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4th London Chess Classic 2012 (9)

Carlsen wins London Chess Classic and takes Kasparov's record

Magnus Carlsen won the London Chess Classic for the third time in four years. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill.

Magnus Carlsen won the London Chess Classic for the third time in four years. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill. |

Magnus Carlsen won the London Chess Classic with a score of 18/24 (3 points for a win, +5 =3) and has raised his rating to 2861.4 beating Kasparov's 13 year old record by a huge margin of 10 points. This is his third triumph in four years. He was two points clear of last year's winner Vladimir Kramnik. Carlsen was guaranteed first place once Michael Adams drew with Kramnik who both also had fantastic events. Carlsen was involved in a fascinating game with World Champion Viswanathan Anand which also finished in a draw. The only decisive game of the day saw Hikaru Nakamura beat Luke McShane after the latter just blundered a piece in an equal position. Judit Polgar drew quickly with Levon Aronian.

Players performance round up

Magnus Carlsen broke Garry Kasparov's record by some margin,was obviously happy to do so. Carlsen had some problematic moments but was largely in good form. He seems to be moving further and further away from the rest.

An exception to the comment about Carlsen moving away from the other perhaps excludes Vladimir Kramnik who moved back to number 2 in the world (number 1 if you don't consider Carlsen's play human as Kramnik joked). He is coming up on the 20th anniversary of his first appearance in an elite event (Linares 1993 finishing 5th) and his entry into the top 10 (which he has never left since). "My form was close to optimal." Kramnik said. He believes with a little more work and if he can hold on to his current form he can be competitive in the quest for first place in the Candidates. He believed that he played better than last year.

Michael Adams joint third was one of his best results in years and he looked very good too and might easily have added one or two more wins.

Hikaru Nakamura declared himself satisfied with a performance that gained him some rating points.

World Champion Viwanathan Anand said "I would say it was more or less catastrophic. I really had hopes it would go better this time." Anand did look to be getting into the swing of things towards the end saying "Yesterday and today I played fun chess." and I think this element may be a big element that is missing at the moment. He plays in Wijk aan Zee in a month.

Levon Aronian lost his first two games and never really featured in the event.

Judit Polgar gave the impression that she sees her elite career as drawing to a close as she said her lack of focus and preparation had cost her and that she was concentrating on the annual Hungarian chess festival and her new series of books.

Luke McShane showed plenty of the qualities that makes him one of the most feared English players in spite of only being a part time player but this result and his warmup in the Netherlands both saw far too many blunders. Looks like he will have to find a way of sharpening up before such event otherwise he will no longer be able to compete.

Gawain Jones said that he rarely gets chance to compete against players rated above 2700 and so this event was an entirely new experience for him. He won't be the first or last player to finish last in his debut at this level. He said he thought he learned a lot and if he gets another chance I expect him to do better. He fully deserved his chance and probably another one somewhere.

Magnus Carlsen against Viswanathan Anand

Magnus Carlsen against Viswanathan Anand. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Carlsen,Magnus - Anand,Viswanathan [C48]
4th London Chess Classic London ENG (9.2), 10.12.2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.Nc3 d6 6.Na4 Bb6 7.Nxb6 axb6 8.c3 Bd7 9.Ba4 Ne7 10.Bc2 Ng6 11.h3 0-0 12.0-0 h6 13.Re1

[13.d4 Qe7 14.Re1 Bc6 15.a4 Nh7 16.b4 Rfd8 17.d5 Bd7 18.c4 Rf8 19.a5 bxa5 20.Rxa5 Rxa5 21.bxa5 Ra8 22.Bd2 Nf6 23.Nh2 Bc8 24.Nf1 Nd7 25.Ng3 b6 26.Nf5 Qd8 27.axb6 Nxb6 28.Bd3 Nf4 29.Bxf4 exf4 30.Nd4 Qg5 31.Nf3 Qf6 32.e5 dxe5 33.Rxe5 Ba6 34.Qe2 g6 35.Re4 Kg7 36.Qd2 g5 37.Qe2 Nd7 38.Re7 Bc8 39.Qe4 Ra1+ 40.Kh2 Nf8 41.Rxc7 g4 42.Rxc8 gxf3 43.Qxf3 Ra3 44.Qg4+ Qg5 45.Bf5 Ra2 46.f3 Ng6 47.Qxg5 hxg5 48.Bxg6 1-0 Stojanovic,D (2459)-Pap,M (2399)/Subotica SCG 2005/The Week in Chess 579]

13...Re8 14.d4 Bc6 15.dxe5 dxe5 16.Qxd8

This move is maybe at least questionable.

16...Rexd8 17.g3

And also this. Magnus seems to lose any hope of an advantage.

17...Nd7 18.Be3 Nc5 19.Nd2 Nf8 20.f3 Nfe6 21.h4 Bb5 22.a3 Rd7?!

Viswanathan Anand


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 22....Rd7

Cutting the retreat square of his knight and forcing play in a way Anand didn't want.

23.b4 Nd3 24.Reb1 Ba4

The only way to keep in the game.

25.Bxa4 Rxa4 26.Kf1 b5 27.Ke2 Ra6 28.h5 c5 29.bxc5 Ndxc5 30.Rxb5 Na4 31.Rc1 Rc7 32.Nb1 f6 33.c4 b6 34.Rd5

White is pressing but things are still very delicate.

34...Nac5 35.Rc2 Rc6 36.Rb2 Kh7 37.Rb4 g6 38.hxg6+ Kxg6 39.Rd2 h5 40.Nc3 Rxa3 41.Nd5 Kf7 42.Nxb6 Nb3 43.Rd7+ Ke8 44.Rb7 Nbd4+ 45.Bxd4 Nxd4+ 46.Kd1

Viswanathan Anand


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 46.Kd1


"Just fantastic." - Anand. This is a really rich position full of complexity.


After an hours thought Anand decides his pieces are just fine where they are and passes.

[46...Rd3+ 47.Kc1 Rb3 48.Ra4 Ne6 49.Ra8+ Nd8 50.Rab8 (50.Rd7) 50...Rd6 51.c5 (51.Kc2 Rdd3 52.Nd5) 51...Rc3+ 52.Kb2 Rxc5 53.Nd5]

47.Rd7+ Ke8 48.Rb7 Kd8 49.Nd5

Here I saw what was going to happen and wasn't too optimistic about my winning chances. - Carlsen.

49...Ra1+ 50.Kd2 Ra2+ 51.Rb2 Rxb2+ 52.Rxb2 Nxf3+

[52...Rxc4 53.Rb8+ Kd7 54.Nb6+]

53.Kd3 Ng5 54.Rb8+ Kd7 55.Rb7+ Kd6 56.Nxf6

[56.Nb4 Nxe4 57.Kxe4 Rxc4+ 58.Kf3 h4 draws.]

56...Ra6 57.Ne8+ Kc5 58.Rc7+ Kb4 59.Rb7+ Kc5 60.Rc7+ Kb4 61.Rb7+ 1/2-1/2

Hikaru Nakamura against Luke McShane

Hikaru Nakamura against Luke McShane. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Nakamura,Hikaru - McShane,Luke [D15]
4th London Chess Classic London ENG (9.4), 10.12.2012

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.c5 Nbd7 6.g3 g6 7.Bg2 Bg7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Qc2 Re8 10.Rd1 e5

A surprise for Nakamura.

11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.Nxe5 Rxe5 13.e4 Bg4 14.f3 Bd7 15.Bf4

[15.f4 Re8 16.exd5 cxd5 17.Nxd5 Nxd5 18.Bxd5 Bg4 19.Bxf7+ Kxf7 20.Rxd8 Raxd8]


[15...Re6 16.Na4 Qe7 17.Nb6 Re8 18.Bg5 (18.Bd6 Rxd6 19.cxd6 Qxd6) ]


Luke McShane


Hikaru Nakamura

Position after 16.Na4

[16.exd5 cxd5 17.Nxd5 Nxd5 18.Rxd5 Qe7]

16...a5! 17.Nb6

[17.g4 Be6]

17...Ra6 18.Qf2 Be6 19.Bf1 Rxb6

[19...Ra7 20.a4 Qe7 (20...Nd7 21.exd5; 20...Bf8) 21.Bd6]

20.cxb6 Qe7 21.Be3 Nd7 22.Bd4

"Absolutely nothing." - Nakamura.

[22.exd5 Bxd5 23.Bd4 Bxd4 24.Rxd4 Nxb6 Completely equal. - Nakamura.]

22...dxe4 23.fxe4 Bxd4 24.Rxd4 Nxb6 25.b3 Nd7 26.Rad1 Ne5 27.h3 h5 28.Bg2 Kh7 29.Qf4 Bd7 30.Kh2 c5 31.Rd6 a4 32.R1d5 Kg7??

Luke McShane


Hikaru Nakamura

Position after 32....Kg7?

Simply missing the threat. McShane was obviously very tired.

33.Qxe5+ 1-0

Michael Adams against Vladimir Kramnik

Michael Adams against Vladimir Kramnik. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Adams,Michael - Kramnik,Vladimir [C67]
4th London Chess Classic London ENG (9.1), 10.12.2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.Re1 Nd6 6.Nxe5 Be7 7.Bf1 Nxe5 8.Rxe5 0-0 9.Nc3 Bf6 10.Re1 Re8 11.Nd5

[11.Rxe8+ Nxe8 12.Nd5 Bh4 13.g3 1/2-1/2 Vallejo Pons,F (2697)-Ponomariov,R (2734)/Sestao ESP 2010/The Week in Chess 825]

11...Rxe1 12.Qxe1 b6 13.g3 Bb7 14.Bg2 c6

Vladimir Kramnik


Michael Adams

Position after 14...c6

Initially missed by Adams.

15.Ne3! Qe7 16.d3!

[16.c3 Ba6 Could turn out to be tricky for white.]

16...Nf5 17.c3 d5 18.Bd2 Nxe3 19.Qxe3 Qxe3 20.Bxe3 Ba6 21.d4 Re8 22.a4 h6 23.h4 Bc8 24.b4 Bf5 25.a5 b5

Draw is coming.

26.Re1 g5 27.hxg5 hxg5 28.f3 Bd8 29.Kf2 Bc7 30.Bd2 Rxe1 31.Bxe1 f6 32.Bd2 Kg7 33.Bf1 a6 34.Be2 Kf7 35.Be3 Kg7 36.Bd2 Kf7 37.Be3 Kg7 38.Bd2 Kf7 1/2-1/2

Judit Polgar against Levon Aronian

Judit Polgar against Levon Aronian. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Polgar,Judit - Aronian,Levon [C89]
4th London Chess Classic London ENG (9.3), 10.12.2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.d3 Bd6 13.Re1 Bf5 14.Qf3 Qf6 15.Bxd5 cxd5 16.Bf4 Bxf4 17.Qxf4 d4 18.cxd4 Rad8 19.Nc3 Rxd4 20.Ne4 Bxe4 21.Qxf6 gxf6 22.Rxe4 Rxd3

Already a draw could be agreed.

Levon Aronian


Judit Polgar

Position after 22....Rxd3


[23.Rg4+ Kh8 24.a4 Rfd8 25.g3 Rd1+ 26.Rxd1 Rxd1+ 27.Kg2 Rb1 28.axb5 Rxb2 29.bxa6 Ra2 1/2-1/2 Shirov,A (2713)-Tomashevsky,E (2710)/Saratov RUS 2011/The Week in Chess 885]

23...Rfd8 24.g3 R3d4 25.Rxd4 Rxd4 26.axb5 axb5 27.Re1 Rd2 28.b3 Rb2 29.Re3 Kg7 30.Rf3 f5 31.h3 Kf6 32.g4 Kg6 33.Rxf5 Rxb3 34.Kg2 1/2-1/2

4th London Chess Classic 2012 London ENG Sat 1st Dec 2012 - Mon 10th Dec 2012
Leading Final Round 9 Standings:
1Carlsen, MagnusNOR28488*11313333182994
2Kramnik, VladimirRUS279581*3111333162937
3Nakamura, HikaruUSA2760810*113331132839
4Adams, MichaelENG27108011*31313132845
5Anand, ViswanathanIND277581110*111392749
6Aronian, LevonARM2815801011*13182701
7Polgar, JuditHUN27058000011*3162621
8McShane, Luke JENG271380001100*352566
9Jones, Gawain C BENG2644800100110*32511
9 players

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