Chess24 Sopiko Scotch

London Chess Classic 2009 (5)

Carlsen and McShane win in Round 5

Carlsen beat Ni Hua with black in Round 5. Photo © Mark Crowther

Carlsen beat Ni Hua with black in Round 5. Photo © Mark Crowther |

Sunday saw another sell out crowd and four battling games in Round 5. Magnus Carlsen extended his lead after a few scares in the opening, Luke McShane won a second game in the competition.

Sunday saw another sell out crowd and four battling games in Round 5. Magnus Carlsen extended his lead after a few scares in the opening, Luke McShane won a second game in the competition.

Magnus Carlsen almost took a risk too far in the opening against Ni Hua. After 10 moves he seemed to be under severe pressure although it was certainly very hard to press this advantage. Carlsen gradually unwound his position after some inaccuracies first equalised and then took over control. Final errors on the run up to the first time control left him with a decisive advantage. This win takes him to the +3 score which will take him to the number one spot in the January rating list. He now needs just a point from the final two games to confirm this.

Ni Hua (2665) - Carlsen,M (2801) [B51]
Chess Classic London ENG (5), 13.12.2009

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Nd7 4.d4 a6

Carlsen wanted a complicated game.

5.Bxd7+ Bxd7 6.dxc5 dxc5 7.Nc3 e6 8.Bf4 Ne7

[8...Nf6 9.e5 Qc7 was interesting.]

9.Ne5 Ng6 10.Qh5

Carlsen either overlooked or underestimated this move. He admitted he was worried here. Although he also said that perhaps the position wasn't that bad.

[10.Bg5 1/2-1/2 Riff,J (2428)-Cossin,S (2395)/Rosny sous bois FRA 2004/The Week in Chess 521 (39)]


Carlsen said that if he didn't play accurately here he realised that he would probably lose in 20 moves.

[10...Nxe5 11.Bxe5 Bc6 12.0-0 Qa5 13.Rad1 c4 14.Qg5 Qc5 15.Rfe1 f6 16.Bxf6 Qxg5 17.Bxg5 Bb4 18.a3 Bxc3 19.bxc3 h6 20.Bf4 0-0 21.Be5 Rad8 22.Rd4 Rxd4 23.cxd4 Rd8 24.c3 Rd7 25.f3 Ba4 26.Kf2 Kf7 27.Ke3 Bc6 28.g4 Rd8 29.h4 g6 30.Rh1 h5 31.Rg1 Rg8 32.Kf4 Be8 33.Kg5 Ke7 34.Kf4 Kf7 35.gxh5 gxh5 36.Rxg8 Kxg8 37.Kg5 Kf8 38.Kf6 Bd7 39.Bd6+ Ke8 40.Kg6 Ba4 41.Kxh5 Bd1 42.Kg4 Kf7 43.h5 Kg7 44.Be5+ Kh6 45.Bf6 Ba4 46.Be5 Bd1 47.d5 exd5 48.exd5 Ba4 49.d6 Bd7+ 50.Kh4 b5 51.Bf4+ Kg7 52.Kg5 1-0 Brkic,A (2544)-Feletar,D (2377)/Sibenik CRO 2009/The Week in Chess 777; 10...Be7 11.0-0-0]


[11.Nxc6 Qb6 12.Ne5 Qxb2 13.0-0 Qxc3 was Carlsen's intention.; 11.Nxg6 fxg6 12.Qg4 Qf6]

11...Nxe5 12.Bxe5 c4

The only move according to Carlsen.


[13.b4 h6; 13.f4 and black is still in some danger. 13...Qa5 14.0-0-0 Bb4 15.Qg4 Rg8]

13...Qa5 14.Qg5 h6 15.Qg3 f6 16.Qg6+ Ke7 17.Bf4


17...Be8 18.Qg3 Kf7

Carlsen thought he'd more or less equalised here.

19.Rad1 Bc6 20.Rd2 e5 21.Be3 Bb4

Magnus Carlsen


Ni Hua

Position after 21...Bb4


[22.Qg4 Bxc3 23.Rd7+ Bxd7 24.Qxd7+ with a draw.]

22...Rhe8 23.f5 Bc5 24.Rfd1

[24.Nd5 Bxe3+ 25.Qxe3 Rad8 and black is doing well.]

24...Rad8 25.Rxd8 Bxe3+ 26.Qxe3 Rxd8 27.Rxd8 Qxd8 28.Kf2 Qd6 29.a3 a5 30.Kf3?!

[30.Ke2 was a better move.]

30...Kg8 31.g3

[31.Ke2 and again Ke2 avoiding Bxe4+ in some lines is better. Now black quickly reaches a winning position. 31...b5 32.Qb6 which is now impossible.]

31...b5 32.Ke2 b4 33.axb4 axb4 34.Nd1 Ba4 35.b3?

[35.Qd2 Qd4 36.Qxd4 exd4 37.Kd2 Kf7 38.Nf2 Ke7 39.c3 was the last chance to try and hold.]

35...cxb3 36.cxb3 Qa6+ 37.Kd2 Bb5 38.Qc5 Qa2+ 39.Qc2 Qa7 40.Qc8+ Kh7 41.Kc1 Qa1+ 42.Kc2 Qd4

There is no hope.


Luke McShane had an intricate struggle against Hikaru Nakamura in a King's Indian. He had to give up the exchange but won some pawns. This seemed to leave Nakamura in an uncomfortable position because he played a little too fast and missed a final chance to hold the game. McShane's pawns got rolling and he threatened unstoppable mate at the end.

Nakamura,Hi (2715) - McShane,L (2615) [E94]
Chess Classic London ENG (5), 13.12.2009

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0-0 6.Nf3 e5 7.0-0 Na6 8.Be3 Ng4 9.Bg5 Qe8 10.c5 exd4 11.Nd5 Be6

having lost a couple of games in this line he tries something different.

[11...Nxc5 12.Nxc7 Qxe4 13.Re1 Rb8 14.Bc4 Qf5 15.Be7 Bd7 16.h3 Nf6 17.Bxd6 Nce4 18.Bxf8 Rxf8 19.Qxd4 Bc6 20.Ne5 Nd7 21.Nd5 Qxe5 22.Qxe5 Nxe5 23.Rxe4 Kh8 24.Bb3 Nd3 25.Rd1 Nxb2 26.Rd2 a5 27.a3 a4 28.Ba2 b5 29.Rb4 Rd8 30.Rc2 Nc4 31.Bxc4 bxc4 32.Nc3 Re8 33.Rxc4 Bd7 34.Nxa4 Be6 35.Rc6 Be5 36.Nb6 Rd8 37.Rc8 Bxc8 38.Rxc8 Rxc8 39.Nxc8 Kg7 40.a4 Bc7 41.Ne7 Kf8 42.Nd5 Bd8 43.Kf1 f5 44.Ke2 Kf7 45.Kd3 Ke6 46.Kc4 Kd6 47.f3 g5 48.g4 Ke5 49.gxf5 Kxf5 50.Kb5 Ke5 51.Nb6 Kd6 52.a5 Kc7 53.a6 Kb8 54.Nd7+ Kc7 55.Nf8 Bf6 56.Ne6+ Kb8 57.Kb6 Be5 58.Nxg5 1-0 Navara,D (2663)-McShane,L (2625)/Gothenburg SWE 2005/The Week in Chess 561]

12.Be7 Bxd5 13.Bxf8

Apparently McShane was already on his own.


[13...Kxf8 also is well worth investigating.]

14.exd5 dxc5 15.Qb3 Rb8 16.Rfe1

[16.Rac1 Bh6 17.Rcd1 Qd6 18.Qa3 Nf6 19.Bxa6 bxa6 20.Nd2 Qxd5 21.Nb3 Bf8 22.Qxa6 Bd6 23.Qe2 Re8 24.Qf3 Qxf3 25.gxf3 Rb8 26.Rb1 Kf8 27.Nd2 Nd5 28.Nc4 Nb6 29.b3 Nd5 30.Rfe1 Re8 31.Rxe8+ Kxe8 32.Nb2 Kd7 33.Nd3 Nc3 34.Ra1 Ke6 35.a4 Kd5 36.Nb2 Ne2+ 37.Kf1 Nf4 38.Ke1 h5 39.Kd2 Ne6 40.Rh1 h4 41.h3 Bf4+ 42.Ke2 Bg5 43.Nd3 Be7 44.Rc1 Bd6 45.Rb1 Ng5 46.Rg1 Be7 47.Nf4+ Ke5 48.Nd3+ Kd5 49.Nf4+ Ke5 50.Nd3+ Kd5 1/2-1/2 Tarnopolsky,A (2301)-Mittelman,G (2418)/Israel ISR 2009/The Week in Chess 760]

16...Qd6 17.h3 Nf6 18.Bxa6

[18.a3 b5 19.Bxb5 c6 20.dxc6 Nc7 21.a4 a6 22.Ne5 Qf8 (22...axb5 23.Qxf7+) ]

18...Qxa6 19.Rac1 Bf8 20.Ne5 Qb6 21.Qf3 Qd6 22.g4

Taking away the option of capturing on d5.

22...Bh6 23.Rc2 Re8

A nice little sequence.

[23...Rf8 24.Nd3]

24.Rce2 Rf8 25.Nc4 Qxd5 26.Qxf6 Bg7 27.Qh4

[27.Qf4 was expected by McShane.]

27...Qxc4 28.Re8 Qd5

Black still has to be very careful.

29.Rxf8+ Bxf8 30.Re8 Kg7 31.g5 Qd6 32.Kf1 b5 33.Ke1 c4 34.Qe4 c5 35.h4 c3 36.bxc3 dxc3 37.Qe5+ Qxe5+ 38.Rxe5 a5 39.Kd1 a4 40.a3 b4 41.Kc2 h6

Luke McShane


Hikaru Nakamura

Position after 41...h6

McShane considered f5 and h5 but eventually saw this as his best. He now plans Kh7 and Bg7.


Nakamura had been playing very quickly and misses the critical position.

[42.axb4 cxb4 43.Ra5 b3+ 44.Kxc3 Bb4+; 42.Re8 and there is still all to play for.]

42...hxg5 43.hxg5 Kh7 44.Rd7 Bg7 45.Rxf7 b3+

Black is winning but he has to be very careful, if the pawns get stopped and he starts losing them he still can even lose this game.

46.Kb1 Kg8 47.Ra7 Bd4 48.Rxa4 Kf7 49.Ra6 Be5 50.Ra4 Ke6 51.Rh4 Kd5 52.a4 c4

The final nail in the coffin. Bd6-a6 will come.

53.Rh1 c2+ 54.Kc1 c3 55.Rh4 Bd6

Mate follows quickly.


Michael Adams against Nigel Short. The battle of the two best English players saw an Open Ruy Lopez and Nigel Short gradually take the initiative after an inaccuracy from Adams. Short never quite got to the point of an obvious advantage and then overlooked a nasty tactic at the first time control which fortunately for him led to a draw.

Adams,Mi (2698) - Short,N (2707) [C80]
Chess Classic London ENG (5), 13.12.2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.Nbd2 Nc5 10.c3

Short has only recently taken the open Ruy Lopez up. Here he plays Nxb3 which used to be seen as bad but which he has revived.

10...Nxb3 11.Nxb3 Be7 12.h3

A nice idea. White waits to develop his pieces.

12...0-0 13.Re1



[13...Qd7 14.Be3 Rad8 15.Bc5 Bxc5 16.Nxc5 Qe7 17.b4 a5 18.a3 Ra8 19.Qd3 Rfb8 20.Qe3 Qe8 21.Nb3 axb4 22.axb4 Ne7 23.Qc5 Ng6 24.Ra5 Rxa5 25.Nxa5 Qd7 26.Qe3 Re8 27.Nb3 Bf5 28.Qd4 Nf8 29.Nc5 Qd8 30.Qf4 Bd7 31.Qd2 Qa8 32.Nd4 c6 33.f4 Qc8 34.Qe3 Ne6 35.Nf5 Qc7 36.Nd6 Ra8 37.f5 Nxc5 38.bxc5 Be8 39.Qg5 h6 40.Qe3 Qe7 41.f6 Qe6 42.fxg7 Kxg7 43.Rf1 Qg6 44.h4 Ra2 45.Qf3 Kf8 46.h5 Qe6 47.Qg3 Re2 48.Rf5 Re4 49.Rf6 Qxe5 50.Nxe4 Qxe4 51.Rxh6 1-0 Zawadzka,J (2414)-Sachdev,T (2405)/Ningbo CHN 2009/The Week in Chess 774]

14.a4 bxa4 15.Rxa4 Qd7 16.Nbd4

[16.Bg5 is perhaps critical. 16...Nxe5 17.Nxe5 Qxa4 18.Bxe7 Rfb8 (18...Rfe8 19.Ba3) 19.Nd4 Qxd1 20.Rxd1 Rxb2 and black is fine.]

16...Nxd4 17.cxd4 Rfb8 18.Bd2?!

[18.b3 is definitely better.]

18...Rxb2 19.Rxa5 Rxa5 20.Bxa5 Bf5 21.Bc3 Rb6! 22.Kh2 h6 23.Qa1 Rg6 24.Bd2 Kh7

[24...Be4 25.Qa8+ Bf8 26.Bb4 (26.Rxe4 dxe4 27.Qxe4) 26...Bxf3 27.Qxf8+]

25.Qc3 Be4 26.Qe3 Qf5 27.Qf4 Qxf4+ 28.Bxf4 c5 29.dxc5 Bxc5 30.Be3 d4 31.Bd2 Bd5 32.Rc1 Ba7

[32...Bb6 33.Nh4 Re6 34.f4]

33.Ra1 Bb6 34.Ra4 d3 35.Be3 Bc7 36.Bf4 Rc6 37.Rd4 Bxf3 38.gxf3 Rc3

[38...g5 39.Bg3 Rc3 40.f4 Kg6]

39.Kg2 g5

Nigel Short


Michael Adams

Position after 39...g5


Short confessed to missing this move altogether and being lucky it didn't win on the spot. However he quickly found the only way to equality.

40...Bb6 41.Rxd3 Rxd3 42.e7 Rd8 43.exd8Q Bxd8 1/2-1/2

David Howell against Vladimir Kramnik was a topical Petroff Defence. They followed a suggestion in the New in Chess Yearbook by Daniel Fridman up to move 26. Kramnik sacrificed two pieces for a rook and some pawns. Eventually Howell stabilised his position and in fact may have had the better of it but the game was drawn by repetition.

Howell,D (2597) - Kramnik,V (2772) [C42]
Chess Classic London ENG (5), 13.12.2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.Re1 Bg4 9.c3 f5 10.Qb3 0-0 11.Nbd2 Na5 12.Qa4 Nc6 13.Qb3 Na5 14.Qc2 Nc6 15.b4 a6 16.Rb1 b5

[16...Bf6 17.b5 axb5 18.Rxb5 Ra7 19.Rxd5 Nd6 20.Qb3 Kh8 21.Ne5 Bh5 22.Ndc4 Ne7 23.Ra5 Rxa5 24.Nxa5 c5 25.Nxb7 Nxb7 26.Qxb7 cxd4 27.Nd7 Re8 28.Nxf6 gxf6 29.Bb5 Qb8 30.Qa6 1-0 Goloshchapov,A (2523)-Doggers,P (2239)/Hoogeveen NED 2005/The Week in Chess 572]

17.a4 Rb8 18.axb5 axb5 19.Ne5

[19.h3 Bh5 20.Be2 Bh4 21.Rf1 Re8 22.Nxe4 fxe4 23.Nxh4 Bxe2 24.Qxe2 Qxh4 25.Qg4 Qxg4 26.hxg4 Ra8 27.Bf4 Ra3 28.Rfc1 Ra7 29.Ra1 Rea8 30.Rxa7 Rxa7 31.f3 exf3 32.gxf3 Kf7 33.Kf2 Nd8 34.Ke2 Ne6 1/2-1/2 Bruzon Bautista,L (2620)-Nielsen,P (2649)/Havana 2007; 19.Ra1 Rb6 20.Ne5 Nxe5 21.dxe5 Nxf2 22.Kxf2 Bh4+ 23.Kf1 Bxe1 24.Kxe1 Qh4+ 25.g3 Qxh2 26.Nf1 Qh1 27.Bf4 Re6 28.Qh2 Qf3 29.Kd2 d4 30.cxd4 Qd5 31.Be3 Qb3 32.Rb1 Qa3 33.Bc2 Rc6 34.Bb3+ Kh8 35.Ke1 Qxb4+ 36.Qd2 Qa3 37.d5 Ra6 38.Qc3 Re8 39.e6 Qe7 40.Rc1 c6 41.Bc5 Qg5 42.d6 f4 43.d7 Rea8 44.gxf4 Qxf4 45.Qd2 Qf6 46.e7 Qe5+ 47.Ne3 Qg3+ 48.Qf2 1-0 Stellwagen,D (2631)-Fridman,D (2628)/Netherlands 2007]

19...Nxe5 20.dxe5 Nxf2

Vladimir Kramnik


David Howell

Position after 20...Nxf2

This sacrifice took place after a long think from Kramnik.

21.Kxf2 Bh4+ 22.Kf1 Bxe1 23.Kxe1 Qh4+ 24.g3 Qxh2 25.Nf1 Qxc2

Kramnik enjoys positions without queens. Maybe he should have retained them.

26.Bxc2 Rbe8

All this has been suggested in a New in Chess Yearbook article by Daniel Fridman.

27.Bd3 Rxe5+ 28.Kf2 f4 29.gxf4 Bf5 30.Bxf5 Rexf5 31.Ng3 R5f6 32.Kf3 Rc6 33.Bd2 g5 34.Ne2 gxf4 35.Nd4 Rg6 36.Nxb5 Rg3+ 37.Kf2 Rd3 38.Rg1+ Kh8 39.Ke2 Rg3

I'm not quite clear who is trying to play for a win here but soon it became clear that Kramnik was the one who was worried.

40.Kf2 Rxg1 41.Kxg1 c5 42.Nd6 cxb4 43.cxb4 Kg7 44.Bc3+ Kg6 45.b5 Rd8 46.Be5 Rb8 47.Bd4 Rd8 48.Be5 Rb8 49.Kf2


49...Rb6 50.Kf3 Kg5 51.Nf7+ Kg6 52.Nd6 Kg5 53.Nf7+ Kg6

The players had an extensive post-mortem on stage.


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