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London Chess Classic 2009 (4)

Full house sees 4 draws

Magnus Carlsen against Hikaru Nakamura. Photo © Mark Crowther

Magnus Carlsen against Hikaru Nakamura. Photo © Mark Crowther |

An interesting days play saw Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura had a particularly complex struggle.

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 . . 8 2867
2. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2772 0 * ½ . . 1 . 1 7 2789
3. Adams, Michael g ENG 2698 . ½ * ½ ½ . . ½ 4 2687
4. Howell, David W L g ENG 2597 ½ . ½ * . ½ ½ . 4 2705
5. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2715 ½ . ½ . * . ½ ½ 4 2717
6. McShane, Luke J g ENG 2615 0 0 . ½ . * 1 . 4 2632
7. Short, Nigel D g ENG 2707 . . . ½ ½ 0 * ½ 3 2561
8. Ni Hua g CHN 2665 . 0 ½ . ½ . ½ * 3 2636
Round 4 (December 12, 2009)
Carlsen, Magnus - Nakamura, Hikaru ½-½ 45 D17 Slav Defence
Kramnik, Vladimir - Adams, Michael ½-½ 46 D37 QGD 5.Bf4
Short, Nigel D - Ni Hua ½-½ 64 C11 French Defence
McShane, Luke J - Howell, David W L ½-½ 40 A15 English counter King's Fianchetto

There were four draws on a day of a sell out crowd at the Olympia Conference Centre in London.

Carlsen - Nakamura in Round 4. Photo © Mark Crowther

All eyes are pretty much on Magnus Carlsen in this tournament. Even with white today he didn't have things anything like his own way and Hikaru Nakamura was the player who looked to have the best of it in the end. However just before first time control he allowed Carlsen the opportunity of playing for perpetual check and the game finished in a draw.

Carlsen,Magnus - Nakamura,Hikaru [D17]
London Chess Classic London ENG (4), 12.12.2009

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Nh4 Bc8

Fairly standard stuff. Nakamura thought about his choices here.

7.e3 e5 8.Bxc4 exd4 9.exd4 Be7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Re1 Nd5 12.Nf3 Be6 13.Qb3 Na6

[13...Qb6 14.Nxd5 cxd5 15.Bxd5 Qxb3 16.Bxb3 Bxb3 17.Rxe7 Bd5 18.Be3 Nc6 19.Rxb7 Nxd4 20.Rd7 Nxf3+ 21.gxf3 Bxf3 22.Rxa7 Rxa7 23.Bxa7 Rd8 is probably just level.]


Playing it safe and avoiding complications.

[14.Qxb7 Nab4 15.Rxe6 fxe6 16.Ne5 Bd6 17.Nxc6 Bxh2+ 18.Kxh2 Qh4+ 19.Kg1 Qxf2+ with a draw.]


[14...Nac7 15.a5 Rb8 1/2-1/2 Arkell,K (2475)-Gormally,D (2400)/Birmingham ENG 1999; 14...Ndc7 15.Bxe6 Nxe6 16.d5 Nec5 17.Qc4 cxd5 18.Nxd5 Rc8 19.b4 Ne6 20.Qxc8 Qxd5]

15.Ne4 Bf5 16.Ne5 a5 17.Nc5 Bxc5

[17...Nc2 18.Qxb7 Qc8 19.Qxc6]

18.dxc5 Qc7 19.Bxb4

[19.Qf3 Be6 20.Bb3 Rad8 21.Rad1 Nf6 22.Bxe6 fxe6]

19...Nxb4 20.Qf3 Be6 21.Bxe6 fxe6 22.Qb3 Qe7 23.Nf3 Nd5

[23...Qxc5 24.Qxe6+ Kh8]

24.Rac1 Rf4


25.Ne5 Raf8 26.Nd3 Rd4 27.Rc4 Rxc4 28.Qxc4 Qf6 29.g3 Rd8 30.Kg2 Qf5 31.Nc1

[31.h4 is possible here.]


Hikaru Nakamura


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 31...Rf8


Black is a bit better here.

[32.Re2 was suggested in the press conference but it is refuted by 32...Ne3+!]]

32...Nc7 33.Nd3 Rd8 34.Ne5 Rd5 35.Kg1 Rxc5 36.Nc4 Qf8 37.Rd1 Rd5 38.Rxd5 exd5

[38...cxd5 was identified as a much better move by Nakamura afterwards. Now the game heads to a draw.]

39.Qe5 dxc4 40.Qxc7 Qb4 41.Qc8+

Now it is perpetual.

41...Kf7 42.Qf5+ Ke7 43.Qe5+ Kf7 44.Qf5+ Ke7 45.Qe5+ Kf7 1/2-1/2

Kramnik vs Adams in Round 4. Photo © Mark Crowther

Vladimir Kramnik played very quickly in a Queen's Gambit Declined with 5.Bf4 against Michael Adams. However the resulting position was extremely drawish even though Kramnik was a pawn up. Adams gradually forced the exchanges of both rooks to secure the draw he wanted.

Kramnik,Vladimir - Adams,Michael [D37]
London Chess Classic London ENG (4), 12.12.2009

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.a3 c5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Nxd5 exd5 10.dxc5 Nxc5 11.Be5 Bg4 12.Be2 Ne6 13.h3

[13.0-0 Bf6 14.Bxf6 Qxf6 15.Qxd5 Qxb2 16.Ra2 Qb6 17.h3 Rad8 18.Qe5 Bxf3 19.Bxf3 Qc5 20.Qxc5 Nxc5 21.Rb1 b6 22.a4 Rd6 23.a5 Rfd8 24.axb6 axb6 25.Rb5 Kf8 26.Rab2 Nd7 27.Bg4 Nf6 28.Rxb6 Nxg4 29.hxg4 Rxb6 30.Rxb6 g5 31.Rb2 Kg7 32.g3 Kg6 33.Kg2 f6 34.Rb6 Rd2 35.Kf3 Ra2 36.Rd6 Ra3 37.Ke4 Ra4+ 38.Rd4 Ra5 39.f4 gxf4 40.gxf4 h5 41.gxh5+ Rxh5 42.Rd1 Ra5 43.Rg1+ Kf7 44.f5 Ra4+ 45.Kf3 Ra5 46.Kf4 Ra4+ 47.e4 Rb4 48.Ke3 Ra4 49.Rc1 Ra7 50.Rc5 Ra1 51.Rc7+ Ke8 52.Kd4 Rd1+ 53.Ke3 Re1+ 54.Kf3 Rf1+ 55.Ke2 Ra1 56.Ke3 Re1+ 57.Kd4 Rd1+ 58.Kc5 Rd2 59.Rb7 Rd1 60.Rb4 Ke7 61.Rb7+ Ke8 1/2-1/2 Ibrahimov,R (2541)-Dambacher,M (2429)/Hoogeveen NED 2006/The Week in Chess 625]

13...Bxf3 14.Bxf3 d4 15.Bxd4 Nxd4 16.Qxd4 Qxd4 17.exd4

Adams was way behind on the clock but Kramnik has a long way to go to even think about exploiting this extra pawn.

17...Rac8 18.0-0 Rc7 19.Rad1 Rd8 20.Rfe1 Kf8 21.Re2 g6 22.g3 Bf6 23.d5 Be7 24.Kg2 Bd6 25.Rde1

Michael Adams


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 25.Red1

25...Rc5 26.Be4 Rdc8 27.f4 Rc1 28.Kf3 Rxe1 29.Rxe1 Rc5 30.g4 a5 31.a4 Rc4 32.b3 Rc3+ 33.Re3 Rxe3+ 34.Kxe3

Now it's just a case of engineering a draw by repetition, there is nothing left in this position.

34...h6 35.f5 gxf5 36.Bxf5 Ke7 37.h4 f6 38.Bc8 b6 39.Ke4 Bg3 40.h5 Bh4 41.Kf5 Bg5 42.Kg6 Kd6 43.Be6 Ke7 44.Bc8 Kd6 45.Be6 Ke7 46.Bc8 Kd6 1/2-1/2

Short vs Ni Hua in Round 4. Photo © Mark Crowther

Nigel Short and Ni Hua contested a pretty unusual French Defence. Short emerged with an extra pawn and play was pretty interesting but it never looked like enough to win. In the end Ni Hua showed he knew his ending and a draw resulted.

Short,Nigel - Ni Hua [C11]
London Chess Classic London ENG (4), 12.12.2009

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Nbd7 6.Nxf6+ Nxf6 7.c3 h6 8.Bh4 c5 9.Bxf6

[9.Qf3 Be7 10.Bb5+ Nd7 11.Bxe7 Qxe7 12.Ne2 0-0 13.0-0 Nf6 14.Rfe1 Rd8 15.Rad1 Bd7 1/2-1/2 Short,N (2664)-Korchnoi,V (2617)/Buenos Aires ARG 2001/The Week in Chess 357]

9...gxf6 10.Qf3 cxd4 11.Bb5+ Ke7 12.Ne2 Qd5 13.Qxd5 exd5 14.Nxd4 f5 15.0-0-0

This is a rather odd position. Black has the two bishops but no development.

15...Kf6 16.Ne2 Be6 17.Nf4 Rd8 18.Bc4 d4 19.Bxe6 fxe6 20.Rxd4 Bc5 21.Rxd8 Rxd8 22.Nh3 h5 23.Re1 e5 24.Re2 e4 25.Kc2 h4 26.f3 Re8 27.fxe4 fxe4 28.b4 Bd6 29.Rf2+ Ke5 30.Ng1 Rg8

Ni Hua


Nigel Short

Position after 30...Rg8

Short's extra pawn hasn't proved all that useful.

31.g3 hxg3 32.hxg3 Rxg3 33.Ne2 Rf3 34.Rg2 Kd5 35.Nd4 Rh3 36.Nb5 Be5 37.Rd2+ Ke6 38.Nd4+ Bxd4 39.Rxd4 Rh2+ 40.Kb3 Re2 41.a4 e3 42.Kc4 Ra2 43.a5 e2 44.Re4+ Kd6 45.Kd3 b6 46.axb6 axb6 47.Rxe2 Rxe2 48.Kxe2

Well you certainly have to know your endings here but I think Ni Hua knew his stuff.

48...b5 49.Kd2 Ke6 50.Kd1 Kd5 51.Kc2 Kd6 52.Kd2 Ke6 53.Ke3 Ke5 54.Kd3 Kd5 55.c4+ bxc4+ 56.Kc3 Kc6 57.Kxc4 Kb6

Now they play out the draw for the crowd.

58.b5 Kb7 59.Kc5 Kc7 60.b6+ Kb7 61.Kb5 Kb8 62.Kc6 Kc8 63.b7+ Kb8 64.Kb6 1/2-1/2

McShane vs Howell in Round 4. Photo © Mark Crowther

Luke McShane and David Howell drew an interesting English with 11.b3 being a very nice tactical idea to help white's development. However the resulting ending was very drawish.

McShane,Luke - Howell,David [A15]
London Chess Classic London ENG (4), 12.12.2009

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Qa4+ Nc6 6.Ne5 Qd6 7.Nxc6 Qxc6 8.Qxc6+ bxc6 9.g3 Bg7 10.Bg2 Rb8

[10...Be6 11.b3 0-0 12.Bb2 Rfd8 13.0-0-0 Nb4 14.a3 Nd5 15.Na4 f6 16.Nc5 Bf7 17.Na6 Rd6 18.d4 f5 19.Kc2 Rad8 20.e3 g5 21.h4 h6 22.hxg5 hxg5 23.Bf1 f4 24.gxf4 gxf4 25.e4 Nb6 26.Nc5 Rb8 27.Rg1 Kf8 28.Bh3 Rh6 29.Bg4 Rd8 30.Rg2 Rg6 31.f3 Rg5 32.Rgd2 e5 33.dxe5 Rxd2+ 34.Rxd2 Bxe5 35.Bxe5 Rxe5 36.b4 a5 37.Kc3 axb4+ 38.Kxb4 Re8 39.Rd4 Ra8 40.a4 Rb8 41.Kc3 Ra8 42.Bd7 Be8 43.Ne6+ Ke7 44.Bxe8 Nxa4+ 45.Rxa4 Rxa4 46.Bxc6 Ra3+ 47.Kb4 Rxf3 48.Nd4 Rf1 49.Bb5 Rc1 50.Nf3 c5+ 51.Kb3 Rb1+ 1/2-1/2 Kraai,J (2526)-Bezemer,A (2364)/Hoogeveen NED 2009/The Week in Chess 781]


David Howell


Luke McShane

Position after 11.b3!


[11...Nxc3 12.Bb2]

12.Bb2 Nxc3 13.Bxc3 Bxc3 14.dxc3 c5 15.0-0-0 Rb6 16.c4 Rd6 17.Rd5 Bb7 18.Rxd6 Bxg2 19.Rdd1 Bxh1 20.Rxh1

The ending is pretty drawish.

20...Rd8 21.Rd1 Rxd1+ 22.Kxd1 Kf8 23.Kd2 Ke8 24.Ke3 Kd7 25.g4 f6 26.Ke4 Ke6 27.h3 f5+ 28.Kf4 Kf6 29.g5+ Ke6 30.e4 fxe4 31.Kxe4 Kd6 32.f4 e6 33.h4 a6 34.a3 a5 35.Kf3 e5 36.Ke4 exf4 37.Kxf4 Ke6 38.Ke4 Kd6 39.Kf4 Ke6 40.Ke4 1/2-1/2

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