2012 London Chess Classic
The 2012 London Chess Classic runs from 1-10 December at the Olympia Conference Centre.
This is the 4th edition of the tournament, and has the strongest line-up yet. The select group of players are: World #1 Magnus Carlsen, world #2 Lev Aronian, world #3 and former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, current World Champion Vishy Anand, the US Chess Champion Hikaru Nakamura, top UK player Mickey Adams, the best ever female player Judit Polgar, the 2012 British Champ Gawain Jones and the world's strongest amateur player Luke McShane.
Questions for the players can be sent in advance by email to director@londonchessclassic or in real-time via the official Twitter feed, which is @LondonClassic (use the hashtag #londonchess in your tweets). There will be book prizes for the three best questions.
The press conference will be followed by a London Classic Stars versus the Twittersphere exhibition match played via Twitter allowing the world’s chessplayers to test their mettle against Carlsen, Anand & co.
|Magnus Carlsen is one of the true superstars of the game, and this will be his fourth consecutive appearance at the London Chess Classic. Next year, he will be bidding to win the Candidates tournament in London, to set-up a world title match-up with Anand.
An advertising campaign with G-Star Raw has seen Carlsen stake a claim to being the first Grandmaster supermodel. Carlsen has also appeared on CBS’s current affairs show, “60 minutes”, and Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report”.
|At 29 Lev Aronian is in his lifetime best form and won Tata Steel title in January ahead of Carlsen.
In Armenia, chess rules above all other sports, and Aronian is a national hero with Beckham-like status with young girls and aspiring chess players. Aronian is also a previous winner of the Armenian sportsman of the year title.
Aronian is easygoing with a wickedly wry sense of humour, but when the battle starts over the board, he is fiercely competitive and creative.
|The former World champion, Vladimir Kramnik is back to defend his title, having won the 2011 edition of the London Chess Classic.
London is becoming something of a happy hunting ground for Kramnik. Not only did he win the London Chess Classic last year, but back in 2000 he shocked everyone by beating Garry Kasparov in a title match at the Riverside Theatre in London that saw him being crowned the 14th World Champion in a heritage line that stretches back to Wilhelm Steinitz in 1886.
|Fresh from yet another successful title defence, World Champion Viswanathan Anand will be making his third successive appearance in the London Chess Classic. Anand played in his first World Championship match back in 1995 in New York, losing to Garry Kasparov. In May 2012, he beat challenger Boris Gelfand in Moscow to clinch his fifth world championship title.
Anand is also something of a national hero in India, and has become a great ambassador for the game and his country.
|Three-time US champion Hikaru Nakamura is nicknamed the ‘H Bomb’ for his explosive style of play. Currently standing at No.13 in the rankings, he sensationally won the 73rd Tata Steel tournament in Wijk aan Zee in 2011, ahead of Anand, Aronian, Carlsen and Kramnik!
Comparisons with the late Bobby Fischer have inevitably been made, and in late September Nakamura will be top seed in the London Grand Prix, which kicks off the next World Chess Championship Cycle.
|Michael ‘Mickey’ Adams is the UK's #2 rated player. At 17, Adams became one of the youngest players to win the British Championship title and has previously been a beaten finalist in two FIDE World Championship KO events, in 1997 (to Anand) and 2004 (to Kasimdzhanov).
For many years, Adams has had an intense rivalry with Nigel Short for the top spot in the UK game, but nowadays he also has to worry about challenges coming from the likes of Luke McShane.
|Luke McShane recently supplanted Nigel Short and Mickey Adams as the new British #1 ranked player. McShane won the World Under-10 title at the age of eight and at 16 he became the youngest-ever British Grandmaster.
Luke now holds the unofficial title of world’s best amateur player, as he juggles chess with his career as an investment banker. Despite holding down a full-time job, his outstanding performances at the last two London Chess Classics wowed chess fans across the world.
|Judit Polgar is the strongest female chess player in history. In 1991, she became a Grandmaster aged 15 years and 5 months, the youngest ever to do so at the time, beating Bobby Fischer's record.
Over the years, Judit has been a frequent visitor to the world’s top ten and was the first woman in history to play in a Candidates Tournament.
Judit Polgar, with her aggressive brand of chess, is capable of being deadlier at the board than the rest of the male field at the London Chess Classic!
|Gawain Jones has risen rapidly through the junior ranks and celebrated his first British Chess Championship title in 2012.
Yorkshire-born Jones is now established in the world's top 100 ranked players.
While the London Chess Classic will see him on the elite stage for the first time, he will certainly be no pushover: He top-scored with 75 percent for the England team in the 2010 Olympiad, and then took shared first at the London Chess Classic Open.