Kramnik leads London Chess Classic with one round to go

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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0 | Chess Event Coverage

Thanks to a win against Luke McShane on Sunday Vladimir Kramnik is the sole leader at the London Chess Classic with one round to go. The games Anand-Carlsen, Nakamura-Short and Howell-Aronian ended in draws; Mickey Adams had a free round.

Kramnik grabs the lead | All photos © Ray Morris-Hill for the official website


EventLondon Chess Classic 2011PGN via TWIC
DatesDecember 3rd-12th, 2011
LocationLondon, UK
System9-player round robin
PlayersCarlsen, Anand, Aronian, Kramnik, Nakamura, Adams, Short, McShane, Howell
Rate of play2 hours for 40 moves followed by 1 hour for 20 moves followed by 15 minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds increment from move 61
Prize fund€ 160,000
Tiebreak1. # games won. 2. # games won with Black. 3. Result of the game(s) between the tied players. Otherwise Armageddon.
NotesDraw offers only through the arbiter. 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw. The player who has a “bye” will assist the commentators during the round.

Videos by Macauley Peterson

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Vlad the Anglocide

Report by John Saunders

There was just one decisive result in the penultimate round: Vladimir Kramnik broke English hearts by beating home player Luke McShane in a long, fluctuating struggle. That put the former world champion two points clear of the field. He has White in the final round and is not someone who is readily beatable with that colour. And in order for Vlad not to finish first (at least on tie-break), something would have to happen that has never happened before at a classical time control: Levon Aronian would have to beat him with Black in tomorrow’s final round.

Let’s run through a few possible last-round permutations. If Vlad wins, of course he takes the title and the 50,000 Euros first prize. If he draws, and Magnus Carlsen fails to win (he’s Black against Nigel Short), the same applies. If Vlad draws and Magnus wins, then Vlad is first on tie-break (an extra Black win) but they receive 37,500 Euros each. If Vlady loses, Magnus could jump over him to take first, or if he fails too, Luke McShane can even finish first ahead of Vlad on tie-break (if he beats Vishy) as can Hikaru Nakamura (after a play-off, if he beats Mickey Adams). The upshot of this is that all four boards tomorrow feature a player who has a chance (albeit remote) of first place.

It’s a shame I used my Jack in the Beanstalk pantomime joke in the round five report because, as it turns out, Vlad Kramnik (and not Hikaru Nakamura) was the Giant after all. Today Vlad completed his sweep of the four English players. Luke put up a grand fight, not just to draw but to win, but in the end an extreme case of time trouble was his undoing. Luke fought right through the next time control but it always looked forlorn.

[Event "3rd London Chess Classic"]
[Site "London ENG"]
[Date "2011.12.11"]
[Round "8"]
[White "McShane, L."]
[Black "Kramnik, V."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C65"]
[WhiteElo "2671"]
[BlackElo "2800"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "138"]
[EventDate "2011.12.03"]

{[Notes by John Saunders]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 {Shades of the
Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, just down the road, where Vlad constructed
the Berlin Wall that Garry Kasparov failed to breach in 2000. However, the
line chosen by Luke McShane is different in character.} 4. d3 Bc5 5. Bxc6 dxc6
6. b3 {A McShane invention which he first used against Jonathan Parker in the
4NCL (British League) last April.} Bg4 (6... Qe7 7. Bb2 Nd7 8. Nc3 O-O 9. Ne2
Ba3 10. Bxa3 Qxa3 11. O-O Qe7 12. Ng3 Nc5 {McShane,L (2645)-Parker,J (2531)/
England 2011}) 7. Nbd2 $146 (7. h3 O-O 8. Be3 Bxe3 9. fxe3 Bxf3 10. Qxf3 Re8
11. Nc3 Qd6 {Arriola,R (786)-Stevenson,G (800)/LSS email 2009}) 7... Nd7 8. Bb2
f6 {It is natural for Black to strongpoint the e5 pawn, to block the scope of
the residual white bishop.} 9. Nf1 Nf8 10. h3 Bxf3 11. Qxf3 Ne6 12. Ne3 {
Commentators Danny King and Stuart Conquest made a pretty good job of
predicting this sequence of moves.} Qd7 13. h4 a5 14. a4 O-O 15. h5 Bxe3 {
White's last move was a signal that he was about to play Nf5, so Vlad decides
to remove it from the board and further restrict the bishop.} 16. Qxe3 c5 17.
Qh3 Qc6 18. O-O Nf4 19. Qh2 Qe8 20. h6 {"Luke has done this before in the Ruy
Lopez - to put all his pieces on strange squares, but keep a very solid
structure." (Carlsen)} g5 21. g3 Ne6 22. f4 $5 {This sets the game alight as
it involves an exchange sacrifice.} gxf4 23. gxf4 Nxf4 24. Rxf4 exf4 {Now the
position has opened up and White has full compensation for the exchange with
his strong bishop on b2 and open g-file.} 25. Kf2 Rf7 ({Stuart Conquest tried}
25... Kh8 26. Qxf4 {and now the very visual} Qe5 $1 {"That's fantastic!"
(Lawrence Trent)... (long pause) ... "But is it any good!" (Stuart, having
second thoughts, to general laughter). Dan King poured a little cold water on
it, however:} 27. Bxe5 fxe5 28. Qf5 {with a better endgame for White.}) 26. Qh5
{White keeps a number of options open. The black queenside pawns are a little
loose.} Qe6 27. Qxc5 Kh8 28. Qc4 (28. Rg1 Rg8 29. Rxg8+ Kxg8 30. Qxa5 Qh3 31.
Qa8+ Rf8 32. Qxb7 {looks as though it might result in perpetual check.}) 28...
Re8 29. Rh1 Qd7 (29... Qxc4 30. bxc4 Rg8 31. e5 Rg6 32. exf6 {looks quite
comfortable for White.}) 30. Qb5 Re6 {Luke's main problem here was his
shortage of time. His board position is fine.} 31. Qxd7 (31. Qxa5 {looks quite
playable.}) 31... Rxd7 32. Rg1 Rc6 33. Kf3 Rd8 34. Rg5 Rf8 35. Rg2 (35. Rxa5 {
is not impossible.} {If} Rxc2 $2 36. Bxf6+ $1 {and Black must play} Kg8 {when}
37. Be7 $5 Re8 38. Rg5+ Kf7 39. Rg7+ Ke6 40. Bg5 {is quite handy for White.})
35... Rg8 36. Rh2 Rg1 {Now Black's rooks are starting to work well together,
while Luke's time allowance runs ever lower.} 37. d4 $2 {It seems a shame to
obstruct the glorious bishop. 37 Kxf4 is playable.} Rf1+ 38. Kg4 f3 39. d5 $6 {
Dubious.} (39. Kf5 f2 40. c4 Rb6 41. d5 {keeps White in the running.}) 39...
Rd6 (39... f2 {looks better for Black.}) 40. c4 Kg8 41. c5 f5+ $1 {Very nice.
Black gets his rook into play after this.} (41... f2 42. Kf5 $1) 42. Kxf5 Rg6
43. Bd4 (43. Rd2 Rg2) 43... Rd1 (43... Rg2 44. Rh4 (44. Rh3 Rd1 45. Rxf3 Rxd4
46. Ke5 Rdd2 47. Ke6 Rdf2 48. Rxf2 Rxf2 49. Kd7 {Aronian} Rc2 $1) 44... Rd1 45.
e5 f2 46. Bxf2 Rxf2+ 47. Ke6 Rf7 48. d6 Rg1) 44. Be3 (44. Bf2 Rg2 $1 (44... Rd2
45. Kf4 Rg2 46. Rxg2+ fxg2 47. Kg3) 45. Rxg2+ fxg2 46. Ke6 {Aronian} g1=Q $1
47. Bxg1 Rxg1 48. Kd7 Rc1 49. Kxc7 Rxc5+ 50. Kxb7 Rc3 51. d6 Kf7 $19) 44... Rg2
45. Rh3 f2 {By now most of the pundits had despaired of Luke's position. In
truth it is probably lost but he finds a way to fight on, albeit without too
much hope.} 46. Bxf2 Rxf2+ 47. Ke6 Rf7 48. d6 c6 49. Ke5 Kf8 50. Rh2 Rg1 51. b4
axb4 52. Rb2 Rg5+ 53. Ke6 Rg6+ 54. Ke5 Rxh6 55. a5 Rh5+ 56. Ke6 Rh6+ 57. Ke5
Rh5+ 58. Ke6 Ke8 59. a6 Rh6+ 60. Ke5 bxa6 61. Rxb4 Ra7 62. Rb8+ {A nice little
trick. The king has two moves. Which is correct?} Kf7 ({Unsurprisingly, the
former world champion makes the right choice. After} 62... Kd7 {White has} 63.
Rg8 {and the unstoppable threat of Rg7+ and Rxa7 should be enough to draw.})
63. Rc8 Re6+ 64. Kf5 a5 65. Rh8 Rf6+ 66. Ke5 Kg7 67. Rc8 a4 68. Rxc6 a3 69. d7
a2 0-1

Anand and Carlsen drew rather quickly in a Queen's Gambit Declined (the classical Tartakower this time) where the World Champion made a "Fingerfehler" after which he lost his chances for an advantage.

[Event "3rd London Chess Classic"]
[Site "London ENG"]
[Date "2011.12.11"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Anand, V."]
[Black "Carlsen, M."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D58"]
[WhiteElo "2811"]
[BlackElo "2826"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "66"]
[EventDate "2011.12.03"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 O-O 7. e3 b6 8. Be2
Bb7 9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. cxd5 exd5 11. b4 c5 12. bxc5 bxc5 13. Rb1 Bc6 14. O-O Nd7
15. Bb5 Qc7 16. Qc2 Rab8 17. Rfc1 {"A Fingerfehler. I must have confused
something." (Anand)} (17. dxc5 Bxc3 18. Bxc6 Qxc6 19. Qxc3 Qxc5 20. Qxc5 Nxc5
21. Nd4 {"I guess this could be one way to play it." (Anand). It was played,
once, by not the weakest players ever:} Rfc8 22. Rfc1 Rxb1 23. Rxb1 Ne6 24. Nf5
Rc2 25. a3 Ra2 26. Ne7+ Kh7 27. Nxd5 Rxa3 28. h4 Ra5 29. e4 f5 30. exf5 Nd4 31.
Ne3 Nxf5 {1/2-1/2 (31) Karpov,A (2693)-Topalov,V (2739)/Dubai 2002}) 17... Bxb5
$146 (17... Rfc8 18. a4 Qd6 19. Qd2 c4 20. Bxc6 Qxc6 21. Qc2 g6 {Desmarais,C
(2187)-Orsher,I (2095)/Boston 2000}) ({"I almost played} 17... Rfd8 18. Qf5
Bxb5 19. Nxb5 Qc6 {and then I realized why not do this immediately." (Carlsen)}
) 18. Nxb5 Qc6 19. Nc3 (19. Qa4 a6 20. Nc3 Qxa4 21. Nxa4 cxd4 22. exd4 Rxb1 23.
Rxb1 Rc8 24. h4 Rc4 25. Nb6 Nxb6 26. Rxb6 Ra4 27. Rd6 Rxa2 28. Rxd5 {Anand})
19... cxd4 20. Nxd4 Bxd4 21. exd4 Rxb1 22. Nxb1 Qxc2 23. Rxc2 Rb8 24. Nd2 Nf8 (
24... Rb4 25. Nb3 a5 26. g3 a4 27. Rc8+ Kh7 28. Nc5 {Anand/Carlsen}) 25. g3 Ne6
26. Nb3 Rb4 27. Rc6 $1 {"The only thing White shouldn't do is play passively
with Rd2." Carlsen)} Ra4 28. Nc5 (28. Rd6 Rxa2 29. Rxd5 Ng5 30. Kg2 Ne4 31. Rf5
{"felt artificial so I thought I should just nail it." (Anand)}) 28... Rc4 29.
Rd6 Nxc5 30. dxc5 Rxc5 31. Ra6 Rc7 32. Rd6 Rc5 (32... Rc2 33. Ra6 d4 34. Rxa7
d3 35. Kg2 Rxa2 36. Kf3 $11 {Anand}) 33. Ra6 Rc7 1/2-1/2

Levon Aronian was in the mood for something unusual and played the Pirc against David Howell. The Armenian GM got some chances, but not more.

[Event "3rd London Chess Classic"]
[Site "London ENG"]
[Date "2011.12.11"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Howell, D."]
[Black "Aronian, L."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B09"]
[WhiteElo "2633"]
[BlackElo "2802"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "108"]
[EventDate "2011.12.03"]

1. e4 d6 {"I was in the mood for something unusual." (Aronian)} 2. d4 Nf6 3.
Nc3 g6 4. f4 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Bd3 Na6 7. O-O c5 8. d5 Bg4 9. Kh1 {"Kind of a
strange move; I was happy to say this." (Aronian)} ({"I think you're supposed
to play} 9. h3 Bxf3 10. Rxf3 {" (Aronian)}) 9... Rb8 10. Bd2 Qc8 ({Here
Aronian noticed} 10... Nb4 11. Be2 e6 12. a3 Nbxd5 13. exd5 exd5 {but thought
the refutation to be} 14. f5 d4 15. Nxd4 cxd4 16. Bxg4 dxc3 17. Bxc3) (10...
Nc7 11. a4 a6 12. a5 Nb5 13. Qe1) 11. e5 $6 $146 {"I thought this was dubious
and I still do." (Aronian)} (11. Be2 Nc7 12. a4 a6 13. h3 Bxf3 14. Bxf3 b5 15.
axb5 axb5 16. e5 Nd7 17. exd6 exd6 {Jussupow,A (2655)-Davies,N (2495)/Oak
Brook 1996}) (11. h3 Bxf3 (11... c4 12. hxg4 cxd3 13. cxd3 Nc5 14. Nh2 Nxd3 15.
Rb1 {is not so clear}) 12. Rxf3 c4 13. Be2 Nc5 {Aronian}) 11... dxe5 (11... Nd7
12. exd6 exd6 13. Nb5) 12. fxe5 Nd7 13. Bg5 {"After this I realized it's not
that easy." (Aronian)} Bxf3 (13... Nxe5 14. Bxe7 Re8 15. Bd6) 14. gxf3 (14.
Rxf3 Nxe5 15. Bxe7 Nxf3 (15... Re8 16. d6 Nxf3 17. Qxf3 Qe6 18. Nd5 {was a
line that made Vishy Anand wanting "to swap boards with David"}) 16. Qxf3 Nb4
17. d6 {Anand} Nxd3 18. Qxd3 Qe6 {Aronian}) 14... c4 15. Be2 f6 16. exf6 Nxf6
17. Bf4 (17. Qd4 Nh5 (17... b5 18. a4 Nb4) 18. Qg4 (18. Qxc4 $2 Ng3+ 19. hxg3
Qh3+ 20. Kg1 Qxg3+) 18... b5 19. Bxe7 Re8 20. d6) 17... Ra8 18. Be5 {"I
thought this was the best idea." (Aronian)} Rd8 (18... Nh5 {would allow White
to more or less force a draw with} 19. f4 {(threatening both Bg4 and Bxh5)}
Ng3+ 20. hxg3 Qh3+) 19. Qd4 (19. f4 {should be very safe for White (Aronian).})
19... Nb4 20. Qxc4 Nfxd5 21. Rad1 (21. Bxg7 Kxg7 (21... Qxc4 22. Bxc4 Kxg7 23.
Rae1 Kf8 24. f4 Nxc3 25. bxc3 Nd5 26. f5 Nf6 27. fxg6 hxg6 28. Rg1) 22. Qd4+
Kg8 23. Bc4 e6 24. Bb3 {is fairly equal (Aronian).}) 21... Qc6 {"I was already
happy here." (Aronian)} 22. Nxd5 Nxd5 23. Qe4 Nb6 24. Qxc6 bxc6 25. f4 Rxd1 26.
Rxd1 Bxe5 27. fxe5 Rf8 28. Rd4 c5 29. Re4 Kg7 30. Kg1 {"I have to be better,
but it should be very little." (Aronian)} g5 31. h4 h6 32. hxg5 hxg5 33. Kg2
Rd8 34. Bd3 c4 35. Bxc4 Rd2+ 36. Kf3 Rxc2 37. Bb3 Rxb2 38. Rd4 Kg6 (38... Rb1
39. Kg4 Re1 40. Kf5) 39. Rd8 Kf5 40. Re8 Nd7 (40... a5 41. Rxe7 a4 42. Bg8 {is
suddenly threatening mate in one! (Aronian)}) 41. Rxe7 Nxe5+ 42. Kg3 Rd2 43.
Rxa7 Rd3+ 44. Kg2 Rc3 45. Ra5 g4 46. Bd1 Kf4 47. Ra4+ Kf5 48. Ra5 Rc4 49. Kg3
Rc3+ 50. Kg2 Re3 51. Kf2 Rh3 52. Bxg4+ Kxg4 53. Rxe5 Rh2+ 54. Ke3 Rxa2 1/2-1/2

Hikaru Nakamura did his best to beat Nigel Short and maintain some chances to win the tournament, but the Englishman played well enough to draw a very long game.

[Event "3rd London Chess Classic"]
[Site "London ENG"]
[Date "2011.12.11"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Nakamura, Hi"]
[Black "Short, N."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A21"]
[WhiteElo "2758"]
[BlackElo "2698"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "179"]
[EventDate "2011.12.03"]

1. c4 e5 ({The game will reach a very similar position as Nakamura had with
Black against Carlsen a year ago:} 1... f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 d6 4. Nc3 g6 5. e3
Bg7 6. Nge2 O-O 7. O-O e5 8. b3 Nbd7 9. d3 c6 10. Ba3 Qc7 11. Qd2 Re8 12. Rae1
Nc5 13. h3 e4 14. dxe4 Nfxe4 15. Qc2 Nxc3 16. Nxc3 Be6 17. Rd1 Rad8 18. Bb2 Bf7
{Carlsen,M (2802)-Nakamura,H (2741)/London ENG 2010}) 2. Nc3 d6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2
Bg7 5. d3 f5 6. e3 Nf6 7. Nge2 a5 8. b3 c6 9. Bb2 Na6 10. Qd2 O-O 11. O-O Re8
$146 (11... Bd7 12. Kh1 Rc8 13. Rae1 b5 14. e4 Nc5 15. cxb5 cxb5 16. exf5 Bxf5
17. Ne4 b4 {Gurevich,M (2630)-Kasparov,G (2770)/Reggio Emilia 1992}) 12. h3 Be6
13. Rad1 Qc7 14. d4 Rad8 15. Na4 b6 16. Qc1 Bf7 17. Qa1 Rd7 18. Nac3 g5 19. d5
c5 20. e4 f4 21. g4 h5 22. f3 Bg6 23. Kf2 Bf8 24. Ke1 Rh7 25. Kd2 Qd7 26. Rh1
Nc7 27. Rdg1 Kf7 28. Qf1 Bh6 29. Nc1 Rb8 30. Nb5 Nxb5 31. cxb5 hxg4 32. hxg4
Bg7 33. Rxh7 Bxh7 34. a4 Rh8 35. Nd3 Qc7 36. Nf2 Nd7 37. Rh1 Bg6 38. Nh3 Qd8
39. Bc3 Bf6 40. Kc1 Kg7 41. Kb2 Bf7 42. Ka2 Nf8 43. Rg1 Ng6 44. Qd3 Rh6 45. Ka3
Qh8 46. Qf1 Bd8 47. Nf2 Bc7 48. Nd3 Rh2 49. Nb2 Nf8 50. Nc4 Nd7 51. Be1 Kf6 52.
Qf2 Ke7 53. Rf1 Rh6 54. Qg1 Bg6 55. Ka2 Bf7 56. Rf2 Bg6 57. Rd2 Bf7 58. Bf2 Qb8
59. Qc1 Qa7 60. Rc2 Kf6 61. Bg1 Qa8 62. Nb2 Bd8 63. Bf1 Kg7 64. Nc4 Qb8 65. Bg2
Rh8 66. Bf2 Rh6 67. Be1 Rh8 68. Bc3 Rh6 69. Qe1 Qa7 70. Qg1 Qb8 71. Bf1 Bc7 72.
Rh2 Rxh2+ 73. Qxh2 Qd8 74. Kb2 Bg6 75. Kc1 Bf7 76. Nb2 Qh8 77. Qg2 Qd8 78. Kd1
Qh8 79. Bd3 Qd8 80. Ke1 Bg6 81. Kf1 Kf7 82. Kg1 Kg7 83. Nc4 Bf7 84. Qh2 Bg6 85.
Kf2 Bf7 86. Ke2 Bg6 87. Qh1 Bf7 88. Qh2 Bg6 89. Qh1 Bf7 90. Qh2 1/2-1/2

Round 8 standings

No.NameRtgScore/gameTiebreakPerf
1Kramnik,V280015.0/7 2959
2Carlsen,M282613.0/7 2903
3McShane267112.0/73 black wins2852
4Nakamura,H275812.0/71 black win2851
5Anand,V28118.0/71 black win2750
6Aronian,L28028.0/71 white win2733
7Short,N26985.0/7 2585
8-9Howell,D26334.0/8 2572
8-9Adams,M27343.0/7 2523

Round 8 standings (classical)

 

London Chess Classic 2011 | Schedule & results

Round 103.12.1115:00 CET Round 204.12.1115:00 CET
Kramnik½-½Nakamura Howell½-½Adams
Aronian½-½McShane McShane½-½Carlsen
Carlsen1-0Howell Nakamura1-0Aronian
Adams½-½Anand Short0-1Kramnik
ShortbyeAssisting the commentary AnandbyeAssisting the commentary
Round 305.12.1115:00 CET Round 406.12.1117:00 CET
Aronian1-0Short Carlsen½-½Kramnik
Carlsen1-0Nakamura Adams0-1Short
Adams0-1McShane Anand0-1Nakamura
Anand½-½Howell Howell0-1McShane
KramnikbyeAssisting the commentary AronianbyeAssisting the commentary
Round 508.12.1115:00 CET Round 609.12.1115:00 CET
Nakamura1-0Howell Adams½-½Aronian
Short0-1Anand Anand½-½Kramnik
Kramnik1-0Adams Howell½-½Short
Aronian½-½Carlsen McShane½-½Nakamura
McShanebyeAssisting the commentary CarlsenbyeAssisting the commentary
Round 710.12.1115:00 CET Round 811.12.1115:00 CET
Short0-1McShane Anand½-½Carlsen
Kramnik1-0Howell Howell½-½Aronian
Aronian½-½Anand McShane0-1Kramnik
Carlsen1-0Adams Nakamura½-½Short
NakamurabyeAssisting the commentary AdamsbyeAssisting the commentary
Round 912.12.1113:00 CET    
McShane Anand    
Nakamura-Adams    
Short-Carlsen    
Kramnik-Aronian    
HowellbyeAssisting the commentary    

 

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