London Classic R5: Nakamura takes sole lead

12/8/2011 – Will wonders never cease? We report on ultra-combative rounds, with three out of four games ending in wins, but we keep expecting the streak to end. It doesn't. Round five was a dark day for the Brits as they all lost, except McShane, who had a bye. Anand ended his drought after Short collapsed before the time control. Nakamura took sole lead after beating Howell. Postgame commentary.

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London Chess Classic 2011

The 2011 London Chess Classic is taking place in the Olympia Conference Centre from Saturday, December 3rd until Monday, December 12th, starting at 14:00h London time each day (final round 12:00h). Time controls are classical forty moves in two hours, then twenty moves in one hour and thirty minutes for the rest of the game. A win is counted as three points, a draw as one, and a loss zero. Tiebreaks: 1) number of wins, 2) number of wins with Black, 3) result of the individual game between the tied players. In the unlikely event that there is still a tie then: 4) 2 x 15'+2" games, and if necessary then 5) an Armageddon game: 6'+2" vs 5'+2" with draw odds for Black. If there is a tie involving more than two players then the Rapid games will be conducted as a double round all play all. The total prize fund is €160,000 before tax.

Round five

Round 5: Thursday, December 8, 2011
Hikaru Nakamura
1-0
David Howell 
Nigel Short
0-1
Vishy Anand 
Vladimir Kramnik
1-0
Michael Adams 
Levon Aronian
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Luke McShane (bye) – assisting commentary

It is rather flabbergasting just how many decisive games there have been, and this was compounded today by yet another round in which three of the four games ended in a win. Sadly for the tournament hosts, all three losses were by the British players, the exception being McShane who had a bye.

Being with a bye, meant also that he was the guest commentator, and while the "world's strongest amateur" did provide variations and opinions, many times it had to be dragged out somewhat by host commentators Daniel King and Lawrence Trent, as the young GM proved to be fairly camera shy or simply reserved. That said, be on the watch for tomorrow as Carlsen is slated to weigh in on the other games

The first game to end was Hikaru Nakamura's victory over David Howell, which became extremely complicated which by that very definition meant the American's advantage was exponential. With his win, Nakamura grabbed the sole lead, though much will depend also onw how McShane and Kramnik do in the next rounds as they have a game less. On the other hand, Nakamura has already faced all four 2800 players, so his chances of cementing his lead are that much greater.

 
Nakamura presents his win over Howell taking him to the top of the leaderboard

Levon Aronian drew against Magnus Carlsen, after failing to convert a nice edge he obtained in an offday by the Norwegian. Magnus overlooked several key shots in the early phase, freely admitting that not only had he hallucinated that Aronian's e4-d5 idea could not possibly work, but that he was shocked by the Armenian's 18.Nxe4 a few moves later after which he "just wanted to lay down and cry", as he said tongue in cheek during the post-mortem. Levon also missed chances to close the deal, and Carlsen huddled down and saved the draw.

 
Carlsen and Aronian discuss their game

Vladimir Kramnik played the top Brit Michael Adams, inflicting his second straight defeat after the latter's loss to Short in the previous round. It was a battle of ideas as Kramnik demonstrated in the post-game commentary, rattling off plan after plan in a very comprehensive analysis.

 
Vladimir Kramnik gave instructive post-game analysis as he presented the many plans
he considered and played throughout the game in great fluidity.

VIshy Anand's fans will be delighted with the end of the World Champion's drought, after Nigel Short blundered a few minutes before the time control atfer which there was no saving grace. Although it may not have been a demonstratiuon of overpowering chess, Anand will no doubt see this as a sign that his luck is turning and breathe a little easier in the final rounds.

 
Both Anand and Short were present in the post-mortem, which was missed by online
viewers due to technical difficulties, but recorded and presented here in its entirety.


Standings after five rounds (London scoring)

Standings after five rounds (traditional scoring)

Schedule and results

Round 1: Saturday, December 3, 2011
Vladimir Kramnik
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura
Levon Aronian
½-½
Luke McShane 
Magnus Carlsen
1-0
David Howell 
Michael Adams
½-½
Vishy Anand 
Nigel Short (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 2: Sunday, December 4, 2011
David Howell
½-½
Michael Adams 
Luke McShane
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Hikaru Nakamura
1-0
Levon Aronian
Nigel Short
0-1
Vladimir Kramnik 
Vishy Anand (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 3: Monday, December 5, 2011
Levon Aronian
1-0
Nigel Short 
Magnus Carlsen
1-0
Hikaru Nakamura
Michael Adams
0-1
Luke McShane 
Vishy Anand
½-½
David Howell 
Vladimir Kramnik (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 4: Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Magnus Carlsen
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik 
Michael Adams
0-1
Nigel Short 
Vishy Anand
0-1
Hikaru Nakamura
David Howell
0-1
Luke McShane 
Levon Aronian (bye) – assisting commentary
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 Rest day
Round 5: Thursday, December 8, 2011
Hikaru Nakamura
1-0
David Howell 
Nigel Short
0-1
Vishy Anand 
Vladimir Kramnik
1-0
Michael Adams 
Levon Aronian
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Luke McShane (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 6: Friday, December 9, 2011
Michael Adams
  Levon Aronian
Vishy Anand
  Vladimir Kramnik 
David Howell
  Nigel Short 
Luke McShane
  Hikaru Nakamura
Magnus Carlsen (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 7: Saturday, December 10, 2011
Nigel Short 
  Luke McShane 
Vladimir Kramnik 
  David Howell 
Levon Aronian
  Vishy Anand 
Magnus Carlsen
  Michael Adams 
Hikaru Nakamura (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 8: Sunday, December 11, 2011
Vishy Anand
  Magnus Carlsen
David Howell
  Levon Aronian
Luke McShane
  Vladimir Kramnik 
Hikaru Nakamura
  Nigel Short 
Michael Adams (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 9: Monday, December 12, 2011
Luke McShane
  Vishy Anand 
Hikaru Nakamura
  Michael Adams 
Nigel Short
  Magnus Carlsen
Vladimir Kramnik
  Levon Aronian
David Howell (bye) – assisting commentary

All games start at 2 p.m. or 14:00h British time = 15:00h CET, 17:00h Moscow, 7:30 p.m. Chennai, 22:00h Beijing, 01:00 a.m. Melbourne, 03:00 a.m. Auckland (sorry Murray!), 6 a.m. San José, 9 a.m. New York. You can check your location here. Naturally the games will be covered live on the official web site (below) and on Playchess. Stand by for further details on Saturday. The games of the final round start two hours earlier.


Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client and get immediate access. Or you can get our latest Fritz 13 program, which includes six months free premium membership to Playchess.


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