Chess24 Sopiko Scotch

3rd London Chess Classic 2011 (8)

Kramnik beats McShane to take control of London Classic with a round to go

Luke McShane battled hard but was eventually defeated by Vladimir Kramnik in a fine leaders battle. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill.

Luke McShane battled hard but was eventually defeated by Vladimir Kramnik in a fine leaders battle. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill. |

Vladimir Kramnik beat Luke McShane to take a two point lead into the final round of the 3rd London Chess Classic. A draw with white against Levon Aronian will give him the title. Magnus Carlsen has an inferior black wins tie-break so even a win with white against Nigel Short will not do if Kramnik draws. Hikaru Nakamura never got anything with white against Short who has avoided last place as David Howell concluded his event a point behind but with a secure draw against Aronian. Birthday boy Viswanathan Anand got nothing against Magnus Carlsen. Final Round early start Mon at 12pm McShane-Anand, Nakamura-Adams, Short-Carlsen, Kramnik-Aronian. Howell in commentary.

Kramnik against McShane

Kramnik against McShane. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

Vladimir Kramnik took command of the 3rd London Chess Classic with a determined win against joint leader Luke McShane. McShane was in danger of losing the initiative with an insipid choice against the Ruy Lopez Berlin Variation. However McShane is very good in such positions and after an exchange sacrifice the position was extremely unclear. However McShane was in dire time trouble and Kramnik in mild pressure on the run up to first time control. 35.Rxa5 should have been played instead 35.Rg2?! lost the initiative and 39...f2 would have have won immediately for Kramnik. McShane then should have played Bd4 on moves 40 and 41 when things were again unclear. After 41...f5+! Kramnik reached a winning position a rook up. However McShane used his central pawns to create all kinds of threats, however Kramnik eventually escaped his net after second time control for a hard won victory.

McShane,Luke J - Kramnik,Vladimir [C65]
3rd London Chess Classic London ENG (8), 11.12.2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.Bxc6 dxc6 6.b3 Bg4

[6...Qe7 7.Bb2 Nd7 8.Nc3 0-0 9.Ne2 Ba3 10.Bxa3 Qxa3 11.0-0 Qe7 12.Ng3 Nc5 13.b4 Na6 14.c3 c5 15.a3 cxb4 16.axb4 c5 17.bxc5 Nxc5 18.Re1 g6 19.d4 Nd7 20.Qb3 Kg7 21.Nf1 Qe6 22.Qxe6 fxe6 23.Nxe5 Nxe5 24.dxe5 Bd7 25.Ne3 Rfc8 26.Red1 Be8 27.Rd6 Kf7 28.Ra3 Rc5 29.f4 a5 30.Kf2 a4 31.Ke2 Rac8 32.Kd3 b5 33.g4 Ke7 34.h4 Bc6 35.g5 Ba8 36.Nc2 Bc6 37.Nd4 Bd7 38.Ne2 R5c7 39.Rb6 Rc5 40.Ra1 Bc6 41.Ra3 Rf8 42.Ra6 Bd7 43.Ra7 Rb8 44.Ke3 Rbc8 45.Ra1 R8c7 46.Rxc7 Rxc7 47.Rb1 Rc8 48.Kd3 Rf8 49.Kd2 Rf7 50.Ke3 Rf8 51.Nd4 Rc8 52.Kd3 Rf8 53.Rf1 Ra8 54.Rf2 Rf8 55.Rf1 Ra8 56.h5 gxh5 57.Rh1 a3 58.Rxh5 a2 59.Rxh7+ Kd8 60.Nxe6+ 1-0 McShane,L (2645)-Parker,J (2531)/Hinkley Island ENG 2011/The Week in Chess 860]

7.Nbd2 Nd7 8.Bb2 f6 9.Nf1 Nf8 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 Ne6 12.Ne3 Qd7 13.h4

This turns out to be a double edged idea.

13...a5 14.a4 0-0 15.h5 Bxe3 16.Qxe3 c5 17.Qh3 Qc6 18.0-0 Nf4 19.Qh2 Qe8 20.h6 g5 21.g3 Ne6 22.f4 gxf4 23.gxf4 Nxf4 24.Rxf4!?

Vladimir Kramnik


Luke McShane

Position after 24.Rxf4!?

White was in danger of being pushed back. This sacrifice seems to accentuate the good parts of his position.

24...exf4 25.Kf2 Rf7 26.Qh5 Qe6 27.Qxc5 Kh8 28.Qc4 Re8 29.Rh1 Qd7 30.Qb5 Re6 31.Qxd7 Rxd7 32.Rg1 Rc6 33.Kf3 Rd8 34.Rg5 Rf8 35.Rg2?!

Vladimir Kramnik


Luke McShane

Position after 35.Rg2

White was in desperate time trouble here.

[35.Rxa5 Certainly needs to be looked at. 35...Rxc2 36.Bxf6+ Kg8]

35...Rg8 36.Rh2 Rg1 37.d4

[37.Kxf4 needed to be tried.]

37...Rf1+ 38.Kg4 f3 39.d5

Kramnik had about a minute left here and he looked very uncomfortable.


[39...f2 seems to win for black in all variations. 40.Kf5 was most likely the line Kramnik could not see to the end. (40.Kf3 Rxc2 41.Bxf6+ Kg8) 40...Rxc2 41.Bxf6+ Kg8 42.Rg2+ Kf8 43.Bg7+ Ke8 44.Bd4 Re1 45.Bxf2 Rf1]



40...Kg8 41.c5

Vladimir Kramnik


Luke McShane

Position after 41.c5


41...f5+! 42.Kxf5 Rg6 43.Bd4 Rd1 44.Be3 Rg2 45.Rh3 f2 46.Bxf2 Rxf2+ 47.Ke6

You'd think this a matter of technique but McShane makes black work really hard for the win.

47...Rf7 48.d6 c6 49.Ke5 Kf8 50.Rh2 Rg1 51.b4 axb4 52.Rb2 Rg5+ 53.Ke6 Rg6+ 54.Ke5 Rxh6 55.a5 Rh5+ 56.Ke6 Rh6+ 57.Ke5 Rh5+ 58.Ke6 Ke8 59.a6 Rh6+ 60.Ke5 bxa6 61.Rxb4 Ra7!

Having repeated his way to time control Kramnik accurately calculates the rest to win.

62.Rb8+ Kf7 63.Rc8 Re6+

This rook needs to be able to stop Rc7+ winning.

64.Kf5 a5 65.Rh8

[65.Rc7+ Rxc7 66.dxc7 Re8 is the point of the Re6+]

65...Rf6+ 66.Ke5 Kg7 67.Rc8 a4 68.Rxc6 a3 69.d7 a2 0-1


Nakamura-Short. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

Nigel Short's big problems have come from a lack of belief in his opening repertoire and so a reliance on side-lines. Hikaru Nakamura's English opening posed no such difficulties for Short and indeed it was Short as back who had the small chances that were available as he actually had breaks in a very blocked position. The game was drawn in 90 moves but the second half neither player was really trying very much to win. Wrong opening choice from Nakamura by the looks of it.

Nakamura,Hikaru - Short,Nigel D [A21]
3rd London Chess Classic London ENG (8), 11.12.2011

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 d6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 f5 6.e3 Nf6 7.Nge2 a5 8.b3 c6

[8...0-0 9.Bb2 Na6 10.0-0 c6 11.Rc1 Qe7 12.Qc2 Rb8 13.a3 Bd7 14.Rfd1 h6 15.d4 e4 16.d5 c5 17.Nf4 Kh7 18.Nb5 Rfd8 19.Rd2 b6 20.Bf1 Ng4 21.Bxg7 Kxg7 22.Rcd1 Ne5 23.Be2 Kh7 24.Ne6 Re8 25.Nc3 Nf7 26.Qb2 Ne5 27.Kg2 Rb7 28.h4 Nc7 29.h5 g5 30.Qc2 Qf6 31.g4 Nxe6 32.dxe6 Rxe6 33.Nxe4 Bc6 34.gxf5 Qxf5 35.f3 Kg7 36.Rxd6 g4 37.Rxc6 gxf3+ 38.Bxf3 Qxf3+ 39.Kg1 Rxc6 40.Rd2 Qxe3+ 0-1 Ogunshola,B (2145)-Duncan,C (2265)/Hastings ENG 1998]

9.Bb2 Na6 10.Qd2 0-0 11.0-0 Re8 12.h3 Be6 13.Rad1

Black has no reason at all to be unhappy.

13...Qc7 14.d4 Rad8 15.Na4 b6 16.Qc1 Bf7 17.Qa1 Rd7 18.Nac3 g5 19.d5 c5 20.e4 f4 21.g4 h5 22.f3 Bg6 23.Kf2 Bf8 24.Ke1 Rh7 25.Kd2 Qd7

Black seems to be the only one with any usable breaks.

26.Rh1 Nc7 27.Rdg1 Kf7 28.Qf1 Bh6 29.Nc1 Rb8 30.Nb5 Nxb5 31.cxb5 hxg4 32.hxg4 Bg7

[32...a4 33.bxa4 Qa7 34.Qd1 Ra8]

33.Rxh7 Bxh7 34.a4 Rh8 35.Nd3 Qc7 36.Nf2 Nd7 37.Rh1 Bg6

Nigel Short


Hikaru Nakamura

Position after 37...Bg6

The players can't offer a draw but they probably would have agreed one around here if they could.

38.Nh3 Qd8 39.Bc3 Bf6 40.Kc1 Kg7 41.Kb2 Bf7 42.Ka2 Nf8 43.Rg1 Ng6 44.Qd3 Rh6 45.Ka3 Qh8 46.Qf1 Bd8 47.Nf2 Bc7 48.Nd3 Rh2 49.Nb2 Nf8 50.Nc4 Nd7 51.Be1 Kf6 52.Qf2 Ke7 53.Rf1 Rh6 54.Qg1 Bg6 55.Ka2 Bf7 56.Rf2 Bg6 57.Rd2 Bf7 58.Bf2 Qb8 59.Qc1 Qa7 60.Rc2 Kf6 61.Bg1 Qa8 62.Nb2 Bd8 63.Bf1 Kg7 64.Nc4 Qb8 65.Bg2 Rh8 66.Bf2 Rh6 67.Be1 Rh8 68.Bc3 Rh6 69.Qe1 Qa7 70.Qg1 Qb8 71.Bf1 Bc7 72.Rh2 Rxh2+ 73.Qxh2 Qd8 74.Kb2 Bg6 75.Kc1 Bf7 76.Nb2 Qh8 77.Qg2 Qd8 78.Kd1 Qh8 79.Bd3 Qd8 80.Ke1 Bg6 81.Kf1 Kf7 82.Kg1 Kg7 83.Nc4 Bf7 84.Qh2 Bg6 85.Kf2 Bf7 86.Ke2 Bg6 87.Qh1 Bf7 88.Qh2 Bg6 89.Qh1 Bf7 90.Qh2

A repetition to finish the game.



Anand-Carlsen Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

Viswanathan Anand turned 42 today. He claimed that 17.Rfc1 was a fingerfehler allowing Magnus Carlsen immediate equality. Carlsen nearly didn't play this at first reaching for his Rook before stopping a realising 17...Bxb5 equalises immediately. "I was rather horrified to find I even have to play a little bit accurately." Anand said as they drew in just less than a couple of hours.

Anand,V (2811) - Carlsen,M (2826) [D58]
3rd London Chess Classic London ENG (8), 11.12.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 0-0 7.e3 b6 8.Be2 Bb7 9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.cxd5 exd5 11.b4 c5 12.bxc5 bxc5 13.Rb1 Bc6 14.0-0 Nd7 15.Bb5 Qc7 16.Qc2 Rab8 17.Rfc1?!

Fingerfehler according to Anand which leads to complete equality.

Magnus Carlsen


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 17.Rfc1

[17.dxc5 Bxc3 18.Bxc6 Qxc6 19.Qxc3 Qxc5 20.Qxc5 Nxc5 21.Nd4 Rfc8 22.Rfc1 Rxb1 23.Rxb1 Ne6 24.Nf5 Rc2 25.a3 Ra2 26.Ne7+ Kh7 27.Nxd5 Rxa3 28.h4 Ra5 29.e4 f5 30.exf5 Nd4 31.Ne3 Nxf5 1/2-1/2 Karpov,A (2693)-Topalov,V (2739)/Dubai UAE 2002/The Week in Chess 387; 17.dxc5]


White simply has nothing now.

[17...Rfc8 18.a4 (18.h3 g6 19.Bxc6 Rxb1 20.Nxb1 Qxc6 21.dxc5 Qxc5 22.Qxc5 Rxc5 23.Rxc5 Nxc5 24.Nd4 Bxd4 25.exd4 Na4 26.f4 Kg7 27.Kf2 Kf6 28.Ke3 a5 29.g3 h5 30.g4 hxg4 31.hxg4 Ke6 32.Kd2 Kd6 33.Na3 Kc6 34.Nc2 Nb6 35.Kd3 f5 36.gxf5 gxf5 37.Kd2 1/2-1/2 Iglesias-Cabodevilla/Spain 1989/Corr 2000) 18...Qd6 19.Qd2 c4 20.Bxc6 Qxc6 21.Qc2 g6 22.Rb5 Rxb5 23.axb5 Qb7 24.Ra1 Nb6 25.h3 Re8 26.Ra6 Re6 27.Qb1 Nc8 28.Rxe6 fxe6 29.Qxg6+ Qg7 30.Qe8+ Qf8 31.Qxe6+ Kg7 32.Nxd5 Nd6 33.Qd7+ Kg6 34.Nf4# 1-0 Desmarais,C (2187)-Orsher,I (2095)/Boston 2000/EXT 2005; 17...Rfd8 18.Qf5 Bxb5 19.Nxb5 Qc6]

18.Nxb5 Qc6 19.Nc3 cxd4 20.Nxd4 Bxd4 21.exd4 Rxb1 22.Nxb1 Qxc2 23.Rxc2 Rb8 24.Nd2 Nf8 25.g3 Ne6 26.Nb3 Rb4 27.Rc6

White has to be accurate but the game liquidates down to a draw.

27...Ra4 28.Nc5 Rc4 29.Rd6 Nxc5 30.dxc5 Rxc5 31.Ra6 Rc7 32.Rd6 Rc5 33.Ra6 Rc7 1/2-1/2

David Howell against Levon Aronian

David Howell against Levon Aronian. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

David Howell finished his event against Levon Aronian, he will be in the commentary box for the final round. His score ensures that Nigel Short will avoid finishing last whatever happens to him in the final round against Magnus Carlsen. Aronian normally plays 1...e5 but for the first time outside online blitz games Levon Aronian played the Pirc. He got the normal interesting play for black and although Howell didn't see everything he made his way to a drawn ending reasonably comfortably.

Howell,David W L - Aronian,Levon [B09]
3nd London Chess Classic London ENG (8), 11.12.2011

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4 Bg7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Bd3 Na6 7.0-0 c5 8.d5 Bg4 9.Kh1 Rb8 10.Bd2

[10.h3 Bxf3 11.Rxf3 Nc7 12.a4 a6 13.a5 Nb5 14.Qe1 Nd4 15.Rf1 c4 16.Be3 cxd3 17.Bxd4 dxc2 18.Qf2 Rc8 19.Bb6 Qd7 20.Qxc2 Rc4 21.Qd3 Rfc8 22.Rae1 Rb4 23.e5 Nh5 24.e6 Qe8 25.f5 Rxb2 26.fxg6 fxg6 27.Ne4 Rcc2 28.Rf2 Rxf2 29.Bxf2 Be5 30.Qf3 Nf6 31.Nxf6+ Bxf6 32.Rc1 Kg7 33.Rc7 Rb1+ 34.Kh2 Be5+ 35.Bg3 Bf6 36.Bxd6 Kg8 37.Bg3 Bd4 38.Bf4 Qb5 39.Rc8+ Kg7 40.Bc7 Bg1+ 41.Kg3 Rb3 42.Be5+ Kh6 43.Bc3 Rxc3 44.Rxc3 Qxa5 45.h4 Bc5 46.Kh3 Qb4 47.Rxc5 1-0 Ipavec,P (2065)-Praznik,A (2230)/Bled SLO 1997]

10...Qc8 11.e5 dxe5 12.fxe5 Nd7 13.Bg5 Bxf3 14.gxf3

[14.Rxf3 Nxe5 15.Bxe7 Nxf3 16.d6 Nb4]

14...c4 15.Be2 f6 16.exf6 Nxf6 17.Bf4 Ra8 18.Be5 Rd8 19.Qd4

[19.f4 was expected by Aronian.]

19...Nb4 20.Qxc4 Nfxd5 21.Rad1 Qc6 22.Nxd5 Nxd5 23.Qe4 Nb6 24.Qxc6 bxc6 25.f4 Rxd1 26.Rxd1 Bxe5 27.fxe5 Rf8 28.Rd4 c5 29.Re4 Kg7 30.Kg1 g5 31.h4 h6 32.hxg5 hxg5 33.Kg2 Rd8 34.Bd3 c4 35.Bxc4 Rd2+ 36.Kf3 Rxc2 37.Bb3 Rxb2 38.Rd4

Levon Aronian


David Howell

Position after 38.Rd4

White is a pawn down but his activity compensates for that.


[38...Rb1 was also considered by Aronian.]

39.Rd8 Kf5 40.Re8 Nd7 41.Rxe7 Nxe5+ 42.Kg3 Rd2 43.Rxa7 Rd3+ 44.Kg2 Rc3 45.Ra5 g4 46.Bd1 Kf4 47.Ra4+ Kf5 48.Ra5 Rc4 49.Kg3 Rc3+ 50.Kg2 Re3 51.Kf2 Rh3 52.Bxg4+

Finally liquidating to the draw.

52...Kxg4 53.Rxe5 Rh2+ 54.Ke3 Rxa2 1/2-1/2

3rd London Chess Classic London (ENG), 3-12 xii 2011 cat. XX (2748)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2800 * ½ ½ 1 ½ . 1 1 1 15 2963
2. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2826 ½ * 1 ½ ½ ½ . 1 1 13 2902
3. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2758 ½ 0 * ½ 1 1 ½ 1 . 12 2850
4. McShane, Luke J g ENG 2671 0 ½ ½ * . ½ 1 1 1 12 2852
5. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2811 ½ ½ 0 . * ½ 1 ½ ½ 8 2750
6. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2802 . ½ 0 ½ ½ * 1 ½ ½ 8; 2733
7. Short, Nigel D g ENG 2698 0 . ½ 0 0 0 * ½ 1 5 2586
8. Howell, David W L g ENG 2633 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ * ½ 4 2569
9. Adams, Michael g ENG 2734 0 0 . 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ * 3 2518
Round 8 (December 11, 2011)
Nakamura, Hikaru - Short, Nigel D ½-½ 90 A21 English Opening
McShane, Luke J - Kramnik, Vladimir 0-1 69 C65 Ruy Lopez Berlin
Anand, Viswanathan - Carlsen, Magnus ½-½ 33 D58 Queens Gambit Tartakover
Howell, David W L - Aronian, Levon ½-½ 54 B09 Pirc Defence

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