London Rd5: Anand beats Topalov in virtuoso endgame

by Sagar Shah
12/9/2015 – Vishy Anand’s victory over Veselin Topalov was the highlight of the day. Caruana missing a one move win against Grischuk, with loads of time on his clock, was quite shocking. Going in to the rest day we have three leaders – Vachier-Lagrave, Nakamura and Giri, all with +1. In the British Knockout Howell inched closer to the title with another draw. The open event is heating up with ten players on 5.0/6. High quality pictures and analysis from London.

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The 7th London Chess Classic, England's premier tournament, takes place at its traditional venue of Kensington Olympia from Friday December 4th to Sunday December 13th. The main event, the strongest ever held in the UK, is a nine-round ten-player super tournament played at a rate of 40 moves in 2 hours, followed by the rest of the game in one hour with a 30-second increment from move 41. The overall prize fund is $300,000, with the winner getting $75,000.

Watch it live on Playchess!

Round 5 Tuesday 8 Dec, 16.00-23.00
M Vachier-Lagrave 
½-½
Anish Giri
Fabiano Caruana
½-½
Alexander Grischuk
Viswanathan Anand
1-0
Veselin Topalov
Michael Adams
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura
Levon Aronian
½-½
Magnus Carlsen

LCC R05: Vishy Anand beats Veselin Topalov

Report from London by Sagar Shah

Going in to the rest day at the seventh London Chess Classic the one win, four draws saga continues. The hero of the day was Viswanathan Anand who got the better of Veselin Topalov. Fabiano Caruana was extremely close to beating Alexander Grischuk – in fact he even missed a one move win! The remaining three games had their moments of interest, but they all ended in draws. So let’s set the ball rolling with the only decisive game of the round – Anand versus Topalov.

After his loss to Nakamura in the previous round Anand was concentration personified today

It was a 6.h3 Najdorf in which Anand put Topalov under slow stew pressure throughout the game

Out of the four decisive games in the event until now,
Topalov has been on the losing side of three of them!

Anand was well prepared in the 6.h3 Variation of the Najdorf as he deviated from the more often played move 11.Nec3, and went for 11.Qd3!? He put the Bulgarian under pressure throughout the game. The Indian had chances to finish things off sooner than what actually transpired, but it doesn’t take much away from his systematic endgame play. Have a look at this highly interesting game showcasing the features of a good knight versus a bad bishop scenario in the clearest possible manner.

[Event "7th London Classic 2015"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2015.12.08"] [Round "5"] [White "Anand, Viswananthan"] [Black "Topalov, Veselin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2803"] [BlackElo "2803"] [PlyCount "147"] [EventDate "2015.12.03"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 {Even after a loss to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Topalov doesn't shy away from the Najdorf.} 6. h3 e5 7. Nde2 h5 {The same line containing g4 was played against MVL. The Frenchman now continued g3. But Anand instead goes for Bg5.} 8. Bg5 Be6 9. Bxf6 {This is a very logical move. The d5 square is a tad weak and hence you get rid of the knight that defends it.} Qxf6 10. Nd5 {Anand has scored already two wins with this move in the World Rapid and Blitz against Bologan and Roiz.} Qd8 11. Qd3 $5 {That's Anand's micro improvement. Instead of playing Nec3 he goes for this queen move which prepares 0-0-0. It hasn't been played by any top player yet, although his trusted second Wojtaszek has faced it from the black side.} g6 $146 {Topalov makes the first new move of the game. He is threatening Bh6 to stop White from 0-0-0.} 12. O-O-O Nd7 13. Kb1 Rc8 14. Nec3 Rc5 {Optically the knight on d5 is strong, but Black plays around it and can later exchange everything with Nb6. So it shouldn't really be so bad. But Black's development is incomplete and hence White should aim to open up the position as soon as possible.} 15. Be2 b5 16. a3 (16. f4 {would have been pretty strong. The point being} exf4 17. Qd4 $1 Rh7 18. Nxf4 $16 {White has a strong initiative.}) 16... Nb6 17. g4 {Anand realizes that he should do something, although f4 was equally tempting at this point.} hxg4 (17... Bxd5 18. exd5 hxg4 19. hxg4 Rxh1 20. Rxh1 Bg7 {could have been an idea to get rid off the d5 weakness, but White retains an edge after} 21. Ne4 Rxd5 22. Qc3 Qc8 23. Qf3 $36 {[%cal Ge4f6] }) 18. Nxb6 $6 (18. hxg4 Rxh1 19. Rxh1 Bxd5 20. exd5 Bg7 {just transposes to the variation we just saw above where White was better. So Anand should have gone for this.}) 18... Qxb6 19. hxg4 Rxh1 20. Rxh1 Bg7 21. Qe3 Qb7 (21... a5 22. b4 $1 $18) 22. Rd1 Qc7 23. g5 {Fixing the structure on the kingside. White doesn't have a huge edge but it is definitely not so easy for Black to play.} Qc6 24. Rg1 {Anand prepares the plan of exchanging the light squared bishops.} Qd7 25. Qg3 Rc8 26. Bg4 $1 {Of course the dream scenario is to get rid of the light squared bishops and plonk the knight on d5.} Bxg4 {It might seem to be a huge concession to do this - Topalov could have waited for Anand to take on e6 and then take back with the pawn and the d5 square is covered. But that would also have been dangerous.} (26... a5 27. Bxe6 fxe6 28. Qd3 Rb8 29. Nd1 $1 { A nice maneuvre getting the knight to a better square.} Qc6 30. Ne3 b4 31. a4 $16) 27. Qxg4 Qxg4 28. Rxg4 Bf8 29. Nd5 $14 {[%csl Gd5,Rf8] Topalov has pinned his hopes on defending this inferior ending where the knight on d5 is an octopus in every way. The plan in such positions is usually simple. Keep control and create a passer on the queenside where you have the majority and use your king, rook and knight to shepherd the pawn to the queening square. However the difficulty here is that the g5 pawn is weak and the rook has to constantly babysit it. In any case this is an enjoyable position for White who can keep shuffling around for quite some time.} Be7 30. c3 Rc6 31. Kc2 Kd7 32. Kb3 Bd8 33. a4 {Anand begins the task of creating a queenside passer.} Rc5 34. axb5 Rxb5+ (34... axb5 $11 {Could have made White's task of creating a passed pawn much difficult.}) 35. Ka2 a5 36. b4 axb4 37. cxb4 {So step one has been completed. The next task is to get the rook in to the game somehow.} Rb7 38. Kb3 Rb8 39. Rg1 Rb7 40. Rg3 Rb8 41. Rg1 Rb7 42. Ra1 $5 {Anand foresakes the g5 pawn and gets his rook in to the action. Maybe playing f3 before doing this could have been a good idea though. But it doesn't matter much. The position is sort of static in nature.} Bxg5 43. Kc4 Bd8 44. f3 f5 {Topalov tries to exchange as many pawns as he can.} 45. Rh1 fxe4 46. fxe4 g5 47. b5 Rb8 48. Rh7+ Ke6 {Could have been safer to go to c8. On e6 the king is in a mating net.} 49. Kb4 {It is zugzwang time. The rook cannot move away from b-file as b6 would come and the bishop cannot move away from the control of the e7 square as there is a mate. The king cannot move at all!} (49. b6 {looks natural but would be hasty and throw away all the advantage after} Rxb6 $1 50. Nxb6 Bxb6 $11 {This is most probably a fortress.}) 49... g4 50. Rg7 g3 51. Rxg3 Rb7 52. Rg6+ Kd7 53. Rg7+ Kc8 54. Rg8 Kd7 55. Kc4 Rb8 (55... Kc8 56. b6 $18) 56. Rg7+ Ke6 57. Kb4 {We get the same zugzwang position without the g-pawn and White is just winning.} Ba5+ $5 {The final trick.} 58. Kc4 $6 (58. Kxa5 {would also have won.} Rxb5+ 59. Ka4 Ra5+ 60. Kb3 Ra3+ 61. Kc4 Ra4+ 62. Nb4 $18 {This should not be difficult to convert.}) (58. Ka4 $1 {Would have won the game with ease. The key point here was} Bd8 {is strongly refuted by} 59. Ra7 $1 { Black is left without any good moves.} Rc8 60. b6 $18) 58... Bd8 59. Rg8 Rc8+ { Black again has some good chances to defend now.} 60. Kd3 (60. Kb4 $5 {was a nice trap.} Ba5+ $2 {Falling right into it.} 61. Kxa5 Rxg8 62. b6 $18 {And surprisingly the pawn cannot be stopped.}) 60... Rb8 61. Rh8 Kd7 62. Rh7+ Ke6 ( 62... Kc8 $1 {would have made White's task to win very tough.}) 63. Kc4 Rc8+ 64. Kb4 Rc1 (64... Rb8 65. Ra7 $18 {as we have seen is the final zugzwang.}) 65. b6 {Finally the pawn moves ahead and it's all over.} Rb1+ 66. Ka5 Bxb6+ 67. Nxb6 {This position is easily winning for White because he can defend his e4 pawn with Rh4 and the knight keeps the d5 breaks under control. It's all about bringing the king in now.} Ra1+ 68. Kb5 Rb1+ 69. Kc6 Rc1+ 70. Kb7 Rb1 71. Kc7 Rc1+ 72. Kd8 Re1 73. Rh4 Kf6 74. Rg4 {A fine victory for Anand who played a consistent game. He could have finished the battle sooner on a few occasions but in the end he got the job done!} 1-0

Nigel was referring to the following story that was in the broadsheets all over India:

Report including video in NDTV

Firstpost reports: Anand is not in Chennai currently due to the London Chess Classic, but his wife Aruna has been instrumental is providing shelter and food for their flood-affected people neighbours. "Since it was difficult to leave my toddler and elderly father-in-law and at home and venture out to offer relief and assistance, we chose to open our doors to those affected. Following the first floods, we had close to 20 people, including two pregnant women, from the neighbouring slums staying over at our place. My maid, who lost her home and all her belongings, too came over along with her extended family and stayed with us. Food was cooked in large amounts for all those at home as well as handed over to volunteers for distribution," she was quoted as saying by The Times of India.

The matchup everyone looked forward to was definitely Aronian versus Carlsen

This young lad made the ceremonial first move on the board Aronian-Carlsen: 1.Nh3?!
Aronian promised to consider it in the future, but for today decided to play 1.c4 instead.

Aronian – Carlsen, round five

It seemed as if the game was heading towards a lot of excitement with Aronian going for creative chess with Ng5 followed by Qf3 to h3. However, instead of continuing aggressively with 15.f4!? Levon chose 15.Rfe1 and after 0-0 he had to retreat the knight to f3. With threats of Bxh6 looming over his king Carlsen had to go for 16…Bf4. After 17.Bxf4 Qxf4 18.Ne5 Levon thought that his knight would dominate on e5 but it was not the case and the game petered out to equality after a few moves.

[Event "7th London Classic 2015"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2015.12.08"] [Round "5"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D41"] [WhiteElo "2781"] [BlackElo "2850"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "80"] [EventDate "2015.12.03"] 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 c5 3. Nf3 e6 4. e3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. d4 cxd4 7. exd4 Nxc3 8. bxc3 Qc7 9. Bd2 Nd7 10. Bd3 b6 11. Ng5 $5 {A typical creative Aronian move clearing the d1-h5 diagonal for the white queen.} Nf6 (11... Bb7 12. Qh5 g6 13. Qh3 $36) 12. Qf3 Rb8 13. O-O Bd6 14. Qh3 h6 15. Rfe1 $6 {Aronian after the game said that he completely missed that his opponent could just take on h2. Carlsen saw this during the game but refrained from it as he didn't like Black's position.} (15. f4 $5 Bb7 16. Rae1 {was what Levon thought he should play.}) 15... O-O (15... Bxh2+ 16. Qxh2 Qxh2+ 17. Kxh2 hxg5+ 18. Kg1 g4 19. a4 $44 {White has good compensation.}) 16. Nf3 Bf4 17. Bxf4 Qxf4 18. Ne5 {Aronian felt that the knight on e5 would dominate the board. However Black is just fine.} Bb7 19. Rad1 Qg5 20. c4 Rbd8 21. Qg3 Qxg3 22. hxg3 {Aronian realised that he was slightly worse but according to him White's plan is quite simple: play f3 and get the king to the center.} Rfe8 $6 {Carlsen said in the press conference that this was simply bullshit! He wanted to play Re7-c7 but later realised that the idea wasn't any good.} 23. f3 Nd7 (23... Re7 24. Bc2 Rc7 25. Bb3 {and later the threats of d4-d5 become quite irritating.}) 24. Kf2 Kf8 25. Bc2 Nxe5 26. Rxe5 Re7 27. Bb3 Red7 28. Ke3 g6 {The rook on e5 is not going to be trapped.} 29. g4 Bc6 30. d5 exd5 31. cxd5 Bb7 32. f4 f6 33. Re6 Bxd5 34. Rxd5 Rxd5 35. Bxd5 Rxd5 36. Rxf6+ {Things have liquidated and now it's just a draw.} Kg7 37. Rc6 Ra5 38. Rc2 Kf6 39. Rc6+ Kg7 40. Rc2 Kf6 {A game that showed some promise at the start but didn't live up to the expectations.} 1/2-1/2

Ahh, it’s a rest day tomorrow! Is Magnus looking forward to a drawless day?

On the rest day Magnus Carlsen is going to appear on CNN where you can ask him
a question. All you need to do is to go to Twitter and tweet it using #AskMagnus

Fabiano Caruana against Alexander Grischuk turned out to be the most dramatic game of the day

In an Anti-Berlin Fabiano kept pressing from the white side. At first it didn’t seem much. But as Grischuk kept making inaccuracies, Caruana’s position kept getting better. It even reached a stage where the American could have won the game in just one move. He missed his chance and the result was a draw. The funny thing is that both the players not only missed the winning move during the game, but they also didn’t speak about it in the post mortem. Can you do better than these super grandmasters?

Caruana- Grischuk, round five

Black’s last move was Ke8-f8. Find White’s winning move.

[Event "7th London Classic 2015"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2015.12.08"] [Round "5"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2787"] [BlackElo "2750"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "116"] [EventDate "2015.12.03"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. Nbd2 Be6 7. O-O Bd6 8. d4 Nd7 9. dxe5 Nxe5 10. Nxe5 Bxe5 11. f4 Bd4+ 12. Kh1 f5 13. Qh5+ g6 14. Qe2 O-O 15. Nf3 Bf6 16. e5 Be7 17. Rd1 Qe8 18. Nd4 Qf7 19. Nxe6 Qxe6 20. Be3 Rfd8 21. c4 a6 22. b3 Kf7 23. a4 Ke8 24. h3 Rxd1+ 25. Rxd1 Rd8 26. Rxd8+ Bxd8 27. Bc5 {At this point Grischuk realized that he was under some difficulty.} Kf7 ( 27... Be7 {is a normal move but it is not so great as after} 28. Bxe7 Kxe7 29. Qd3 {You cannot offer the queen exchange.} Qd7 30. Qxd7+ Kxd7 31. Kh2 Ke6 32. Kg3 h6 33. Kh4 c5 34. g4 $1 $18 {is just winning for White, because he could get his king to h4 via g3.}) 28. Qd2 Bh4 {Grischuk's deep idea was to provoke g3 and then go Be7 followed by the queen exchange because then Kh2-g3-h4 would not be possible. But as Grischuk said if you have to go for such ideas then your position is not so great!} 29. Kh2 (29. g3 Be7 (29... Bxg3 30. Qd8 $18) 30. Bxe7 Kxe7 31. Kg2 Qd7 32. Qxd7+ Kxd7 33. b4 b5 34. axb5 axb5 35. c5 h5 36. g4 h4 $11 {and the pawn endgame is just a draw.}) 29... h5 30. a5 Qe8 31. Ba3 Qd8 32. Qb4 b6 $6 {Now White gets a huge initiative.} (32... Bf2 $5 33. Qxb7 Be3 {would have given good counterplay.}) 33. Qc3 c5 34. Bb2 Qd1 35. e6+ Kxe6 36. Qe5+ Kd7 37. Qg7+ Be7 38. Qxg6 $16 Qc2 39. Be5 h4 40. axb6 cxb6 41. Qxb6 { At this point the 40 move mark was crossed and both the players got an extra hour. White is a pawn up and has a completely winning position. Grischuk looked pretty dejected at this point but he tried his best.} Qd3 42. Qb7+ Ke8 43. Qa8+ Kd7 44. Qb7+ Ke8 45. Qc6+ Kf8 {[#]} 46. Qa8+ $2 (46. Qg6 $1 {was the crucial move which was overlooked by both the players. The threat is Bg7+ with a mate and this also covers the g3 square. It is surprising that such an easy move was missed by both the players and they were not even aware of it after the game ended!} Bd8 47. Bd6+ Be7 48. Qf6+ $18) 46... Bd8 47. Bc3 Qg3+ 48. Kh1 Qd3 49. Qb8 Kf7 50. Qb7+ Be7 51. Be5 a5 52. Bb8 Qb1+ 53. Kh2 a4 54. Qd5+ Kf8 55. Bd6 axb3 56. Qa8+ Kf7 57. Qd5+ (57. Qb7 Qe4 $1 $11) 57... Kf8 58. Qa8+ Kf7 {A huge miss by Caruana who has the rest day to recover from this oversight.} 1/2-1/2

For a person who believes in playing good games more than
the result, it was a very unsatisfactory day for Alexander Grischuk

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Anish Giri played a relatively unexciting game,
but one that was important from a theoretical standpoint

The level of Giri’s opening preparation is so high it is extremely difficult to beat him in a theoretical discussion. But if you tend to go for lesser known or dubious lines his understanding of the game is also excellent and you cannot trick him easily. So how do you beat him? Not at all an easy question to answer! This explains why many of his games are highly objective and end in draws.

[Event "7th London Classic 2015"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2015.12.08"] [Round "5"] [White "Vachier Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Giri, Anish"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C67"] [WhiteElo "2765"] [BlackElo "2778"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "61"] [EventDate "2015.12.03"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 Ke8 10. Nc3 h5 11. Bf4 Be7 12. Rad1 Be6 13. Ng5 Rh6 14. g3 {All this has been seen in many games at the top level, even in the Carlsen-Anand match from 2014. Here mainly everyone takes on g5, but Kramnik in his game against Adams had tried a new move 14...Bc4. Giri had an improvement on Kramnik's play and went for the same line.} Bc4 15. Rfe1 Rg6 16. Nce4 Rd8 17. Rxd8+ Bxd8 18. b3 Bd5 19. c4 {We are still following Adams-Kramnik. Here Kramnik took the knight on g5 with Bxg5. While watching that game Giri had a logical doubt in his mind: Why not Nd4? Of course he worked on this move at home and decided that it was not at all bad.} Nd4 $1 $146 (19... Bxg5 20. Nxg5 Be6 {was Adams-Kramnik, London 2014.}) 20. cxd5 cxd5 21. Nd6+ {Maxime goes for the most critical approach.} (21. Kg2 dxe4 22. Nxe4 { is another way to play although after} Ra6 $11 {Black shouldn't have any problems.}) 21... cxd6 22. exd6+ Ne6 23. Nf3 Bf6 24. Be3 Kd7 25. Bxa7 Rh6 $1 { Black gets his rook back in to the game via h8.} 26. Rd1 Kxd6 27. Bb8+ Kc6 28. Rc1+ (28. Be5 {was an option but after} Rh8 29. Bxf6 gxf6 $13 {both sides have their trumps. Black's structure is mangled but his pawn on d5 shephered by the king on c5 would be very strong.}) 28... Kd7 29. Rd1 Kc6 30. Rc1+ Kd7 31. Rd1 { A very correct game, you could say!} 1/2-1/2

“So that was all preparation?” Anish and MVL being interviewed by Tony Rich for the Grand Chess Tour

Coach Vladimir Tukmakov, Anish: 36 hours of preparation – that’s how we beat Magnus on Thursday!

Nakamura played on for 56 moves against Adams, but the game finally ended in a draw

Just like yesterday Nakamura won a pawn and slowly and steadily tried to consolidate his edge. But the pawns were doubled and Adams had little difficulty in neutralizing the pressure.

[Event "7th London Classic 2015"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2015.12.08"] [Round "5"] [White "Adams, Michael"] [Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2744"] [BlackElo "2793"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "112"] [EventDate "2015.12.03"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. Nbd2 Nd7 7. Nc4 O-O 8. Bd2 Re8 9. Qe2 f6 10. h4 Nf8 11. h5 Be6 12. Ne3 Qd7 13. h6 $5 {Adams pushes the pawn to h6, but little does he know that it would become a weakness on that square.} g6 $1 {It is interesting to see how Nakamura rounds up the pawn.} 14. O-O Bg4 15. Nxg4 Qxg4 16. Nd4 Qxe2 17. Nxe2 Ne6 18. g3 g5 $1 {The h6 pawn is all lonely now.} 19. Be3 (19. Kg2 Kf7 20. Be3 Bf8 21. Rh1 Kg6 22. f4 { was a better way for White to play when his pawn would not be lost.}) 19... Bf8 $1 20. Kg2 Bxh6 {The interesting thing to note here is that in spite of losing the pawn White has absolutely no problems to maintain the balance.} 21. Rh1 Bg7 22. Kf3 h6 23. Kg4 Re7 24. Raf1 Rf8 25. Rh3 (25. f4 {would have been logical.}) 25... Nd4 (25... Ref7 {Preparing f5 was another way to go.} 26. Kf5 b6 $1 { A shrewd move offering the e6 knight.} 27. Kxe6 $4 f5 $1 $19 {The trap is closed shut! Re8 is mate next move.}) 26. Nxd4 exd4 27. Bc1 (27. Bxd4 $2 f5+ $19) 27... Re5 28. f4 Rc5 29. Rh2 f5+ 30. exf5 Rfxf5 31. Rhf2 gxf4 32. Bxf4 h5+ 33. Kh3 {Black has an extra pawn but the doubled ones on the queenside don't really count for much. Nakamura tried hard for the rest of the game but as we already know when it comes to defence Adams is one of the best in the business. } Be5 34. Re1 Ra5 35. a3 Rd5 36. Re4 a5 37. a4 Rf7 38. b3 Bd6 39. Rfe2 Rg7 40. Bxd6 cxd6 41. Re8+ Kh7 42. Rf2 Rdg5 43. Rf3 R5g6 44. Re4 Rg4 45. Re6 h4 46. Rxd6 c5 47. Rd5 Rxg3+ 48. Rxg3 hxg3 49. Kg2 b6 50. Rd6 Rg6 51. Rxg6 Kxg6 52. Kxg3 Kg5 53. Kf3 Kf5 54. Kg3 Kg5 55. Kf3 Kf5 56. Kg3 Ke5 1/2-1/2

Nakamura’s pawn grabbing led Nigel Short to write another interesting tweet:

Remember Nakamura’s game against Anand from round four where he snatched the d5 pawn and then won the game?

Game of the Day Round four

ChessBase are offering free copies of the newly-released Fritz 15 and ChessBase Magazine 169, to the online audience of the 7th London Chess Classic. All viewers can vote online for the best game of each round of the Classic, and one randomly-drawn person will win a prize each day. Winners so far:

Round 1: Lee Phillips [Anand v Carlsen]
Round 2: John Bottomley [Carlsen v Carauna]
Round 3: Robert Bell [Topalov v Giri]
Round 4: Andrew Offord [Nakamura v Anand]

Standings after five rounds

"GM Daniel King, do you think we will see a decisive game in this round?"

The ultra-creative GM Jon Speelman gives a 20-board simul to raise funds for Chess in Schools

British Knockout Championships

Another game between David Howell and Nick Pert ended in a draw. After five games the score stands 3:2 in the favour of Howell. Nick showed his aggressive intentions in the fifth game by playing the 5.h4!? Variation in the Grunfeld. But David was up to task and exchanged loads of pieces, when Nick had nothing better than to accept the draw.

[Event "British ch-KO 2015"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2015.12.08"] [Round "3.5"] [White "Pert, Nicholas"] [Black "Howell, David W L"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D90"] [WhiteElo "2569"] [BlackElo "2693"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "53"] [EventDate "2015.12.01"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 Bg7 4. Nc3 d5 5. h4 $5 {Pert tries to play an aggressive system in this almost must-win situation.} c6 {David is as solid as he can be.} 6. cxd5 cxd5 7. Bf4 Nc6 8. e3 O-O 9. Ne5 Nxe5 10. Bxe5 Ne4 11. Bxg7 Nxc3 12. bxc3 Kxg7 13. Bd3 (13. h5 $1 {What I do not understand is why Nick didn't push his h-pawn. The h-file will be opened and White could get decent attcking chances.}) 13... h5 {Now the h-file cannot be opened and the position is just equal.} 14. Qb3 Qd6 15. O-O Rb8 16. Rfc1 Bd7 17. Qb4 Qxb4 {Howell thought for a long time before making this queen exchange.} 18. cxb4 Rfc8 19. Rc5 Rxc5 (19... b6 20. Rxd5 Rc7 $44) 20. bxc5 b5 21. a3 Bc6 22. Kf1 f5 23. Ke2 Kf6 24. Kd2 a5 25. Kc3 e5 26. f4 e4 27. Be2 {draw was agreed as there was no real way to open up the position.} 1/2-1/2

Nick Pert is now in a must-win situation as he is a full point down with
only one game to go. It is not going to be easy, as he has the black pieces.

FIDE Open

As many as ten players are in the lead with 5.0/6 in the FIDE Open. With three rounds to go it promises to be an exciting finish.

Erik Blomqvist joined the leaders with a win over Rinat Jumabayev

John Bartholomew beat the talented Francesco Rambaldi, and is now on 5.0/6

Women power continues at the FIDE Open as Tania Sachdev drew IM Swayams Mishra (2477), Sopiko Guramishvili beat Gudmundur Kjartansson (2477) and Sophie Millet got the better of Mads Andersen (2474).

Rankings after Round 6

Rk. SNo Title Name   Rtng Pts
1 1 GM Postny Evgeny ISR 2670 5,0
  5 GM Lenderman Alex USA 2626 5,0
  8 GM Bok Benjamin NED 2594 5,0
  9 GM Hansen Eric CAN 2577 5,0
  16 GM Vishnu Prasanna V IND 2514 5,0
  21 GM Blomqvist Erik SWE 2493 5,0
  22 GM Fodor Tamas Jr HUN 2492 5,0
  33 IM Bartholomew John USA 2443 5,0
  49 FM Martins David Pt POR 2372 5,0
  51 IM Krishna Crg IND 2367 5,0

Full results and standins of all 141 players may be found here

Photos by Amruta Mokal of ChessBase India

Schedule of the London Chess Classic 2015

Round 1 Friday 4 Dec, 16.00-23.00
Veselin Topalov
0-1
Anish Giri
Alexander Grischuk
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura
M Vachier-Lagrave
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Fabiano Caruana
½-½
Levon Aronian
Viswanathan Anand
½-½
Michael Adams
 
Round 2 Sat. 5 Dec, 14.00-21.00
Anish Giri
½-½
Michael Adams
Levon Aronian
½-½
Viswanathan Anand
Magnus Carlsen
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
Hikaru Nakamura
½-½
M Vachier-Lagrave
Veselin Topalov
½-½
Alexander Grischuk
Round 3 Sunday 6 Dec, 14.00-21.00
Alexander Grischuk
½-½
Anish Giri
M Vachier-Lagrave 
1-0
Veselin Topalov
Fabiano Caruana
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura
Viswanathan Anand
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Michael Adams
½-½
Levon Aronian
 
Round 4 Monday 7 Dec, 16.00-23.00
Anish Giri
½-½
Levon Aronian
Magnus Carlsen
½-½
Michael Adams
Hikaru Nakamura
1-0
Viswanathan Anand
Veselin Topalov
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
Alexander Grischuk
½-½
M Vachier-Lagrave
Round 5 Tuesday 8 Dec, 16.00-23.00
M Vachier-Lagrave 
½-½
Anish Giri
Fabiano Caruana
½-½
Alexander Grischuk
Viswanathan Anand
1-0
Veselin Topalov
Michael Adams
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura
Levon Aronian
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
 
Wednesday 9 Dec – Free day
Round 6 Thursday 10 Dec, 16.00-23.00
Anish Giri
-
Magnus Carlsen
Hikaru Nakamura
-
Levon Aronian
Veselin Topalov
-
Michael Adams
Alexander Grischuk
-
Viswanathan Anand
M Vachier-Lagrave
-
Fabiano Caruana
 
Round 7 Friday 11 Dec, 16.00-23.00
Fabiano Caruana
-
Anish Giri
Viswanathan Anand
-
M Vachier-Lagrave
Michael Adams
-
Alexander Grischuk
Levon Aronian
-
Veselin Topalov
Magnus Carlsen
-
Hikaru Nakamura
Round 8 Saturday 12 Dec, 14.00-21.00
Anish Giri
-
Hikaru Nakamura
Veselin Topalov
-
Magnus Carlsen
Alexander Grischuk
-
Levon Aronian
M Vachier-Lagrave
-
Michael Adams
Fabiano Caruana
-
Viswanathan Anand
 
Round 9 Sunday 13 Dec, 14.00-21.00
Viswanathan Anand
-
Anish Giri
Michael Adams
-
Fabiano Caruana
Levon Aronian
-
M Vachier-Lagrave
Magnus Carlsen
-
Alexander Grischuk
Hikaru Nakamura
-
Veselin Topalov

Draw rate at the Chess Classic

84% – that’s the draw rate in this event. While it is alarming, we should take into consideration that, barring a few games, players are trying their best to fight until the very end. However the question on everyone’s mind is surely what has happened to Magnus Carlsen? Why is he not able to win with the same ease as he used to do before? Daniel King believes that the top players have figured out the type of positions or openings that Magnus likes to play and they refrain from going in there. On the other hand Jan Gustaffson believes that the World Champion is no longer as accurate as he used to be. Whatever it is Carlsen will not be happy seeing that at 2830 he is 52 Elo points away from his peak rating.

Live commentary on Playchess

Day and round English German
08.12 Tuesday Round 5 Merijn van Delft Oliver Reeh/Dorian Rogozenco
10.12 Thursday Round 6 Merijn van Delft Sebastian Siebrecht
11.12 Friday Round 7 Mihail Marin Sebastian Siebrecht
12.12 Saturday Round 8 Mihail Marin Sebastian Siebrecht
13.12 Sunday Round 9 Yannick Pelletier Oliver Reeh/Martin Breutigam

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 there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.
 


Sagar Shah is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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Aighearach Aighearach 12/10/2015 12:15
There may indeed be some lousy pawns in the world, but the one that you won by isn't one of them. ;)
What does Short have against pawns? It seems rather small of him.
Maybe his rating would go up if somebody informed him that all those pawns are Princesses with dreams and ambitions.
Karbuncle Karbuncle 12/10/2015 04:51
I found the winning move in the Caruana - Grischuk game, but I have to admit it took me a couple minutes of ruling out alternatives and forced checks. Eventually I realized the threat on g3 had to be dealt with whilst still threatening the black king.
Rinzou Wilkerson Rinzou Wilkerson 12/9/2015 11:24
Thank you, chessfilmmaker for bringing this tragedy to our attention.

Please somebody help GM Lombardy. I have been a fan of his for decades and he is truly a chess legend.

Chessbase, could you do a story on this?
Vam Vam 12/9/2015 05:17
This game between Vishy and Topalov is probably why everyone except MVL is playing the Berlin.

Anand has enough experience in open sicilians that is older than most of these guys.
zoranp zoranp 12/9/2015 12:14
Anand-Topalov endgame reminds on famous game Geller-Kotov, Zurich 1953. Material was the same, and similar ideas.
chessfilmmaker chessfilmmaker 12/9/2015 12:00
Nice Botvinnik style endgame play by Anand.

Speaking of chess players who know their endgames, William Lombardy (the coach of Bobby Fischer) is being evicted from his apartment of 40 years:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1TZ8g-zXY8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbwPsAiGgow
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