Anand and McShane share lead in London

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Anand and McShane share lead in at London Chess ClassicIn the 4th round of the London Chess Classic Viswanathan Anand defeated Nigel Short. The World Champion now shares the lead with Luke McShane, who drew with Michael Adams. Magnus Carlsen beat Hikaru Nakamura and Vladimir Kramnik was too strong for David Howell. John Saunders reports.

General info

The second London Chess Classic takes place December 8-15 at the Olympiad Conference Centre on Hammersmith Road in Kensington, London. Besides the Classic itself there's a big open, a women's invitational, rapid and blitz events, simuls by Viktor Kortchnoi, lectures by GMs Boris Avrukh and Jacob Aagaard, and more. This wonderful fresh tradition in the capital of the United Kingdom anticipates a FIDE World Championship in 2012 and supports chess in schools and communities at the same time. In the top group Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik, Nakamura, Adams, Short, McShane and Howell play. More info here.

Round 4 report by John Saunders

The tournament has passed the midway point and we now have joint leaders. World champion Vishy Anand celebrated his 41st birthday by defeating backmarker Nigel Short to join Luke McShane (who drew with Mickey Adams) in the lead. It wasn’t quite such a good day for the English players as Friday as David Howell also lost, to Vladimir Kramnik. The last game to finish was Carlsen-Nakamura, which Magnus won after five hours of play.

A walk in the park Sunday sees the clash of the two leaders, while Monday is the rest day. I dare say everyone is looking forward to a break from the frenetic, not least Vlad Kramnik who told us that his 7 hour 47 minute marathon against Luke McShane was his personal record in terms of time at the board. I have no inside information as to what super-GMs do during these breaks in play. One of them, Luke McShane, is a London resident so I am guessing he won’t move far from his place in Pimlico on Monday. Vlad Kramnik is reputed to be a ‘night owl’ so he will probably lie low for a day, though he might be tempted to pop down to Riverside Studios near the river at Hammersmith where he relieved Garry Kasparov of his world championship title ten years ago in order to seek inspiration for the coming fray.

My own suggestion for what to do would be a walk in the park. London has an excellent selection of open spaces to pick from, my own personal favourite being Richmond Park, partly because it is so handy for where I live but also because it is a nature reserve where you can see a wide variety of birds and other animals. It is not so convenient for central London so a better bet might be St James Park, with its eclectic mixture of impressive views and water birds. For example, take a look at this...

Park 1

This is a view of Whitehall from St James Park, with all the government buildings strangely clustered together like an image from a fairy tale. Here’s another...

Park 2

It is probably hard to believe that this building is right in the heart of London. It is the so-called Swiss chalet in St James Park, and only a short distance from the prime minister’s residence, 10 Downing Street.

The flora and fauna in the park are also rather surprising. Take, for example, this fearsome beast...

Park 3

A pelican in St James’ Park. Hardly a native species but they were introduced to the park centuries ago and thrive there, gliding up and down the lake as if they own the place. I’d like to believe that they were imported from Sicily (Sicilian Pelican - get it?) but it turns out that the Russian ambassador presented the original pelicans to King Charles II in 1664. A few years ago a pelican horrified people in the park by gulping down a live pigeon in full view. Pigeons also have to beware of danger in the air as there is now a growing population of peregrine falcons for whom London’s best-known birds are the ‘fast food’ of choice.

Moving on from St James towards Buckingham Palace, you can see some more traditional ‘touristy’ things such as brightly-coloured soldiers marching up and down...

Park 4

and the ‘Queen Vic Statue’, built to commemorate the pub in England’s most popular soap opera ‘Eastenders’...

Park 5

... or possibly a 19th century queen of that name. Her husband was Prince Albert and, in Hyde Park (another vast open space with much to recommend it), stands Victoria’s tribute to her much-loved consort.

Park 6

In 1962 the satirical magazine Private Eye published a photo of the Albert Memorial with the caption ‘Britain’s first man in space’.

But enough of the tourist guide. We still have to deal with the events of round four. After emerging from some initial difficulties with his Closed Sicilian opening, Nigel Short seemed to be doing quite well around move 28, when Vishy Anand allowed him to open the g-file and land a rook on the seventh. He worked a knight around to assist in the attack but then had an aberration, sacrificing first a pawn and then a bishop to hack a way through to Vishy’s king. But there was a flaw in his calculation - Vishy had the simple move 38...Qd6! which covered all the mating threats. He was left a piece adrift, so fell on his sword, allowing a mating finish to entertain the crowd.

Park 6

Vladimir Kramnik built up a steady advantage from the opening (a Grünfeld) against David Howell and opened up the h-file for his rooks to infiltrate. It wasn’t easy to make further progress and a liquidation occurred to what looked like a less dangerous position. However, Vlad established his rook on the seventh rank and his bishop on g4 and Black suddenly had difficulty protecting his king from their unwanted attentions. David tried a desperate b5 push and after a further inaccuracy found he couldn’t prevent the advance of Vlad’s d- pawn. Game over. Vlad is now a point behind leaders Vishy and Luke.

Park 6

Luke McShane opened with the quiet 1 g3 and Mickey Adams gradually assumed the initiative. He established his queen and rook on the seventh rank but Luke had a tactical trick to swap the queens and relieve the pressure. Further exchanges were made and the game eventually came down to an opposite-coloured bishop - hence drawn.

Park 6

Hikaru Nakamura answered Magnus Carlsen’s English Opening with a sort of Dutch Defence, but the Norwegian emerged from the opening with a steady edge. One interesting juncture was when Magnus exchanged a bishop for a knight (23 Bd4 and 24 Bxb6). It looked as though Hikaru might be OK with his two bishops but Magnus’s pressure told in time trouble when Hikaru didn’t have time to work out the consequences of 33...Rd8!? which he thought might have been a better try. He missed the desperado sacrifice 38 Rxg6+ after which he was left a pawn down in an endgame. Magnus’s technique was immaculate and he soon brought the game to an end.

Park 6

Videos by Macauley Peterson



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London Chess Classic 2010 | Pairings & results
London Chess Classic 2010 | Pairings


London Chess Classic 2010 | Round 4 standings
London Chess Classic 2010 | Pairings


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