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3rd London Chess Classic 2011 (6)

Nakamura retains lead after all games drawn in London Classic Round 6

Hikaru Nakamura leads with 11 points ahead of his day off in the commentary box. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill.

Hikaru Nakamura leads with 11 points ahead of his day off in the commentary box. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill. |

Hikaru Nakamura heads to his appearance in the commentary box on Saturday retaining the lead in the 3rd London Chess Classic after 6 rounds. He had to show some accuracy as black against Luke McShane to hold the draw but wasn't really in difficulties. All the games were drawn on the day but probably the best of the bunch was an interesting tussle between World Champion Viswanathan Anand and predecessor Vladimir Kramnik. Anand sacrificed the exchange for a potential bind, Kramnik sacrificed a piece for a couple of pawns in return for a liquidation to a draw. David Howell didn't get much against Nigel Short and drew. Michael Adams and Levon Aronian traded almost all the pieces very quickly for a draw. Round 7 Sat Dec 10th 14:00 GMT. Short-McShane, Kramnik-Howell, Aronian-Anand, Carlsen-Adams, Nakamura in the commentary box.

Viswanathan Anand against Vladimir Kramnik

Viswanathan Anand against Vladimir Kramnik. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik had a heavyweight struggle where Anand's exchange sacrifice looked dangerous but Kramnik had a couple of accurate ways of holding the draw.

Anand,Viswanathan - Kramnik,Vladimir [D37]
3nd London Chess Classic London ENG (6), 09.12.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Be2 dxc4 8.0-0 c5 9.dxc5 Nxc5 10.Bxc4 Qxd1 11.Rfxd1 b6 12.Nd4 Bb7 13.f3

[13.Rac1 a6 14.b4 Nce4 15.Nxe4 Bxe4 16.a3 Rfc8 17.f3 Bb7 18.e4 a5 19.Nxe6 axb4 20.axb4 b5 21.Nc7 bxc4 22.Nxa8 Bxa8 23.Bd6 Kf8 24.Bxe7+ Kxe7 25.Rd4 c3 26.Rd3 c2 27.Rd2 Nxe4 28.Rdxc2 Rxc2 29.Rxc2 Nd6 30.Kf2 Kd7 31.Ke3 Nb5 32.Rc5 Bc6 33.Kd3 f6 34.Rh5 h6 35.Kc4 Nc7 36.Ra5 Kd6 37.Kd4 g5 38.Ra1 f5 39.h4 f4 40.hxg5 hxg5 41.Rh1 g4 42.fxg4 Bxg2 43.Rh6+ Ne6+ 44.Kd3 Bf3 45.Rf6 Bxg4 46.Ke4 f3 47.Ke3 Ke5 48.Rxf3 Bxf3 1/2-1/2 Gelfand,B (2744)-Kramnik,V (2800)/Moscow RUS 2011/The Week in Chess 890]

13...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

Anand gives up the exchange for a lovely bind. Carlsen said "It's clear black is probably going to lose the pawn on e5 because Nc4 is coming. This bishop on b7 is really bad so we should try and exchange it. That's why I was thinking something like Kf8 here."


[26...Kf8 27.b6 and the b-pawn lives and could be very dangerous. (27.Nc4 axb5 28.Nxb5 Ba6 29.Nc7 Bxc4 30.Nxa8 Bxf1) ]

27.Nc4 Bxf2+ 28.Kxf2 axb5 29.Nxb5 Kf8 30.Nxe5 Bxe4!?

Vladimir Kramnik


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 30....Bxe4

An accurately calculated idea that liquidates to a draw. But it wasn't his only alternative.

[30...Nd7 31.Nc4 Ba6 32.Nbd6 Bxc4 33.Nxc4 Rdb8 and black shouldn't lose.]

31.fxe4 Nxe4+ 32.Kg1 Nd2 33.Rc1

Carlsen speculated that white played this to avoid some possible tactical problems with Re1.

[33.Re1 Rd5 34.Nc7 Rxe5 35.Rxe5 Ra1 Carlsen who thought this position still might not be all that nice for black. 36.Kf2 Rxf1+ 37.Ke2 Rb1 38.Kxd2 Rxb2+]


Seems to more or less equalise.

[33...Rd5 34.Nc7 now wins. 34...Rc8 35.Ne6+; 33...Rac8 34.Nc3 with nothing like a clear draw for black.]

34.Na3 Rxb2 35.Nac4 Nxc4 36.Nxc4 Rc8 37.Ra1 Rc2 38.Ne5 Rc1 39.Rxc1 Rxc1 1/2-1/2

Luke McShane against Hikaru Nakamura

Luke McShane against Hikaru Nakamura. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

Luke McShane fell behind Hikaru Nakamura due to his day off in the commentary room the day before, Nakamura's shift in the commentary box is in round 7. The two met in round 7 and McShane's g3 Sicilian led to a tiny edge but the game liquidated to a draw in 31 moves.

McShane,Luke J - Nakamura,Hikaru [B40]
3nd London Chess Classic London ENG (6), 09.12.2011

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 d5 4.exd5 exd5 5.d4 Nf6 6.Bg2 Be7 7.0-0 0-0 8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.Bg5 Be6 10.Nc3 Nc6 11.Rb1

[11.Qd3 h6 12.Bf4 Re8 13.Rad1 Rc8 14.a3 a6 15.h3 Qd7 16.g4 Ba7 17.Rfe1 d4 18.Ne2 Bd5 19.Ng3 Rxe1+ 20.Rxe1 Re8 21.Nf5 Be4 22.Qb3 Bxf5 23.Rxe8+ Nxe8 24.gxf5 Nf6 25.Ne5 Nxe5 26.Bxe5 Qxf5 27.Bg3 b5 28.Qf3 Qxf3 29.Bxf3 a5 30.b4 axb4 31.axb4 Bb6 32.Bc6 g6 33.Kg2 g5 34.Be5 Nh5 35.Kf3 Nf4 36.Bxf4 gxf4 37.Bxb5 Kf8 38.Bd3 Ke7 39.Kxf4 Kd6 40.Kf5 Bd8 41.Ke4 Bf6 42.Bc4 Ke7 43.b5 Bh4 44.f4 Bf2 45.b6 d3 46.b7 d2 47.b8Q d1Q 48.Qc7+ Qd7 49.Qxd7+ Kxd7 50.Bxf7 Ke7 51.Bd5 Kf6 52.f5 Bc5 53.Be6 Ke7 54.Kd5 Be3 55.c4 Bf4 56.c5 Be3 57.Kc6 Kf6 58.Kd6 Bf4+ 59.Kd7 1-0 Bauer,C (2634)-Milov,V (2676)/Ajaccio FRA 2007/The Week in Chess 677]

11...d4 12.Bxf6 Qxf6 13.Ne4 Qe7 14.Nxc5 Qxc5 15.b4 Qb5 16.a4 Qxa4 17.b5 Ne7 18.Nxd4 Rfd8 19.c3 Qxd1 20.Rfxd1 Bd5 21.Bf1!?

Hikaru Nakamura


Luke McShane

Position after 21.Bf1

A very interesting idea.


[21...Rac8 22.c4 Bxc4 23.Bxc4 Rxc4 24.Nf5 Rxd1+ 25.Rxd1 is mate.]

22.bxa6 bxa6 23.Re1 Kf8 24.c4 Nc6 25.Nb3 Be6 26.Bg2 Rac8 27.Nc5 Bf5 28.Nb7 Bxb1 29.Nxd8 Nxd8 30.Rxb1 Rxc4 31.Ra1

The position is completely drawn.


Michael Adams against Levon Aronian

Michael Adams against Levon Aronian. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

Michael Adams would have been glad to stop the rot of three consecutive losses including two with white when he played down a theoretical Ruy Lopez Berlin Defence which quickly liquidated into a sterile draw against Levon Aronian.

Adams,Michael - Aronian,Levon [C67]
3nd London Chess Classic London ENG (6), 09.12.2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.Re1 Nd6 6.Nxe5 Be7 7.Bf1 Nxe5 8.Rxe5 0-0 9.d4 Bf6 10.Re1 Re8 11.Rxe8+ Nxe8 12.c3 d5 13.Bf4 Bg5

[13...c6 14.Nd2 Bf5 15.Qb3 Qb6 16.Re1 Be6 17.Qc2 g6 18.Nf3 Bf5 19.Qd2 Qd8 20.Be5 Be7 21.h3 Ng7 22.Qe3 Bf8 23.g4 Bd7 24.Bg3 f6 25.Qd2 Be8 26.Bd3 Bf7 27.Kg2 Ne6 28.h4 Bd6 29.g5 Bxg3 30.fxg3 fxg5 31.hxg5 Nf8 32.Ne5 Be6 33.Qf4 Rc8 34.Rf1 Qe7 35.Rf2 Re8 36.Kh2 Qg7 37.Re2 Nd7 38.Ng4 Rf8 39.Nh6+ Qxh6+ 40.gxh6 Rxf4 41.gxf4 Kf7 42.Bxg6+ Kxg6 43.Rxe6+ Kf7 44.Re2 Nf6 45.Rg2 Ne8 46.Kh3 b6 47.Kh4 a5 48.Kg5 Nd6 49.f5 Kf8 50.Kf6 Nf7 51.Rg7 Nxh6 52.Rxh7 Ng4+ 53.Ke6 Kg8 54.Rb7 b5 55.f6 1-0 Peptan,C (2411)-Lematschko,T (2205)/Gothenburg SWE 2005/The Week in Chess 560]

14.Qf3 Bxf4 15.Qxf4 Qd6 16.Qxd6 Nxd6 17.Nd2 a5 18.a4 Bf5 19.f3 f6 20.Kf2 Kf7 21.h4 h5 22.Be2 Bg6 23.Nf1 Nf5 24.Ne3 c6 25.g3 Nxe3 26.Kxe3 Bf5 27.Kd2 Ke7 28.Bd3 Bxd3 29.Kxd3

Levon Aronian


Michael Adams

Position after 29.Kxd3

The handshake can happen at any time now.

29...Kd6 30.Ke3 Re8+ 31.Kd3 Ra8 32.Ke3 Re8+ 33.Kd3 Ra8 34.Ke3 1/2-1/2

David Howell against Nigel Short

David Howell against Nigel Short. Photo © Ray Morris-Hill:

David Howell and Nigel Short haven't had the best of competitions, Short probably playing the better of the two. However today Short was tired having not slept very well the night before something he revealed after the game. They had discussed the c3 Sicilian in the past and Howell had defended it as a winning weapon so Short thought there was a chance it might be played again. The game threatened to get very sharp but in the end they liquidated to a draw.

Howell,David W L - Short,Nigel D [B22]
3nd London Chess Classic London ENG (6), 09.12.2011

1.e4 c5 2.c3

Howell hasn't played the c3 Sicilian for 18 months but the players had previously discussed this variation and Short asked him why he played such a variation and Howell defended it as being strong. Short reasoned there was a 50% chance he might try it today. He also revealed that he hadn't slept at all well the night before so wasn't in the best shape for the game.

2...e6 3.d4 d5 4.exd5 exd5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Bb5 Bd6 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.0-0 Nge7 9.Nbd2 0-0 10.Nb3 Bb6 11.Re1 Bg4 12.Be3 Re8 13.h3

[13.Nbd4 Qd6 14.Qd2 Bc7 15.g3 Ng6 16.Bf1 Qd7 17.Bg2 Nce5 18.Nxe5 Nxe5 19.b3 Bb6 20.f4 Bxd4 21.Bxd4 Nf3+ 22.Bxf3 Bxf3 23.Re5 Rxe5 24.fxe5 Be4 25.Rf1 a5 26.a3 Ra6 27.Rf4 h6 28.Qf2 Bg6 29.Qe2 Re6 30.Qf1 Bc2 31.b4 Bg6 32.b5 a4 33.Rf2 Qe7 34.Qc1 Bd3 35.b6 Be4 36.Qf4 Bg6 37.Qf3 Be4 38.Qf4 Rg6 39.Rf1 h5 40.h3 Qe6 41.Kh2 Qe7 42.Rf2 Qxa3 43.Qxf7+ Kh7 44.e6 h4 45.g4 Qc1 46.Rf1 Qd2+ 47.Qf2 Qg5 48.Qf7 Qd2+ 49.Qf2 Qg5 50.Qf7 1/2-1/2 Howell,D (2323)-King,D (2503)/London ENG 2003/The Week in Chess 460]

13...Bh5 14.Bxb6 Qxb6 15.Bxc6 Bxf3 16.Qxf3 bxc6

Nigel Short


David Howell

Position after 16...bxc6


[17.h4 was Carlen's idea for an edge in this position for Howell. 17...a5 (17...Rad8 18.h5 h6) 18.Qe3]

17...Ng6 18.Rae1 Rxe2 19.Rxe2 Rd8 20.Nd4 c5 21.Nf5 d4 22.Qe4 h6 23.cxd4 cxd4 24.Rd2 Qa5 25.Rxd4 Rxd4 26.Nxd4 Qxa2 27.b3 Nf8 28.g3 g6 29.Kg2 a5 30.Qc6 Qd2 31.Qa4 Qd3 32.Nf3 Qd5 33.b4 axb4 34.Qxb4

and the draw could be agreed here.

34...Ne6 35.Qd2 Qxd2 36.Nxd2 Kg7 1/2-1/2

Magnus Carlsen was in the commentary box. He was interesting about the games but cagey about the World Chess Championships and said it wasn't a subject he really thought about much. As world number 1 and highest paid player all at the age of 21, he probably doesn't have to right now.

Carlsen on the World Chess Championships. Asked if he will play if it is a round robin.

"Depends on the other conditions as well. My intention is to participate is the other conditions are good." He was prompted to say that the venue and contract were important. "I really don't want to go here, The only times that I think about the World Championship is when people ask me about it. Otherwise I just don't think about it at all. It's so much more interesting to focus on tournaments I'm playing right now. For me right now the London Chess Classic is much more interesting than the world championship."

Videos by Macauley Peterson can be viewed More video highlights on the London Chess Classic YouTube Channel. Including the press conference by Carlsen.

3rd London Chess Classic London (ENG), 3-12 xii 2011 cat. XX (2748)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2758 * 0 ½ ½ 1 1 . . 1 11 2882
2. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2826 1 * ½ ½ ½ . . . 1 9 2881
3. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2800 ½ ½ * . . ½ 1 1 . 9 2914
4. McShane, Luke J g ENG 2671 ½ ½ . * ½ . . 1 1 9 2899
5. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2802 0 ½ . ½ * . 1 ½ . 6 2737
6. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2811 0 . ½ . . * 1 ½ ½ 6 2724
7. Short, Nigel D g ENG 2698 . . 0 . 0 0 * 1 ½ 4 2607
8. Adams, Michael g ENG 2734 . . 0 0 ½ ½ 0 * ½ 3 2542
9. Howell, David W L g ENG 2633 0 0 . 0 . ½ ½ ½ * 3 2556
Round 6 (December 9, 2011)
McShane, Luke J - Nakamura, Hikaru ½-½ 31 B40 Sicilian Classical
Anand, Viswanathan - Kramnik, Vladimir ½-½ 39 D37 QGD 5.Bf4
Adams, Michael - Aronian, Levon ½-½ 34 C67 Ruy Lopez Berlin
Howell, David W L - Short, Nigel D ½-½ 36 B22 Sicilian Alapin

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