PRESS RELEASE: The pairings for the 2012 London Chess Classic are now available.
This year, instead of involving the players themselves in the draw at the opening ceremony, the draw was conducted by Liverpool’s Sacred Heart Primary School as a reward for the boom in chess which the school has experienced since chess tutor John Gorman working for the Chess in Schools and Communities charity introduced the game there a year ago.
World champion Vishy Anand drew number one, which meant he gets to sit out the first round. The pairing which catches the eye is McShane-Carlsen: the same round and same colours as 2010, when Luke won, and same colours as last year, when they met in round two and drew.
After that, Luke has to look forward to Black against a well-rested world champ on the following day. But Luke knows all about tough starts as last year his diary for consecutive days in December read something like “Office: clear in-tray and set answering machine message... Olympia: play world number two... Olympia: play world number one”.
Gawain Jones makes his Classic debut with White against Mickey Adams, while Judit Polgar starts with Black against Vlad Kramnik. Aronian meets Nakamura, and he will be keen to avenge his loss to the American last year – this time the Liverpool schoolchildren have given him the advantage of the white pieces! Nakamura, for his part, will be glad to see he has White against Carlsen in round seven – after three straight Blacks against him in London.
Last rounds are always eagerly awaited, too. The Liverpool children have done a marvellous job here, serving up a humdinger of a last-round pairing between world number one Magnus Carlsen, playing White, and world champion Vishy Anand on 10 December.
Malcolm Pein, Chief Executive of CSC and London Classic director, who was on hand in Liverpool to conduct the draw, added: “We’re well on track to introduce chess into 1,000 schools around the UK in the next five years and the success of Sacred Heart serves to remind us of the scheme’s impact on primary school children in the inner cities. The London Chess Classic 2012 is free to enter for children and we look forward to welcoming over 1000 to Olympia to discover all that chess has to offer.”