5th London Chess Classic 2013 (Semi-Final and Finals)
Hikaru Nakamura wins the London Chess Classic Super 16
Mark Crowther - Sunday 15th December 2013
Hikaru Nakamura defeated Vladimir Kramnik and Boris Gelfand on the final day to win the 5th London Chess Classic. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill. | http://raymorris-hill.smugmug.com
Hikaru Nakamura won the 5th London Chess Classic which this year was in a rapid format with group stages and followed by an 8 player knockout. Nakamura went through the event undefeated although he was severely tested in a number of games including most obviously in his semifinal win against Vladimir Kramnik. Nakamura defeated Boris Gelfand who rather crushed Michael Adams in the semifinals. Malcolm Pein says a 6th event of the series in 2014 is entirely likely and they will revue the positive comments they had both for this year and the previous classical editions. They may face the similar scheduling problems as they did this year caused by the proximity to the finish of the world chess championship.
The semifinals saw Gelfand defeat Adams 1.5-0.5. Gelfand scored his fourth win in a row when Adams seemed to miss 25.0-0-0!! hit two pieces, it is entirely possible he didn't consider castling was possible at all. Adams however quickly got sufficient compensation for the exchange but then the pressure of being the exchange down told and he subsided to defeat. Gelfand got a huge advantage with black in the second game but traded down to a draw.
It is probably many a year since Kramnik had as painful a loss as he did in game two of his match against Nakamura to go out. The first game saw Nakamura drag Kramnik into a tactical fight where he had the better of it but the game ended in a draw. Nakamura by his own admission made "two very bad moves" in the second game against Kramnik in the opening and was pretty much busted. However Nakamura did manage to keep a significant advantage on the clock which was essential in trying to hold a very difficult ending. 42...Bf8 was the win Kramnik missed but that was already in a difficult situation the game should then have finished in a draw but Kramnik pressed on for a win still and missed the 60...Bxg5 idea, Kramnik never recovered his composure, he was also very short of time and five moves later he made an excruciating blunder of his rook in a position that had started to become tricky.
In the first game of the final Nakamura found himself in a variation of the Gruenfeld which was bad for white against Gelfand but after that Nakamura played very strongly, most probably 17...Ne4 allowed white to at least equalise (17...Nce6) and 22...Qf6? allowed 23.Rxc7! after which white was better and went on to win nicely. In the second game Nakamura played an old variation of the King's Indian, as Nakamura pointed out afterwards he didn't know which colour would come first so it was a rather more enterprising opening variation than his lead perhaps called for. Gelfand held the advantage for a long time but it seemed to be Nakamura dictating play. Nakamura got a big advantage on the clock and in sharp complications equalised about move 32. The game remained tricky but Hikaru remained strong and got the draw he needed to win the event and perhaps could have won had he needed to.
| 5th Classic KO 2013 London ENG Sat 14th Dec 2013 - Sun 15th Dec 2013
|5th Classic KO 2013 London Final Sun 15th Dec 2013|
|5th Classic KO 2013 London Semifinal Sun 15th Dec 2013|
|5th Classic KO 2013 London Quarterfinal Sun 15th Dec 2013|
|2||Short, Nigel D||GM||ENG||2683||0||=||0.5|
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