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2nd London Chess Classic 2010 (Opening)

Draw and Opening Press Conference for the 2nd London Chess Classic

Everybody present at the opening of the 2nd London Chess Classic. Photo ©

Everybody present at the opening of the 2nd London Chess Classic. Photo © | http://www.chess,

The London Chess Classic started with a one hour press conference on Tuesday prior to the first round on Wednesday. The main order of business was the draw for the competition that sets the pairings for each round. There was a brief question and answer session where Malcolm Pein stressed that the event was the strongest ever in the UK and that it is part of a strategy of promotion for chess and for the charity Chess in Schools and Communities. Hikaru Nakamura was handed the most demanding of starts. In rounds 1,2 and 4 he has black against Anand, Kramnik and Carlsen.

Malcolm Pein was delighted to gain the participation of the World Champion and World Number One Viswanathan Anand at the Classic. Photo © 2010 Mark Crowther.

I was a little late for the start of the press conference in London but really just missed the draw for the competition where the players chose giant pieces with their draw numbers on them.

Round 1, Wed Dec 8th, 14:00
Nigel Short-Vladimir Kramnik
Luke McShane-Magnus Carlsen
Michael Adams-David Howell
Vishy Anand-Hikaru Nakamura
Round 2, Thur Dec 9th, 16:00
Vladimir Kramnik-Hikaru Nakamura
David Howell-Vishy Anand
Magnus Carlsen-Michael Adams
Nigel Short-Luke McShane
Round 3, Fri Dec 10th, 14:00
Luke McShane-Vladimir Kramnik
Michael Adams-Nigel Short
Vishy Anand-Magnus Carlsen
Hikaru Nakamura-David Howell
Round 4, Sat Dec 11th, 14:00
Vladimir Kramnik-David Howell
Magnus Carlsen-Hikaru Nakamura
Nigel Short-Vishy Anand
Luke McShane-Michael Adams
Round 5, Sun Dec 12th, 14:00
Michael Adams-Vladimir Kramnik
Vishy Anand-Luke McShane
Hikaru Nakamura-Nigel Short
David Howell-Magnus Carlsen
Round 6, Tue Dec 14th, 14:00
Vladimir Kramnik-Magnus Carlsen
Nigel Short-David Howell
Luke McShane-Hikaru Nakamura
Michael Adams-Vishy Anand
Round 7, Wed Dec 15th, 12:00
Vishy Anand-Vladimir Kramnik
Hikaru Nakamura-Michael Adams
David Howell-Luke McShane
Magnus Carlsen-Nigel Short

Hikaru Nakamura felt that his draw could not have been any worse. Photo © 2010 Mark Crowther.

Hikaru Nakamura was the unhappiest of players after the draw. Not only does he get four blacks and only three whites but black against Anand in Round 1, Kramnik in Round 2 and Carlsen in Round 4 made him somewhat pessimistic of his chances, and I for one have some sympathy.

There was a mercifully brief question and answer session afterwards with a number of interesting tidbits

Carlsen and Kramnik. Photo © 2010 Mark Crowther.

Malcolm Pein talked about the interesting experiment of the Spanish style late 4pm start for round 2 (rather than the normal 2pm) in a bid to test the waters about what start time might be the most convenient for the paying customers for future use.

Anand and Carlsen Photo © 2010 Mark Crowther.

Anand talked of his happiness to be playing just normal chess rather than the rather more taxing World Championship Matches but did support the idea of London hosting his defence in 2012. Anand also said that unlike Kasparov he can see no end to his career and he will play far beyond Kasparov's retirement age.

Kramnik and Nakamura. Photo © 2010 Mark Crowther.

Magnus Carlsen played his cards pretty close to his chest when questioned about his recent withdrawal from the World Championship Cycle. He suggested he had had little or no contact with FIDE and didn't have a copy of the contract he needs to sign by December 22nd, and didn't suggest any chance of a change of heart either.

The English contingent David Howell, Luke McShane, Nigel Short and Michael Adams. Photo © 2010 Mark Crowther.

Malcolm Pein finished by talking about the value of this event and the World Championship in Promoting Chess and the charity Chess in Schools and Communities and that he thought that an attempt to bring an Olympiad to England wouldn't have a similar impact.

Play for Round 1 starts at 2pm Tuesday 8th December 2010. Pairings: Short vs Kramnik, McShane vs Carlsen, Adams vs Howell and Anand vs Nakamura.

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