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2nd London Chess Classic 2010 (1)

McShane beats Carlsen in first round of London Classic

McShane shocked Carlsen in Round 1. Photo ©

McShane shocked Carlsen in Round 1. Photo © |

The first round of the 2nd London Chess Classic saw Luke McShane defeat world number 2 Magnus Carlsen in a complex struggle. Michael Adams demolished David Howell, Vladimir Kramnik broke through with black against Nigel Short and in the final game to finish Hikaru Nakamura managed to hold on against World Champion Viswanathan Anand.

The result of the day was Luke McShane's victory against Magnus Carlsen. A clever opening choice by McShane forced Carlsen to take some real risks if he wanted to retain some winning chances out of the opening, which the Norwegian is famous for. McShane himself had to play actively as Carlsen's long term prospects could be good provided he unwound his pieces. As it was McShane kept his initiative going and when Carlsen miscalculated he pushed him off the board.

Luke McShane defeated Magnus Carlsen in Round 1. Photo © 2010 Mark Crowther.

McShane,Luke J (2645) - Carlsen,Magnus (2802) [A37]
2nd London Chess Classic London ENG (1), 08.12.2010

1.c4 c5 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.0-0 Nh6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Bxh6 Bxh6 9.Nxd4 Ne5

After the game finished Carlsen said that if some of the later positions were no good for him he would have to ask the question as to if this whole variation after this move is any good. Very risky, but I guess McShane was counting on something ike this.

[9...Bd7 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.b4 0-0 12.Rb1 Qc7 13.Qd3 Rac8 14.Rfd1 Rfe8 15.c5 d5 16.e4 Bg4 17.f3 dxe4 18.Nxe4 Bf5 19.g4 Be6 20.Qe2 Qf4 21.a3 Red8 22.Nf2 Bg7 23.Nh3 Qc4 24.Qxc4 Bxc4 25.f4 Bd3 26.Rb3 Bd4+ 27.Kh1 Bc2 28.Rbd3 Bxd1 29.Rxd1 Bb2 30.Rxd8+ Rxd8 31.Bxc6 Bxa3 32.b5 Bxc5 33.Ng5 Be3 34.Nh3 Rd2 35.Bf3 Rb2 36.Bc6 e6 0-1 Sakar,M-Jurek,J (2355)/Czech Rep CZE 2003/The Week in Chess 442]

10.Qb3 0-0 11.Rfd1 Nd7 12.Qa3 a5

Both players are happy here. McShane realises he needs to keep going forward and to that end he will enforce b4, Carlsen was happy because if he survives the immediate and gets his pieces out he too will have good chances.

13.b4 Ra6

[13...Nb6 14.c5 Nc4 15.Qb3 Nd2 16.Qd5 and white looks good.]

14.b5 Ra8 15.e3

McShane liked this shoring up of the centre.

15...a4 16.Rab1 Bg7

Initially McShane had the idea of rounding up the a4 pawn but the lines both players looked at after the game suggest it would end in a very messy position.

17.Ne4 Qb6 18.Nc6 Re8 19.Nb4

Again white has options but whilst playing actively McShane is avoiding mess.

[19.Nxe7+ Rxe7 20.Rxd6 might be good for white but McShane thought that Carlsen wasn't a particularly good player to give your pieces up against.]


Both players agreed this move was absolutely necessary.


Magnus Carlsen


Luke McShane

Position after 20.Nc3


Played as a 2nd choice, initially Carlsen was considering e6 which is better but then saw this and played it instead. Carlsen said that at the very least the position would be messy after e6, now it is just really good for white.


21.Nxa4 Qa7 22.Na6!

Carlsen admitted that he missed that Nc7 is a fork rather than just hitting a rook. His whole position has disintegrated. There isn't much to do, other than what he tried.

22...bxa6 23.b6 Nxb6 24.Rxb6 Rb8 25.c5 Be6 26.Rdb1 dxc5 27.Rb7 Rxb7 28.Rxb7 Qa8 29.Nxc5 Qc8 30.Qxa6 Bf7 31.Bc6 Rd8 32.Nd7 Rxd7 33.Bxd7 Qc1+ 34.Qf1 Qxf1+ 35.Kxf1 Bc4+ 36.Kg1 Bxa2 37.Ba4!

White is easily winning but this and his next force immediate resignation.

37...e5 38.f3!

If black gets e4 in then the win would be trickier.

38...Bh6 39.Bb3+

The Rook vs Bishop ending is now trivial.


David Howell was defeated by Michael Adams in Round 1. Photo © 2010 Mark Crowther.

England's number 4 David Howell was undefeated last year but here is went very wrong in the first round when he collapsed very quickly after failing to spot a very attacking idea by Michael Adams. Adams ended up with a large number of pieces around Howell's king and a knight sacrifice carved it open for a nice win.

Adams,Michael (2723) - Howell,David W L (2611) [C67]
2nd London Chess Classic London ENG (1), 08.12.2010

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Be7 6.Qe2 Nd6 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.dxe5 Nb7

Howell admitted this was a last minute choice. Adams said he knew virtually nothing about this move.

9.c4 0-0 10.Nc3 f6 11.Re1

[11.Bd2 fxe5 12.Nxe5 Bf6 13.Rae1 Qe8 14.Ng4 Qxe2 15.Nxf6+ Rxf6 16.Rxe2 d6 17.Re8+ Rf8 18.Re7 Rf7 19.Re8+ Rf8 20.Rfe1 Bd7 21.Rxa8 Rxa8 22.Re7 Rd8 23.Be3 Kf8 24.Re4 a5 25.f3 Re8 26.Rf4+ Kg8 27.Kf2 c5 28.Bd2 c6 29.Be3 Be6 30.Re4 Bf7 31.Rxe8+ Bxe8 32.b3 Bf7 33.Na4 Bg6 34.g4 Kf7 35.f4 Bd3 36.Kf3 g6 37.Nc3 Ke6 38.Na4 1/2-1/2 Naiditsch,A (2674)-Malakhov,V (2725)/Sibenik CRO 2010/The Week in Chess 826]

11...fxe5 12.Qxe5 Bf6 13.Qg3

[13.Qh5 g6 14.Qh6 Bg7 15.Qh3 d5 16.Qg3 d4 17.Na4 Bf5 18.Bg5 Qd6 19.Bf4 Qb4 20.b3 d3 21.Rad1 Rae8 22.Bd2 Qd6 23.Rxe8 Rxe8 24.Re1 Rxe1+ 25.Bxe1 Qe7 26.Qg5 Qxg5 27.Nxg5 d2 28.Bxd2 Bb1 29.Ne6 Bxa2 30.Nec5 Nxc5 31.Nxc5 Bf8 32.Be3 Bxc5 33.Bxc5 a5 34.b4 a4 35.b5 Bxc4 36.bxc6 Bd5 37.Bb4 Bxc6 1/2-1/2 Ehlvest,J (2615)-Marciano,D (2380)/France 1992/EXT 1997]


[13...Nd6 is an option. 14.Bf4 (14.c5 was the move Adams considered.) 14...Nf5 15.Bxc7 Nxg3 16.Bxd8 Rxd8 17.hxg3 was Howell's line. ]

14.Bg5 Nd3?

David Howell


Michael Adams

Howell expected Re2 to be the reply.

"When Mickey started thinking, I knew something was amiss."

[14...d6 and white is a little bit better.]

15.Re3! Nxb2 16.Rae1 Bxg5?

Howell collapses in a heap after missing Re3. He admitted that he'd already given up mentally shortly after this move.

[16...Ba6 and black might be worse but he isn't losing.]

17.Nxg5 Qf6 18.Rf3 Qd8 19.Nce4 Ba6 20.Nxh7!

David Howell


Michael Adams

Position after 20.Nxh7! Might be a bit much to give this an exclam. One could almost play this intuitively.

There are just too many pieces around the black king for it to survive.

20...Rxf3 21.gxf3 Kxh7 22.Ng5+ Kg8 23.Qh4 Bxc4 24.Qh7+ Kf8 25.Re5 Be6 26.Qh8+ Ke7 27.Qxg7+ Kd6 28.Ne4# 1-0

Nigel Short at the start of his game against Vladimir Kramnik.

Photo © 2010 Mark Crowther.

Nigel Short managed to surprise Vladimir Kramnik with his 3rd move but the good news soon ended as Short struggled to find his best form in the first round. He admitted to several errors which eventually allowed Kramnik to just carve up his position for a nice win.

Short,Nigel D (2680) - Kramnik,Vladimir (2791) [C24]
2nd London Chess Classic London ENG (1), 08.12.2010

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Qe2 Bc5

An amusing moment. This is the bishop's second trip to this square. Kramnik played Bc5 but didn't let go, and after hesitating he put the bishop back on f8. He had noticed that Bxf7+ was possible. After satisfying himself it was nothing he put the bishop back on c5, this time to stay.


[4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Qc4+ d5 6.Qxc5 Nxe4 and it is white that is in trouble.]

4...0-0 5.Bg5

[5.Nf3 d6 6.c3 Nc6 7.Bb3 h6 8.Nbd2 Kh8 9.h3 Nh7 10.g4 Ne7 11.Nf1 Be6 12.Bc2 Ng6 13.Ng3 c6 14.Nf5 d5 15.h4 b5 16.b3 Re8 17.h5 dxe4 18.hxg6 exf3 19.Qxf3 fxg6 20.Nh4 Bd5 21.Nxg6+ Kg8 22.Qh3 Bxh1 23.Qxh1 Qf6 24.Qe4 Qxf2+ 25.Kd1 Qf1+ 26.Qe1 Qxe1+ 27.Kxe1 Re6 28.d4 exd4+ 29.Kd1 dxc3 0-1 Chavez,H (2070)-Castillo,O (2195)/San Salvador ESA 1998]

5...c6 6.Nd2

The most flexible square.


After the game Kramnik was slightly critical of this move.


7.Bh4 Re8 8.Ngf3 Bf8

A very precise move, if black isn't careful moves like g4 could end up carving him up. But now black is fine.


Not a terrible move in itself but I think one that annoyed Short greatly. During the game he kept realising that it would have been much more flexible to have played a3 as he would still have some options to castle queenside later on. Short's unhappiness turned itself into time pressure later on.

9...d5 10.Bxf6 gxf6 11.Ba2 f5 12.0-0 Na6 13.Rfe1 Bg7 14.c3 Be6

White is still fine here.



15...Bxd5 16.Bxd5 cxd5 17.g3 Bf6 18.Qe3 Kh7 19.Nb3?!

[19.d4 was the logical follow up to Short's play. 19...e4 20.Ne5 Bxe5 21.dxe5 Rxe5 22.Nf3 and white is only slightly worse.]

19...Qd7 20.Nc5 Nxc5 21.Qxc5 a6!

Removing the b5 square from the queen before attacking it.

22.Re2 Re6

Vladimir Kramnik


Nigel Short

Position after 22...Re6. A critical moment.


Short became accutely aware that he was starting to get short of time and misses the fact that this is a critical position. c4 and there is still all to play for. Now he is in really quite serious trouble.


23...Rae8 24.c4 b6!

The difference.

25.Qb4 d4 26.Qb3 e4

Black's attack almost plays itself.

27.Nd2 e3 28.fxe3 dxe3 29.Nf3 f4 30.d4 Re4 31.Qxb6 Bxd4 32.Qxa6 fxg3 33.Qb5 Qg4 34.Nxd4 gxh2+ 35.Kh1 Rxd4 36.Qb7 Qf5 37.Rxh2 e2 38.Qg2 Rd1

"I'm starting too many tournaments recently with a loss" - Nigel Short commenting on his slowness to get going at the start of events recently.


The Indian High Commissioner for London, Nalin Surie, made a nice speach and Anand's opening 1.e4 against Hikaru Nakamura. Photo © 2010 Mark Crowther.

Hikaru Nakamura quickly obtained a drawish ending using the Berlin Defence but this didn't mean he had an easy time of it as the position invited World Champion Viswanathan to try a number of ideas to break through which meant that Nakamura had to keep his concentration for a long time before Anand eventually gave up in the final game to finish.

Anand,Viswanathan (2804) - Nakamura,Hikaru (2741) [C67]
2nd London Chess Classic London ENG (1), 08.12.2010

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Nc3 Bd7 10.h3 h6 11.b3 Kc8 12.Bb2 b6 13.Rad1 Ne7 14.Rfe1 c5 15.Ne2

[15.Nd2 Be6 16.Nde4 c4 17.Kh2 cxb3 18.cxb3 Ng6 19.Nb5 Bd7 20.Nec3 Bc5 21.Ba3 Bxa3 22.Nxa3 Re8 23.Nc4 b5 24.Na5 Rxe5 25.Rxe5 Nxe5 26.Rd5 1/2-1/2 Motylev,A (2676)-Volokitin,A (2671)/Wijk aan Zee NED 2009/The Week in Chess 743]

15...Ng6 16.h4 Be7

[16...Bg4 17.Nh2 Bxe2 18.Rxe2 Nxh4 19.Re4 Be7 20.e6 fxe6 21.Rxe6 Bd6 22.Bxg7 Rg8 23.Rxh6 Nxg2 24.Kxg2 Rxg7+ 25.Kf1 Kb7 26.Nf3 Rf8 27.Rd3 Rgf7 28.Ke2 c4 29.bxc4 Rf4 30.Rh4 Rxh4 31.Nxh4 Rf4 32.Nf3 Rxc4 33.c3 Be7 34.Kd1 Bc5 35.Kc2 Bxf2 36.Kb3 b5 37.Nd2 Rh4 38.c4 Kb6 39.cxb5 Kxb5 40.Nb1 c5 41.Na3+ Kc6 42.Nc4 Bd4 43.Rg3 Rh5 44.Ne3 Kd6 45.Kc4 Ke5 46.Nc2 Bf2 47.Ra3 Rh4+ 48.Kb5 Rh7 49.Kc4 Rg7 50.Ra6 Bg1 51.Ra5 Rh7 52.Ra6 Rf7 53.Ra5 Ke4 54.Ra6 Rf2 55.Kc3 Rf7 56.Kc4 Ke5 57.Ra5 Rg7 58.Ra6 Rh7 59.Ra5 Ke4 60.Ra4 Kf3 61.Kc3 Re7 62.Ra6 Ke2 63.Rd6 Bf2 64.Rd2+ Kf3 65.Rd3+ Ke4 66.Kc4 Kf4 67.Ra3 Bg1 68.Ra6 Kf3 69.Rd6 Bf2 70.Kc3 Bh4 71.Rd5 Bf2 72.Kd3 Kf4 73.Rd6 Ke5 74.Rd8 Rg7 75.Re8+ Kd6 76.Rd8+ Kc6 77.Rc8+ Kb7 78.Rf8 Rg3+ 79.Kc4 Rg4+ 80.Kc3 Bh4 81.Rf3 Kc6 82.Ne3 Be1+ 83.Kc2 Rd4 84.Rf1 Bb4 85.Rd1 Re4 86.Kd3 Rh4 87.Rg1 Kb5 88.Rg4 Rh3 89.Re4 a5 90.Kc2 Rh2+ 91.Kb1 a4 92.Nd5 Ba5 93.a3 Rd2 94.Ne3 Bc7 95.Nc4 Rd4 96.Rxd4 cxd4 97.Nb2 Bd6 98.Ka2 Bf8 99.Nd3 Kc4 100.Nb2+ Kb5 101.Nd3 Bd6 102.Nb2 Be7 103.Nd3 Bf8 104.Nb2 Bh6 105.Nd3 Bg5 106.Nb2 Bf4 107.Kb1 Bc7 108.Ka2 Bd8 109.Kb1 Be7 110.Ka2 Ka5 111.Nc4+ Ka6 112.Nb2 Kb5 113.Nd3 Kc4 114.Nb2+ Kc3 115.Nxa4+ Kc2 116.Nb2 Bd8 117.a4 Bc7 118.Nc4 d3 119.a5 Bxa5 120.Nxa5 d2 121.Nc4 d1N 1/2-1/2 Leko,P (2756)-Jakovenko,D (2760)/Jermuk 2009/CBM 132/[Kritz]]

17.e6 Bxe6 18.h5 Nh4 19.Nf4 Nxf3+ 20.gxf3 Bd6 21.Nxe6 fxe6 22.Rxe6 Rf8 23.Bxg7 Rf5 24.Re8+ Kb7 25.Rxa8 Kxa8 26.Bxh6 Rxh5 27.Be3 Kb7 28.c4 Kc6 29.Kg2 Rh2+ 30.Kf1 Rh1+ 31.Ke2 Rxd1 32.Kxd1 Kd7 33.Bg5 Ke6

Hikaru Nakamura


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 33. Ke6

Already the future play is set out. Black is probably holding but, he can't let the white king penetrate through the Kingside, can't let him reach e4, can't him through on the Queenside, probably is going to have to be prepared to give up c5 when zugzwanged. After probing for a lot of moves Anand never came close to unlocking this position in his favour.

34.a4 c6 35.a5 bxa5 36.Kc2 a4 37.bxa4 Kf5 38.Be3 a6 39.Kd3 Be7 40.Ke2 Bf8 41.Kf1 Be7 42.Kg2 Bd6 43.Kh3 Be7 44.Kg3 Bf6 45.Bxc5 Bd8 46.Be3 Be7 47.Kg2 Bd8 48.Kf1 Bc7 49.Ke2 Bd8 50.Kd3 Ba5 51.Kd4 Bb6+ 52.Kd3 Ba5 53.Ba7 Be1 54.Bb6 Kf4 55.Be3+ Ke5 56.Bc5 Kf4 57.Ke2 Ba5 58.Ba7 Kf5 59.Ke3 Be1 60.Bb6 Bc3 61.Bc7 Be1 62.Bd6 Bc3 63.f4 Be1 64.Be5 Ba5 65.Bd4 Bb4 66.Be5 Bc5+ 67.Bd4 Bb4 68.Ba7 Bc3 69.Kd3 Be1 70.Be3 Ba5 71.Kd4 Bb6+ 72.Kc3 Ba5+ 73.Kd3 Bc7 74.Kd4 1/2-1/2

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 Kramnik, Vladimir GM RUS 2791 # 1 3 1 1 1
2 McShane, Luke J GM ENG 2645 # 1 3 0 0 1
3 Adams, Michael GM ENG 2723 # 1 3 0 0 1
4 Nakamura, Hikaru GM USA 2741 # = 1 1 0 0
5 Anand, Viswanathan GM IND 2804 = # 1 0 0 0
6 Howell, David W L GM ENG 2611 0 # 0 1 0 0
7 Carlsen, Magnus GM NOR 2802 0 # 0 1 0 0
8 Short, Nigel D GM ENG 2680 0 # 0 0 0 0
Round 1. Wed 8th Dec 2010
Adams, Michael 1-0 Howell, David W L 28 C67 Ruy Lopez
Short, Nigel D 0-1 Kramnik, Vladimir 38 C24 Bishop's opening
McShane, Luke J 1-0 Carlsen, Magnus 39 A37 English
Anand, Viswanathan 1/2-1/2 Nakamura, Hikaru 74 C67 Ruy Lopez

Round 2 is two hours later at 4pm on Thur Dec 9th. Pairings: Kramnik vs Nakamura, Howell vs Anand, Carlsen vs Adams, and Short vs McShane.

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