Chess24 Jan Gustafsson on Alpha Zero

London Chess Classic 2009 (3)

Magnus Carlsen misses chance of 3rd win

Magnus Carlsen missed a chance to keep his 100% score as he had to settle for a draw against David Howell. Vladimir Kramnik went into second place as he had a second impressive win in a row.

Magnus Carlsen missed a chance to keep his 100% score as he had to settle for a draw against David Howell. Vladimir Kramnik went into second place as he had a second impressive win in a row.

Round 3. Photo © Mark Crowther

Three points for a win and one for a draw is used in the tournament.

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 . . 1 . . 7 2934
2. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2772 0 * . . . 1 . 1 6 2818
3. Howell, David W L g ENG 2597 ½ . * ½ . . ½ . 3 2735
4. Adams, Michael g ENG 2698 . . ½ * ½ . . ½ 3 2659
5. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2715 . . . ½ * . ½ ½ 3 2690
6. McShane, Luke J g ENG 2615 0 0 . . . * 1 . 3 2635
7. Short, Nigel D g ENG 2707 . . ½ . ½ 0 * . 2 2517
8. Ni Hua g CHN 2665 . 0 . ½ ½ . . * 2 2603

Round 3 (December 10, 2009)
Howell, David W L - Carlsen, Magnus ½-½ 79 B22 Sicilian Alapin
Nakamura, Hikaru - Short, Nigel D ½-½ 43 E44 Nimzo Indian Rubinstein
Ni Hua - Adams, Michael ½-½ 36 C89 Ruy Lopez Marshall
McShane, Luke J - Kramnik, Vladimir 0-1 36 C24 Bishop's Opening

There was another fascinating day's play in round 3.

Kramnik arrived at the board first in Round 3. Photo © Mark Crowther

Vladimir Kramnik scored a crushing win with black against Luke McShane. McShane avoided the Petroff (Kramnik said it wasn't certain he would have played that) and his 0-0 on move 4 was a bit unusual. After 10....Bxf2 black's position became much easier to play and a number of inaccuracies over the next few moves were exposed by Kramnik's whitheringly exact calculations. Once Kramnik established his control he took his time in exploiting it but his method was sure and certain.

McShane,L (2615) - Kramnik,V (2772) [C27]
Chess Classic London ENG (3), 10.12.2009

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Bc5 4.Nf3 0-0 5.Nc3

[5.Bg5 d6 6.Nbd2 Be6 7.c3 Nbd7 8.b4 Bb6 9.Bxe6 fxe6 10.Nc4 h6 11.Bd2 d5 12.Nxb6 axb6 13.Qe2 c6 14.0-0 Qc7 15.Ne1 b5 16.Nc2 dxe4 17.dxe4 Nb6 18.Rfd1 Ra4 19.f3 Rfa8 20.a3 Nc4 21.Bc1 Nd7 22.Rb1 Ndb6 23.Rd3 Kh7 24.h3 Rd8 25.Ra1 Rda8 26.Rd1 R4a6 27.Qe1 Rd8 28.Be3 Rxd1 29.Rxd1 Nb2 30.Rb1 N6c4 31.Qe2 Ra8 32.Bf2 Rd8 33.Be1 Rd3 34.Na1 Re3 35.Qc2 Nd3 36.Bf2 Nxa3 37.Qd2 Nc4 38.Qxe3 Nxe3 39.Bxe3 Qc8 40.Nb3 b6 41.Bxb6 Qa6 42.Be3 Qa2 43.Nd2 Qc2 44.Kh2 Qxc3 45.Nf1 Qc2 46.Ra1 Nxb4 47.Rc1 0-1 Tiviakov,S (2617)-Ivanchuk,V (2705)/Yucatan MEX 2004/The Week in Chess 529; 5.Nxe5 d5 6.exd5 Re8 7.d4 Bxd4 8.Qxd4 Nc6 is the justification for the move.]

5...d6 6.Na4 Bb6 7.c3 Be6 8.Bb3

[8.Nxb6 axb6 9.Bxe6 fxe6 is playable for white.]

8...Bxb3 9.axb3 Nbd7 10.b4

[10.0-0 is much more solid.]

10...Bxf2+ 11.Kxf2 b5 12.Bd2?

After this black get's a very nice initiative.

[12.Re1 bxa4 13.Rxa4 (13.Qxa4 c5 14.Qc6 cxb4 15.Qxd6) 13...c5]

12...bxa4 13.Qxa4 c5 14.b5 d5 15.exd5 Nb6 16.Qc2 c4! 17.Nxe5


17...Qxd5 18.d4 Ne4+ 19.Kg1

Vladimir Kramnik


Luke McShane

Position after 19.Kg1

The white rook is shut in.

19...Rfe8 20.Nf3 Qxb5 21.h4 Qb3 22.Qb1 Nd5 23.Rh3 h6

[23...Rab8 24.Rxa7 Qxb2 25.Qf1 Ndf6 26.Qxc4 Qb1+ 27.Be1 Nd6 28.Qf1]

24.Qc1 Qb6 25.Ra4 Rab8 26.Ra2 Qb3 27.Qa1 Rb6 28.Kh2 Ndf6

Kramnik admitted that he probably wasn't as fast as he might at finishing this off but he just wanted a professional win.

29.Be1 Ng4+ 30.Kg1 Nef6 31.d5 Nxd5 32.Rg3 Ndf6 33.Bd2 Rd6 34.Ra3 Qb6+ 35.Kh1 Nf2+ 36.Kh2 N6g4+ 0-1

Ni Hua and Adams in Round 3. Photo © Mark Crowther

The game Ni Hua against Michael Adams also finished at much the same time as the Kramnik game. This was a draw in a Marshall Defence to the Ruy Lopez, an opening that Michael Adams has specialised in for many years. The game seemed pretty level throughout.

Ni Hua - Adams,Michael [C89]
London Chess Classic London ENG (3), 08.12.2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.d4 Bd6 13.Re1 Qh4 14.g3 Qh3 15.Qe2 Bd7 16.Qf1 Qf5 17.Be3 Rae8 18.Nd2 Re7

[18...h5 19.Qg2 h4 20.Qf3 Nxe3 21.Rxe3 Rxe3 22.fxe3 Qg6 23.Kg2 Bg4 24.Qf2 c5 25.Rc1 Bf5 26.e4 Bxe4+ 27.Nxe4 Qxe4+ 28.Qf3 Qxf3+ 29.Kxf3 hxg3 30.hxg3 Re8 31.Rd1 c4 32.Bc2 Re6 33.Rd2 Kf8 34.g4 Rf6+ 35.Ke4 Re6+ 36.Kf3 Rf6+ 37.Ke4 Re6+ 38.Kf3 1/2-1/2 Alekseev,E (2716)-Aronian,L (2754)/Nalchik RUS 2009/The Week in Chess 754]

19.Qg2 Rfe8 20.Qf3 Qg6 21.Bxd5 cxd5 22.a4 bxa4 23.Qxd5 h6 24.Nf3 Qf6 25.Ne5 Bxe5 26.dxe5 Qg6 27.Qd6 Qf5 28.Bd4 Bc8 29.Re3 Bb7 30.e6 Rxe6 31.Rxe6 Qxe6 32.Qxe6 Rxe6 33.Be3 Rd6 34.Bd4 Re6 35.Be3 Rd6 36.Bd4

A repetition in a drawish position.


Nakamura - Short in Round 3. Photo © Mark Crowther

Hikaru Nakamura against Nigel Short was also drawn. The opening was an old fashioned Nimzo-Indian discussed at length by Smyslov and Botvinnik in the 1950s. Short came up with a new idea of Nc6 and used guerilla tactics to stop Nakamura developing the bind he wanted. The game then saw trades that led to a drawn ending.

Nakamura,Hikaru - Short,Nigel [E44]
London Chess Classic London ENG (3), 08.12.2009

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 b6 5.Nge2 Ne4 6.Bd2 Nxd2 7.Qxd2 Nc6

Seems to be a new idea in a very old variation.

[7...0-0 8.d5 Na6 9.a3 Be7 10.b4 Bf6 11.Rd1 exd5 12.Nxd5 d6 13.Nd4 Bd7 14.Be2 c5 15.Nc2 Ba4 16.0-0 Nc7 17.Bf3 Nxd5 18.Bxd5 Rc8 19.Rb1 Bxc2 20.Qxc2 cxb4 21.Rxb4 g6 22.Qd3 Qe7 23.g3 Bg7 24.a4 Rc5 25.h4 Kh8 26.Kg2 Qe5 27.Rc1 h5 28.Rc2 f5 29.Rb3 Rc7 30.a5 bxa5 31.Ra2 Rc5 32.Rba3 Re8 33.Rxa5 Rxa5 34.Rxa5 Re7 35.Rb5 Kh7 36.Qa3 Qc3 37.Qa6 Kh6 38.Rb8 Qd2 39.Rg8 Be5 40.Qc8 Kh7 41.Qf8 1-0 Speelman,J-Korchnoi,V/New York, USA 1995]

8.a3 Be7 9.Nf4 Bg5 10.b4 Bb7 11.d5 Ne5 12.Rc1

[12.Be2 Ba6 was Short's idea.]

12...0-0 13.Be2 a5 14.0-0 axb4 15.axb4

Black activates his rook.

15...Bxf4 16.exf4 Ng6 17.Rfe1 c6 18.g3

After quite a long think.

18...cxd5 19.cxd5 Ne7 20.Bf3


20...Ra3 21.Be4

[21.Qb2 Qa8 22.d6 Bxf3 23.dxe7 Re8 24.Nb5 Ra2 25.Qc3 Bh1 26.f3 Rg2+ 27.Kxh1 Qa2 was an entertaining idea from Short.]

21...Qa8 22.Rcd1 h6 23.Qd4 Nxd5

Nigel Short


Hikaru Nakamura

Position after 23...Nxd5

Now this liquidates to a drawn ending.

24.Nxd5 Bxd5 25.Bxd5 Qxd5 26.Qxd5 exd5 27.Rxd5 Ra7 28.Rd6 Rb7 29.f5 f6 30.Red1 Rc8

Some accuracy is still required but Short is up to it.

31.Kg2 Rc4 32.R1d4 Rxd4 33.Rxd4 Rc7 34.Kf3 Rc2 35.h4 h5 36.Rd5 Rc4 37.Rb5 Rc6 38.Rd5 Rc4 39.b5 Rb4 40.Ke3 Kf8 41.Rxd7 Rxb5 42.Rb7 Rxf5 43.Rxb6 1/2-1/2

Howell - Carlsen in Round 3. Photo © Mark Crowther

The longest game of the day was Magnus Carlsen playing black against David Howell. Carlsen played with energy in the opening and gained the advantage after Howell allowed him the initiative. Howell was short of time towards the first time control and lost the exchange and a pawn. However the resulting position was not a trivial win. Carlsen seemed fairly aimless in his attempts to try and exploit the extra material but he did miss a fleeting chance to end the game in his favour and instead played a move that allowed Howell to pick up material that allowed him to draw fairly comfortably in the end.

Howell,D (2597) - Carlsen,M (2801) [B22]
Chess Classic London ENG (3), 10.12.2009

1.e4 c5 2.c3 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Be3 Be7 7.dxc5 Qxd1+ 8.Kxd1 0-0 9.Nbd2 Ng4 10.Nb3

[10.b4 a5 11.Bc4 axb4 12.cxb4 Nc6 13.b5 Nb4 14.Ne4 Nxe3+ 15.fxe3 Ra3 16.Re1 Rd8+ 17.Kc1 f5 18.Ned2 Rc3+ 19.Kb2 Bf6 20.Nd4 Rxe3 21.Rxe3 Rxd4 22.Kb3 Rxd2 23.Rc1 Rb2+ 24.Ka4 Nc2 25.Bxe6+ Kf8 26.Re2 Rxa2+ 27.Bxa2 Nd4 28.Rd2 Bd7 29.Bc4 Be8 30.Rcd1 Bh5 31.Rxd4 g6 32.Rd7 Ke8 33.Rxb7 Bxd1+ 34.Ka5 Bc3+ 35.Kb6 Be5 36.Rxh7 1-0 Van de Oudeweetering,A (2369)-Pavlovic,M (2545)/Amsterdam NED 2004/The Week in Chess 507; 10.b4 is the alternative.]

10...Nxe3+ 11.fxe3 Nd7 12.c6 bxc6 13.Na5 Bc5 14.Nd4 Nf6 15.Bc4 Ng4 16.Ke2 e5 17.Nc2 Bf5

Black now has serious pressure.

18.h3 Nf6 19.Nb4 Be4 20.Nbxc6 Rfe8 21.Rhg1 Bb6 22.b4 Rac8 23.b5 Bxa5

Now Carlsen makes his move. It probably doesn't amount to a win.

24.Nxa5 Rc5 25.a4 Rec8 26.Bd3 Bxd3+ 27.Kxd3 Rxc3+ 28.Ke2 Rc2+ 29.Kf3 e4+ 30.Kf4 R8c5 31.Nc6 g5+ 32.Kg3 R5c3 33.Ne7+

[33.Kh2 Howell was pretty short of time.]

33...Kf8 34.Nf5 Nd5

Magnus Carlsen


David Howell

Position after 34...Nd5


Blundering the exchange in time trouble.

[35.Rad1 Rd3 36.Rc1 Nxe3 37.Nxe3 Rxe3+ 38.Kg4 Rf2 39.Rc7 h6 40.g3 Rb3; 35.Kg4 f6]

35...Nf4 36.Rg1 Ne2+ 37.Kg4 Nxg1 38.Rxg1 f6 39.h4 gxh4 40.Kxh4

White has made time control but black must be winning but it doesn't seem that easy to find the right plan.

40...Ra3 41.g4 Rxa4 42.Rd1 Raa2 43.Rd7 Rh2+ 44.Kg3 Rhg2+ 45.Kh3 Rgf2 46.Nd4 Kg8 47.Re7 Kf8 48.Rc7 Ke8 49.Kg3 Rf1 50.Rxh7 Ra3 51.Kg2?

[51.Nf5 Rf3+ 52.Kh4! Ra2 53.Nd6+ Kd8 54.Nf7+ Kc8 55.Nd6+ Kb8 56.Rb7+ Ka8 57.Kh5 Rxe3 58.Re7 Rh3+ 59.Kg6 Rh8 60.Kxf6]

51...Rd1 52.Nf5

Magnus Carlsen


David Howell

Position after 52...Nf5


Black has a fleeting chance to win. Carlsen probably was thinking of this sort of idea for a while but I think he'd mentally given up here as this is quite a poor idea.

[52...Ra2+ 53.Kg3 Rg1+ 54.Kf4 Rf2+ 55.Kxe4 Rxg4+ 56.Kd5 Rxf5+]

53.Rh8+ Kf7 54.Kg3 Rb3 55.Kf4 Rb1 56.Kxe4

Now white has a pawn for the exchange. Black plays on hoping for a miracle, it never arrives.

56...Rf1 57.Rh7+ Ke6 58.Rh8 Rc7 59.Nd4+ Kd6 60.Rd8+ Rd7 61.Rc8 Rg7 62.Rd8+ Rd7 63.Rc8 Re7+ 64.Kd3 Rc7 65.Rd8+ Rd7 66.Rg8 Rg1 67.Ke2 Kc5 68.Kf2 Rb1 69.Rf8 Rd6 70.Rf7 Rb2+ 71.Kf3 Ra2 72.Ke4 Kb6 73.Rf8 Rg2 74.Kf3 Rh2 75.Rb8+ Kc7 76.Ra8 Kb7 77.Rf8 Rh7 78.Kf4 Rh1 79.Kf3 1/2-1/2

The one and only rest day is on Friday and Saturday sees round 4.

New in Chess Magazine 2018 issue 1

Chess and Bridge Shop Titled Tuesday

Modern Chess Learn Chess without a coach

ChessBase Ad 5 MyGames

American Chess Magazine 5

Ginger GM - Chess Grandmaster Simon Williams

Contact Mark Crowther (TWIC) if you wish to advertise here.

The Week in Chess Magazine

Send a £30 donation via Paypal and contact me via email (Email Mark Crowther - I'll send you an address for a cbv file of my personal copy of every issue of the games in one database. Over 2 million games.

Read about 20 years of TWIC.

Read about issue 1200.

TWIC 1215 19th February 2018 - 3658 games

Read TWIC 1215

Download TWIC 1215 PGN

Download TWIC 1215 ChessBase