London Chess Classic Day 1: Caruana, Gelfand, Kramnik Win Twice

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 12/12/13, 1:56 AM.

Fabiano Caruana, Vladimir Kramnik and Boris Gelfand started with two wins at the London Chess Classic's Super Sixteen Rapid. It is a 16-player rapid tournament, comprising a group stage followed by a knockout phase. The group stage comprises four groups of four players who play a double round robin. The top two players from each group shall qualify for the knock-out phase.

Vladimir Kramnik, Fabiano Caruana, Vishy Anand, Hikaru Nakamura, Boris Gelfand, Mickey Adams, Peter Svidler, Luke McShane, Judit Polgar, Nigel Short, Matthew Sadler, David Howell, Gawain Jones, Jonathan Rowson are the invited players and they were joined by Emil Sutovsky and Andrei Istratescu, who qualified via the FIDE Open. The group stage started on Wednesday.

Group A Group B Group C Group D
Luke McShane Vladimir Kramnik Boris Gelfand Nigel Short
Andrei Istratescu Jonathan Rowson Gawain Jones Fabiano Caruana
Michael Adams Matthew Sadler Hikaru Nakamura Emil Sutovsky
Vishy Anand Peter Svidler Judit Polgar David Howell


The first day of play was marked by two things: a disappointing turn-up of spectators and many topsy-turvy games. The author of these lines arrived during the second of four sessions (fog over London had caused a four-hour delay of my flight), and to my surprise there was only a handful of people in the playing hall and in the commentary room.

The hall was packed during the opening ceremony, but many kids didn't stay long

In the evening it was slightly better, but the number of fans never got close to what I'm used to see in London. Is this the Magnus effect? Is it rapid instead of classical? Or do people simply prefer to watch fore free online instead of paying 25 pounds for a day pass? Perhaps it will be different over the weekend.

On to the games, which were perhaps not of the highest level, but certainly exciting. Vishy Anand blundered and was lost against Luke McShane but still won, Kramnik erred and was lost against Svidler but won, Matthew Sadler turned a winning position into a lost one and also Judit Polgar very close to beating Hikaru Nakamura and eventually lost!

Rapid chess can lead to interesting opening play, and the first day saw some off-beat lines. Kramnik-Svidler started as 1.Nf3 g6 2.e4 Nf6 and Caruana played the London System against Emil Sutovsky (although this game razor-sharp quickly). Nigel Short also avoided opening theory, with 1.c4 c6 2.e4 d5 3.e5 against David Howell and 1.b4 against Fabiano Caruana.

All photos © Ray Morris-Hill, more here

After the first day, Anand and Adams lead the A group with 4 points (1.5/2) following the football score that is used in London. Kramnik started with 2.0/2 and so he's leading the B group with 6 points, followed by Rowson with 3 points. Gelfand also won both games and so he tops the standings in C, two points ahead of Nakamura. Caruana is on 6 points in D, also with two more points than runner-up Howell.

Below you can find all games of the first day.

9923 reads 27 comments
8 votes


  • 3 years ago


    Go Gelfand

  • 3 years ago


    Well this just aint the Carlsen-Anand games,therefore the poor sprctator turnup!...if i can make a comparison:in Southern Hemisphere you get 7s and union rugby,well the 7s are interesting fast n furious but thats for 7 minutes and its all over!,but All Blacks v Springboks games for instance are the grinding 80mins,more people like it than 7s rugby,but 7s are ok too,but its just 7s rugby,fast furious n finish in a flash,an so is Blitz chess!.But i suppose different strokes for different oakes! 

  • 3 years ago


    see....dont use age factor for anand lost to carlsen..he still can play..just that not good enough againts carlsen. 

  • 3 years ago


    Where's the rnd 3-4 report?

  • 3 years ago


    Nigel is a very tempermental person. Didn't get anything out of the opening (he is clearly worse) so he does the suicide move.... hahahaa

  • 3 years ago


    Gelfand missed a mate in one!

  • 3 years ago


    It looks like Short just decided to end the game in a memorable way with his help-mate in 1: 26.Be2?? -- not that his position was good in any way, but he didn't need to end it quite so abruptly.

  • 3 years ago


    How many minutes are the rapid games?

  • 3 years ago


    Couldn't Gelfand mate Polgar with Qh7 on move 48?

  • 3 years ago


    Great write-up Peter !  Thanks....and ignore the nitpickers regarding your writing style.  The occasional retro turn of phrase should be your prerogative.

  • 3 years ago


    Go Gelfand!

  • 3 years ago


    There are some interesting games, but rapid play is just resulting in bad quality of the games.

    Thumbs down for tuning this big event into a joke. 

  • 3 years ago


    Great job Peter, but....

    "the author of these lines" = i, 60yrs ago you would have gotten away with this - but unless there is a poetic reason to use archaic form, just keep it simple and clear.

  • 3 years ago


    The terse checkmate delivered in 26 moves by Caruana against Nigel Short was very impressive.  He completely dismantled that polish opening line by dominating the c-file with his rook and superbly placing the knight on d5 and bishop on a5.  Quite strong chess from the young Italian/American!

  • 3 years ago


    Love these write ups! But for all of our sakes, please stop using "the author of these lines" to reference yourself, it's clumsy and distracts from the otherwise concise and descriptive writing. 

  • 3 years ago


    Hi Rajguru, related to your question on 19 ...Qxa5, I think if black goes,

    19 ... Bxg2, then white has this very nice combination of


    and white will have more active pieces ,


    Please correct me if I got it wrong 

  • 3 years ago


    hahahahah Nigel Qb3#

  • 3 years ago



    look a little deeper, you're missing something - a matter of taste among equal choices

    if 19. ... Bxg2 20. Nd5 holds the line with recovery of piece (Be7) with check, in combo with attack down c-file targeting the Qc7

    Anand's 19. Na5 was pretty cute!

  • 3 years ago


    Good to see Caruana doing well. Gelfand and Nakamura are playing decently well....can't wait for  their match up! lucky guy Kramnik! hopefully there will be more people watching.....i thought that the change to rapid would make more people watch....

  • 3 years ago


    I saw live anand vs mcshane.The way mcshane played, looked like a beginner to me!

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