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3rd London Chess Classic 2011 (9)

Kramnik takes clear first in 3rd London Chess Classic

Vladimir Kramnik won the 3rd London Chess Classic. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill .

Vladimir Kramnik won the 3rd London Chess Classic. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill . |

Vladimir Kramnik drew comfortably in his final round game against Levon Aronian to take clear first place in the 3rd London Chess Classic. Kramnik beat the four English players and drew with the rest. Magnus Carlsen could have caught his points total but he was held to a draw by Nigel Short. Luke McShane was drained from the effort of the day before and took a quick draw against Viswanathan Anand who said he would almost immediately be starting to prepare for his match in May against Gelfand. He called his recent results a "disaster" for which he had no explanation. Hikaru Nakamura took a lot of risks using the King's Gambit against Michael Adams but after the latter missed a win in time trouble Nakamura brought home the full point to finish second.

Vladimir Kramnik against Levon Aronian

Vladimir Kramnik against Levon Aronian. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

Vladimir Kramnik only required a draw with white against Levon Aronian in order to win the London Chess Classic but his situation was somewhat complicated by the fact that he knew that a win today would take him to number 2 in the world above his opponent Aronian. He chose a topical line where only white has chances but after accurate defence from Aronian the game was drawn in 32 moves.

Kramnik said he would be delighted to return next year and even made a semi-serious plea for London to organise the Candidates tournament. He pointed out his next even is in July. After the cancellation of Amber and the likelihood that the economic situation in Spain will again see no Linares tournament he said he was looking for an event in March or April. This is in common with a number of players. The second half of the year culminating in the Candidates will be much busier. Kramnik played with no seconds here but his wife and child attended the first half and he said that lifted his mood after such a tough recent schedule and this turned out to be a good idea.

Kramnik thought that his dramatic win against Luke McShane in round 8 was definitely the most interesting game of his in the event.

Kramnik,V (2800) - Aronian,L (2802) [D37]
3rd London Chess Classic London ENG (9), 12.12.2011

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.a3

A serious move. Has lots of venom.

7...c5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Nxd5 exd5 10.dxc5 Nxc5 11.Be2 Bf6 12.Be5 Bxe5 13.Nxe5

Black has an isolated pawn. Black has to be very accurate and very quick.



14.Nf3 Qb6 15.Rc1

[15.Qd4 Re4 16.Qxd5 Be6; 15.b4 Ne4]

15...Ne6 16.Qd2 Rd8 17.Nd4



[17...Nxd4 18.Qxd4 Qxd4 19.exd4 Be6 20.Rc7 Rdc8 21.Rxb7 Rc1+ 22.Bd1 Rc4 23.0-0 Rxd4 24.Bf3 a5 25.Rd1 Rc4 26.h3 Rd8 27.Rb5 a4 28.Be2 Rc2 29.Bd3 Rcc8 30.Rb4 Rb8 31.Bb5 Rdc8 32.Rdd4 Rc2 33.Bxa4 Rxb2 34.Rxb2 Rxb2 35.Rb4 Rxb4 36.axb4 Kf8 37.Kf1 d4 38.Ke2 Bc4+ 39.Kd2 Bf1 40.g3 Ke7 41.h4 h6 42.Bc2 g5 43.hxg5 hxg5 44.f3 Bb5 45.Bd3 Bc6 46.Ke2 Kd6 47.Be4 Bb5+ 48.Bd3 1/2-1/2 Huebner,R (2624)-Vaganian,R (2631)/Baden Baden GER 2005/The Week in Chess 546]


[18.Nf5 d4 (18...Ng5 19.Ne7+ Kh8 20.Nxd5 Qh6 21.Nf4 Bc6 22.Qa5) 19.exd4 Bb5]

18...Bxe6 19.Qd4 Qxd4 20.exd4 Kf8 21.Kd2 Rdc8 22.Rc5 Ke7 23.Rhc1 b6!

[23...Kd6 24.Bb5 a6 25.Bd3]

24.Rxc8 Rxc8 25.Rxc8 Bxc8 26.Bd3 h6 27.Ke3 g5 28.g3 f6 29.Bc2 Bd7 30.Bd3 Bc8 31.Bc2 Bd7 32.Bd3

Not so easy for black as it looked.


Viswanathan Anand


Luke McShane

Position after 32.Bd3

Luke McShane against Viswanathan Anand

Luke McShane against Viswanathan Anand. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

The first game to finish was a draw between Luke McShane and Viswanathan Anand. McShane was incredibly disappointed after the loss to Kramnik the day before and he chose a quiet line against Anand which finished in a draw by repetition after 25 moves. Anand thought both players were inaccurate today and he too was glad of the draw. He will start training for his match against Gelfand in May almost straight away having put the last few events behind him. "The whole season ...[starting with Bilbao] has been a disaster no getting around it. I don't know why that is. I never got going."

McShane,L (2671) - Anand,V (2811) [B11]
3rd London Chess Classic London ENG (9), 12.12.2011

1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.h3 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 e6 6.g3 Nf6 7.Bg2 Nbd7 8.Qe2 dxe4 9.Nxe4 Nxe4 10.Qxe4 g6

[10...Be7 11.0-0 0-0 12.d4 Qb6 13.Qe2 Nf6 14.c3 Rfe8 15.Re1 a5 16.Rb1 Rad8 17.h4 h6 18.Be3 Nd5 19.Bd2 c5 20.dxc5 Bxc5 21.b4 axb4 22.cxb4 Bd4 23.Rb3 Qa7 24.a3 Nf6 25.Be3 e5 26.Qb5 e4 27.Qa5 Qb8 28.Bxd4 Rxd4 29.Rbe3 Re5 30.b5 b6 31.Qc3 Qd8 32.a4 Rc5 33.Qa1 Rcc4 34.Ra3 Rd2 35.a5 bxa5 36.Rxa5 e3 37.fxe3 Rxg2+ 38.Kxg2 Rc2+ 39.Kf3 Qd2 40.Ra8+ Kh7 0-1 Kashtanov,R (2353)-Ovetchkin,R (2528)/St Petersburg RUS 2005/The Week in Chess 572; 10...Nf6 11.Qe2 (11.Qc4) ]

11.0-0 Bg7 12.d4 0-0 13.Rd1 a5 14.a4

Autopilot according to McShane. 14.c4 was critical.

14...Nf6 15.Qe2 Nd5 16.h4 Re8 17.c3

McShane had a think here.

17...Qb6 18.Bf3

[18.h5 e5 19.dxe5]


[18...e5 19.dxe5 Bxe5 (19...Rxe5) ]

19.Kg2 Rad8 20.Qc4 Rd7 21.Rb1 Red8 22.Bd2 Qc7 23.Be1 Qb6 24.Bd2 Qc7 25.Be1 Qb6 1/2-1/2

Viswanathan Anand


Luke McShane

Position after 25...Qb6

Nigel Short against Magnus Carlsen

Nigel Short against Magnus Carlsen. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

Nigel Short played the Giuoco Pianissimo (admitting he hadn't played like this since he was a child) against Magnus Carlsen and even evetually emerged with an extra pawn in a theoretically very drawn rook and pawn ending. Carlsen admitted he played a "Series of horrible moves." Short said that Carlsen "Tried to inject some life." - "Having sleep walked into this position you defended pretty well." The ending was totally drawn. "It's just very good defence."

Short,N (2698) - Carlsen,M (2826) [C50]
3rd London Chess Classic London ENG (9), 12.12.2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.Be3 Bb6 7.Bb3 Be6 8.0-0 0-0 9.h3 Re8 10.Bxb6 axb6 11.Ne2 h6 12.Ng3 d5 13.c3 b5 14.Re1 d4 15.Qc2 dxc3 16.bxc3 Qd7

[16...b4 17.Ba4; 16...Bxb3 17.axb3 Rxa1 18.Rxa1 b4]


Now I'm clearly worse - Carlsen.

17...Na5 18.d4 exd4 19.cxd4 Nxb3 20.axb3 c6 21.d5

Magnus Carlsen


Nigel Short

Position after 21.d5

Maybe premature. I just thought I was going to win here. - Short.

[21.Ne5 Qe7 22.f4 Bxb3 23.Qxb3 Ra3]

21...cxd5 22.e5 Nh7 23.Nd4 f6 24.Qd3 fxe5 25.Nxe6

[25.Rxe5 Bf7 You're only a bit worse after that. Short. 26.Rxe8+ Rxe8 27.Nxb5]


Short admired the way Carlsen defended.

26.Qxd5 Nf6 27.Qxb5 Ra6

An accurate series of moves from Carlsen more or less equalises now.

28.Qxb7 Rb6 29.Qc7 Rxb3 30.Rd6 Qf7 31.Qc5

[31.Qc6 Rbb8 32.Nf5 Qg6 33.Nh4 Qh5]

31...e4 32.Rc6

[32.Nf5 e3 33.Rxe3 Rbxe3 34.fxe3 Ne4 35.Qb5 Rf8 36.Rd5 Nc3]

32...Rd3 33.Rc8 Rxc8 34.Qxc8+ Kh7 35.Qf5+ Qg6 36.Qxg6+ Kxg6 37.Nxe4 Nxe4 38.Rxe4 Rd2 39.Re5 Kf6 40.Rh5 Kg6 41.g4 Ra2 42.Kg2 Kh7 43.Rf5 Ra3 44.f3 Kg8 45.Kg3 Ra1 46.Rc5 Ra4 47.h4 Kf7 48.Rc7+ Kg8 49.g5 hxg5 50.hxg5 g6 51.Re7 Kf8 52.Re4 Ra5 53.Kg4 Kf7 54.Rb4 Kg7 55.Rb7+ Kg8 56.Rb3 Kf7 57.f4 Ra4 58.Kf3 Kg7 59.Rb7+ Kf8 60.Rd7 Rb4 61.Ke3 Ra4 62.Rd4 Ra7 63.Rd6 Kg7 64.Ke4 Re7+ 65.Kd5 Rf7 66.Ke5 Rf5+ 67.Ke4 Rf7 68.Rc6 Re7+ 69.Kd5 Rf7 70.Rc4 Rf5+ 71.Ke4 Rf7 72.Ke5 Rf5+ 73.Ke6 Kg8 74.Rc8+ Kg7 75.Rc7+ Kg8 76.Rc8+ Kg7 77.Rc7+ 1/2-1/2

Hikaru Nakamura against Michael Adams

Hikaru Nakamura against Michael Adams. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

Hikaru Nakamura tried to exploit Michael Adams really bad run of result be playing the King's Gambit. Right from the opening Adams position looked good but he allow Nakamura back into the position. The Nakamura missed something and Adams was winning if he found 36.Qb6. However this all turned round in time pressure in the final moves before the first time control and Adams resigned on move 41.

Nakamura,Hi (2758) - Adams,Mi (2734) [C36]
3rd London Chess Classic London ENG (9), 12.12.2011

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Bc4 Nxd5 6.0-0 Be6 7.Bb3 c5

Making Bb3 look like a bad try according to Nakamura.


Has to be wrong - Nakamura.

[8.d4 cxd4 9.Qxd4 Nc6 10.Ba4 Rc8 11.c4 Nb6 12.Qxd8+ Kxd8 13.Bb3 (13.Bxc6 Rxc6 14.b3) ]


[8...Be7 9.d4 0-0 10.c4 Ne3 11.Bxe3 fxe3 12.d5 Bg4 13.Qd3 Nd7 14.Bc2 g6 15.Qxe3 Bd6 16.Nbd2 Bxf3 17.Nxf3 Qf6 18.Rab1 Rae8 19.Qh6 Ne5 20.Nd2 Qg7 21.Qxg7+ Kxg7 22.h3 f5 23.Rbe1 Nf7 24.Ba4 Rxe1 25.Rxe1 Ne5 26.Kg1 Rf7 27.Kf1 Re7 28.Bc2 b6 29.Rd1 Nf7 30.Nf3 Ne5 31.Nd2 Nf7 32.b3 Kf6 33.Kf2 Bf4 34.Nf3 Nd6 35.Bd3 h6 36.Bc2 Be3+ 37.Kf1 Bf4 38.Ne1 Ne4 39.Bxe4 fxe4 40.Ke2 Ke5 41.Nc2 Rd7 42.Rf1 h5 43.a4 g5 44.Rg1 Bg3 45.Rf1 Bf4 46.Na3 a6 47.Nc2 b5 48.axb5 axb5 49.cxb5 Rxd5 50.Rd1 Rxd1 51.Kxd1 Kd6 52.Na3 Kd5 53.Nc2 g4 54.hxg4 hxg4 55.Ke2 g3 56.Kd1 c4 57.bxc4+ Kxc4 58.b6 Kb5 59.b7 Kb6 60.Nd4 Kxb7 61.Ne6 Bh6 62.Nc5+ Kc6 63.Nxe4 Bf4 64.Ke2 Kd5 65.Kf3 Bc1 66.Nxg3 Ke6 67.Kg4 Kf6 68.Kh5 Kg7 69.Nf5+ Kh7 70.g4 Bd2 71.g5 1/2-1/2 Fier,A (2471)-Saralegui,M (2196)/Turin ITA 2006/The Week in Chess 603]

9.d4 c4 10.Ba4 Bd6 11.b3 c3


12.Qd3 0-0 13.Bxc6 bxc6 14.Nxc3 Re8 15.Nxd5 Bxd5 16.c4 Be4 17.Qc3 a5

White should be suffering the whole game here.

18.a3 f6 19.Bb2 Ra7 20.Rad1 Rae7 21.b4 axb4 22.axb4 Kh8 23.Qb3 Rb7 24.Bc3 Qb8 25.b5 cxb5 26.c5 b4 27.Bd2


27...Bf8 28.Rde1 g5 29.Qc4 g4!?

I was happy to see g4. Nakamura

[29...Qc8 30.d5 Bxf3 31.Rxe8 Bxg2+ 32.Kxg2]


[30.Ne5 Bxg2+ 31.Kxg2 fxe5 32.dxe5 f3+ 33.Kh1 Rxe5 34.Qxg4]

30...f3 31.d5?

[31.gxf3 gxf3 32.d5]

31...fxg2+ 32.Nxg2 Bf3

Should be winning for black, Nakamura missed this.

33.Kg1 Rc8 34.c6 Rb5

[34...Bd6 35.Nf4]

35.Nf4 Bc5+ 36.Be3

Michael Adams


Hikaru Nakamura

Position after 36.Be3


[36...Qb6 wins 37.Bxc5 Rxc5 38.Qd4 R5xc6]

37.Rxe3 Qb6 38.Rfe1 b3?


39.Qc3 Rf8 40.Ne6 b2 41.c7 1-0

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 ½ 1 1 1 16 2934
2. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2758 ½ * 0 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 15 2887
3. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2826 ½ 1 * ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 14 2879
4. McShane, Luke J g ENG 2671 0 ½ ½ * ½ ½ 1 1 1 13 2852
5. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2811 ½ 0 ½ ½ * ½ 1 ½ ½ 9 2740
6. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2802 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ * 1 ½ ½ 9 2741
7. Short, Nigel D g ENG 2698 0 ½ ½ 0 0 0 * ½ 1 6 2613
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 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ * 3 2498
Round 9 (December 12, 2011)
Kramnik, Vladimir - Aronian, Levon ½-½ 32 D37 QGD 5.Bf4
Nakamura, Hikaru - Adams, Michael 1-0 41 C36 Kings Gambit Modern Variation
McShane, Luke J - Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ 25 B11 Caro Kann Two Knights
Short, Nigel D - Carlsen, Magnus ½-½ 77 C50 Giuoco Piano

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