Four draws in penultimate round London Chess Classic

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Four draws in penultimate round London Chess ClassicAll games in the 6th and penultimate round of the London Chess Classic ended in a draw today. Magnus Carlsen miraculously saved a completely lost ending against Vladimir Kramnik.

British under 10 champion Imogen Turvey-Cross making the first move

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.

Videos by Macauley Peterson

Round 6

Finally your editor-in-chief got to see a full round in London (I arrived Sunday night) and I can say that after the good memories from last year, this second edition of the London Chess Classic is yet again an awesome event. There are so many things happening at the same time in the Olympia, not just the Classic. In the morning there are lessons for children by GMs like Chris Ward and Danny King, who are making long days as they're also responsible for the commentary later on.

In the huge East Hall there's the big open tournament, where GMs Gawain Jones and Simon Williams are sharing the lead with 7/8 and one round to go. In a central spot ten ladies are fighting out the Women's Invitational - things have been decided there already as Dutch WIM Arlette van Weersel is on a splendid 7.5/8 and 1.5 points ahead of WFM Sarah Hegarty.

On the other end of this hall, at 17.00 Viktor Korchnoi started his second and last simul over 29 boards, and a bit less than five hours later organizer IM Malcolm Pein had to tell him that he needed to stop, as the building was about to close. As the last two boards left had to be judged, Viktor replied to Malcolm: "OK, this is a draw, and here I'm winning." He just lost one game, we believe, and played a few draws.

Four draws in penultimate round London Chess Classic

The Korchnoi simul with 29 boards



Four draws in penultimate round London Chess Classic

The 79-year-old is still going strong

Just after the commentary had finished GM Jacob Aagaard gave a lecture on attacking, as he had just won the English Book of the Year Award for his books Attacking Manual 1 & 2 - the award had been given by Viswanathan Anand, who in fact had received one of those rewards as well just before Aagaard.

Four draws in penultimate round London Chess Classic

Jacob Aagard receiving the award from the World Champion



Anand was presented with the British Chess Federation Book of the Year Award for 1998(!) by Ray Edwards (chairman of the awarding committee) for his book Vishy Anand: My Best Games of Chess, published by Gambit twelve years ago.

Four draws in penultimate round London Chess Classic

...and the World Champion receiving the same award, after twelve years



And there was something even more unexpected: GM John Nunn, also the editor of that Anand book by the way, was busy with new hobbies on Tuesday. He was taking a lot of photos at the different events, and then in the afternoon he gave a lecture on stars, galaxies, supernovas, that kind of thing.

Four draws in penultimate round London Chess Classic

Nunn showing beautiful photos...



Four draws in penultimate round London Chess Classic

...and explaining a lot at the same time - Chessbase editor Frederic Friedel (on the left) listens along

We'd almost forget there are eight strong grandmasters playing a single round-robin. The standings didn't change in this sixth round as all games ended in a draw, but so many things had happened before those results appeared on the leaderboard.

The least interesting game was between Mickey Adams and Vishy Anand, where the players in a Najdorf quickly entered a kind of static, queenless middlegame. It was White who had some slight chances for more than a draw, but when he was too late to bring his king to a2, there was nothing to play for.

Nigel Short entertained the fans with a King's Gambit, which David Howell had actually prepared for as Short had played it earlier this year. An ancient variation came on the board, and somewhere around move 22 both players felt they were better. As usual Howell got into horrible timetrouble, but (again as usual, we might add) he managed to save his life anyway.

Four draws in penultimate round London Chess Classic

Luke McShane still has chances to give the tournament an English winner after escaping with a draw against Hikaru Nakamura. Another 1.g3 turned into the main line of the English Opening and as McShane played inaccurately just after the opening, he slowly but surely got into trouble. However, taking a pawn with check on move 34 was a big mistake by the American.

The real Houdini act, however, was performed by Magnus Carlsen, who was really completely lost against Vladimir Kramnik after about fifty moves. A piece down, the Norwegian tried a final, and very cunning idea on move 61, allowing the exchange of rooks and knights.

Four draws in penultimate round London Chess Classic

"If he hadn't taken, I would have resigned," Carlsen said afterwards. Kramnik took, which was not bad, but not the most practical either. The resulting ending was still winning, but the path to victory shown by the tablebase is just extremely difficult to find - at least too difficult for Kramnik, who is suffering from a cold, but probably doesn't want to use that as the reason. The Russian left the playing hall quite disappointed, but at least his wife is in London now to comfort him.

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


London Chess Classic 2010 | Round 6 standings
London Chess Classic 2010 | Pairings


Four draws in penultimate round London Chess Classic

Carlsen still has excellent chances to win the tournament...



Four draws in penultimate round London Chess Classic

...after Kramnik spoilt a winning endgame



Four draws in penultimate round London Chess Classic

Luke McShane might be making the home crowd very happy on Wednesday



Photos © Ray Morris-Hill & ChessVibes



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