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3rd London Chess Classic 2011 (7)

McShane leads on tie-break after 7 rounds of London Classic

Luke McShane leads through 3 wins with black against his struggling compatriots. Photo ©

Luke McShane leads through 3 wins with black against his struggling compatriots. Photo © |

Luke McShane leads the 3rd London Chess Classic with two rounds to go from Vladimir Kramnik and Magnus Carlsen all on 12 points, after wins today against English players. McShane with 3 wins with black has the best tie-break. Having led after 6 rounds, but in the commenatary box for round 7, Hikaru Nakamura is a point further behind in 4th but with the easiest run in. The outlook for Short 4pts, Adams and Howell 3pts is fairly bleak as they are targets for the leaders in what looks certain to be a tight finish. Round 8 Sun 2pm: Anand-Carlsen, Howell-Aronian, McShane-Kramnik, Nakamura-Short. Adams commentary box.

Nigel Short against Luke McShane

Nigel Short against Luke McShane. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

Nigel Short was in the mood for a fight today and decided on the King's Gambit which Luke McShane had considered as a possible opening choice but thought unlikely. Short needed to get something from his suprise but he hadn't prepared it all that deeply and after 12.e5 which Short called premature after the game his position was already difficult. McShane who is obviously full of confidence played well after that and Short was completely lost after 17 moves. McShane only had to negotiate time pressure to bring home the full point.

Short,N (2698) - McShane,L (2671) [C34]
3rd London Chess Classic London ENG (7), 10.12.2011

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 h6 4.d4 g5 5.Nc3 d6 6.g3 fxg3 7.hxg3

[7.h4 g4 8.Ng1 g2 9.Bxg2 Be7 10.h5 Bh4+ 11.Ke2 Bg5 12.Bxg5 Qxg5 13.Qd2 c6 14.Rf1 Nd7 15.Qf4 Qxf4 16.Rxf4 Nf8 17.Kd3 Ne6 18.Rf2 b6 19.Nge2 Rh7 20.Ng3 Ne7 21.Nf5 Ba6+ 22.Ke3 Rd8 23.Rh4 Ng5 24.Nxe7 g3 25.Nxc6 gxf2 26.Nxd8 f1Q 27.Bxf1 Bxf1 28.Nc6 a5 29.Nd5 Kd7 30.Nce7 Rh8 31.Nf5 Kc6 32.Nf6 Bg2 33.d5+ Kc7 34.Nd4 Kd8 35.Nf5 Kc7 36.Rf4 Bh3 37.Ng4 Bg2 38.Nfxh6 Nxe4 39.Rxe4 1-0 Todorovic,G (2467)-Pilgaard,K (2432)/Budapest HUN 2002/The Week in Chess 419]

7...Bg7 8.Be3

[8.Bc4 Nf6 9.Qd3 Nc6 10.Bb3 Bg4 11.Rf1 Na5 12.Ba4+ Nd7 13.Nd5 c6 14.Ne3 Be6 15.c3 b5 16.Bc2 Nc4 17.b3 Nxe3 18.Bxe3 Nb6 19.Kf2 d5 20.e5 Bf8 21.Kg1 Be7 22.Rf2 Kd7 23.Ne1 h5 24.Qf1 h4 25.g4 h3 26.Bf5 Qg8 27.Kh2 a5 28.Nd3 Kc7 29.Qe2 a4 30.Raf1 axb3 31.axb3 Ra3 32.Bc1 Ra1 33.Rf3 Nd7 34.R1f2 Qa8 35.Bb2 Ra2 36.Nc1 Ra7 37.Qd3 Ba3 38.Bxa3 Rxa3 39.Bxe6 fxe6 40.Qg6 Qg8 41.Qc2 Qh7 42.Qb2 Rha8 43.Rf7 Qe4 44.Qd2 Qxg4 45.Rg7 Ra1 46.Rff7 Rd8 47.Rxg5 Qe4 48.Rf4 Qb1 49.Rg1 Rda8 50.Rf7 Qe4 51.Qf2 Rd8 52.Re1 Qg6 53.Rg1 Qe4 54.Re1 Qg6 55.Rg1 Qe4 1/2-1/2 Morozevich,A (2748)-Leko,P (2725)/Frankfurt 2000/CBM 078; 8.Bc4]

8...Nf6 9.Qd3 Ng4 10.0-0-0 c6 11.Re1

[11.e5 Bf5 is good according to Short.]

11...Nd7 12.e5?

Luke McShane


Nigel Short

Position after 12.e5?

Premature and very quickly white's position becomes difficult.

[12.Bh3 Nb6]

12...dxe5 13.Bh3 Nxe3 14.Rxe3 0-0 15.Ne4 Nf6

"Is just very strong. Nothing works." - Short

[15...exd4 16.Nfxg5 is very dangerous way for black to play but in the press room they worked this out to a win for black too. McShane had no interest in playing it over the board.]

16.Bxc8 exd4 17.Bxb7

"I've just lost is the problem." - Short.

17...dxe3 18.Bxa8 Nxe4 19.Qxe4 Qb6 20.Ne5

[20.b3 may be marginally better.]

20...Rxa8 21.Qxc6 Qxc6 22.Nxc6 Re8! 23.c3 Re6 24.Nxa7

[24.Nd4 Is grim for white. 24...Bxd4 25.cxd4 Kg7 26.Kc2 e2 27.Kd2]

24...Be5 25.Nb5 e2 26.Kd2 Bxg3 27.Re1 Bxe1+ 28.Kxe1 h5

Short is only playing on because black was in bad time trouble.

29.Nd4 Ra6 30.a3 h4 31.Kxe2 g4 32.c4 h3 33.Kf2 h2 34.Kg2 Rh6 35.Kh1 g3 36.Nf5 g2+ 0-1

Magnus Carlsen against Michael Adams

Magnus Carlsen against Michael Adams. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

Magnus Carlsen admitted that his play wasn't all that impressive today but it was still more than good enough for a puzzlingly out of sorts Michael Adams. If Carlsen isn't very sure what variation is good against a line he at least makes sure he has the two bishops. Today Carlsen said that his aimless looking queen moves didn't make a good impression but he wasn't sure what else to do. Adams was surely close to equal at some point but he couldn't find the right kingside setup and then suddenly it became the source of problems which led to a horrible blunder losing a piece. Adams came into the event in reasonable form so his play here is puzzling. He faces Hikaru Nakamura in his final game where the American will no doubt be looking for a win.

Carlsen,M (2826) - Adams,Mi (2734) [E21]
3rd London Chess Classic London ENG (7), 10.12.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 b6 5.Qc2 Bb7 6.a3 Bxc3+ 7.Qxc3 d5 8.cxd5 Qxd5 9.e3 Nbd7 10.b4 0-0 11.Bb2 a5 12.Bd3 axb4 13.axb4 Rxa1+ 14.Bxa1 Qa2 15.0-0 Nd5 16.Qe1

I was fairly happy here. - Carlsen. In the long run the bishop pair is quite good.

16...c5 17.dxc5 bxc5 18.b5 Ra8 19.Qc1 h6 20.h3

"Is stupid but I couldn't think..."

20...Qa3 21.Qd2 Qb4 22.Qc2 Qa4 23.Qb2 f6 24.Rc1 Nb4 25.Be2 Bxf3 26.gxf3 Nd5 27.f4 N7b6 28.Bg4 Kf7 29.Qb1 Qa3 30.Rd1 f5

Carlsen didn't like this idea for black and was trying to get g6 to work in various positions in the run up to this.

[30...g6 31.Bxe6+ Kxe6 32.Qxg6 Qa4]

31.Bf3 Ra4 32.Be5 Qb4 33.Qd3 Ra3?

This seems to be the start of Adams troubles.

[33...Qc4 34.Qxc4 Rxc4]

34.Qf1! g6 35.h4 Nc4?

Michael Adams


Magnus Carlsen

Position after 35...Nc4??

In a difficult position Adams blunders large amounts of material.

36.Rxd5 Nxe5 37.Rxe5 Qc3 38.Kg2 1-0

Kramnik against Howell

Kramnik against Howell. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

Vladimir Kramnik was highly motivated to win against the struggling David Howell and although he admitted to not liking to calculate huge amounts of variations he did so today. He demonstrated these in a wonderful press conference that will no doubt become available at: or LondonChessClassic YouTube Page.

Kramnik obviously enjoyed the prospects of the white position as he looked at dangerous attacking idea after dangerous idea. However it was the positional 18.a4! that was the key. Black's position became extremely difficult to play and after 21.Rxc5! black was lost and Kramnik brought home the point very comfortably.

Kramnik,V (2800) - Howell,D (2633) [D27]
3rd London Chess Classic London ENG (7), 10.12.2011

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 dxc4 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.0-0 a6 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.a3 b5 9.Ba2 Bb7 10.Qe2 Qc7 11.Rd1 Rd8 12.d5 exd5 13.Nxd5

[13.Bxd5 Kramnik couldn't make work but came up with some complex and beautiful variations in the press conference which will no doubt become available. 13...Bd6]

13...Nxd5 14.Bxd5 Be7


15.e4 0-0 16.g3

It's very little but it's not so easy for black.

16...Na5 17.Bf4 Qc8

Kramnik thought this the most solid over the board but gradually saw that white has a great position after his next.

[17...Qb6 18.Bd2 Bxd5 19.exd5 Bd6 20.Ng5]


David Howell


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 18.a4

[18.Bd2 Nc4 19.Bxc4 bxc4 20.Qxc4 (20.Bc3 Qg4 21.Re1) ]


[18...Nc4 19.Bxc4 bxc4 20.Qxc4 and black is a pawn down but with some practical chances.]


[19.Ne5 Bf6 20.Ng4 Bd4 21.Rxd4 cxd4 22.Nh6+ gxh6]


[19...Rfe8 But already unpleasant for black.]


It is very difficult to find a defence for black now.


[20...Qb7; 20...Qc7]


David Howell


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 21.Rxc5

A great zwischenzug after which white is just winning.



22.Rxa5 Bxd5 23.Raxd5 Rxd5 24.Rxd5 Qc1+ 25.Kg2 Bxb2 26.Qxa6 Qc2 27.Rd2 Qb3 28.a5 Bc3 29.Rd5 Qc2 30.Qb7 b3 31.a6 b2 32.Rb5 Qa4 33.a7 h6 34.e5 Kh7 35.Rb3 Qa2

Now black is completely tied up. Kramnik didn't bother calculating looking for a quick win but just took the opportunity to shut black in even more.

36.h4 Kg8 37.h5 Qa5 38.Qb8 Qa2 39.Rxc3 b1Q 40.Rc8

Mate or a position with ruinous material deficit follows.


Aronian against Anand

Aronian against Anand. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

The first game to finish was a draw between Levon Aronian and Viswanathan Anand. 7.Be2 is a line invented by Aronian and played in the game between Anand and Kramnik the day before. Aronian wanted to follow this game but admitted that he was probably naive in believing he would get all his preparation in. 10...a6 was Anand's improvement and in a line where accuracy is required by white to get anything Aronian was pretty critical of his play and he was happy to repeat on move 25.

Aronian,Levon - Anand,Viswanathan [D37]
3nd London Chess Classic London ENG (7), 10.12.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Be2

If I don't play my own line, who's going to play it? - Aronian.

7...dxc4 8.0-0 c5 9.dxc5 Nxc5 10.Bxc4 a6

[10...Qxd1 11.Rfxd1 b6 12.Nd4 Bb7 13.f3 Rfc8 14.Rac1 a6 15.a3 Nh5 16.Be5 Nf6 17.Bg3 Kf8 18.e4 Ke8 19.Bf1 g6 20.Bf2 e5 21.Nc2 Nb3 22.Rb1 b5 23.Ne3 Rd8 24.a4 Nd2 25.axb5 Nxb1 26.Rxb1 Bc5 27.Nc4 Bxf2+ 28.Kxf2 axb5 29.Nxb5 Kf8 30.Nxe5 Bxe4 31.fxe4 Nxe4+ 32.Kg1 Nd2 33.Rc1 Ra2 34.Na3 Rxb2 35.Nac4 Nxc4 36.Nxc4 Rc8 37.Ra1 Rc2 38.Ne5 Rc1 39.Rxc1 Rxc1 1/2-1/2 Anand,V (2811)-Kramnik,V (2800)/London ENG 2011]


[11.Ne5 Ncd7 12.Be2 Nxe5 13.Bxe5 Qa5 14.Bg3 b5 15.Bf3 Ra7 16.a3 (16.Ne2 Bb7 17.Bxb7 Rxb7 18.Nd4 Rd7 19.Qc2 Bd6 20.Nc6 Qb6 21.Bxd6 Rxd6 22.Rac1 Kh8 23.Rfd1 Rxd1+ 24.Qxd1 h6 25.g3 Qc7 26.Rc2 Rc8 27.Qd3 Ng4 28.Rc3 Qb7 29.Qd6 Qa8 30.e4 Nf6 31.f3 a5 32.Qc5 b4 33.Rc4 Qa6 34.b3 Kh7 35.Qd6 a4 36.Rc2 axb3 37.axb3 Qa1+ 38.Kg2 Qb1 39.Qd2 Qxb3 40.Nxb4 Rb8 1/2-1/2 Aronian,L (2802)-Gelfand,B (2744)/Moscow 2011/CB47_2011) 16...Rd7 17.Qc2 Qb6 18.Rfd1 Rxd1+ 19.Nxd1 Bb7 20.Bxb7 1/2-1/2 Flores,D (2628)-Leitao,R (2609)/Campinas BRA 2011/The Week in Chess 846]

11...Bd7 12.a3 Rc8 13.Rc1 Nce4 14.Nxe4 Nxe4 15.Bd3

[15.Nf3 Bb5]

15...Rxc1 16.Qxc1 Nf6

[16...Nc5 the knight doesn't belong here - Anand.]


A waste of time.

17...Qb6 18.Bc2

[18.Bc7 Qc5 19.Qxc5 Bxc5 20.Nb3 Ba4 21.Rc1 Bxa3]

18...Rc8 19.Qb1 h6

[19...Qc5 20.Rc1 (20.Bg3 e5 21.Nf5) ]

20.Nf3 Be8 21.Be5 Bc6 22.Bd4 Qc7 23.Be5 Qb6 24.Bd4 Qc7 25.Be5

Viswanathan Anand


Levon Aronian

Position after 25.Be5

"The position is pretty equal. I don't really have any plan." - Aronian.


Hikaru Nakamura was leading going into his round 7 stint in the commentary box, by the time the day was over he was relegated to 4th place. However he has two games with the white pieces against Nigel Short and Michael Adams and given these two are not playing well and must be feeling pretty battered by now it isn't out of the question that he will beat them both and that may still be enough to win the classic with his rivals all having much more difficult run ins.

Nakamura was entertaining in the commentary box. He spoke a little about his work with Kasparov which he described as "pretty much the openings." which he believed was Kasparov's big strength. He said that look what happened when Kasparov didn't get the advantage. "it's pretty much why he lost his title to Kramnik." He also suggested that this work may now be over "we'll see about future collaboration".

No Name Win Draw Loss Score / games Tie break Rating TPR
1 McShane Luke J 3 3 0 12.0 / 6 3 black wins 2671 2935
2 Kramnik Vladimir 3 3 0 12.0 / 6 1 black win 2800 2936
3 Carlsen Magnus 3 3 0 12.0 / 6 0 black win 2826 2926
4 Nakamura Hikaru 3 2 1 11.0 / 6 2758 2882
5 Anand Viswanathan 1 4 1 7.0 / 6 black win 2811 2738
6 Aronian Levon 1 4 1 7.0 / 6 white win 2802 2750
7 Short Nigel D 1 1 4 4.0 / 6 2698 2549
8 Howell David W L 0 3 4 3.0 / 7 2633 2527
Adams Michael 0 3 4 3.0 / 7 2734 2519
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 ½ 1 ½ . . 1 1 12 2926
2. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2800 ½ * . ½ . ½ 1 1 1 12 2936
3. McShane, Luke J g ENG 2671 ½ . * ½ ½ . 1 1 1 12 2934
4. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2758 0 ½ ½ * 1 1 . . 1 11 2882
5. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2802 ½ . ½ 0 * ½ 1 ½ . 7 2749
6. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2811 . ½ . 0 ½ * 1 ½ ½ 7 2737
7. Short, Nigel D g ENG 2698 . 0 0 . 0 0 * 1 ½ 4 2548
8. Adams, Michael g ENG 2734 0 0 0 . ½ ½ 0 * ½ 3 2518
9. Howell, David W L g ENG 2633 0 0 0 0 . ½ ½ ½ * 3 2526
Round 7 (December 10, 2011)
Carlsen, Magnus - Adams, Michael 1-0 38 E21 Nimzo Indian 4.Nf3
Kramnik, Vladimir - Howell, David W L 1-0 40 D27 QGA
Aronian, Levon - Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ 25 D37 QGD 5.Bf4
Short, Nigel D - McShane, Luke J 0-1 36 C34 Kings Knight Gambit

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