LCC R5: Nakamura grabs the lead on a bad day for England

0 | Chess Event Coverage

On Thursday the London Chess Classic resumed with the fifth round, and again three of the four games ended decisively. Vishy Anand bounced back from Tuesday's loss by beating Nigel Short. Hikaru Nakamura won again and grabbed the lead; he beat David Howell while Vladimir Kramnik defeated the third English player, Michael Adams. Levon Aronian and Magnus Carlsen drew their game; Luke McShane had a free round.

Hikaru Nakamura leads the London Chess Classic after five rounds | 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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The 3rd edition of the London Chess Classic has been pretty exciting for five rounds already, not the least because there have been less draws than we usually see in top events. An interesting aspect of the footbal score is that the standings can shuffle quite a lot in each round, and so it happens that we see Hikaru Nakamura in clear first place thanks to two consecutive wins. He must be waking up feeling great on Friday, when he celebrates his 24th birthday.

In round 5 the American profited from David Howell's by now typical breaking-down-in-timetrouble. It was a nice finish by Nakamura, though.

[Event "3rd London Chess Classic"]
[Site "London ENG"]
[Date "2011.12.08"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "Howell, David W L"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A22"]
[WhiteElo "2758"]
[BlackElo "2633"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "75"]
[EventDate "2011.12.03"]

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 Bb4 4. Nf3 Bxc3 5. bxc3 Nc6 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O Re8 8.
d3 e4 9. Nd4 exd3 10. exd3 Nxd4 11. cxd4 d5 {Around here the players were on
their own. "Hikaru got me into a position I didn't really want to play."
(Howell)} 12. Be3 h6 $146 (12... Bf5 13. Qb3 Qd7 14. Rfe1 c6 15. Bg5 {Giri,A
(2672)-So,W (2674)/Biel 2010}) 13. h3 b6 (13... Be6 14. Qb3 b6 15. Rac1 c6 16.
a4 Qd7 17. Kh2 {was another possible setup, e.g.} dxc4 18. dxc4 Bf5) 14. Rc1
Qd7 15. Bf4 Bb7 16. Be5 Nh7 17. c5 (17. Qg4 f5 18. Qh5 c5 {threatens to swap
on c4 (Nakamura).}) ({At first Nakamura looked at} 17. cxd5 Rac8 18. Qg4 f5 ({
Howell actually mentioned the spectacular but drawish line} 18... Qxg4 19. hxg4
Nf6 20. Bxf6 gxf6 21. d6 Bxg2 22. d7 Bxf1 23. Rxc7 Rcd8 24. dxe8=Q+ Rxe8 25.
Kxf1 Rd8 26. Rxa7 Rxd4) 19. Qh5 Red8 20. h4 Bxd5 21. Bxd5+ Qxd5 22. Qxf5 {
which is a healthy pawn but}) (17. cxd5 Rac8 18. Qg4 f5 19. Qh5 Rf8 $1 {is
"absolutely nothing for White" (Nakamura).}) 17... Rac8 (17... c6 18. f4 f5 19.
Bf3 b5 20. Kh2 a5 21. Rg1 Ra7 22. g4 Bc8 {and now doubling on the g-file with}
23. Rc2 $1 {is good for White.}) 18. h4 {"I think I have to go for this,
otherwise Nh7-g8-g6/e6.' (Nakamura)} Nf8 19. Kh2 bxc5 20. Bh3 Ne6 21. Rxc5 f6
22. Bf4 Qd8 23. Ra5 c5 ({"I was more worried about} 23... a6 {because now 24...
c5 will be much stronger. I was actually not sure what I was going to do here.
" (Nakamura)} 24. Qb3 (24. Re1 $5 {Houdini}) 24... Nxf4 25. Bxc8 Qxc8 26. gxf4
Qg4 $11) 24. Rxa7 Qb6 25. Ra4 Nxd4 26. Qh5 Qc6 (26... f5 27. Rxd4 cxd4 28. Bxf5
Ra8 29. Rc1 Re7 {and Black is covering all the squares.}) 27. Rb1 {In his
opponent's timetrouble Nakamura thought this to be quite annoying.} ({However,
the immediate} 27. Rxd4 {was strong:} cxd4 28. Bf5 {and now if} Re7 29. Qg6 Kf8
30. Qh7 {and there's no defence.}) 27... Ra8 (27... f5 28. Ra7 Re7 29. Be3 g6
$1 30. Qxh6 Nf3+ 31. Kh1 d4 32. Raxb7 Nxh4+ 33. Kh2 Nf3+ $11) 28. Rxa8 Rxa8 ({
After} 28... Bxa8 {White can cash with} 29. Rb6 $1 Qa4 30. Rxf6 $1 gxf6 31.
Qg6+ Kh8 32. Qxh6+ Kg8 33. Qg6+ Kh8 34. Qxf6+ Kg8 35. Bh6 $18) 29. Bg2 (29. Re1
$1 {was actually winning on the spot. There's not defence to 30.Re7.}) 29...
Ne6 $6 ({After} 29... Rd8 {Black can still defend a bit longer.}) 30. Rxb7 $1 {
Decisive.} Qxb7 31. Bxd5 Qc8 32. Bxh6 $1 {Of course.} Ra6 (32... gxh6 33. Qg6+
Kh8 34. Qxh6+ Kg8 35. Qg6+ Kh8 36. Qxf6+ Kh7 (36... Ng7 37. Qh6#) 37. Bxa8 $18)
33. Be3 Rd6 34. Bxc5 $1 Rxd5 (34... Qxc5 35. Bxe6+ Rxe6 36. Qxc5) 35. Qxd5 Kf7
36. Be3 Qa6 37. Qc4 Qa8 38. d4 1-0

At the press conference Nakamura was asked whether Kasparov has given him any advice about physicial exercise.

He hasn't said anything like that. However, when I'm not a tournaments I like to do mountain hiking and I like running so on my own I do quite a bit of exercise.

David Howell again spoiled a reasonable position in timetrouble

Nakamura won three points and surpassed Magnus Carlsen in the standings as the Norwegian only got one point out of his game with Levon Aronian. After the opening Carlsen missed some tactics (later he would defend accurately) but then his opponent wasn't at his sharpest either.

[Event "3rd London Chess Classic"]
[Site "London ENG"]
[Date "2011.12.08"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Aronian, Levon"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D12"]
[WhiteElo "2802"]
[BlackElo "2826"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "78"]
[EventDate "2011.12.03"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. e3 Bf5 5. Nc3 a6 $5 (5... e6) 6. Be2 h6 7. Qb3
Ra7 8. cxd5 cxd5 9. Bd2 e6 10. Ne5 $146 (10. O-O Nc6 11. Rfc1 Bd6 12. Na4 Ne4
13. Be1 Qe7 14. Ne5 Bxe5 15. dxe5 O-O {Haba,P (2531)-Kireev,A (2357)/Chrudim
2004}) 10... Be7 11. Rc1 O-O 12. O-O (12. g4 Bh7 13. h4 {would be too much
here because of} Nfd7 $1) 12... Nfd7 13. Nxd7 Nxd7 14. a4 {"I thought this was
the correct move. I want to play 15.Na2" said Aronian, who also pointed out
that here he already had to calculate 14...Nb8 15.e4 because "otherwhise I
would never play 14.a4."} ({After} 14. Na4 b5 15. Nc5 {Carlsen was thinking
about} Nb6 (15... Nxc5 16. dxc5 Qb8 17. Ba5 {with an edge for White}) 16. Ba5
Qb8 17. Bxb6 Qxb6 18. a4 Rc7 $11) 14... Nb8 {Regrouping the knight. "I think
it's not a good move." (Aronian)} 15. e4 $1 {Trying to profit from the awkward
placement of the black rook and knight.} (15. f3 Nc6) ({After} 15. a5 Qxa5 16.
Nb5 {Houdine likes} Qxd2 17. Nxa7 Qxe2 18. Qxb7 {because of} Bh4 $1) 15... dxe4
16. d5 {The logical follow-up.} Nd7 17. Be3 Bc5 $6 (17... Nc5 $1 {was
perfectly playable here. Carlsen: "To be honest I didn't think this e4 d5
think would work at all. I thought 17...Bc5 was even better but just missed 18.
Ne4 at all. So if you wondered, yes, I was that naive. And then I wanted to...
" Trent: " simplify as much as possible..." Carlsen: "No, just to lay
down and cry."} 18. Qa2 b6) 18. Nxe4 $1 Bxe3 ({On} 18... Bxe4 {there's the
Zwischenzug} 19. dxe6 $1 {and now} Bxe3 (19... b6 $1) 20. Qxe3 Qb6 21. exf7+
Rxf7 22. Qxe4 {is winning for White.}) 19. Qxe3 Qb6 (19... Ra8 20. dxe6 Bxe6
21. Rfd1 {with a nice edge for White.}) 20. Ng3 {"Somehow I was very confident
this was a good move." (Aronian)} ({The commentators showed} 20. Nd6 {"I
didn't even see this." (Carlsen)} Raa8 21. Qxb6 Nxb6 22. dxe6 Bxe6 23. a5 {
"Yes, maybe I should have gone for this." (Aronian)}) 20... Qxe3 21. fxe3 Bg6
22. dxe6 fxe6 23. Rfd1 Nf6 24. Rd6 Bf7 25. Bf3 ({Aronian had been planning} 25.
e4 {but here he "forgot" about this move!}) 25... a5 {Here Aronian "rembered
that he forgot".} 26. Rb6 Be8 {"I got upset and I started playing terribly."
(Aronian)} 27. Rxe6 ({"I didn't like} 27. b3 Bc6 {and he gets the activity."
(Aronian)}) 27... Bxa4 28. Re7 ({At first Aronian wanted to play} 28. Ne4 Nxe4
29. Bxe4 {but here he saw} Bc6 $1 30. Bxc6 bxc6 {"and this is just a draw."
Chris Ward: "Is that because all rook endings are drawn?" Aronian & Carlsen:
"Yes."}) 28... Re8 29. Nf5 Rxe7 30. Nxe7+ Kf8 31. Nc8 (31. Rc7 Bd7 32. Nd5 Ke8
33. Nxf6+ gxf6 34. Rxb7 Rxb7 35. Bxb7 Ke7) 31... Ra6 32. Bxb7 Re6 33. e4 Bd7
34. Rc5 $6 Nxe4 ({Aronian hoped for} 34... a4 35. Ra5 Nxe4 36. Bd5 $1 {but
apparently he had missed} Re5 $1 {which is fine for Black.}) 35. Rxa5 Bxc8 36.
Bxc8 Rc6 37. Rf5+ (37. Ba6 Rc1+ 38. Bf1 Rb1 39. Rf5+ Kg8 40. Rd5 Rxb2 41. Bc4
Kf8 42. Rf5+ Nf6 $11 {Carlsen}) 37... Nf6 38. Bb7 Rb6 39. Bf3 Rxb2 1/2-1/2

Nigel Short was doing fine for a long time with White against Vishy Anand, but then, just before the time control, he played what he called

a move of criminal stupidity

[Event "3rd London Chess Classic"]
[Site "London ENG"]
[Date "2011.12.08"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Short, Nigel D"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B52"]
[WhiteElo "2698"]
[BlackElo "2811"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "124"]
[EventDate "2011.12.03"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 5. O-O Nc6 6. Qe2 {"[Peter Heine]
Nielsen told me to look at this line and I never bothered." (Anand)} g6 7. c3
Bg7 8. Rd1 e5 9. b4 $146 (9. Na3 Nge7 10. Nc2 O-O 11. d4 Qc7 12. Bg5 exd4 13.
cxd4 Rae8 14. Rac1 {Howell,D (2633)-Socko,B (2635)/Porto Carras 2011}) (9. d4
exd4 10. cxd4 Nxd4 11. Nxd4 cxd4 {followed by Ng8-e7-c6 and Black is doing
fine (Anand).} (11... Bxd4 12. Na3)) 9... cxb4 10. cxb4 Nge7 ({Anand didn't
like} 10... Nxb4 11. d4 exd4 12. Bb2 Nc6 (12... d3 13. Rxd3 Bxb2 14. Qxb2 Nxd3
15. Qxh8) 13. Nxd4 Nxd4 14. Bxd4 Bxd4 15. Rxd4 Ne7 16. Nc3 O-O 17. Rad1 Qc6 18.
Nb5) (10... Nd4 $5 {as also worth considering (Anand).}) 11. d4 exd4 12. Bb2
O-O 13. b5 Ne5 14. Nxd4 Rac8 15. Nd2 d5 {Anand had seen this move in advance
and thought Black to be OK.} 16. h3 ({After} 16. f4 Nc4 17. Nxc4 Rxc4 18. e5
Rfc8 {"I don't think White is fighting for an advantage." (Anand)}) 16... Rfe8
(16... Nc4 17. Nxc4 Rxc4 18. exd5 Rc5 19. Nb3 Rxd5 20. Bxg7 Kxg7) 17. Rab1 Qc7
18. Rbc1 Qb6 19. Rxc8 Nxc8 20. exd5 Nd6 21. Qf1 Rc8 ({"Maybe I should have done
} 21... Qa5 22. N2b3 Qb4 {with positional compensation." (Anand)}) 22. N2b3
Nec4 23. Ba1 Na3 24. Qe1 {"Very clever." (Anand)} Rd8 {"A really good move. It
just keeps the position and says: what are you doing." (Short)} 25. Qe7 ({The
commentators enjoyed themselves with stuff like} 25. Ne6 fxe6 26. Bxg7 Kxg7 27.
Nd4 Re8 28. Nxe6+ Kg8 29. Qc3 Qxf2+ 30. Kh1 Rxe6 31. dxe6) ({but Short didn't
like} 25. Ne6 Nc2 $1) 25... Re8 26. Qg5 Naxb5 27. Nxb5 Qxb5 28. Bxg7 Kxg7 29.
Qf4 Qb6 30. Rc1 {"Very important." (Anand)} h5 (30... Re4 31. Qd2 Qb4 32. Qb2+)
31. Nc5 Qd8 32. Qb4 Qe7 {"Ridiculous." (Anand)} (32... b6 {Anand}) 33. a4 b6
34. Na6 $2 {"A move of criminal stupidity." (Short)} ({"I didn't see how I
could be better after} 34. Nd3 {" (Anand). "You're not better." (Short)}) 34...
Qf6 35. Re1 $6 (35. Nc7 Re2 36. Rf1 Qe5) 35... Rc8 36. Qb1 Rc4 37. Nb4 Qc3 38.
Nc6 Rxa4 39. Qd1 b5 40. Kh2 Qf6 41. Qd2 Ne4 42. Qe3 Qd6+ 43. Kg1 Qxd5 44. Nxa7
Qb7 45. Qd3 Qxa7 46. Rxe4 Rxe4 47. Qxe4 Qa1+ 48. Kh2 Qc3 49. f4 Qc5 50. Qd3 b4
51. f5 h4 52. Qd7 g5 53. Qd8 Qxf5 54. Qd4+ Kg6 55. Qd6+ Qf6 56. Qxb4 Qf4+ 57.
Qxf4 gxf4 58. Kg1 Kf5 59. Kf1 Ke4 60. Ke2 f3+ 61. gxf3+ Kf4 62. Kf2 f6 ({
Afterwards Nigel Short pointed out that} 62... f5 {also wins because after} 63.
Kg2 Ke3 64. f4 Kxf4 65. Kf2 Ke4 66. Ke2 f4 67. Kf2 f3 68. Kf1 {Black wins a
well-known ending with a famous triangulation:} Ke5 69. Ke1 Kf5 70. Kf1 Ke4 71.
Kf2 Kf4) 0-1

To make things worse for the local fans, Mickey Adams then got beaten as well, by Vladimir Kramnik. It looked like the Russian slowly outplayed his opponent (well, maybe he did) and indeed he received some compliments afterwards from GM Jon Speelman. However, there was one moment where basically a one-move tactic could have saved Adams.

[Event "3rd London Chess Classic"]
[Site "London ENG"]
[Date "2011.12.08"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Kramnik, Vladimir"]
[Black "Adams, Michael"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E00"]
[WhiteElo "2800"]
[BlackElo "2734"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "109"]
[EventDate "2011.12.03"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 Bxd2+ 5. Qxd2 d5 6. Bg2 O-O 7. Nf3 Nbd7 8.
O-O dxc4 9. Na3 e5 {"I had no idea if this was played before." (Kramnik)} 10.
Nxc4 (10. dxe5 Nxe5 11. Qxd8 Nxf3+ 12. Bxf3 Rxd8 13. Nxc4 Be6 14. Na5 Bd5 15.
Nxb7 Rdb8 16. Bxd5 Nxd5 17. Rfd1 Rxb7 18. Rxd5 Rxb2 19. Rc1 {1/2-1/2 L'Ami,E
(2611)-Turov,M (2630)/Dieren 2011}) 10... e4 11. Nfe5 Nb6 ({Kramnik spent
quite a lot of time calculating} 11... Nxe5 12. dxe5 Qxd2 13. Nxd2 e3) 12. Ne3
a5 $146 {"To me this seemed a bit risky." (Kramnik)} (12... c6 13. a4 ({
Apparently Kramnik would have played} 13. b4) 13... a5 14. b4 Nbd5 15. bxa5
Nxe3 16. Qxe3 Re8 17. Qc3 Rxa5 18. e3 Re7 {1/2-1/2 Jorgensen,A (2549)
-Hofstetter,H (2545)/ICCF corr 2002}) (12... Be6 13. b4 $1 {and White has much
easier play (Kramnik).}) 13. Rac1 (13. Rfd1 Be6 14. Qc2 Nbd5 15. Bxe4 Nxe3 16.
fxe3 Nxe4 17. Qxe4 Bd5 18. Qd3 f6 {should give enough compensation for Black
(Kramnik).}) (13. Rfc1 Be6 14. b3 {was probably more accurate (Kramnik).})
13... c6 14. b3 Re8 ({Kramnik expected the immediate} 14... Be6) 15. Rfd1 Be6
16. Rc5 {"I wanted to play concretely but in fact things are starting to
become very messy." (Kramnik)} (16. Qb2 $5 {Kramnik}) 16... a4 17. b4 a3 {"Now
the game gets very sharp." (Kramnik)} 18. Ra5 Qd6 19. Rc1 Nbd5 $6 {Kramnik
didn't like this.} (19... Rad8 {was a decent option, e.g.} 20. Rxa3 Qxd4 21.
Qxd4 Rxd4 22. Ra7 Bc8 23. N5c4 Nxc4 24. Rxc4 $11 {(Kramnik)}) 20. Nxd5 Bxd5 (
20... cxd5 21. Rac5) 21. Nc4 Qe7 ({More logical seemed} 21... Qe6 {and here
Kramnik was planning} 22. Rxa8 Rxa8 23. Nb6 Ra6 24. Nxd5 Nxd5 25. b5 $1 {with
the idea} cxb5 26. Bxe4 {although Black might still hold with} Rc6) 22. e3 h5
23. Rxa8 Rxa8 24. Nb6 Rd8 25. Nxd5 Nxd5 26. Rc5 {White is better because of
the weak black pawn on a3.} h4 27. Bf1 (27. b5 {allows} Nf4 $1) 27... g6 28. b5
{"Black's position is pretty difficult already." (Kramnik)} cxb5 $2 ({It looks
like both players missed the same tactic as give at move 27:} 28... Nc7 $1 {
which threatens 29...Qxc5. After} 29. Qc2 Nxb5 30. Bxb5 cxb5 31. Rxb5 h3 {
Black looks OK.}) 29. Rxb5 Qc7 30. Qa5 b6 31. Qxa3 Rd6 32. Qb3 Nf6 33. Rb4 Kg7
34. Rc4 Rc6 35. Rxc6 Qxc6 36. gxh4 Ng4 37. h3 Nh6 38. Qb5 Qf6 39. Qe5 Nf5 40.
Bg2 Nd6 41. a4 Qxe5 42. dxe5 Nc4 43. Bxe4 Nxe5 44. Kg2 Kh6 45. Kg3 f6 46. Bc2
Nc4 47. Bd3 Nd6 48. Kg4 Nf7 49. Be2 Nd6 50. Kf4 Nb7 51. h5 gxh5 52. Kf5 Nc5 53.
Kxf6 Ne4+ 54. Kf5 Nxf2 55. h4 1-0

GM commentator of the day was "strongest amateur in the world" Luke McShane. When asked about his tournament, he said:

I expected it to be very difficult this year and I'm surprised that I've surived so far. I certainly have done a little bit but not the same amount of preparation I was able to do last year. It is difficult. You come to the board slightly less in the way of ideas and kind of freshness, but on the other hand, one of the advantages you have is when you play you really want to play and I think that does have an influence, I enjoy the games.

Danny King then asked: 'Can you imagine becoming a full time professional again?'

It's a very difficult question to answer. I was playing for al ittle while and not I'm not so I kind of took that decision. I'm on holiday at the moment and I just want to play.

Round 5 standings

1Nakamura,H275810.0/5 2922
2Carlsen,M28269.0/5 2880
3McShane,L26718.0/42 black wins2940
4Kramnik,V28008.0/41 black win2945
5Anand,V28115.0/41 black win2706
6Aronian,L28025.0/41 white win2738
7Short,N26983.0/4 2596
8-9Howell,D26332.0/5 2519
8-9Adams,M27342.0/5 2482

Round 5 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 Adams-Aronian
Short0-1Anand Anand-Kramnik
Kramnik1-0Adams Howell-Short
Aronian½-½Carlsen McShane-Nakamura
McShanebyeAssisting the commentary CarlsenbyeAssisting the commentary
Round 710.12.1115:00 CET Round 811.12.1115:00 CET
Short-McShane Anand-Carlsen
Kramnik-Howell Howell-Aronian
Aronian-Anand McShane-Kramnik
Carlsen-Adams Nakamura-Short
NakamurabyeAssisting the commentary AdamsbyeAssisting the commentary
Round 912.12.1113:00 CET    
McShane Anand    
HowellbyeAssisting the commentary    


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