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London Chess Classic 2009 (2)

Carlsen goes to 6/6

Magnus Carlsen has had a perfect start.

Magnus Carlsen has had a perfect start. | http://www.theweekinchess.com

The London Chess Classic is using 3 points for a win but no matter how you work it out Carlsen has had a perfect start. Before getting too carried away he has started with two sets of white pieces. Also today's game was not at all easy and only settled at the very end.

Table with the 3 points for a win and 1 for a draw scoring system

Chess Classic London (ENG), 8-15 xii 2009 cat. XVIII (2696)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2801 * 1 1 . . . . . 6
2. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2772 0 * . . . . . 1 3 2733
3. McShane, Luke J g ENG 2615 0 . * . . . 1 . 3 2754
4. Adams, Michael g ENG 2698 . . . * ½ ½ . . 2 2656
5. Howell, David W L g ENG 2597 . . . ½ * . ½ . 2 2702
6. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2715 . . . ½ . * . ½ 2 2681
7. Short, Nigel D g ENG 2707 . . 0 . ½ . * . 1 2413
8. Ni Hua g CHN 2665 . 0 . . . ½ . * 1 2550

Round 2 (December 9, 2009)
Carlsen, Magnus - McShane, Luke J 1-0 61 E94 King's Indian Classical
Adams, Michael - Nakamura, Hikaru ½-½ 60 C03 French Tarrasch
Kramnik, Vladimir - Ni Hua 1-0 48 D10 Slav Defence
Short, Nigel D - Howell, David W L ½-½ 44 C42 Petroff's Defence

The London Chess Classic is using 3 points for a win but no matter how you work it out Carlsen has had a perfect start. Before getting too carried away he has started with two sets of white pieces. Also today's game was not at all easy and only settled at the very end.

Round 2 saw the two early leaders meet. Due to the draw Magnus Carlsen had a second set of white pieces in a row. Luke McShane rather bravely chose to defend the King's Indian. Carlsen obtained a space advantage with positional ideas all over the board. However things were not at all clear and Carlsen admitted to maybe slightly over-estimating his chances. In the post-mortem he demonstrated many lines which were not quite good enough and it was only after many hours of defending (very unpleasant it has to be said) that Carlsen eventually found his way to a win. A narrow vote gave him the 1000 Euro game of the day prize over Vladimir Kramnik's win. A perfect 6/6 start for Carlsen who needs now one win and four draws to claim the world number one spot.


Magnus Carlsen against Luke McShane. Photo © Mark Crowther

Carlsen,M (2801) - McShane,L (2615) [E94]
Chess Classic London ENG (2), 09.12.2009

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 Na6 8.Re1 Qe8 9.Bf1 c6 10.Rb1

[10.d5 Qe7 11.Rb1 Bd7 12.b4 cxd5 13.Nxd5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Nc7 15.Be3 Rfc8 16.c5 Ne8 17.Qb3 h6 18.Rbc1 Kh7 19.Nd2 f5 20.Nc4 Qf6 21.Na5 f4 22.Bd2 b6 23.c6 Bf5 24.Nc4 Qf7 25.Qf3 g5 26.g4 e4 27.Rxe4 Bxe4 28.Qxe4+ Kg8 29.Bd3 b5 30.Na3 a6 31.Qf3 Nc7 32.Be4 Re8 33.Qd3 Re5 34.Bc3 Re7 35.Nb1 f3 36.Re1 Bxc3 37.Nxc3 Qf4 38.h3 Rf8 39.Re3 h5 40.Rxf3 Qc1+ 41.Kg2 hxg4 42.Bh7+ Rxh7 43.Rxf8+ Kxf8 44.Qxh7 Qxc3 45.Qf5+ Ke7 46.Qd7+ Kf8 47.Qxd6+ Ke8 48.Qd7+ Kf8 49.Qf5+ Ke7 50.d6+ 1-0 Carlsen,M (2127)-Tjomsland,S (2274)/Gausdal NOR 2002/The Week in Chess 388]

10...Bg4

[10...Nc7 11.b3 exd4 12.Nxd4 Ng4 13.f4 Qe7 14.g3 d5 15.Bb2 dxe4 16.Nxe4 f5 17.Ng5 Qc5 18.Kg2 Rd8 19.Ngf3 Ne6 20.Rxe6 Bxe6 21.h3 Ne3+ 0-1 Ager,J (2235)-Jedinger,A (2128)/Austria AUT 2006/The Week in Chess 595]

11.d5

[11.Be3 Nd7 12.d5 c5 13.Qb3 Bxf3 14.Qxb7 Nb4 15.gxf3 Qd8 16.Qb5 Nc2 17.Rec1 Nd4 18.Bxd4 exd4 19.Ne2 f5 20.Qb3 Rb8 21.Qa3 Bh6 22.Rd1 fxe4 23.fxe4 Ne5 24.Bg2 Rxf2 0-1 Guzynin,V (2302)-Krylov,S (2393)/Goa 2006]

11...c5 12.Be2

[12.a3 Kh8 13.b4 b6 14.Bd3 Ng8 15.Bc2 Bh6 16.Bxh6 Nxh6 17.Ba4 Qe7 18.Bb5 Nc7 19.Bc6 Rab8 20.h3 Bxf3 21.Qxf3 f5 22.Rb2 fxe4 23.Qxe4 cxb4 24.axb4 a6 25.f4 Nf7 26.Rf2 Qf6 27.Qe3 Qg7 28.Ne4 exf4 29.Rxf4 Qb2 30.Ref1 Kg7 31.Nxd6 Ne5 32.Kh1 Kg8 33.c5 bxc5 34.bxc5 Nxc6 35.dxc6 Rxf4 36.Qxf4 Qg7 37.Nf7 Ne6 38.Qxb8+ 1-0 Olsson,L (2471)-Magnusson,J (2308)/Sweden 2007]

12...Kh8 13.a3 Bd7 14.b4 b6 15.Bg5 Ng8 16.Nb5 f6 17.Bh4 Qe7 18.Nd2 Nh6 19.Nf1 Rfc8 20.Ne3 Nc7

There were some questions as to whether this actually the best.

21.bxc5 Nxb5 22.cxb5 Rxc5 23.f3 Rac8

The control of the c-file isn't actualy that big a plus.

24.Bd3 Qf8 25.Bf2 f5 26.a4 R5c7

Carlsen admitted to over-estimating his position a bit here.

27.h3 Bf6 28.Qd2 Bg5 29.a5 fxe4 30.fxe4 Nf7 31.axb6 axb6 32.Qe2 Rb7 33.Nc4 Qd8 34.Rf1 Kg7 35.Kh1 Be8 36.Qb2 Nh6 37.Bxb6

Luke McShane missed this but the resulting position is not at all clear.

37...Qe7 38.Qf2 Rcb8 39.Rb3 Ng8 40.Be2 Nf6 41.Bf3 Rxb6 42.Nxb6 Qc7 43.h4

Even this isn't at all clear.

43...Bh6 44.Na4 Rxb5 45.Be2 Rxb3 46.Qxf6+ Kg8 47.Nc5 Rg3? 48.Ne6 Qf7 49.Qxf7+ Bxf7 50.Rb1 Be8 51.Bf3 Kf7 52.Rb7+ Kf6 53.Rxh7

and now finally it is clear.

53...Bf4 54.Nxf4 exf4 55.e5+ dxe5 56.d6 e4 57.Bxe4 Re3 58.Bd5 Kf5 59.Kh2 Re5 60.Bf3 Kf6 61.d7 1-0


Vladimir Kramnik was impressive against Ni Hua. Photo © Mark Crowther

Vladimir Kramnik blasted down a line of the Slav Defence which he prepared for his title match against Veselin Topalov. This placed Ni Hua in a pretty bad psychological position as he tried to avoid forcing variations that Kramnik had prepared. In the end he got a nice positional edge in an ending. Kramnik reached a winning position and he turned off a little but he never lost his winning advantage and he brought home the point.

Kramnik,V (2772) - Ni Hua (2665) [D10]
Chess Classic London ENG (2), 09.12.2009

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 a6 5.Nf3 b5 6.b3 Bg4 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 e5 9.dxe5 Bb4 10.Bd2 Bxc3 11.Bxc3 Ne4 12.Bb4 bxc4 13.Qg4

Maybe not new but Kramnik has a whole set of new ideas, originally prepared for his match against Veselin Topalov.

[13.bxc4 0-1 Kubinger,T (2200)-Waldmann,G (2188)/Austria AUT 2009/The Week in Chess 751 (21); 13.e6 0-1 So,W (2640)-Malakhov,V (2706)/Khanty-Mansiysk RUS 2009/The Week in Chess 787 (60)]

13...c5 14.f3

[14.Qxg7 Rf8 15.Rd1 Qb6 16.Bd2 c3 17.Bc1 c2 18.Rd3 c4 19.Rxd5 Qb4+ 20.Ke2 Nc3+ 21.Kf3 Nxd5 22.Bxc4 Nb6 23.Bd3 N8d7 24.Bb2 Qd2 25.Be2 Rc8 26.Rc1 Rc6 27.Bxa6 Rg6 28.Qxh7 Nxe5+ 0-1 Hillarp Persson,T (2507)-Ibragimov,I (2554)/Skelleftea SWE 1999]

14...cxb4 15.fxe4 0-0 16.exd5 cxb3 17.Qd4 Nd7

[17...bxa2 18.Bc4 with huge pressure.]

18.axb3 Qg5

Black has sidestepped a huge number of very difficult tactical variations in the knowledge that Kramnik would have checked them on a computer.

19.Qf4 Qxe5 20.Qxe5 Nxe5 21.Bxa6 Rfc8

[21...Rfd8 22.Ke2 Rxd5 23.Bb7 Rxa1 24.Rxa1 Rd8 25.Ra4 (25.Ra5 was Kramnik's intention.) 25...Nd3 26.Bd5 g6 27.Bc4 Nc1+ 28.Kf2 Nd3+ 29.Bxd3 Rxd3 30.Rxb4 wins a pawn.]

22.Kd2 Rc3 23.Rhb1 f5

[23...Rd8 24.Ra5 f5]

24.Ra4 Rc5 25.e4!

Ni Hua

r_____k_
______pp
B_______
__rPnp__
Rp__P___
_P_____P
___K__P_
_R______

Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 25.e4! Black's last was supposed to stop this but instead it seems to increase white's advantage.

25...fxe4 26.Ke3 Rc2

This might be an error but Kramnik was pretty sure he was winning anyhow.

27.Bd3 Rxa4 28.Bxc2 Ra2 29.Bxe4 Kf7 30.Rc1 Kf6 31.Rc2 Ra1 32.Kd4 Rd1+ 33.Kc5 h5 34.Rf2+ Ke7

Kramnik started to drift here but he is still winning.

35.Re2 Nd7+ 36.Kc6 Rc1+ 37.Bc2+ Kd8 38.Kd6 Nf6 39.Ke6 h4 40.d6 Rf1 41.Re5 Rf2 42.Bf5 g6

[42...Ne8 43.d7 Nf6 44.Kf7 Nxd7 45.Rd5 Kc7 46.Rxd7+ Kc6 47.Kg6 Rxf5 48.Kxf5 Kxd7 49.Ke5 wins by a tempo in all variations.]

43.Bxg6 Nd7 44.Rg5 Rf6+ 45.Kd5 Nb6+ 46.Kc6 Nc8 47.Kc5 Nxd6 48.Bd3 1-0


Nakamura against Michael Adams. Photo © Mark Crowther

Michael Adams against Hikaru Nakamura was a French Tarrasch which followed an earlier game of Michael Adams. Nakamura was the first to innovate with 11...Qc8. Adams had a tiny advantage. This advantage built to a decisive one for Adams but he was inaccurate in the rook and pawn ending and the game finished in a draw.

Adams,Mi (2698) - Nakamura,Hi (2715) [C03]
Chess Classic London ENG (2), 09.12.2009

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Be7 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.e5 Nfd7 6.Bd3 c5 7.c3 b6 8.Qe2 a5 9.a4 Ba6 10.Bxa6 Nxa6 11.0-0 Qc8

[11...Nc7 12.Re1 Nb8 13.Nb3 Nc6 14.Be3 c4 15.Nc1 b5 16.axb5 Nxb5 17.Qc2 Nba7 18.g3 Nc8 19.h4 h6 20.Ne2 Nb6 21.h5 a4 22.Nh2 Kd7 23.f4 Kc7 24.f5 Bg5 25.Nf4 Ne7 26.fxe6 Bxf4 27.Bxf4 fxe6 28.Rf1 Qd7 29.Rf2 Raf8 30.Raf1 Qe8 31.Qe2 Rf5 32.g4 Rf7 33.Bc1 Rhf8 34.Nf3 Nd7 35.Qc2 Nb6 36.Kg2 Qb5 37.Nh4 Qb3 38.Qh7 Rxf2+ 39.Rxf2 Rxf2+ 40.Kxf2 Kd7 41.Nf3 a3 42.bxa3 Na4 43.Bd2 Nxc3 44.Bxc3 Qxc3 45.Qb1 Kc7 46.a4 Nc6 47.Qg6 Qb2+ 48.Kg3 c3 49.Ne1 Qe2 50.Nc2 Kb6 51.a5+ Kxa5 52.Qxe6 Qd3+ 53.Kf4 Qe4+ 54.Kg3 Qd3+ 55.Kf4 Qxc2 56.Qxd5+ Kb4 57.Qc5+ Kb3 58.Qd5+ Kb2 59.Qb5+ Qb3 60.Qxc6 c2 61.Qg2 Qb4 62.Kf5 Qxd4 63.Qe2 Kc3 64.Qe1+ Qd2 0-1 Adams,M (2734)-Caruana,F (2640)/Dresden GER 2008/The Week in Chess 732]

12.Re1 Nc7 13.Nf1 Qa6 14.Qe3 0-0 15.Ng3 f5 16.exf6 Nxf6 17.Qg5 Bd6 18.Bf4 Bxf4 19.Qxf4 Rac8 20.Qg5 cxd4 21.Nxd4 Rce8 22.Nh5 Nxh5 23.Qxh5 Qc8 24.Re5 Na6 25.Rae1 Nc5 26.Qd1 Rf6 27.f3 Qd7 28.b3 Qd6 29.Nb5 Qf8 30.Nc7 Re7 31.Nxd5 Rd7 32.b4 axb4 33.cxb4 Rd8?

[33...Rf5]

34.Nxf6+ gxf6 35.Qc2 fxe5 36.bxc5 Qxc5+ 37.Qxc5 bxc5 38.Rxe5 Ra8 39.Rxe6 Rxa4 40.Rc6 Rc4

Hikaru Nakamura

______k_
_______p
__R_____
__p_____
r_______
_____P__
______PP
______K_

Michael Adams

Position after 40...Rc6

41.Kf2

[41.g4 Rc2 42.h3 Kg7 43.f4 h5 44.g5 Rc3 45.Kg2 h4 46.Rh6 maybe.]

41...h5 42.Kg3 Kg7 43.Rd6

[43.f4 Rc2]

43...h4+ 44.Kh3 Rf4

Now it's a bit tricky.

45.Ra6 c4 46.Ra3 Kf6 47.g3 hxg3 48.hxg3 Rf5 49.Rc3 Rc5 50.Kg4 Ke5 51.f4+ Ke4

Black has secured the draw.

52.f5 Rc8 53.f6 Ke5 54.f7 Kf6 55.Kf4 Kxf7 56.Ke4 Kg6 57.Kd4 Kg5 58.Rxc4 Rxc4+ 59.Kxc4 Kg4 60.Kd4 Kxg3 1/2-1/2

Nigel Short innovated with 9.Nc3 in the Petroff against David Howell. Again on first impressions this wasn't going to amount to very much for white and already out of the opening a draw looked the most likely result. Short's 9.Nc3 was new but it soon amounted only to a transposition into well investigated positions. 12...Bd6 seems to be the first true new move. Short seemed to have slightly the better of it but couldn't find a way of exploiting his pressure, the ugly 32.f4 was maybe the best try (when this computer generated move was suggested to him he was clearly not a fan of it but he could see the point), 32.d5 only seems to lead to a draw. Short admitted to being tired after yesterday's epic loss and he turned down some tactically complex positions early on.

Short,N (2707) - Howell,D (2597) [C42]
Chess Classic London ENG (2), 09.12.2009

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.Nc3 Nxc3 10.bxc3 0-0 11.Bf4

[11.Rb1 1-0 Kouwenhoven,M-Lang,H/Duisburg 1992 (55)]

11...Qd7

[11...h6 1-0 Holmes,N (1700)-Marks,D (1237)/IECG email 1998 (17); 11...Bh5 1-0 Karjakin,S (2580)-Macieja,B (2633)/playchess.com INT 2004 (30); 11...Bd6 1-0 Topalov,V (2780)-Gelfand,B (2737)/Wijk aan Zee 2008 (28)]

12.Rb1 Bd6

[12...Rab8 13.Re3 Rfe8 14.Qe2 Bf8 15.Re1 Rxe3 16.Qxe3 Bf5 17.Bxc7 Qxc7 18.Bxf5 g6 19.Bd3 Na5 20.Qe5 Qd8 21.Qf4 Bd6 22.Qd2 Rc8 23.h4 Qc7 24.Qg5 Qd8 25.Qh6 Bf8 26.Qd2 Qc7 27.Re5 Rd8 28.Qe1 Nc6 29.Re8 Rxe8 30.Qxe8 Qe7 31.Qc8 Kg7 32.g3 Nd8 33.Kg2 Ne6 34.Ne5 Qc7 35.Qe8 Qe7 36.Qb5 f6 37.Ng4 f5 38.Ne3 f4 39.Nxd5 Qf7 40.Be4 fxg3 41.fxg3 Bd6 42.Qd3 b6 43.a4 Qd7 44.Qb5 Qf7 45.Bf3 g5 46.Qc6 Bb8 47.Bg4 Nd8 48.Qd7 Qxd7 49.Bxd7 gxh4 50.gxh4 Bd6 51.Bb5 Nf7 52.Kf3 Nh6 53.Bd7 Kf7 54.Bc8 Ke8 55.Be6 Kf8 56.Bc8 Ke8 1/2-1/2 Anand,V (2794)-Leko,P (2730)/Leon 2001]

13.Bxd6 cxd6 14.h3 Bh5 15.Rb5 Ne7 16.Qb1 b6 17.Nd2 Bg6 18.a4 Rac8 19.Qb2 Rfe8 20.Bf1 Qc7 21.c4 dxc4 22.Nxc4 Nc6 23.Ra1 Re4 24.c3 Rce8 25.Qd2

Short didn't want to investigate the tactical complications of allowing Re1 after yesterday's marathon.

25...h6 26.a5 Nxa5 27.Nxa5 bxa5 28.Rbxa5 R8e7 29.f3 R4e6 30.h4 h5

White has a rather nice position and black wasn't happy at having to play h5.

31.c4 Rd7 32.d5

[32.f4 This ugly move may be the way to make progress.]

32...Ree7 33.Qd4 Qb8 34.Rb5 Rb7 35.Kf2 Rec7 36.Raa5 Rxb5 37.Rxb5 Rb7 38.Rxb7 Qxb7 39.c5 dxc5 40.Qxc5 Qb2+ 41.Ke3 Qe5+ 42.Kf2 Qb2+ 43.Ke3 Qe5+ 44.Kf2 Qb2+ 1/2-1/2

David Howell

______k_
p____pp_
______b_
__QP___p
_______P
_____P__
_q___KP_
_____B__

Nigel Short

Final Position a draw by repetition.

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