London Chess Classic, Rd. 5: A fine win and an amazing draw

by Johannes Fischer
12/13/2016 – Round 5 of the London Chess Classic brought four draws and one win. The only winner of the round was Michael Adams who defeated Veselin Topalov with an inspired attack - Nadezhda Kosintseva annotates the encounter. The other games ended in a draw but were very exciting. Vishy Anand came up with a novelty, Caruana missed good chances and Vladimir Kramnik showed amazing defensive skills.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


London Chess Classic 2016, Rd. 5

Round 5, Michael Adams - Veselin Topalov / Notes by Nadezhda Kosintseva


Nadezhda Kosintseva's commentary will also be in the next ChessBase Magazine #176, together with all the games of the London Chess Classic, a lot of them annotated - and much more. ChessBase Magazine #175, the current issue, also contains a wealth of material and annotated games by Vladimir Kramnik, Wesley So, David Navara, Pavel Eljanov, Simon Williams, Daniel King any many other exclusive authors.  Have a look!

Highlights from the 5th round by Daniel King

Photos: Lennart Ootes

Levon Aronian - Anish Giri
Putting in the hours to study the opening might help to save time when you need or want it. Apparently, Levon Aronian and Anish Giri wanted to take it easy on the day before the rest day. They blitzed out the opening of their game and soon a repetition was on the board which led to a quick draw - the first of the round.



Wesley So - Vishy Anand
Wesley So and Vishy Anand also drew quickly - but this was time enough for Anand to come up with an interesting novelty in a sharp line of the Queen's Gambit Declined with 5.Bf4. 

Wesley So - Vishy Anand, position after 10.Qd2

Here Anand played the surprising novelty 10...Bxa3, deviating from a game Hikaru Nakamura vs Sergey Karjakin, Bilbao 2016, in which Black had tried 10...Nd5 which eventually led to a draw in 34 moves. After Anand's novelty Black soon equalized and the game quickly fizzled out into a dead drawn endgame.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave - Fabiano Caruana
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Fabiano Caruana played the third draw of the round and Vachier-Lagrave is probably happy about this result. Although playing with White he found no convincing concept against Caruana's Petroff and soon Black seized the initiative and advanced his central pawns. But in a crucial moment Caruana missed a good chance and a few moves later the game was over.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave - Fabiano Caruana, position after 24.Bc1

According to the engines Black now could have kept a clear advantage with 24...Re8 or 24...Nb4. But Caruana played 24...Rd2?! and after 25.Bxd2 cxd2 26.Qxd2 Bc3 27.Qc1 Bxe1 28.Qxe1 e3 29.c3 Black had lost most of his advantage and the game soon ended in a draw.


Michael Adams - Veselin Topalov
The most spectacular game of the round was the encounter between Michael Adams and Veselin Topalov. In a Berlin with 4.d3 Adams played enterprisingly and weakened his king position to put pressure on Black. He continued this policy when he sacrificed a pawn to open lines against the black king.

Michael Adams - Veselin Topalov, position after 14...Bf7

In this position Adams played 15.e5!?, forcing Black to find a number of difficult defensive moves. Topalov used masses of time but did not find the right defense and finally cracked with only seconds on the clock.

Michael Adams - Veselin Topalov, position after 31...Bf5

Adams now finished the game with 32.Qa8 Kd7 33.Rxd5+ avoiding the last trap 32.Qxg8?? Re1+! 33.Rxe1 Qxg2#. But after 33.Rxd5+ Topalov resigned.



Hikaru Nakamura - Vladimir Kramnik
The longest and most dramatic game of the round was the encounter between Hikaru Nakamura and Vladimir Kramnik. Kramnik equalized with Black and seemed to seize the initiative but when he could not create concrete threats it was Nakamura who was playing for a win. But in a difficult endgame Kramnik showed his defensive skills and saved half a point by finding amazing stalemate tricks in the endgame.

Hikaru Nakamura - Vladimir Kramnik, position after 58.e6. Black to play and draw.

Here Kramnik did not hesitate and played 58...Nf7!. If White takes the knight, Black is stalemated. Nakamura now played 59.Kg6 but after 59...Nd8 60.Kf6 Nf7 he took the knight with 61.exf7 and the game was drawn.

Results of round 5

Br. Title Name Country ELO Res. Title Name Country ELO
1 GM Levon Aronian
2785 ½ - ½ GM Anish Giri
2 GM Wesley So
2794 ½ - ½ GM Viswanathan Anand
3 GM Michael Adams
2748 1-0 GM Veselin Topalov
4 GM Hikaru Nakamura
2779 ½ - ½ GM Vladimir Kramnik
5 GM Maxime Vachier Lagrave
2804 ½ - ½ GM Fabiano Caruana

Games - rounds 1 to 5


Standings after round 5

Live video round 5

Tournament page London Chess Classic...

Grand Chess Tour...

London Chess Conference...

Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register