London Classic Rd8: Kramnik beats McShane for sole lead

12/11/2011 – It was a dramatic round with two of the leaders, Kramnik and McShane, facing each other, while fellow leader Carlsen had to contend with Anand. Though he made a go for it, Carlsen was unable to do better than a draw, while McShane tried hard to force things in his favor, which turned out to be a mistake as Kramnik neutralized all attempts to confuse the issue. Report and videos.

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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 eight

Round 8: Sunday, December 11, 2011
Vishy Anand
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
David Howell
½-½
Levon Aronian
Luke McShane
0-1
Vladimir Kramnik 
Hikaru Nakamura
½-½
Nigel Short 
Michael Adams (bye) – assisting commentary

The starts lined up for Vladimir Kramnik as he took what is most likely a decisive lead in the London Chess Classic. With three players sharing the lead, Magnus Carlsen, Luke McShane, and Vladimir Kramnik, plus Hikaru Nakamura with chances too, the penultimate round could easily be decisive in the final standings and it was.

Carlsen's chances of scoring a draw and a win seemed the greatest as he faced Anand in round eight, where a draw seemed likely, and struggling Short in round nine. Sure enough, his result against Anand was no big surprise.

 
Carlsen and Anand take a look at their tussle

The much tougher game was between McShane and Kramnik, two of the three leaders, and promised to be a make or break game. The young Englishman, also facing the prospect of Anand in the last round, decided to gamble against Kramnik and took serious chances in an attempt to take his fate into his own hands. Unfortunately for the English contingent rooting for him, he failed to recognize the moment to call it a day, and accept a draw, and suddenly he was in danger. Kramnik proceeded to grind down the Englishman with great technique, and took home a crucial win. This win was all the more critical, since according to the tiebreak rules, his number of wins with Black will be decisively in his favor should he hold Aronian to a draw.


David Howell and Levon Aronian analyze... McShane-Kramnik before their own game!  

Hikaru Nakamura and Nigel Short played a long game in which the center became completely blocked with both trying to get something on the wings, but eventually it became clear neither would obtain anything.


Standings after eight rounds (London scoring)

Standings after eight 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 
0-1
Luke McShane 
Vladimir Kramnik 
1-0
David Howell 
Levon Aronian
½-½
Vishy Anand 
Magnus Carlsen
1-0
Michael Adams 
Hikaru Nakamura (bye) – assisting commentary
Round 8: Sunday, December 11, 2011
Vishy Anand
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
David Howell
½-½
Levon Aronian
Luke McShane
0-1
Vladimir Kramnik 
Hikaru Nakamura
½-½
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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