Carlsen wins again, grabs the lead

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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0 | Chess Event Coverage
Carlsen wins again at London Chess ClassicMagnus Carlsen also won his second white game at the London Chess Classic. The Norwegian defeated Luke McShane in round 2 and took sole lead in the standings, with 6 points. Vladimir Kramnik recovered fron yesterday's loss and won a good game against Ni Hua.

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 2

Your editor-in-chief is staying with a friend who lives in Woodford, London. That's about two hours of travelling by Underground every day, but it's nice to see my former club mate again and he has a beautiful house. Although he hasn't played competitive chess for years (he's a risk analyst for a bank here, trying to prevent a second credit crunch) he still follows chess with keen interest. He described Carlsen's play as follows: "Finally there's a player at the top again whose moves I just cannot understand. Somehow it looks a lot like how Fischer played. It seems that the chess is so perfect that you'd almost desribe it as an absence of playing style."

Carlsen

Two Whites, two wins. Carlsen got his full six points out of the possible six, which means he took a three-point lead. That's the equivalent of one victory against a loss in this football scoring system, although there's not too much difference with the one-point gab in the traditional system.

It was great to see that Carlsen still often has a carefree state of mind during his games. At yesterday's press conference he twice said that he couldn't foresee all the complications of certain moves, but that he simply found them too interesting not to go for! Right after the game, when organizer IM Malcolm Pein asked the young Norwegian to comment on the game for the audience, at first Carlsen didn't feel like doing it. But then he agreed to a brief session, and of course the chess lover woke up again and diving into the complications together with his opponent Luke McShane, this commentary session lasted for more than half an hour.

Carlsen & McShane

The audience had been treated with a similar, wonderful show earlier that day, by Vladimir Kramnik. These post-game press conferences are really close to perfection. The players sit behind laptops and enter the variations they had been thinking about, which is shown both on a beamer screen for the present audience (at least fifty people) as well as the internet audience via Playchess. They answer questions from strong English players (IM Lawrence Trent is one of them) who do the commentary during the round. This way the spectators are getting first priority at a chess tournament, and that's how it should be.

Kramnik Live

Kramnik understood his task, and went quite far in his explanation of a basic pawn ending. At some point White had a queen and king, and Black pawns on g7 and h2 and a king on g1. "Without the g-pawn Black would be lost, but here White is winning. I'll show you," Kramnik said, and he gave checks with his queen until the black king was locked on h1 with the white queen on g3. Kramnik: "Now White can just get his king closer as Black has to move his g-pawn." The audience had learnt a lot, and then had a good laughter as well when GM Ian Rogers added: "What about Qf2?" "That's even better!" Kramnik smiled.

Kramnik

For a further report of this round I refer to the excellent official website, because I should really get started with the first videos. I'm going to do a general impression videos with some words from Malcolm Pein, and I have interviews with Kramnik and Howell. "Stay tuned."

London Chess Classic 2009 | Pairings & results

London Chess Classic

London Chess Classic 2009 | Standings ('football system')

London Chess Classic

London Chess Classic 2009 | Standings (regular system)

London Chess Classic



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