Four draws in London

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
|
0 | Chess Event Coverage
Carlsen wins again at London Chess ClassicAll games in the 4th round of the London Chess Classic ended in a draw. after three rounds. With three rounds to go, Magnus Carlsen leads with 8 points out of 4, followed by Vladimir Kramnik with one point less. Round 4 report with many photos this time.

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 4 by John Saunders

In many ways the star of today’s round were the chess fans themselves. They came in their droves. Tournament director Malcolm Pein warned us to brace ourselves for a bumper crowd on the Saturday and he wasn’t wrong. The first three days of the congress were very well attended but the chess audience today was awesome. The auditorium was packed with fans, as was the commentary room, and it was just as well that the organisers had thoughtfully planned further commentary in the foyer of the Olympia Conference Centre as it was definitely needed.

London Chess Classic

The commentary room was full at some point...



London Chess Classic

...and so GM Jonathan Rowson was asked...



London Chess Classic

...to do commentary in the foyer



Even more people were busy playing the game. Blitz and rapidplays events were being played in the foyer and a weekend tournament got underway besides the festival events that started on Tuesday. As an old-timer who has attended chess tournaments in England’s capital for more than forty years, I’ve not seen anything quite like this since the Fischer boom of the mid-1970s. In addition, we were visited by some more continental chess organisers and journalists and they were heard to comment in very favourable terms about the variety of chess entertainments available at Olympia.

London Chess Classic

The huge tournament hall with all the side events...



London Chess Classic

...where many kids can be found playing...



London Chess Classic

...but also for example a Women's Invitational



London Chess Classic

WFM Olivia Smith vs WFM Sabrina Chevannes



London Chess Classic

WIM Arlette van Weersel, who defeated...



London Chess Classic

...IM Susan Lalic in round 6



London Chess Classic

Arianne Caoili is playing here as well, and leads after 6 rounds



London Chess Classic

Magnus' friend Jon-Ludvig Hammer is top seed in the open and leads with 5.5/6



London Chess Classic

Mark Hebden has half a point less...



London Chess Classic

...just like GM Simon Williams...



London Chess Classic

...but GM Stuart Conquest has only 3.5 after he lost to a 2100 player in the first round



To the chess... Michael Adams has a pretty good record against Vladimir Kramnik. They have met nearly 40 times over the board (including blitz and less serious encounters) and Adams is +1 overall. One of their most important meetings was in the 1999 FIDE World Knock-Out Championship in Las Vegas when Adams eliminated Kramnik in the quarter-final via a rapidplay play-off. The following year Adams beat Kramnik at the Russian’s favourite tournament, Dortmund, thereby ending Kramnik’s 82-game unbeaten run which had lasted well over a year. Adams beat him again in 2004 and 2005 and in fact has not lost a significant game to him for more than nine years. So Vladimir Kramnik would have been keen to take his revenge. But Adams was in very good form today. Playing Black, he gave up the two bishops and then a pawn to neutralise the ex-world champion’s pressure and steered the game towards a sterile opposite-coloured bishops endgame. Admittedly, a draw was probably not what the big crowd wanted to see but it was subtly played and a valuable lesson in how to keep a formidable player at bay.

London Chess Classic

Appearances can be deceptive in chess. All the pieces other than pawns disappeared from the board in McShane-Howell in double quick time and I suppose some spectators might have thought this was a cunning ruse to get the game over with and agree a draw. But I think this is most unlikely. Most experienced chessplayers know that a king and pawn endgame, even with symmetrical pawn structures, can be a very dangerous animal. One slip, or a faint positional weakness, and it can be curtains. You don’t swap off your last minor or major piece without doing a lot of checking and double-checking in case there is some little nuance which you may have overlooked. It was something of a gamble on David Howell’s part as he had the disadvantage of a pair of doubled pawns – just the sort of problem that can be fatal in a king and pawn endgame – but it paid off. McShane probed and prodded in expert fashion but Howell’s defence stood firm.

London Chess Classic

Once again a lot of attention focused on Magnus Carlsen’s game. The last time he met Hikaru Nakamura was in a four-game rapidplay match in Oslo only two weeks ago, when the American won 3-1 so that must have been in the back of his mind. Carlsen played White and managed to isolate Hikaru Nakamura’s e6 pawn but it transpired his position was not as good as it appeared. Carlsen even found himself obliged to surrender a pawn. The game came down a queen ending and Carlsen secured a perpetual check.

London Chess Classic

(Peter Doggers:) Nigel Short played an interesting pawn sacrifice in the French Rubinstein, which might have looked like preparation, but it wasn't. "I've played a number of interesting novelties lately. Mostly that's because I haven't got a clue what I am doing in the opening." According to the former World Championship contender the move 12...a6 was critical: 13.Bd3 dxc3 14.Nxc3 Bg7 15.0-0 f5 and now after 16.Bxf5 exf5 he had seen the idea 17.Rad1 Qa5 18.b4! and White wins the queen, but after 16...Bxc3! 17.Qxc3 exf5 18.Rad1 Qg8 there's no mate.

The way Ni Hua played it, White could have reached an ending with a healthy pawn up by 20.cxd4 Bd6 21.Ne2, but Short's natural urge to exchange pieces was unsound in this game. As he said himself, he over-estimated the value of the d-file and with excellent moves such as 22...h5! Black got strong counterplay. The way the Chinese GM liquidated to a drawn pawn ending was pretty nice as well.

London Chess Classic

London Chess Classic

Short, Ni Hua and Rowson in the commentary room after the game



ChessVibes LiveToday you can follow IM Jan-Willem de Jong's live commentary of the 5th round in London and the 4th game betwen Gelfand and Ponomariov. 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.

Videos





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



Games round 4



Game viewer by ChessTempo


Links

More from PeterDoggers
Caruana Wins Tata Steel Chess With Round To Spare

Caruana Wins Tata Steel Chess With Round To Spare

Caruana Expands Lead At Tata Steel Chess

Caruana Expands Lead At Tata Steel Chess