½||0.5 / 4||2466|
Translation: Johannes Fischer