London Classic R6: All games drawn after hard fights

12/9/2011 – Normally, reporting all four games were drawn would be disappointing, but after so many decisive games it is more of a sanity check. After two losses, Adams drew against Aronian, while Short and Howell also drew quietly. Anand and Kramnik had a fascinating struggle, and McShane missed some chances against Nakamura. Postgame videos and Carlsen answers on the World Championship.

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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 six

Round 6: Friday, December 9, 2011
Michael Adams
½-½
Levon Aronian
Vishy Anand
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik 
David Howell
½-½
Nigel Short 
Luke McShane
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura
Magnus Carlsen (bye) – assisting commentary

 
Under normal circumstances, reporting draws all around would warrant either a neutral comment at best, or a lament at worst. After round after round of more wins than draws, which one could almost consider 'unnatural' at this lofty level, reporting a round of draws feels more like a sanity check than anything.

 
Magnus Carlsen was the guest commentator of the sixth round, and was promptly prodded by
Daniel King on the status of the World Championship and him. (courtesy Macauley Peterson)

The highest profile game was between Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik, and it did not disappoint. Though the queens came off fairly early, the middlegame was nothing boring as Anand strove to fight for the initiative and keep his winning chances alive. Carlsen, the guest commentator, was very much caught up in it and made it clear he found it to be one of the top two most interesting games of the day. Magnus thought Kramnik might be heading for trouble, but when the dust had cleared, he acknowledged that he owed the Russian an apology as it was obvious he had it in complete control.


Both Anand and Kramnik analyzed in detail, sharing the multitude of plans that
permeated the game. Yet another great GM lesson for the audience.

David Howell and Nigel Short played a solid game, though the opening was a bit of a fight of wills. Short took Howell by surprise by replying 1...c5 to e4, inviting a Sicilian, and Howell admitted this was the last thing he had expected. He answered with 2.c3, which Nigel explained was not a big surprise as a result of an anecdote he shares in the video, however, he is quick to clarify the final twist in the opening, "this is a French Tarrasch. It was just an optical illusion. Some people thought it was a Sicilian defense." After 12...Re8, King asked whether he had ever had this position before. "I had something similar versus Vlastimil Hort some 30 years ago. It was I think before... David's mother was born."

 
Though nothing came of it, Howell and Short explain the behind-the-scenes openings
battle.

After two losses, Michael Adams chose to stop the rot, and played an ultra solid symmetrical opening against Levon Aronian, who could do little except accept it.

Luke McShane and Hikaru Nakamura, celebrating his 24th birthday, had an entertaining game which threatened to go sour for Hikaru. The American played an overly committal move that he regretted, and this allowed a riposte that could have left him in serious difficulties. At the crux of the line, McShane spent a great deal of time evaluating whether he should go for a central pawn, or whether he would avoid the play it might yield Black, and ultimately chose the latter, which allowed Nakamura to equalize withut much further ado. Though the English player tried to keep it a fight with creative plays, but it was not enough.


Luke McShane had chances to complicate Hikaru Nakamura's life but missed the window


Standings after six rounds (London scoring)

Standings after six 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
½-½
Levon Aronian
Vishy Anand
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik 
David Howell
½-½
Nigel Short 
Luke McShane
½-½
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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