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3rd London Chess Classic 2011 (3)

Carlsen defeats Nakamura and leads after Rd3 of London Classic

The stage for London Chess Classic Round 3. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill.

The stage for London Chess Classic Round 3. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill. |

Magnus Carlsen beat Hikaru Nakamura to move into a clear lead with 7/9 after 3 rounds of the London Chess Classic. Carlsen said his position was easier to play and eventually Nakamura went wrong and his position collapsed. Viswanathan Anand was briefly in trouble against David Howell but he missed his way and the game was drawn. Levon Aronian looked to have a smooth win against Nigel Short but he revealed afterwards it was not at all that easy and I guess a disappointed Short will at least be feeling better about his play than after round 2. Luke McShane beat an off-form Michael Adams after the latter turned down a piece sacrifice which he might just as well have accepted and taken his chances. Round 4 runs Tues 6th December 16:00-23:00 GMT to allow people to visit after work. Carlsen-Kramnik, Adams-Short, Anand-Nakamura, Howell-McShane, Aronian commentator.

Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

Magnus Carlsen defeated Hikaru Nakamura for the 5th time in classical chess without reply in a calendar year going back to last year's London Classic. Carlsen didn't go for too much in this game but stressed that his moves were much easier to find than his opponent's. Nakamura himself was a little puzzled as to what he did wrong but he was critical that he didn't choose a more active opening in retrospect, that he didn't play 11...d5 but it was in time trouble he misplayed his counter-play although he was mystified as to why it went wrong.

Carlsen,Magnus - Nakamura,Hikaru [C50]
3nd London Chess Classic London ENG (3), 05.12.2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.c3 d6 6.Bb3 a6 7.Nbd2 Ba7 8.Nf1 h6 9.Ng3 0-0 10.0-0 Be6 11.h3 Qd7

[11...d5 is a much better move - Nakamura. 12.Qe2 Re8 it's a game. "Black doesn't have any particular problems." ]


"I was pretty happy to get in Be3." - Carlsen.

[12.Nh2 Ne7 13.d4 Ng6 14.Kh1 Rae8 15.Bc2 d5 16.dxe5 Nxe4 17.Nxe4 dxe4 18.Be3 Bxe3 19.fxe3 Nxe5 20.Bxe4 Qb5 21.b3 Rd8 22.Qh5 c6 23.c4 Qa5 24.b4 Qc7 25.c5 Rd2 26.a4 Rfd8 27.Qh4 Bc4 28.Rfe1 Bd5 29.Bxd5 R8xd5 30.Qg3 Qe7 31.Nf3 Nxf3 32.Qxf3 Qe6 33.Qf4 Rf5 34.Qg4 h5 35.Qg3 Rff2 36.Rg1 Kh7 37.Raf1 Rfe2 38.Qf3 Kg6 39.Qg3+ Kh7 40.Qf3 Qg6 41.Qxf7 Rxg2 42.Qxg6+ Rxg6 43.Rf7 Ra2 44.a5 Re2 45.Rxb7 Rxe3 46.Rxg6 Kxg6 47.Kg2 Rb3 48.Rb6 Kf5 49.Rxa6 Rxb4 50.Rxc6 Rb5 51.a6 Ra5 52.Rc7 Rxa6 53.Rxg7 Ra2+ 54.Kg3 Kf6 55.Rh7 Kg6 56.Re7 Ra3+ 57.Kg2 Kf6 58.Rh7 Kg6 59.Rd7 Rc3 60.Rd5 h4 1/2-1/2 Hamdouchi,H (2588)-Aronian,L (2649)/Bastia FRA 2003/The Week in Chess 469]

12...Ne7 13.Nh4 Ng6

[13...Bxh3 14.Bxa7 Rxa7 15.gxh3 Qxh3 16.Ng2 Ng4 17.Re1 Qh2+ 18.Kf1 Qh3 19.f3 was a variation both players more or less agreed on.]

14.Nhf5 Ne7 15.Nxe7+ Qxe7 16.Bxa7

[16.d4 I really wanted to go d4 instead of taking on a7 but it's bad. - Carlsen. 16...exd4 17.Bxd4 Nxe4 18.Nxe4 Bxb3 19.Qxb3 Qxe4]

16...Rxa7 17.f4 c5

I think it's easier to play for white. - Carlsen.


[18.a4 Briefly considered by Carlsen. 18...b5]

18...b5 19.Qd2 Rb7 20.a3 a5 21.Rf2

I used too much time around moves 14 and 15 - Nakamura. He said he was playing intuitively around here.

21...b4 22.axb4 axb4 23.Raf1 bxc3 24.bxc3 exf4

[24...Bd7 25.d4]

25.Rxf4 Nh7 26.d4 cxd4 27.cxd4 Qg5 28.Kh2 Nf6 29.Bd1

Hikaru Nakamura


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 29.Bd1


Basically I just miscalculated the exchange sac. I guess it's losing. It's a little bit strange. - Nakamura.

[29...Rb1 Kramnik. 30.h4 Rxd1; 29...Ra8 30.h4 Qa5 31.Qf2 Qa2 32.Rxf6 Rb2 33.Be2 gxf6 34.Qxf6 Rxe2 35.Nxe2 Qxe2 36.Rf3 Qxe4; 29...Ng4+ 30.hxg4 (30.Bxg4 Bxg4; 30.Kg1 Ne5 31.Nf5 Bxf5 32.h4) 30...Qh4+]

30.h4 Qg6 31.Rxf6 gxf6 32.Qf4

[32.d5 Rb2 33.Qf4 Bc8 better for white.]

32...Rb2 33.Bh5 Qg7 34.Bf3 Ra8?

34...Qg6 35.d5 Bc8 was discussed as being better.

35.d5 Bc8 36.Nh5 Qf8 37.Nxf6+ Kh8 38.Rc1 Kg7 39.e5 dxe5 40.Nh5+ Kh7 41.Be4+ 1-0

Hikaru Nakamura


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 41.Be4+

David Howell against Viswanathan Anand

David Howell against Viswanathan Anand. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

Beating World Champion Viswanathan Anand is a hard thing to do but David Howell came close in the third round of the London Chess Classic. Anand found a dangerous attacking idea which was beaten off by Howell who was maybe slightly better although Anand didn't think so. However 29.b3 was an error after which Howell had strong winning chances which would have been best expressed starting with 32...Rb2 however he miscalculated and play R8e4 and things were not so clear and this and time trouble meant that although he was still better at move 40 Anand felt confident of holding after that.

Anand,Viswanathan - Howell,David W L [D16]
3nd London Chess Classic London ENG (3), 05.12.2011

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 e6 6.e3 c5 7.Bxc4 Nc6 8.0-0 cxd4 9.exd4 Be7 10.Qe2 0-0 11.Rd1 Nd5 12.Qe4 Nf6 13.Qh4 Nb4 14.Bg5 b6

[14...h6 15.Bd2 b6 16.Ne5 Bb7 17.Bxh6 gxh6 18.Qxh6 Nh7 19.Bd3 Nxd3 20.Rxd3 Bg5 21.Qh5 Qf6 22.Rh3 Qg7 23.Rg3 Rfd8 24.Nf3 Bxf3 25.Qxf3 Qh6 26.Ne4 Kf8 27.Rh3 Qg6 28.Rg3 Qh6 29.Rh3 Qg7 30.Rg3 Qh6 1/2-1/2 Grischuk,A (2756)-Karjakin,S (2725)/Nice FRA 2010/The Week in Chess 802]


I felt Bd3 was suspicious, for some reason, I wanted to play this d5 sacrifice.

15...Nxd3 16.Rxd3 Ba6 17.Rd2

[17.Re3 Bb7 18.Ne5 Nd5]

17...Bb7 18.d5 Bxd5 19.Nxd5 exd5 20.Nd4 Qd7 21.Rd3

There is very little white can do.

21...Rfe8 22.Rh3 h5

It's forced.

23.Bxf6 Bxf6 24.Qxh5 g6 25.Qh7+ Kf8 26.Qh6+ Kg8 27.Qd2

I didn't think so [that he was worse] - Anand.

27...Re4 28.Rd3 Rae8 29.b3?

Just a blunder - Anand


29...Bxd4! 30.Rxd4 Re2 31.Qd1 Qf5 32.Qf1

David Howell


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 32.Qf1


[32...Rb2 Is undoubtably the way to go. 33.g3 Ree2 is thoroughly unpleasant for white.]

33.Rad1 Qe6

[33...Rxd4 34.Qxe2 holds.]

34.Rxe4 Qxe4 35.g3

Already Anand was thinking he should hold this.

35...Kg7 36.h4 a5 37.Rd4 Qe6 38.Qg2 Re1+ 39.Kh2 Re4 40.Rxe4 dxe4

Howell had just 4 seconds for his final move.

41.Qh1 Qxb3 42.Qxe4 Qb2 43.Kg2 b5 44.h5 bxa4 45.Qxa4 Qb7+ 46.Kg1 Qb1+ 47.Kg2 Qb7+ 48.Kg1 Qd5 49.Qa1+ Kh7 50.hxg6+ Kxg6 51.Qa4 Kf5 52.Kh2 Ke6 53.Qe8+ Kd6 54.Qd8+ Kc6 55.Qa8+ Kd6 56.Qd8+ Ke5 57.Qg5+ Ke6 58.Qe3+ Qe5 59.Qb6+ Ke7 60.Qb7+ Kf6 61.Qc6+ Kg7 62.Qc4 Qh5+ 63.Kg2 Qe5 64.Kh2 Qh5+ 65.Kg2 Qe5 1/2-1/2

Nigel Short against Levon Aronian

Nigel Short against Levon Aronian. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

Levon Aronian beat Nigel Short in an interesting game where Short's unusual Queen's Indian setup ("it actually is kind of solid but also kind of extravagant" was Aronian's verdict). Although on the surface Aronian's play looked smooth he felt things were very unclear and that he had to be extremely precise, something that didn't happen all the time. I have a problem with Aronian's post-mortems, he fires out lines so incredibly fast and with real flair and subtlety that it is often impossible to catch a fraction of what he is saying. He felt 14...h6 was better than 14...g6 but that this required some high level play from him to exploit. 16...Nb8 was better than 16...Na5. He agreed with Kramnik (who was a commentator during the round) that he was winning after 22 moves. 26.a4 was inaccurate from him (I didn't catch his alternative) and that he was very lucky to still have winning chances. Short should have played 33...f5 when it isn't at all clear black isn't holding and even the ending where he has a clear extra pawn is not at all easy and he almost didn't win it. A game that would repay study. Aronian is very happy with his play, he feels that the work he put into preparing for the Candidates is now paying off with greater variety of openings and that he had been able to "enrich my play with different strategies".

Aronian,Levon - Short,Nigel D [E15]
3nd London Chess Classic London ENG (3), 05.12.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Bxd2+ 6.Qxd2 Ba6 7.b3 0-0 8.Bg2 d5 9.cxd5 exd5 10.0-0 Qd6

[10...Nbd7; 10...Re8]

11.Nc3 Nc6 12.Rac1 Rfe8 13.Qf4

The Queen belongs here. - Aronian.

13...Rad8 14.Rfe1 g6

14...h6 It doesn't weaken the knight. I think I found a good two moves that exploited this weakness.


[15.e3 Nb4 16.Ne5 Nd3]

15...Kg7 16.Bf1

Nigel Short


Levon Aronian

Position after 16.Bf1

[16.Qxd6 Rxd6 17.e3]



[16...Nb8 and play c6.]

17.Qxd6 Rxd6 18.Nd2 Ne4

[18...c5 19.dxc5 bxc5 20.Na4 c4 21.b4 Nb7 22.e4 Just better for white.]

19.Ncxe4 dxe4 20.b4 Nc6 21.e3 Bxf1 22.Kxf1

It is a terrible position [for black] but I managed to spoil it. - Aronian

22...Re7 23.Nc4 Rd8 24.Re2 f6 25.Rec2 Nb8 26.a4?!

Nigel Short


Levon Aronian

Position after 26.a4?!

An inaccuracy.

26...Na6 27.Nd2 c5 28.bxc5 bxc5 29.Nb3 cxd4 30.Nxd4 Nb4 31.Rc7

Aronian was pleased to find this idea otherwise he might not have even been much better.

31...Rdd7 32.Rxd7 Rxd7 33.a5

Nigel Short


Levon Aronian

Position after 33.a5


He had to get the space.

[33...f5 34.Rb1 Nd3 35.Rb5 Kf6]

34.g4 Nd5 35.Rc8 Ke7 36.h4 Rb7 37.h5 f5 38.hxg6 hxg6 39.gxf5 gxf5 40.Nxf5+ Kd7 41.Rc5 Nb4 42.Ng3 Nc6 43.Nxe4 Rb1+ 44.Ke2 Ra1 45.f4 Rxa5 46.Rc2 Nb4 47.Rd2+ Ke7 48.Kf3 Rh5 49.Ng5 a5 50.e4 Rh1 51.e5 Rf1+ 52.Kg4 a4 53.e6!

Short has put up tremendous resistance and Aronian had to work hard to be accurate. Now he is winning.

[53.Kf5 Doesn't work according to Aronian.]

53...a3 54.Rd7+ Ke8 55.Ne4

[55.Nh7 was what Short was expecting when Nd5 gives drawing chances. 55...Nd5]

55...Nd5 56.Rxd5 a2 57.Rd7 a1Q 58.Nd6+ Kf8 59.e7+ Kg8 60.e8Q# 1-0

Michael Adams

Michael Adams. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

Vladimir Kramnik expressed his admiration for Michael Adams as a player but he said players of their age start to have bad days and he thought Adams was unrecognisable today. Indeed Adams seem to confirm this afterwards saying that he didn't like his 16.Bd2 and said "I just missed everything simply." Adams should have taken McShane's piece sacrifice that would have led to complex play but seemed to have hardly have considered any lines before just accepting a lost position a pawn down. He struggled on but McShane made no mistake.

Adams,Michael - McShane,Luke J [C65]
3nd London Chess Classic London ENG (3), 05.12.2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.c3 0-0 6.0-0 d6 7.Nbd2 Bb6 8.Nc4 Ne7 9.Ba4 Ng6 10.h3 Be6 11.Bc2 h6 12.a4 c5 13.Nxb6 axb6 14.d4 Qc8 15.Re1 b5 16.Bd2

Adams hated this move after the game and this probably coloured his play after the game.


16...bxa4 17.Rxa4 Rxa4 18.Bxa4 Bxh3

Luke McShane


Michael Adams

Position after 18...Bxh3


In retrospect Adams should have just taken the piece and asked McShane to prove it but it seems he was just having a terrible off day. 19.gxh3 "I just missed everything simply. I had to play something practical." - Adams 19...Qxh3 20.Qe2 Ng4 (20...Ra8!? I didn't exactly see what white would play. - McShane was the position they probably should have arrived at 21.Bd1 Qg4+) 21.Qf1 Qxf3 22.Bd1 Qxf2+ 23.Qxf2 Nxf2 24.Kxf2]

19...Bd7 20.Bb3 Be6 21.d5 Bd7 22.Nf1 b5 23.Qf3 Nh7 24.Ng3 Ne7 25.Qh5 f5 26.f4 Nf6 27.Qe2 c4 28.Bc2 fxe4 29.fxe5 dxe5 30.d6 Qc5+ 31.Be3 Qxd6

Now it is two pawns.

32.Nxe4 Nxe4 33.Bxe4 Bf5 34.Rd1 Qg6 35.Bxf5 Rxf5 36.Rd7 Rf7 37.Bf2 Qb1+ 38.Be1 Ng6 39.Rd6 Kh7 40.Kh2 Qf5

McShane has some time pressure but now he made the control at move 40 the win is just a matter of time.

41.Bg3 Nf4 42.Qf3 Qc2 43.Re6 Rf5 44.Bxf4 Rxf4 45.Qh5 Rf2 46.Qg4 Qd3 47.Rxe5 Rxb2 48.Qf4 Qg6 49.Qf3 Rd2 50.Rxb5 Qd6+ 51.Kg1 Rd1+ 52.Kf2 Qd2+ 53.Kg3 Qe1+ 54.Kg4 Rd6 55.g3 Rf6 56.Rf5 Qe6 57.Qd5 h5+ 58.Kg5 Rxf5+ 59.Qxf5+ Qxf5+ 60.Kxf5 Kh6 61.Kf4 Kg6

with just a winning ending.


Vladimir Kramnik was in the commentary box for an hour where he was entertaining on subjects such as computers in chess "It's a little bit sad." that many interesting positions reduced to endings by computer analysis and that "We have to work much more than we used to." He made an obvious point, now that I come to think of it, that many leading players have remote access to strong machines at home whilst they are at tournaments. Kramnik himself prefers to have all his preparation out of the way before an event. He still probably works, including the game itself, about 10 hours a day during a tournament, but most of that is reviewing his preparation, although his laptop isn't bad if he does need to do some computer analysis.

He believes that Levon Aronian's chances of becoming world champion are not one bit worse than Magnus Carlsen's and he wouldn't be at all surprised if they end up playing a match together for the title. He sees himself retiring, but not yet, and still thinks he has a chance at regaining the world title but he wouldn't be content finishing with around a 50% score tournament after tournament and at that point he think he will call it a day.

Videos by Macauley Peterson with interviews and highlights from the coverage.

3rd London Chess Classic London (ENG), 3-12 xii 2011 cat. XX (2748)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2826 * ½ . 1 . . . 1 . 7 2960
2. McShane, Luke J g ENG 2671 ½ * . . ½ . 1 . . 5 2912
3. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2800 . . * ½ . . . . 1 4 2921
4. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2758 0 . ½ * 1 . . . . 4 2809
5. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2802 . ½ . 0 * . . . 1 4 2709
6. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2811 . . . . . * ½ ½ . 2 2683
7. Adams, Michael g ENG 2734 . 0 . . . ½ * ½ . 2 2580
8. Howell, David W L g ENG 2633 0 . . . . ½ ½ * . 2 2665
9. Short, Nigel D g ENG 2698 . . 0 . 0 . . . * 0
Round 3 (December 5, 2011)
Carlsen, Magnus - Nakamura, Hikaru 1-0 41 C50 Giuoco Piano
Aronian, Levon - Short, Nigel D 1-0 60 E15 Queens Indian
Anand, Viswanathan - Howell, David W L ½-½ 65 D16 Slav Lasker/Smyslov
Adams, Michael - McShane, Luke J 0-1 61 C65 Ruy Lopez Berlin

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