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London Chess Classic 2009 (7)

Carlsen takes first place after tense final round

David Howell's win against Ni Hua in the final Round gave him a plus score.

David Howell's win against Ni Hua in the final Round gave him a plus score. |

Final round excitement wraps up a fine tournament. Carlsen held by Short after many adventures. Kramnik and Nakamura draw a "high level game".

Final table 3 point for a win, 1 for a draw.

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 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 13 2839
2. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2772 0 * ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 12 2787
3. Howell, David W L g ENG 2597 ½ ½ * ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 9 2760
4. Adams, Michael g ENG 2698 ½ ½ ½ * 1 ½ ½ ½ 9 2746
5. McShane, Luke J g ENG 2615 0 0 ½ 0 * 0 1 1 7 2605
6. Ni Hua g CHN 2665 0 0 0 ½ 1 * ½ ½ 6 2598
7. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2715 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ * ½ 6 2643
8. Short, Nigel D g ENG 2707 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ * 5 2592

Round 7 (December 15, 2009)
Adams, Michael - McShane, Luke J 1-0 46 C95 Ruy Lopez Breyer
Nakamura, Hikaru - Kramnik, Vladimir ½-½ 34 D38 QGD Ragozin
Short, Nigel D - Carlsen, Magnus ½-½ 71 B76 Sicilian Modern Dragon
Ni Hua - Howell, David W L 0-1 40 C77 Ruy Lopez Anderssen

Final round excitement wraps up a fine tournament. Carlsen held by Short after many adventures. Kramnik and Nakamura draw a "high level game".

The first game to finish today was Vladimir Kramnik's draw against Hikaru Nakamura. Kramnik thought he was doing very well just out of the opening but Nakamura kept finding interesting ideas to disturb Kramnik. In the end Nakamura's queenside counterplay was enough to force the game to a draw.

Nakamura,Hi (2715) - Kramnik,V (2772) [E33]
Chess Classic London ENG (7), 15.12.2009

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 d5 5.Qa4+

Kramnik said that he was the man who made this popular many years ago.

5...Nc6 6.e3 0-0 7.Qc2

Black would normally want to play c5 here, but with the knight on c6 he is going for e5.

7...Re8 8.Bd2 Bf8

[8...e5 9.dxe5 Nxe5 10.Nxd5 Bxd2+ 11.Qxd2 Ne4 12.Qc2 Ng4 13.Bd3 Ngxf2 14.Bxe4 Nxe4 15.0-0-0 c6 16.Nc3 Qe7 17.Qxe4 1-0 Jakobsen,O (2379)-Sola Plaza,G (2048)/Andorra la Vella AND 2007/The Week in Chess 661]

9.a3 e5

[9...b6 would make things more complicated. 10.cxd5 exd5 11.Bb5 Bd7 12.Nxd5 Nxd5 (12...Nxd4 13.Nxf6+ Qxf6) 13.Bxc6]

10.dxe5 Nxe5 11.cxd5 Nxd5 12.0-0-0

[12.Nxe5 Rxe5 13.0-0-0 Bf5 14.e4 Nxc3 15.Bxc3 Qg5+ 16.Bd2 (16.Qd2 Qxd2+ 17.Rxd2 Rxe4 18.Bd3 Rf4 19.Be5 Rxf2 20.Rxf2 Bxd3 21.Rd1 (21.Re1 c5) 21...Bc4 Black is at least not worse.) 16...Bxe4 17.Be3]


The best move according to Kramnik


[13.Nxe5 Rxe5 14.f4 Rc5 is annoying for white. 15.Bd3 h6; 13.Nb5 Nxf3 14.gxf3 c6]


[13...Bf5 14.Bc3]]

14.gxf3 Qh4

[14...Bf5 15.Bd3 Re6 16.Kb1 Rc6 17.Bc3]

15.Bc3 Bf5 16.Bd3 Bg6 17.f4 Rad8 18.f5

A very sharp solution to white's problems.


18...Rxd3 19.Nf6+! gxf6 20.Qxd3 Qxf2

[20...Bh5 is very risky. 21.Rhg1+ Kh8 22.Qd4 Qxd4 23.Rxd4]

21.fxg6 hxg6 22.Bd4

[22.Rhf1 Qxe3+ 23.Qxe3 Rxe3 24.Rd8 Rxc3+ 25.bxc3 Kg7 26.Kc2 Bxa3 27.Rb8 a5 28.Rxb7 Bd6]


A surprise for Nakamura.


[23.Rhg1 Kg7 24.Rdf1 Qh4]


The most direct idea.


[24.Bxc5 Bxc5 25.Qxd5 Qxe3 26.Qxb7 Bd4 and black is better.]

24...Qxh2 25.Bxf6

Kramnik thought this was a strange move and that he was now winning. He now admits he underestimated it's strength.

[25.Bxc5 Bxc5 26.Qxd5 Qe5 27.Qxe5 Rxe5 28.Rxf6 Rxe3 29.Rd7 Re7 30.Rxe7 Bxe7 31.Rf1 f5 32.Kc2 b6]

25...Nxf6 26.Rxf6

Vladimir Kramnik


Hikaru Nakamura

Position after 26.Rxf6. Kramnik liked his position a lot but Nakamura was right in his judgement that white will draw.

26...Bg7 27.Qb5

Looks like it's time to protect the queenside and then push on the kingside but strangely enough black doesn't find time.

27...Bxf6 28.Qxe8+ Kg7 29.Qb5 Qg2

[29...b6 30.Rd7 c4 31.Rxa7 c3 32.bxc3]

30.Rd7 Qe4+ 31.Ka2 Qe6+

[31...g5 32.Rxb7 g4 33.Qd7 and a draw follows.]

32.Kb1 Qe4+ 33.Ka2 Qe6+ 34.Kb1 Qe4+

A high level game according to Kramnik.


Just after Kramnik finished David Howell crowned a fine event and an undefeated performance with a win in the final round. Ni Hua had been a bit subdued and even a win in round 6 didn't change this. He ran terribly short of time and completely collapsed on the run up to the first time control. As to Howell, when asked how many rounds it would take for these players to beat him, said he was happy to do it all again right away.

Ni Hua - Howell,David [C77]
London Chess Classic London ENG (7), 12.12.2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3 b5 6.Bb3 Be7 7.0-0 0-0 8.a4 Bb7 9.Nc3 b4 10.Nd5 Na5 11.Ba2 Nxd5 12.exd5

The most ambitious move but black has at least adequate compensation for the pawn and a nice d4 square to use.

[12.Bxd5 Bxd5 13.exd5 d6 14.Bd2 c5 15.c3 bxc3 16.Bxc3 Rb8 17.Nd2 Bg5 18.Ne4 Be7 19.Nd2 Bg5 1/2-1/2 Itkis,B (2436)-Dumitrache,D (2485)/Predeal ROU 2007; 12.Bxd5 Bxd5 13.exd5 d6]

12...b3 13.cxb3

[13.Bd2 Bxd5 14.Nxe5 bxa2 15.Bxa5 Bf6 16.Re1]

13...Bxd5 14.Nxe5 Rb8 15.Nc4 Nc6 16.Bd2 Be6

Very solid move.


[17.Bc3 d5 18.Ne5 Nxe5 19.Bxe5 d4 20.Rc1 Bd6 21.Bxd4 Bxh2+]

17...Re8 18.Re1 Bc5 19.Ne3 Ba7 20.Bc3 Nd4 21.Qh5 h6

[21...f5 is probably too ambitious.]

22.Nc4 Qg5

[22...Nxb3 23.Bxb3 Rxb3 24.Qe5 Qg5 25.Qxc7 Bb8 26.Qa5]

23.Qxg5 hxg5 24.Nd2 Bf5 25.Bxd4?

David Howell


Ni Hua

Position after 25.Bxd4? A terrible move in time pressure which causes the collapse of white's position.

With around 5 minutes to go white really starts to panic. Now he is probably lost after this terrible move. "I started to get excited around here. - Howell"

[25.Ne4 d5 26.Ng3 and there is still plenty to play for.]

25...Bxd4 26.Ne4 Bxb2 27.Rb1

[27.Rxc7 d5 28.Rc5 (28.b4 Be5) ]

27...Ba3 28.f3 d5 29.g4

A final bad move which leaves black winning easily.

[29.Nf2 Bb4 30.Rxe8+ Rxe8 31.Kf1 Re3 32.Rd1 will eventually win.]

29...dxe4 30.gxf5 exd3 31.Rxe8+ Rxe8 32.Rd1 Re2 33.Bb1 d2 34.Bc2 Bc5+ 35.Kh1 a5 36.Rf1 Kf8 37.Bd1 Re1 38.Kg2 Ke7 39.Bc2 Kf6 40.h3 Ke5

and black's king just penetrates the queen side.


Michael Adams scored his first win in the final round when he beat Luke McShane. They played an unusual variation of the Breyer Defence and when Adams started to get a positional hold McShane went on an all out attack. In mutual time trouble Michael Adams had a few strong ideas about how he was going to beat off the attack. These all worked out fine and after the first time control resignation was pretty much the only thing left for McShane, he did play on a few more moves but his situation just became worse.

Adams,Mi (2698) - McShane,L (2615) [C95]
Chess Classic London ENG (7), 15.12.2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Nb8 10.d4 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 Bb7 12.Bc2 Re8 13.Nf1 Bf8 14.Ng3 c6 15.a4 Qc7 16.Be3 Rad8 17.Qc1 h6 18.b3 Qb8 19.Rb1 Qc8 20.Qb2

Adams remembered he was following his game against Morozevich but only remembered some details of the post-mortem. He thought that d5 was black's only active plan and if that didn't happen then white would stand better. Black has to wait for white to commit himself.

[20.b4 Qc7 21.Nd2 d5 22.dxe5 Nxe5 23.Bd4 Ned7 24.exd5 Nxd5 1/2-1/2 Adams,M (2734)-Morozevich,A (2762)/Lugo ESP 2007/The Week in Chess 659]

20...Qc7 21.Rbd1 Bc8 22.c4 bxc4

[22...exd4 23.Bxd4 c5 24.Be3]

23.bxc4 exd4

[23...a5 was McShane's initial intention.]

24.Bxd4 c5 25.Bc3 Bb7 26.Nf5 Re6 27.Nd2 Rde8

[27...g6 28.Ne3 Nxe4 29.Nd5 Bxd5 30.cxd5 was assessed as much too risky for black.]

28.f3 Nh5 29.Nf1 Ne5

This leads to more fun than g6.

30.N1e3 Rg6 31.Kh1 Nf4 32.Qc1 Qc8 33.Ng4 Nxg2 34.Kxg2

[34.Rg1 was the move that worried McShane. 34...Nxf3 35.Rxg2 h5 36.Nfh6+ gxh6 37.Nf6+ Kh8 38.Nxe8+]

34...h5 35.Kf2

[35.Qf4 Qe6 was Adams' initial intention.]


Critical but neither side had either much time, nor any clear idea what was going on.

36.Nfh6+ Kh7

[36...gxh6 37.Nf6+ Rxf6 38.Bxf6 looks good for white according to the players.]

37.Kxf3 f5

Putting more wood on the fire.

[37...hxg4+ 38.Nxg4 f5 39.Nf2 fxe4+ 40.Ke2]

38.Kg3 fxg4 39.e5

Luke McShane


Michael Adams

Position after 39.e5. Even in time trouble Adams' judgement proves spot on.

Adams had been relying on this move for some time.

39...h4+ 40.Kxh4!

Adams thought this pretty safe now he had the rook pinned.

[40.Kh2 g3+ 41.Kg1 Qxh3 is over.]


Now with the time control made Adams had a long think, he is totally winning.

41.Kg3 Rf8 42.Rf1 gxh6 43.Qb1 h5 44.Bxg6+ Kh6 45.Bxh5 Rg8 46.Bd2+ 1-0

The final game to finish was between Nigel Short and Magnus Carlsen. Short felt he had a disasterous tournament, and results-wise that was certainly the case, he simply couldn't make anything of the chances he did have in the early rounds after losing in round one, which probably was the game that ruined the tournament for him. Short got a variation he had on the board in the morning and felt it was if anything a tiny bit better for him. But a couple of careless moves quickly put him in trouble. Although he didn't really identify a killing variation Carlsen must have missed a number of chances to win before a drawish ending even started to put the Norwegian in trouble. In the end it was a draw and Carlsen will be the world number one in January and takes first place.

Short,N (2707) - Carlsen,M (2801) [B76]
Chess Classic London ENG (7), 15.12.2009

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.0-0-0 d5

This is a very trendy move.

10.Kb1 Nxd4 11.e5 Nf5 12.exf6 exf6 13.Bc5 d4 14.Bxf8 Qxf8 15.Nb5 Ne3 16.Rc1 Bh6 17.Qxd4 Nf5 18.Qc3 Bxc1 19.Kxc1 Bd7 20.Bd3

Was Smeets - Radjabov (17th TCh-Eur rd 9) and was agreed drawn here. Short had this position on his board on the morning of the game and didn't see any problems for white. Short said he was not averse to a draw as he had had a terrible tournament. He started the press conference by saying that he played "awfully, really badly".

20...Rc8 21.Qd2 Bxb5 22.Bxb5 Qc5

He thought white stands better here, an opinion he may have to revise.

23.Bd3 Ne3 24.Re1 Re8!

At first Short thought this really ridiculous but that Magnus is a tricky so and so.


Magnus Carlsen


Nigel Short

Position after 25.Qf2? Even after a drawish opening Short has already drifted into horrible trouble.

The start of Short drifting into trouble.

25...f5 26.f4

[26.Be4 but perhaps not playing this was his real problem. This exchange should be good enough for an easy life.]

26...Qd4 27.g3 Re6

Now setting up all sorts of problems for Short.


[28.a3 Nc4 is crushing. This is the threat Short has to meet.]


Now Short realised he was in big, big trouble.

29.h3 Rxe1+ 30.Qxe1 Nf2 31.Bf1 Ne4 32.Bg2 b6 33.c3

An extremely unhappy concession but white is completely tied up.

33...Qd3 34.g4 Ng3 35.b3

[35.b4 was Short's suggestion after the game but he said he was completely out of it at this moment.]

35...Ne2+ 36.Kb2 Kf8 37.Bc6 fxg4

[37...g5 38.fxg5 f4 39.a4 a6 40.Bg2 f3 is not as winning as Short feared perhaps.]

38.hxg4 h5 39.gxh5 gxh5 40.a4 a6 41.f5 h4 42.Bg2 Ng3 43.f6 Qd6

[43...Qe2+ 44.Qxe2 Nxe2 45.Bf1 Ng3 46.Bxa6 h3 47.b4 Ke8 48.Bb7 Kd8 49.c4 Kc7 50.Bf3 h2 51.Kc3 offers good drawing chances]

44.Qf2 Kg8 45.b4 a5

[45...Kh7 was the move Short feared at the board.]

46.bxa5 bxa5 47.Kc2 Kh7 48.c4 Qa3

This move came as a surprise to Short and only a series of forced moves keep him in it.

49.Be4+ Kg8 50.Qf4 Qxa4+ 51.Kd2 Nxe4+ 52.Qxe4 Qa2+ 53.Kc3

[53.Ke3 Qb3+ 54.Kf4 Qg3+ 55.Kf5 Qg6+ wins.]

53...Qa1+ 54.Kb3 Qd1+?

Now Carlsen starts to give himself problems.

[54...Qxf6 this was undoubtably the best winning try.]

55.Kb2 Qh5 56.c5 h3

[56...Qxc5 57.Qg2+ Kf8 58.Qa8+ Qc8 59.Qxc8# was almost played by Carlsen as he admitted to Short after the game.]

57.c6 a4 58.Ka2!

A very good move that sets Carlsen some big questions when he had very little time. [58.Ka3 h2 59.Qg2+ Qg6 60.Qxh2 Qd3+ with a draw.]

58...Qd1 59.Qe8+ Kh7 60.Qxf7+ Kh6 61.c7 Qc2+

now it's just a draw.

62.Ka3 h2 63.Qg7+ Kh5 64.Qh8+ Kg6 65.Qg8+ Kxf6 66.c8Q Qxc8 67.Qxc8 h1Q 68.Qa6+ Ke5 69.Qb5+ Qd5 70.Kxa4 Qxb5+ 71.Kxb5

Carlsen looked pretty annoyed as he left after this game. Short had a very narrow escape from the new World's number one.


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