Carlsen beats Kramnik in first round Londen Chess Classic

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Carlsen beats Kramnik in first round London Chess ClassicMagnus Carlsen defeated Vladimir Kramnik in the first round of the London Chess Classic. The tournament, which will last for seven rounds, started on Tuesday with the two top seeds immediately paired against each other. Luke McShane beat Nigel Short in a game that lasted no less than 7 hours and 36 minutes - 163 moves were played.

The London Chess Classic takes place December 8th till 15th in Kensington, Londen. Venue is the Auditorium of the Olympiad Conference Centre. The time control is 2 hours for 40 moves, then 1 hour for 20 moves and then 15 minutes plus 30 seconds increment to finish the games. Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik, Hikaru Nakamura, Nigel Short, Michael Adams, Ni Hua, Luke McShane and David Howell play.

Round 1

For the third tournament in a row, Magnus Carlsen picked lot number 1 during the opening ceremony on Monday afternoon. (With six players in Nanjing, ten at the Tal Memorial and eight in London the chance is 1/480, as his father Henrik quickly calculated.) It meant he'd start with two White games again, and when Vladimir Kramnik picked number 8, it was clear that the two top seeds would face each other already in the first round.

After the opening ceremony Magnus Carlsen was invited to play tennis at Wimbledon, where he spent a while on the tennis court with the winner of Wimbledon in 1987, Pat Cash. Another opportunity for Magnus to learn from a great coach! Below is a frame grab from Macauley Peterson's video footage where Cash puts on a headband for Magnus. Chessbase has more nice pics.

Carlsen beats Kramnik in first round London Chess Classic

And then on Tuesday the big festival finally took off, with many side events, such as a 9-round Swiss (in which Magnus' good friend GM Jon Ludvig Hammer plays), a Weekender, rapid play and blitz tourneys, an English Junior rapid play and a simul by Viktor Kortchnoi.

London Chess Classic

But back to the main event. It was quite a surprise when Carlsen chose the move 1.c4, but as he explained afterwards, Kasparov had suggested to him that in the resulting positions "Kramnik probably wouldn't feel comfortable". Later in the day GM Ian Rogers duly remarked that many players wouldn't feel comfortable in the position Kramnik had gotten into around move 40.


What came on the board can be considered one of the absolute main lines of the English Opening these days, of which the strategical ideas could be derived from similar positions in the Sicilian. However, 20.f4!? changed the nature of the position and less than eight moves later Carlsen won the pawn on a4.

Kramnik couldn't find ways to get compensation and in fact positionally he was being outplayed as well, since at some point the knight on a5 was completely dominated and out of play. As soon as it started to move, on move 40, it failed tactically. A very powerful game by Carlsen.


Hikaru Nakamura was clearly disappointed after the game, for not having won a very promising position against Ni Hua. Howell and Adams drew a fairly balanced game and then only McShane and Short were left on the stage. For... hours and hours. The position was very drawish for a long time and McShane's slow manoeuvering seemed to be leading nowhere.

However, at some point he started to push his pawns on the kingside, which was at least something. And then, after about seven hours of play, Short went wrong and White's advantage was growing. In the final phase the moves weren't that accurate from both sides, as a result of fatigue. To please the audience, which had counted about 300 heads at the start of the round, but of whom only about 11 had stayed till the end, Short played on until he had no pieces left. Carlsen

ChessVibes LiveYou can still replay IM Merijn van Delft's annotations on the live page. We're covering the World Cup and the London Chess Classic for free; starting from 2010 our live commentary will be subscription-based. You'll find more info here.

London Chess Classic 2009 | Pairings

London Chess Classic

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