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3rd London Chess Classic 2011 (1)

Carlsen beats Howell in London Classic Round 1

David Howell lost to Magnus Carlsen. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill.

David Howell lost to Magnus Carlsen. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill. | http://www.rmhphoto.eu

Magnus Carlsen beat David Howell in the first round of the London Chess Classic. Carlsen set up an unclear position that was definitely easier to play, after 28.Re7? Howell was lost and seemed to be going through the motions resigning one move before time control. As it happens Carlsen hadn't played the most accurate moves and after 40...Qxf5 the game would have been far from finished. Levon Aronian had a threatening looking position and a huge time advantage against Luke McShane but had to bail out for a draw when he missed an important detail. Viswanathan Anand was well prepared against Michael Adams and may have even been better before they traded to a drawn ending. Hikaru Nakamura chose a defence against Vladimir Kramnik that the Russian himself had researched and used. He struggled to remember the line he hadn't considered for a year but Nakamura played accurately to hold the draw. Round 2 Pairings: Howell-Adams, McShane-Carlsen, Nakamura-Aronian and Short-Kramnik.

Boris Becker made the first move for Magnus Carlsen

Boris Becker made the first move for Magnus Carlsen. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill: http://www.rmhphoto.eu/

Magnus Carlsen was the only winner in the first round of the 3rd London Chess Classic tournament at the Olympia Conference Centre when he beat David Howell. The event was opened by Boris Becker who also played an exhibition game against Nigel Short who was on commentary duty during the first round.

Magnus Carlsen defeated David Howell on the white side of a closed Ruy Lopez Berlin Defence. Carlsen settled for a position where he could outplay Howell who admitted that he was suffering from lack of confidence and bad form and this quickly turned itself into bad time trouble. Especially when he missed 16.e5. "I told myself I was going to play really quickly but the opposite happened." In fact his position was playable until 28.Re7. Carlsen then had a number of ways to finish things off but was quite precise (37.Rf2 was probably the easiest win) and Howell down to his last 3 seconds resigned on move 40 when after 40...Qxf5 he would have had the best position he'd had for a long time.

"Decent enough game, disappointed I couldn't calculate properly at the end." - Magnus Carlsen.

Carlsen,Magnus - Howell,David W L [C65]
3rd London Chess Classic London ENG (1), 03.12.2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.c3 0-0 6.0-0 Re8 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 Bf8

[8...a6 9.Ba4 Ba7 10.Re1 d6 11.Nbd2 Kh8 12.Nf1 Rg8 13.Ne3 g5 14.Bg3 Rg7 15.Bc2 Nh7 16.d4 f6 17.h3 Qf8 18.Qd2 h5 19.Nf5 Bxf5 20.exf5 h4 21.Bh2 Qf7 22.dxe5 fxe5 23.Re4 Qf6 24.Rae1 Rf8 25.Kh1 Bb6 26.b4 Rfg8 27.Rg4 Rf8 28.Rge4 Rfg8 29.a4 Re7 30.b5 axb5 31.axb5 Nd8 32.Nxe5 dxe5 33.Rxe5 Reg7 34.Rd5 Qf8 35.Be5 Nf6 36.Rxd8 Qxd8 37.Qxd8 Rxd8 38.Bxf6 Rdd7 39.Re8+ Kh7 40.Be5 Kh6 41.f6 Rh7 42.f7 1-0 Alekseev,E (2691)-Van der Werf,M (2432)/Plovdiv BUL 2010/The Week in Chess 832]

9.Nbd2 d6 10.d4 exd4 11.Nxd4 Bd7 12.Nxc6 bxc6 13.Bd3 Be7 14.f4

[14.Bg3 is a normal way to play.]

14...Qb8

I was pretty happy with white here. - Carlsen. This is essentially the only idea. Carlsen said he slightly overestimated his position here.

15.Bxf6 Bxf6 16.e5

David Howell

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Magnus Carlsen

Position after 16.e5

Howell missed this idea. "Lack of confidence, bad form. I told myself I was going to play really quickly but the opposite happened."

16...dxe5 17.Ne4 Qxb2 18.f5

The position is still unclear. It is really hard to break through. I played this too quickly.

[18.Qh5 Be7 19.f5 (19.fxe5 Be6 20.Nf6+ Bxf6 21.exf6 Doesn't work.) 19...f6 Really ugly. (19...Bf8 20.Bc4) ]

18...Red8 19.Bc4 Be8 20.Qh5 Rd6

[20...Kf8 21.Rae1 Rab8 22.Nxf6 gxf6]

21.Rab1 Qc2 22.Qg4 Kf8 23.h3

I realised how difficult black's position was going to be. - Howell.

23...Rad8

This doesn't really do too much for black.

24.Kh2 Qa4 25.Rb4 Qa3 26.Rb7 R6d7 27.Qf3 Qa4 28.Qe2 Re7

"A horrible move."

David Howell

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Magnus Carlsen

Position after 28...Re7

[28...Qa3 29.Qe3 (29.Rfb1) ]

29.Nxf6 gxf6 30.Qe3 Red7 31.Qc5+ Rd6 32.Rxc7 Qc2 33.Rc8

[33.Rf3 e4 34.Rf4 Qxc3 35.Rxe4]

33...R8d7 34.Be6 Ke7 35.Bxd7 Bxd7 36.Rh8

[36.Qxa7 Qxc3 37.Qc7 Rd2 38.Qd8+ Kd6 39.Rc7]

36...Qd3 37.Rf3?

David Howell

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Magnus Carlsen

Position after 37.Rf3?

After the game Carlsen was critical at not being able to finish off the game. Svidler's suggestion was 37.Rf2, he just assumed as did both the players that Carlsen knew what he was doing.

[37.Rf2 Qd5 38.Qxa7 e4 39.Qa8 Qe5+ 40.g3]

37...Qd5 38.Qxa7 e4 39.Qb8 Qe5+ 40.Rg3

I just assumed it was mate. Howell, I was absolutely sure it was mate. - Carlsen. Howell had about 3 seconds left when he resigned.

[40.Rg3 Qxf5 41.Qd8+ (41.c4 Rd3) 41...Ke6]

1-0

Hikaru Nakamura

Hikaru Nakamura. Photo © John Saunders: http://www.londonchessclassic.com/

Vladimir Kramnik and Hikaru Nakamura discussed a line of the Catalan that was entirely the product of modern computer chess. Kramnik had himself used the defence against Viswanathan Anand and described it as "A very concrete position. In reality black is making only moves for some time." Nakamura had prepared it for Dortund. Both players had examined the position in detail but Kramnik had last looked at it a year ago having concluded that probably no-one would be attracted to play such a line as black again. Nakamura was accurate and the game finished in a repetition in 45 moves.

Kramnik,Vladimir - Nakamura,Hikaru [E04]
3rd London Chess Classic London ENG (1), 03.12.2011

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.d4 dxc4 5.Bg2 Nc6 6.Qa4 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Nd5 8.Bxb4 Ndxb4 9.0-0 Rb8 10.Na3 0-0 11.Qb5 b6 12.Qxc4 Ba6 13.Nb5 Qd5 14.Qxd5 Nxd5 15.a4 Na5 16.Ne5 Rbd8 17.Nxa7 Nb4 18.Rac1 Rxd4 19.Nb5

[19.Rxc7 Bxe2 20.Rfc1 f6 21.Nec6 Naxc6 22.Nxc6 Nxc6 23.R7xc6 Rfd8 24.h3 R8d6 25.Rxd6 Rxd6 26.Rc6 Rxc6 27.Bxc6 e5 28.f4 exf4 29.gxf4 Kf7 30.Kf2 Bc4 31.b4 g5 32.fxg5 fxg5 33.h4 gxh4 34.a5 1/2-1/2 Anand,V (2800)-Kramnik,V (2780)/Bilbao ESP 2010/The Week in Chess 831]

19...Bxb5 20.axb5 f6 21.e3 Rdd8 22.Nf3 Rf7 23.Bh3 Re7 24.Rc3 Kf7 25.Ra1 Rd3 26.Bf1 Rxc3 27.bxc3 Nd5 28.c4 Nc3 29.c5 Rd7 30.Nd4

An interesting try.

[30.c6 Rd5]

30...Ne4!

Hikaru Nakamura

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Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 30...Ne4

[30...e5 31.Nc6 Nxc6 32.bxc6; 30...bxc5 31.Nxe6 Kxe6 32.Rxa5 Rd1 33.Kg2 Rd2]

31.cxb6

[31.c6 Rd5 32.Bg2 f5 33.f4 Rc5 Double edged, I can end up worse. Kramnik.]

31...cxb6 32.Rc1

[32.Nc6 Nxc6 33.bxc6 Rc7 is equal.]

32...Nc5 33.f4 Ke7

[33...Rd6]

34.Nc6+ Nxc6

[34...Kd6 unnecessary.]

35.bxc6 Ra7

Very accurate.

36.Rd1 Rc7 37.Bg2 e5 38.fxe5 fxe5 39.Rb1 e4 40.Rxb6 Kd6 41.Rb4 Kd5 42.Rd4+ Ke5 43.Rc4 Kd5 44.Rd4+ Ke5 45.Rc4 Kd5 1/2-1/2

Viswanathan Anand against Michael Adams

Viswanathan Anand against Michael Adams. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill: http://www.rmhphoto.eu/

Viswanathan Anand was well prepared for Michael Adams in the same variation of the Sicilian Najdorf they played last year. Magnus Carlsen thought "Vishy was better at some point" and if so it would be around move 24 or 25 (24...Rc6 maybe or 25...Qf6). After that they quickly traded into a drawn Queen ending which initially wasn't played well by Anand but the draw was always there and agreed in 49 moves.

Adams,Michael - Anand,Viswanathan [B92]
3rd London Chess Classic London ENG (1), 03.12.2011

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 Nb6

[11...Rc8 12.a5 Nc5 13.Nxc5 dxc5 14.Rfd1 Qxd2 15.Rxd2 Rfd8 16.Rxd8+ Bxd8 17.b3 Be7 18.Bc4 Bxc4 19.bxc4 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 30.axb6 Bxb6 31.h5 a5 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 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 Adams,M (2723)-Anand,V (2804)/London ENG 2010/The Week in Chess 841]

12.a5 Nc4 13.Bxc4 Bxc4 14.Rfd1 Rc8 15.Bb6 Qe8 16.Nc1 d5 17.Nxd5

[17.exd5 Bb4 was checked down to a draw this morning by Anand.]

17...Nxe4 18.Nxe7+ Qxe7 19.Qe1 f5 20.b3 Bf7 21.c4 Rfe8 22.f3

[22.Nd3 Bh5 23.f3 Ng5 24.Qf1 e4 25.Ne1 Rc6 26.Rd2 Rg6 27.fxe4 fxe4 28.Qf5 Rf8 29.Qd5+ Kh8 30.h4 Nh3+ 31.Kh2 Qxh4 32.Qd8 Qg3+ 33.Kh1 Rgf6 34.Nc2 h6 35.Bc7 Nf2+ 36.Kg1 Qh4 0-1 Smeets,J (2669)-Giri,A (2677)/Emsdetten GER 2010/The Week in Chess 840]

22...Nc5 23.Qe3 Nd7 24.Nd3 Nxb6

[24...e4; 24...Rc6 25.Ba7]

25.axb6

Viswanathan Anand

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Michael Adams

Position after 25.axb6

25...e4

[25...f4; 25...Qf6]

26.fxe4 fxe4 27.Nf4

[27.Ne1 was an Anand suggestion but didn't enter Adams head. 27...Qc5 (27...Rc6 28.Nc2 Qf6) 28.Nc2]

27...Rc6 28.Nd5 Bxd5 29.Rxd5 Qe6 30.Rad1

[30.Raa5 Qh6 (30...Rf8) 31.Qxh6 gxh6]

30...Rxb6 31.Rd8 Rc6 32.R1d4 Rc8 33.Rxc8 Qxc8 34.Rxe4 Rxe4 35.Qxe4

Once we reached the queen ending I started playing like a complete idiot.

35...Qd7 36.Kf2 h6 37.Ke3

If you drift then sometimes you can be worse.

37...a5 38.h3 b6 39.Qe5 Qc6 40.Qe4 Qc5+ 41.Kd3 Qg1

[41...Qd6+ Anand almost missed this move wondering if he might be losing. Later he wondered if it is black might have the chances. 42.Qd5+ Qxd5+ 43.cxd5 b5 44.Kd4 Kf7 45.Kc5 a4 46.bxa4 bxa4 47.Kb4 Ke7 48.Kxa4 Kd6 49.Kb3 Kxd5 50.Kc3 Ke4 51.Kd2 Kf4 52.Ke2]

42.Qe8+ Kh7 43.Qe4+ Kg8 44.Qf3 Qc5 45.g4 Qd6+ 46.Ke3 Qe5+ 47.Kd3 Qd6+ 48.Ke3 Qe5+ 49.Kd3 1/2-1/2

Luke McShane

Luke McShane. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill: http://www.rmhphoto.eu/

Levon Aronian looked to have a very good position against Luke McShane. "I'm not sure I'm competent [to comment], the game was too complicated." was Aronian's comment. He was at first annoyed he played 5.Qb3 ("Lousy".. "but I started liking things later." Aronian) in a Slav. He wasn't sure about 18.Nd4 sacrificing a pawn but he said he was attracted to the complexity as McShane fought back. Aronian quickly (lightening) demonstrated some of the fantastic lines he saw over the board after the game you can see in the video coverage but he missed the significance of 29...Re8 and almost immediately bailed out to a draw.

Aronian,Levon - McShane,Luke J [D15]
3rd London Chess Classic London ENG (1), 03.12.2011

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 a6 5.Qb3 e6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.e3 0-0 8.Be2 h6 9.Bh4 dxc4 10.Qxc4 b5 11.Qd3 Nbd7 12.a4 b4 13.Bxf6 Nxf6

[13...gxf6; 13...bxc3 14.Bxe7 cxb2 15.Rb1 Qxe7 16.Rxb2 c5 17.Qa3 and white is probably winning.; 13...Bxf6 14.Ne4 c5 This is the most natural.]

14.Ne4 c5 15.Nxc5 Bxc5 16.dxc5 Bb7 17.Rc1 Rc8 18.Nd4

Luke McShane

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Levon Aronian

Position after 18.Nd4

A practical decision. Luke was in time trouble.

18...Bxg2 19.Rg1 Bd5 20.f3 Qc7

[20...Nh5 21.Kf1 Qh4 22.Rg2 Looks dodgy.]

21.Rg3

[21.Rg2]

21...Rfd8

[21...Nd7]

22.Qxa6 Ra8 23.Qb6 Qe5 24.Kf2 Nh5 25.c6 Nxg3 26.hxg3 Qh5 27.Kg2

[27.c7 Qh2+ 28.Ke1 Rdc8 29.a5 Qxg3+ 30.Kd2 h5 That's very blunt, I should have played like this. - Aronian. But this looks fine for black.]

27...e5 28.e4 exd4 29.exd5 Re8!

Luke McShane

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Levon Aronian

Position after 29...Re8

Aronian missed this and quickly steers for the draw.

30.Qb5 Ra5 31.c7 Rxb5 32.Bxb5 Qg5 33.c8Q Rxc8 34.Rxc8+ Kh7 35.d6 Qd2+ 36.Kh3 Qd1 37.d7 f5 38.Kg2 Qd2+ 39.Kg1 Qe1+ 40.Kg2 1/2-1/2

The stage for round 1

The stage for round 1. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill: http://www.rmhphoto.eu/

ChessDom Video

3rd London Chess Classic Sat 3rd Dec - Mon 12th Dec 2011
RkNameTiFEDRtgPtsGms
1Magnus CarlsenGMNOR282631
2Viswanathan AnandGMIND281111
3Levon AronianGMARM280211
4Vladimir KramnikGMRUS280011
5Hikaru NakamuraGMUSA275811
6Michael AdamsGMENG273411
7Luke McShaneGMENG267111
8Nigel ShortGMENG269800
9David HowellGMENG263301

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