Grand Chess Tour's Final Leg Takes Off In London
The London Chess Classic took off today with five draws. It's the final leg of the 2017 Grand Chess Tour where Magnus Carlsen is currently leading the standings.
The 2017 Grand Chess Tour resumes in London with its final leg, the London Chess Classic. The first round was played today, and things started peacefully: five draws.
2017 London Chess Classic | Round 1 Results
|Ian Nepomniachtchi||1/2||Levon Aronian|
|Magnus Carlsen||1/2||Fabiano Caruana|
|Mickey Adams||1/2||Sergey Karjakin|
|Hikaru Nakamura||1/2||Vishy Anand|
|Wesley So||1/2||Maxime Vachier-Lagrave|
The round was played at Google Headquarters on Pancras Square. There, on the eighth floor of this modern, high-tech building, the leading AI company DeepMind is situated, bought by Google in 2014.
Google UK Headquarters!😉 pic.twitter.com/uCafHWN7Y2— Sergey Karjakin ( @SergeyKaryakin) November 30, 2017
One of DeepMind's co-founders, Demis Hassabis, is an expert on neuroscience-inspired artificial intelligence but also a very decent chess player, once FIDE-rated 2300. He happily hosted the tournament for two days; after a rest day on Saturday the tournament returns to its regular venue: Kensington Olympia.
Before today's round there was also the ProBiz event on Thursday where Hassabis himself teamed up with Michael Adams. The other teams were Levon Aronian and Justin Baptie, Garry Kasparov and Terry Chapman, David Norwood and Ali Mortazavi, Hikaru Nakamura and Lee Green, Magnus Carlsen and Chris Flowers, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Gilles Betthaeuser and the winners, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Rajko Vujatovic.
A rare encounter between two legends of chess. Chapman/Kasparov beat Flowers/Carlsen after a blunder by the latter.
The winning duo receives the prize from the British GM Nigel Short.
Sergey Karjakin, Vishy Anand, Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So did not play in the ProBiz but were involved in children's activities: they gave a simul, analyzed the games with their opponents and gave small lectures. At the end of the day Chess.com recorded two video interviews:
Chess.com's interview with Vishy Anand.
Chess.com's interview with Sergey Karjakin.
On Friday the real action started. Before discussing today's events, let's have a look at the current standings in the Grand Chess Tour, with one tournament to go.
An outright winner gets 13 points for London; a winner after a playoff gets 12 points. Second place gets 10 points, third eight points, fourth seven points, and so on. Carlsen is obviously the favorite to win this year's Tour, and he mostly needs to keep an eye on MVL.
The participants of the London Chess Classic with the tournament booklet.
Today the London Chess Classic started with with five draws, played in a high-standard, beautifully lit room with a giant electric screen in the background and numerous cameras hanging from the ceiling—conditions you might expect from a company like Google.
It was Hassabis who played 1.c4 for Carlsen, with Kasparov joining the photo moment, behind Caruana. The English Opening was an appropriate choice, but Carlsen nonetheless moved back the pawn and played his queen's pawn instead (without creating a London System though).
Great work, Malcolm, Demis, and everyone else making this happen. I have some bad personal memories of chess in London, but it deserves to become a global chess capital again! https://t.co/ZteKVaGH0V— Garry Kasparov ( @Kasparov63) December 1, 2017
The game was the longest of the day, with the world champion pressing throughout. Caruana still has faith in his Queen's Gambit Accepted, and although it means suffering for few hours, holding the draw against the world champion meant goal achieved.
"It's disappointing, but I also have to give props to him for good defense," said Carlsen afterward.
A cheerful start to a wonderful tournament. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Another interesting game was Nakamura vs Anand (or, in Kasparov's words, "a hell of a fight") where both players missed chances and neither can be too unhappy about the result. Initially Nakamura was doing well, but might have overpressed at some point. After defending well, Anand might have missed a chance to play for a win, even in the final position.
"It's a pity not to have won but I'm also relieved not to have lost," he said.
The first round in action in Google's beautiful playing hall.
You'll find the other three games, which were not so eventful, in the PGN file.
After playing in the same playing hall at the Champions Showdown in St. Louis last month, Caruana and Carlsen actually got to meet in London again. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
MVL might have missed out on the Candidates', but he is still in the running for taking over Wesley So's Grand Chess Tour title. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Carlsen's father Henrik and Nakamura's stepfather Sunil Weeramantry. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Garry Kasparov attended the round today; here he was interviewed by Maurice Ashley. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
The Boss also spent quite some time in the playing hall... | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
...looking for instance at a former pupil and a former opponent... | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
...and always calculating variations. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.