London Chess Classic Round 8
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The dramatic showdown between Luke McShane and Vladimir Kramnik was the key game of round eight at the London Chess Classic.
Hoping to secure the outright lead, McShane took the game to Kramnik with an exchange sacrifice to create a powerful bishop with threats to Kramnik's king.
However, any advantage that McShane had achieved evaporated during time-trouble and Kramnik took the initiative, but despite being a full rook ahead the result was still far from clear.
However, eventually the tactical tricks ran out and Kramnik earned a crucial win to take the sole lead with just one round remaining.
Nigel Short managed to completely block the position against Hikaru Nakamura, and remarkably there were no captures at all until move 30! Yet "thanks" in part to the anti-draw rules, the players continued shuffling their pieces around until move 90 before a draw was mercifully agreed!
Magnus Carlsen drew his game with black against Vishy Anand, and David Howell ended his event on a positive note by holding Lev Aronian to a draw.
The game of the round: Luke McShane against Vladimir Kramnik
The scores with one round remaining:
| Magnus Carlsen
| Luke McShane
The pairings for the final round on Monday:
| Luke McShane
| Hikaru Nakamura
||v|| Michael Adams
| Nigel Short
||v|| Magnus Carlsen
| Vladimir Kramnik
||v|| Levon Aronian
David Howell has completed all his games and will have a bye in the final round.
The final round starts 2 hours earlier at 12:00 (UTC).
The total prize fund is €160,000 (before tax), with the winner receiving €50,000. If there are any ties in the final scores, they will be broken for ranking purposes only (prize money will be shared) in this order:
- Number of games won
- Number of games won with black
- Result of direct encounter
- Rapid tie-breaks and Armageddon game (first place tie only)
The "Sofia" anti-draw rules are in operation, and the 3-1-0 scoring system.
The time control is 40 moves in 2 hours, followed by 20 moves in 1 hour, and then 15 minutes to a finish with a 30 second increment.
All photos courtesy of Ray-Morris Hill at the official website.