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London Chess Classic 2009 (1)

Fantastic opening win by Carlsen

The tournament got off to a tremendous start when Magnus Carlsen had a classic win against Vladimir Kramnik. Carlsen said that he took Kasparov's advice that Kramnik might not enjoy playing this kind of position and that seems to be spot on. Carlsen also confirmed that he will continue to work with Kasparov next year.

The tournament got off to a tremendous start when Magnus Carlsen had a classic win against Vladimir Kramnik. Carlsen said that he took Kasparov's advice that Kramnik might not enjoy playing this kind of position and that seems to be spot on. Carlsen also confirmed that he will continue to work with Kasparov next year.

The variation of the English they played is fairly topical with Kramnik's 11...a4 being relatively rare and 11...Nd4 a more common choice.

19.Qe2 was a new move but probably both players were thinking on their own resources already. White had a nice edge with black struggling to find a concrete plan. Carlsen was a little concerned about the risk of taking on a4 on move 28 but it seems that there are no tactics for black to exploit this capture, thus white is a lot better. Kramnik's position went down hill fast after that and he was completely paralysed in the final position.

Magnus Carlsen will probably need a +3 score in this event in order to be certain to be world number one in the next FIDE rating list (it depends on the tie-break used, he will be almost level with Topalov if he scores +2 if it is settled on decimal places then Topalov will be number one, on number of games then Carlsen will be number one with +2).

Carlsen,M (2801) - Kramnik,V (2772) [A29]
Chess Classic London ENG (1), 08.12.2009

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Nb6 7.0-0 Be7 8.a3 0-0 9.b4 Be6 10.Rb1 f6 11.d3 a5

[11...Nd4 is the major alternative. 12.Be3 c5 13.Ne4 cxb4 14.Bxd4 exd4 15.axb4 Rc8 16.Rb2 Qd7 17.Qa1 Na4 18.Rbb1 f5 19.Nxd4 Bd5 20.Bh3 g6 21.b5 Nb6 22.Qxa7 Qd8 23.Qa1 Ra8 24.Qc3 Na4 25.Qc2 fxe4 26.dxe4 Bf7 27.e3 Nb6 28.Ra1 Qd6 29.Rfc1 Rxa1 30.Rxa1 Nc4 31.Ra4 Bf6 32.Rxc4 Bxc4 33.Qxc4+ Kh8 34.Be6 Ra8 35.Bd5 Qd7 36.Kg2 h5 37.h3 Rc8 38.Qb4 Re8 39.Qc5 Re7 40.Qb6 Kg7 41.Ne6+ Rxe6 42.Bxe6 Bd8 43.Qd4+ Qxd4 44.exd4 h4 45.f4 hxg3 46.Kxg3 g5 47.e5 Bb6 48.Kf3 gxf4 49.Kxf4 Bxd4 50.Ke4 Bf2 51.Kd5 Kf8 52.Kd6 b6 53.Bf5 Ke8 54.Bg6+ Kd8 55.Ke6 Bg3 56.Kf6 Kd7 57.Bf5+ Kd8 58.Be4 Ke8 59.Bc6+ Kd8 60.e6 Bh4+ 61.Kf5 Ke7 62.Bd7 Bg3 63.Kg5 Be1 64.h4 Bc3 65.h5 Bd4 66.Kg6 Bc3 67.h6 Bb2 68.Bc8 Kf8 69.Bb7 Bc1 70.e7+ Kxe7 71.Kg7 Bb2+ 72.Kg8 Kd6 73.h7 Kc5 74.Bc6 Kd6 75.h8Q Bxh8 76.Kxh8 Kc7 77.Kg7 Kd6 78.Kf6 Kc7 79.Ke7 Kc8 80.Kd6 Kb8 81.Bd7 Ka7 82.Kc7 Ka8 83.Kxb6 Kb8 84.Bf5 1-0 Lautier,J-Kamsky,G/Monaco 1995]

12.b5 Nd4 13.Nd2 Qc8 14.e3 Nf5 15.Qc2 Rd8 16.Bb2 a4

[16...Nh6 17.Rfd1 Nf7 18.Rbc1 Bf8 19.h4 Bh3 20.Bh1 Bg4 21.Re1 Bf5 22.Nce4 Qd7 23.Qxc7 Na4 24.Ba1 Bxa3 25.Rc4 Qxb5 26.Nb1 Bb4 27.Nbc3 Qd7 28.Rb1 Nxc3 29.Bxc3 Qxd3 30.Rbxb4 axb4 31.Rxb4 Rac8 32.Qe7 Rd7 0-1 Van Wely,L (2655)-Tiviakov,S (2669)/Hilversum NED 2006/The Week in Chess 608]


[17.Rfd1 Nd6 18.Ba1 Nf7 19.Bb2 Nd6 20.Ba1 Nf7 21.Bb2 Nd6 22.Ba1 1/2-1/2 Qin Kanying (2472)-Ruan Lufei (2345)/Beijing CHN 2005/The Week in Chess 573]

17...Nd6 18.Nde4 Ne8 19.Qe2

New and a move that Carlsen was pleased with.

[19.Ne2 Bb3 20.Qc3 Qd7 21.d4 Qxb5 22.Bf1 Bc4 23.Ba1 Bb3 24.Nd2 Bxa3 25.Nxb3 axb3 26.Rxb3 Qa5 27.Rcb1 exd4 28.Nxd4 Qxc3 29.Bxc3 Kf7 30.Bh3 Rdb8 31.Be6+ Kg6 32.Nf5 Nd6 33.Nxd6 Bxd6 34.Bd4 Be5 35.Bxb6 cxb6 36.Rxb6 Ra6 37.Bd5 Rxb6 38.Rxb6 Bc7 39.Rxb7 Rxb7 40.Bxb7 Kf7 1/2-1/2 Cvitan,O (2540)-Milman,L (2484)/Pula CRO 2007/The Week in Chess 660]


[19...Bh3 20.Bf3 Be6; 19...Bg4 20.Qf1 and white will push black back with h6.]

20.f4! exf4


21.gxf4 Qd7 22.d4 c6

Carlsen was expecting this.

23.Nc5 Bxc5 24.dxc5 Nc4 25.Rd1 Qc7 26.Bc1 Na5

Carlsen also expected this. He was worried that grabbing the a-pawn might be dangerous but it appears not to be the case.

27.bxc6 bxc6 28.Nxa4

Vladimir Kramnik


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 28...Nxa4

28...Rxd1+ 29.Qxd1 Rd8 30.Qc2 Qf7 31.Nc3 Qh5?

Although it's difficult for black this move is definitely wrong. Carlsen speculated it was based on a simple miscalculation.

32.Ne2 Bf5 33.e4 Bg4 34.Ng3 Qf7

[34...Rd1+ 35.Bf1 with Be3 to follow is winning for white and this may have been what Kramnik missed.]

35.Bf1 Be6 36.Qc3

Vladimir Kramnik


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 36.Qc3

White has a perfect position and Carlsen thought Kramnik had more or less given up here.

36...Ra8 37.Rb4 Qd7 38.f5 Bf7 39.Bf4 Qd1 40.Kf2

With e5 in the air it is easy to see why Kramnik blunders here.

40...Nb3 41.Be2 Qb1 42.Bc4 Rxa3 43.Ne2 1-0

Hikaru Nakamura managed to win an exchange and that should probably have been enough to win. He thought for 20 minutes on move 39 but managed to confuse himself, seeing a mate that wasn't there and soon after the game was drawn by repetition.

Nakamura,Hi (2715) - Ni Hua (2665) [D45]
Chess Classic London ENG (1), 08.12.2009

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 a6 5.Bd2 e6 6.Qc2 Nbd7 7.Nc3 dxc4 8.a4 c5 9.Bxc4 cxd4 10.exd4 Be7 11.0-0 0-0 12.Rac1

[12.Rad1 Nb6 13.Bb3 Bd7 14.Bg5 Bc6 15.Ne5 Nbd5 16.Qe2 Qd6 17.Rd3 1/2-1/2 Schlosser,P (2534)-Gustafsson,J (2566)/Fuerstenfeld AUT 2003/The Week in Chess 437]

12...Nb6 13.Bd3 h6 14.Qb3 Nbd5 15.Nxd5 Nxd5 16.Bc4 Bd7 17.Bxd5 exd5 18.Ne5 Bf6 19.Ba5! Qe8 20.Bb4 Bxa4 21.Qa3 Bxe5 22.dxe5 Bb5 23.Rfe1 d4 24.Bxf8 Qxf8 25.Qxf8+ Kxf8

An interesting ending has arisen.

26.f4 d3 27.Red1 g5 28.g3 gxf4 29.gxf4 Ke7 30.Rc7+ Ke6 31.Rxb7 Rc8 32.Kf2 Rc2+ 33.Kg3 Re2 34.Rb6+ Kd5 35.Rxb5+ axb5 36.Rxd3+ Ke4

[36...Ke6 May be better.]

37.Rd7 Rxb2 38.Rxf7 b4 39.Rf8 Rc2

Now Nakamura had a huge think. He is winning here but he managed to confuse himself.

Ni Hua


Hikaru Nakamura

Apparently 40.e6 does win here.

40.Kg4 Rc7 41.e6 b3 42.Rb8 Rg7+ 43.Kh5 Re7 44.Kg4 Rg7+ 45.Kh5 Re7 46.Kg4 1/2-1/2

David Howell against Michael Adams was also not without interest. Adams found a temporary sacrifice of a piece to take the game into a drawn double rook ending.

Howell,D (2597) - Adams,Mi (2698) [C45]
Chess Classic London ENG (1), 08.12.2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Be3 Qf6 6.c3 Nge7 7.Bc4 b6 8.0-0 0-0 9.Qd2 Qg6 10.f3 a5

[10...Rd8 11.Bd3 Ne5 12.Be2 d5 13.f4 N5c6 14.e5 Bf5 15.Nxf5 Nxf5 16.Bxc5 bxc5 17.Na3 c4 18.Rf2 h5 19.b3 cxb3 20.axb3 Nce7 21.Nc2 a5 22.Nd4 c5 23.Nxf5 Nxf5 24.Bf3 Rab8 25.Bxd5 Kh7 26.c4 Nd4 27.Re1 Kh8 28.Qxa5 Nxb3 29.Qc7 Rf8 30.f5 Qg5 31.f6 gxf6 32.Rxf6 Rbc8 33.Qd6 Nd4 34.Ref1 Rcd8 35.Qb6 Rb8 36.Rh6+ Kg7 37.Qf6+ Qxf6 38.Rhxf6 Rbe8 39.Rxf7+ Rxf7 40.Rxf7+ Kg6 41.Rc7 Rxe5 42.Rxc5 Kg5 43.Rc8 Re1+ 44.Kf2 Re2+ 45.Kf1 Rb2 46.Re8 h4 47.Re5+ Kf6 48.Re4 Nf5 49.Re2 Rb1+ 50.Kf2 Rc1 51.Re1 Rc3 52.Re4 Kg5 53.Ke1 h3 54.g3 Ra3 55.Re2 Ne3 56.Be6 Kf6 57.Bxh3 Nxc4 58.Kf2 Ne5 59.Kg2 Rc3 60.Rf2+ Kg7 61.Be6 Nd3 62.Rf7+ Kg6 63.Rf1 Rc2+ 64.Kg1 Rc5 65.h4 Re5 66.Bc4 Nc5 67.Kg2 Kg7 68.Rf7+ Kh8 69.Kf3 Re1 70.Rf8+ Kg7 71.Rg8+ Kf6 72.g4 Rc1 73.g5+ Kf5 74.Rf8+ Kg6 75.Rf4 Nd7 76.Bd3+ Kh5 77.Be2 Kg6 78.Rd4 Ne5+ 79.Kf4 Nf7 80.Bd3+ Kg7 81.Rd7 Kf8 82.g6 Nh6 83.Kg5 Ng8 84.Rf7+ Ke8 85.Bb5+ Kd8 86.Rf8+ Ke7 87.Re8+ Kd6 88.Rxg8 Rc5+ 89.Kf6 Rxb5 90.g7 1-0 Baklan,V (2601)-Golod,V (2577)/Bindlach GER 2006/The Week in Chess 625]

11.Nb5 Ne5 12.Be2 Bxe3+ 13.Qxe3 c6 14.Nd4 c5 15.Nb5 Bb7 16.Nd2 d5 17.f4 Qh6 18.exd5 Nxd5 19.Qxe5 Rae8 20.Qh5 Nxf4 21.Qxh6 Nxe2+ 22.Kh1 gxh6 23.Nd6 Rd8 24.Rf6 Nf4!

An interesting temporary sacrifice.

25.Nxb7 Rxd2 26.Rxf4 Rb8 27.Nxc5 bxc5 28.b3 Rc2 29.Ra4 Rxc3 30.Rxa5 Rc2 31.h3 Rd8 32.Ra4 Rdd2 33.Rg4+ Kf8 34.a4 Rc3 35.Rc4 Rg3 36.Rg1 Rxb3 37.Rxc5 Rbb2 38.a5 Ra2 39.Rf5 Kg8 40.Kh2 Kg7 41.Rb5 Rd6 42.Rgb1

The double rook ending is completely drawn.

42...Rdd2 43.Rg1 Rd6 44.Rgb1 Rdd2 45.Rg1 1/2-1/2

Michael Adams


David Howell

Final Position

For a long time the game Luke McShane against Nigel Short seemed destined for a draw and maybe it would have been if the Sofia rules had not been in force. However slowly McShane made progress and a marathon game extended over 150 moves, finishing after 9-45pm. Short had a number of chances to save but in the end the pressure told and McShane broke through.

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