Chess24 Sopiko Scotch

2nd London Chess Classic 2010 (6)

Carlsen miracle escape against Kramnik leaves him in pole position

Kramnik somehow contrived not to beat Carlsen in Round 6. Photo © John Sargent.

Kramnik somehow contrived not to beat Carlsen in Round 6. Photo © John Sargent. |

Magnus Carlsen only has to beat tail-ender Nigel Short to retain his title in London. It could and should have been all so different as Vladmir Kramnik played a very nice positional game and seemed to have obtained an overwhelming position. However Carlsen kept struggling on and was rewarded with an extremely unlikely draw. The other games were also drawn with Hikaru Nakamura missing chances against Luke McShane who is also on the same number of points as World Champion Viswanathan Anand (held by Adams) but both have inferior tie-breaks to Carlsen.

Magnus Carlsen against Vladimir Kramnik. Photo © 2010 Mark Crowther.

Magnus Carlsen somehow conjured a draw from a lost position against Vladimir Kramnik to remain in pole position in the London Chess Classic with just one round to go. He tried the rather dubious Chigorin Defence and Vladimir Kramnik played beautifully to obtain a dominant and winning position. But somehow Kramnik let the win get away. The pure basic endings often make the players look stupid (if you're playing through them on a computer) and it seems as late as move 69 Kramnik had a win. But it seems certain that Kramnik had several clearer and more human ways of winning earlier. Carlsen said afterwards that if Kramnik had played 62.Rd3 he was considering resigning.

Kramnik,Vladimir - Carlsen,Magnus [D07]
2nd London Chess Classic London ENG (6), 14.12.2010

1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6

A very risky choice at this level.

3.Nf3 Bg4 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bf4 Bd6 6.Bg3 Nf6 7.e3 0-0 8.a3

[8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Be2 Nce7 10.0-0 Nxc3 11.bxc3 c5 12.Qa4 Nd5 13.Rac1 Bxg3 14.hxg3 Qc7 15.Bd3 Bxf3 16.gxf3 Nxe3 17.fxe3 Qxg3+ 18.Kh1 Qh3+ 1/2-1/2 Shchekachev,A (2539)-Bosiocic,M (2571)/Sibenik CRO 2009/The Week in Chess 777]

8...Ne7 9.Qb3 b6 10.Ne5 c5 11.Nxg4 Nxg4 12.Rd1 Bxg3 13.hxg3 Nf6 14.cxd5 exd5 15.Be2 Qd6 16.Qc2 h6 17.0-0 c4 18.b3!? Qxa3!?

Kramnik now finds a very precise set of moves that gain him the advantage.

[18...cxb3 19.Qxb3 Ne4 20.Bd3 Nxc3 21.Qxc3]

19.bxc4 dxc4 20.Bf3! Rab8

There doesn't look any real merit in sacrificing the exchange here for black.

21.Ra1 Qd6 22.Nb5 Qd7 23.Qxc4 a5 24.e4

White has a big centre and the prospects of pushing black off the board.

24...Rfc8 25.Qe2 Rc6 26.Rab1 Rd8 27.Rfd1 Rdc8 28.d5 Rc2 29.Qe3 R2c5 30.Nd4 Re8 31.Qd3 Qd6 32.Qa6 Rb8 33.Nb3 Rc2 34.Nd4 Rc5 35.Nb3 Rc2 36.Qd3 Rcc8 37.Nd2 Ng6 38.Be2 Qc5 39.Rb5 Qc3 40.f4

and finally on the run up to time control white has his pieces on good squares and starts to push his central pawns.

40...a4 41.e5 Nd7 42.Qxc3 Rxc3 43.Ne4 Rc7 44.Ra1 Ra7 45.d6 Ngf8 46.Nc3 Nc5 47.Nd5 Ra5 48.Rxb6 Rxb6 49.Nxb6

Magnus Carlsen


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 49.Nxb6

White is a pawn up and has a massive position. The only good thing for black is his passed a-pawn.

49...Nfe6 50.Bc4 Kf8 51.f5 Nd8 52.Rf1 Ncb7 53.Re1 a3 54.e6


54...fxe6 55.fxe6 Nxd6 56.e7+ Ke8 57.exd8R+ Kxd8 58.Rd1 Kc7 59.Ba2 Rg5 60.Nd5+ Kc6 61.Nc3 Rc5 62.Rxd6+ Kxd6 63.Ne4+ Kc6 64.Nxc5 Kxc5 65.Kf2 Kd4 66.Kf3 Kd3 67.g4 Kd2 68.Be6 Kd3 69.Kg3

[69.g5 wins.]

69...Ke3 70.Kh4 Kf2 71.Bd5 g6 72.Kh3 g5 73.Kh2 Kf1 74.Be6 Kf2 75.Bc4 Ke3 76.Kg3 Kd4 77.Be6 Ke3 78.Kh2 Kf2 79.Bc4 Ke3 80.Kg1 Kf4 81.Be6 Ke5 82.Bb3 Kf4 83.Be6 Ke5 84.Bb3 Kf4 85.Be6 Ke5 86.Bb3 1/2-1/2

Michael Adams against Viswanathan Anand. Photo © 2010 Mark Crowther.

Michael Adams secured a minute advantage against Viswanathan Anand's Najdorf Defence. Anand played accurately enough and the game wound down to a draw.

Adams,Michael - Anand,Viswanathan [B92]
2nd London Chess Classic London ENG (6), 14.12.2010

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Be3 Be6 10.Qd2 Nbd7 11.a4 Rc8 12.a5 Nc5 13.Nxc5 dxc5 14.Rfd1 Qxd2

[14...c4 15.Qe1 Qc7 16.Nd5 Bxd5 17.exd5 Bc5 18.Bg5 Ne4 19.Bh4 Nd6 20.Bg3 Rce8 21.Kh1 f5 22.f4 e4 23.Ra4 Ba7 24.Qc3 Rc8 25.h3 Kh8 26.Kh2 Qd7 27.Rxc4 Nxc4 28.Bxc4 Qd6 29.b3 Rfe8 30.Kh1 Bc5 31.Qa1 Be3 32.Qc3 Bxf4 33.Bxf4 Qxf4 34.d6 Red8 35.Qb4 Rb8 36.Qc5 Qg5 37.Be6 e3 38.Qe5 Qf6 39.Qxe3 g6 40.d7 Rf8 41.Bd5 g5 42.Qf3 g4 43.hxg4 Qh6+ 44.Qh3 Qd6 45.Qc3+ Qf6 46.Qxf6+ Rxf6 47.Bxb7 Rd8 48.g5 Re6 49.c4 Re7 50.Bc8 Re5 51.b4 1-0 Wu Xibin (2390)-Lim Chuing Hoong (2239)/Kuala Lumpur MAS 2005/The Week in Chess 569]

15.Rxd2 Rfd8


16.Rxd8+ Bxd8 17.b3 Be7 18.Bc4 Bxc4 19.bxc4

Adams has chosen a positional way of dealing with the Najdorf and Anand didn't like this position very much for black.

19...Ne8 20.g4 Nd6 21.Ra4 h6 22.Nd5 Bd8 23.f3 Kf8 24.Kf1 Ke8 25.Ke2 Kd7 26.Kd3 Kc6 27.Bd2 Ra8 28.Bc3 f6 29.h4 b6

Anand needs to play this move and so plays it as soon as he can.

30.axb6 Bxb6 31.h5 a5

Viswanathan Anand


Michael Adams

Position after 31....a5

If anyone has an advantage here it is probably Michael Adams but it can't amount to so very much.

32.Bd2 Bd8 33.Ra3 Ra7 34.Ra4 Ra8 35.Be1 Ra7 36.Bc3 Ra8 37.Ne3 Ra7 38.Kd2 Nf7 39.Ke2 Ng5 40.Nd5 Ne6 41.Kd3 Ra8 42.Ke3 Kd6 43.Kd3

Anand has already improved his position enough for Adams to take the draw. It went on a few more moves.

43...Kc6 44.Bd2 Nd4 45.f4 exf4 46.Bxf4 Ra7 47.Ra1 Ne6 48.Bg3 Ng5 49.Bf4 Nf7 50.Ra4 Rb7 51.Ra1 Ra7 52.Ra4 Rb7 53.Ra1 Ra7 54.Ra4 1/2-1/2

Luke McShane againt Hikaru Nakamura. Photo © 2010 John Sargent.

Luke McShane had a lucky escape against Hikaru Nakamura when an inaccuarcy in the opening left him nearly in a lost position.

McShane,Luke - Nakamura,Hikaru [A00]
2nd London Chess Classic London ENG (6), 14.12.2010

1.g3 e5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Bg2 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Nc3 Nb6 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.a3 0-0 9.b4 Re8 10.d3 Bf8 11.Bb2 a5 12.b5 Nd4 13.Nd2 c6 14.bxc6 Nxc6 15.Nc4

New to Nakamura at least. McShane thought this logical.

[15.Na4 Nxa4 16.Qxa4 Ra6 17.Rac1 Bd7 18.Qd1 a4 19.Nc4 b5 20.Nd2 Na5 21.Rc2 Be6 22.Qc1 f6 23.Bf3 Qb8 24.Bc3 Nb3 25.Qb2 Rd8 26.Nb1 Bc5 27.Bg2 Qd6 28.Kh1 Ra7 29.Kg1 Rc8 30.e3 Qxd3 31.Bb4 Rac7 32.Rc3 Qd6 33.Bxc5 Rxc5 34.Rxc5 Qxc5 35.Be4 Qc4 36.f3 f5 37.Bb7 Rb8 38.Qxe5 Rxb7 39.Nc3 h6 40.g4 fxg4 41.Ne4 Qd5 42.Qg3 Rf7 0-1 Sanduleac,V (2487)-Csonka,A (2327)/Szombathely HUN 2003/The Week in Chess 456; 15.Rc1 a4 16.Nce4 Ra5 17.Nc4 Rb5 18.Nc3 Nxc4 19.Nxb5 Nxb2 20.Qc2 Nxd3 21.exd3 Bd7 22.Rb1 Nb4 23.Qxa4 Nxd3 24.Qc2 e4 25.Bxe4 Bxb5 26.Bxh7+ Kxh7 27.Rxb5 Kg8 28.Rd1 Re1+ 29.Rxe1 Nxe1 30.Qe4 Qd2 31.Rxb7 Nd3 32.Qf5 Qc1+ 33.Kg2 Qc6+ 34.Kf1 Qh1+ 35.Ke2 Nc1+ 36.Kd2 Qxb7 37.Kxc1 Bxa3+ 38.Kd2 g6 39.Qf4 Qb5 40.h4 Qf1 41.Qd4 Bc1+ 42.Kc2 Bh6 43.Qd8+ Kh7 44.Qd4 Qe2+ 45.Kb3 Bg7 46.Qf4 Qd3+ 0-1 Budnikov,A (2400)-Yakovich,Y (2520)/Vladivostok 1990/EXT 1997]

15...Be6 16.Nxb6 Qxb6 17.Rb1 Qa6 18.Bc1

[18.a4 Rac8 19.Nb5 Bb4 and McShane didn't know where he was going.; 18.Qa4 Rac8]

18...Rac8 19.Re1?

McShane couldn't see how Nakamura was going to improve his position.

[19.Qa4 Nd4 (19...Re7 was Nakamura's first thought. I would certainly have played Qa4 if I knew he was playing Re7 - McShane.) 20.Bxb7 Qd6 21.e3 (21.Bxc8? Rxc8) 21...Bd7 22.Qxa5 Rxc3 23.exd4]


and now black is better, maybe a lot better, certainly white's position heads downhill very fast.

20.Bd2 Red8 21.a4 Nd4 22.Nb5 Bc5 23.Nxd4 Bxd4 24.Be3 Rc5 25.Bxd4 exd4 26.Rc1 Qc8!

Its not clear, in spite of his time trouble, how McShane could have improved his play over the last few moves.

27.Rxc5 Qxc5 28.Qa1 Rc8 29.h4 Qc3 30.Bb7 Rc7 31.Be4 f5 32.Bf3 Bb3 33.Kf1 Kf8 34.e3

Hikaru Nakamura


Luke McShane

Position after 34.e3


[34...dxe3 and almost certainly black will go on to win this game.]

35.Kg2 Qc3 36.Qa3+ Ke8?!

Now the game is equal again.

[36...Qb4 is a better try but still white is back in the game. 37.Qxb4+ axb4 38.Rb1 Rc3 39.exd4 Rd3 (39...Ke7) ]


[37.exd4+ Qxe1 38.Qxb3 Rc1 39.Qg8+ Kd7 40.Qxg7+ Qe7 41.Qh6]

37...Rd7 38.Qe5+ Re7 39.Qb5+ Kf8 40.Qxf5+ Rf7 41.Qe5 Rxf3 42.Kxf3 Qxe1 43.Qb8+

and white has perpetual check.

43...Ke7 44.Qc7+ Kf6 45.Qd8+ Kf7 46.Qd7+ Kf8 47.Qd8+ Kf7 48.Qc7+ Kf6 49.Qd8+ Kf7 50.Qc7+ 1/2-1/2

Nigel Short against David Howell. Photo © 2010 Mark Crowther.

Nigel Short played the King's Gambit against David Howell and after a few interesting moments the game was agreed drawn around first time control. Short will be at the centre of attention tomorrow as he plays Magnus Carlsen in the final round.

Short,Nigel - Howell,David [C39]
2nd London Chess Classic London ENG (6), 14.12.2010

1.e4 e5 2.f4

There were various musings by Short on the merits of the King's Gambit which he described as "dodgy". But there are so many refutations that black gets confused. And indeed it seems that in his quick preparation Howell did indeed start to get confused in what he had actually looked at.

2...exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 Nf6 6.Bc4 d5 7.exd5 Bg7 8.d4 Nxd5

[8...Nh5 9.Nc3 0-0 10.Ne2 Qe7 11.0-0 f3 12.gxf3 Qxh4 13.Nxg4 Bxg4 14.fxg4 Qxg4+ 15.Kh2 Kh8 16.Qd3 Nd7 17.Qf5 Ndf6 18.Qxg4 Nxg4+ 19.Kh3 f5 20.Bd2 Rae8 21.Rf3 Bh6 22.Bxh6 Nxh6 23.Raf1 Nf6 24.Ng3 Nfg4 25.Bb5 Re3 26.Bd7 Rxf3 27.Rxf3 Nf6 28.Be6 b5 29.Kh4 Ne8 30.Kg5 Rf6 31.Nxf5 Nxf5 32.Rxf5 Kg7 33.Rxf6 Nxf6 34.c3 Ne4+ 35.Kf4 Nd6 36.Bg4 Kf6 37.Be2 a5 38.Bd3 a4 39.Bxh7 b4 40.cxb4 Nc4 41.d6 cxd6 42.Ke4 Nb6 43.Bg8 Ke7 44.a3 Kd7 45.Ba2 Kc6 46.d5+ Kb5 47.Kd4 Na8 48.Bc4+ Kb6 49.b3 axb3 50.Bxb3 Kb5 51.Kc3 Nb6 52.a4+ 1-0 Petr,M (2460)-Jenni,F (2516)/Rogaska Slatina SLO 2009/The Week in Chess 758; 8...0-0 Max Lange: Jahrbuch des Westdeutschen Schachbundes 1863, p. 40 1-0 Lange,M-Paulsen,W/Duesseldorf 1863/EXT 2002 (37)]

9.0-0 Nc6 10.Bxd5

[10.Nxf7 was expected by the crowd and certainly white has compensation for the piece. 10...Kxf7 11.Bxf4 Ke8 12.Bg5 Qd6 13.c3]

10...Qxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6!

This does indeed seem a better try than Qxc6.


Black's last forces this less than ideal continuation.


Short didn't think this was necessarily the best and wondered if black shouldn't just castle here.

13.Nc3 Qh5 14.Ne4 Qxh4

David Howell


Nigel Short

Position after 14...Qxh4


[15.Qd3 was a suggestion by Short after the game.]

15...0-0 16.Nxe6 fxe6 17.Rxg4 Qf2+ 18.Kh2 Kh8 19.Bg5 Rab8 20.Bh4 Qf5 21.Rb1 c5 22.dxc5 Be5+ 23.g3 Rg8 24.Rxg8+ Rxg8 25.Qe2 Rg4 26.Kg2 Re4 27.Qd3


27...Qg4 28.Rf1 Rd4 29.Qe3 Re4 30.Qf3 Re2+ 31.Rf2 Qxf3+ 32.Kxf3 Rxf2+ 33.Kxf2 Bxb2 34.c6 Kg7

and now the ending is just drawn.

35.g4 Be5 36.Kf3 Kf7 37.Ke4 Bd6 38.Bd8 Ke8 39.Bh4 Kf7 40.Bd8 Ke8 41.Bh4 Kf7 1/2-1/2

Ceremonial Opening Move. Photo © 2010 Mark Crowther.

2nd London Chess Classic London ENG Mon 6th Dec 2010 - Wed 15th Dec 2010. Category: 19. Ave: (2725)
Rk Name Title FED Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts GmBl WiBl Wins TPR
1 Carlsen, Magnus GM NOR 2802 # 0 0 1 = 1 1 10 4 1 3 2776
2 Anand, Viswanathan GM IND 2804 1 # = = = = 1 10 3 1 2 2825
3 McShane, Luke J GM ENG 2645 1 = # = = = 1 10 2 1 2 2882
4 Nakamura, Hikaru GM USA 2741 0 = = # 1 = 1 9 4 1 2 2779
5 Kramnik, Vladimir GM RUS 2791 = = 0 # = 1 1 9 3 1 2 2757
6 Adams, Michael GM ENG 2723 0 = = = # 1 = 7 2 0 1 2722
7 Howell, David W L GM ENG 2611 0 = = 0 0 # = 3 4 0 0 2564
8 Short, Nigel D GM ENG 2680 0 0 0 0 = = # 2 2 0 0 2446
Round 6. Tue 14th Dec 2010
Adams, Michael 1/2-1/2 Anand, Viswanathan 54 B92 Sicilian
McShane, Luke J 1/2-1/2 Nakamura, Hikaru 50 A00 Benko's opening
Short, Nigel D 1/2-1/2 Howell, David W L 41 C39 KGA
Kramnik, Vladimir 1/2-1/2 Carlsen, Magnus 86 D07 QGD

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