London Classic Continues With 5 Draws In Round 2

London Classic Continues With 5 Draws In Round 2

| 30 | Chess Event Coverage

Anish Giri drew very quickly with Michael Adams but at the end of the day he maintained his lead at the London Chess Classic as all five games in the second round ended in a draw.

If nine draws out of ten games is a sign that no player is in bad shape in London, than we're up for a very exciting Classic. Of course the fans love a bit more bloodshed, but the suspense around the standings in the tournament and the Grand Chess Tour will alway be there.

But OK, games like Giri-Adams are not exactly thriller, but they'll always be there at this level. The draw is part of the game, and it was draws like these that were part of legendary matches such as Karpov-Kasparov 1984.

“It looked nice but somehow he got all his pieces out of the way and there wasn't much to attack left,” said Giri, who thought he “should be better around move 20.” “I was never really that happy and then it suddenly was just a draw,” said Adams.

The quickest draw of the round. | Photo Ray Morris-Hill.

Giri was hoping to get some pressure on the queenside using the dark squares, but with 21...Na7! Adams solved all his problems.

Giri: With these Sofia rules t be honest once you don't make a draw right away you have to suffer for the game ttrying to figure out how to do it. I'm not joking. In a position like that you can move round forever and at some point you get bored and make a mistake”

“Of course I'm very happy with yesterday's game and definitely I would have liked to at the very least put some more pressure today but you know if you're trying to win positions like that of course there will be days when you'll just make a draw like that.”

Carlsen vs Caruana is a great line-up, but a very quiet game as well — mostly because the Norwegian was “really playing a small ball approach” as he put it himself. He refered to 5.Re1 against the Berlin obviously, but he did keep a small plus.

White ended up with a passer on d6 in a position with a rook and a queen for both. Carlsen explained how important it is to get a queen to d4 in such positions, in what was quite an instructive post-mortem by him together with Jan Gustafsson.

Saturday's best game was Vachier-Lagrave vs Nakamura, and the psychological warfar started as early as move three. After 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 Nakamura went 3.e3!?, a remarkable way to avoid the Grünfeld.

The opening became a Benoni where both sides had lost time (White on e3-e4 and f3-f4, Black only on Nf6-h5-g6). Vachier-Lagrave didn't mind playing a different structure as he had an extra tempo “which would always provide counterplay.”

On playing the most entertaining game of the day, Nakamura said: “I don't know about entertaining today. Today was not what I call entertaining from the position I had out of the opening. Maybe it was entertaining for the fans but I was not enjoying it at least.”

Vachier-Lagrave: “I was enjoying it maybe a bit too much at some point!”

Annotations by GM Robert Hess

Topalov-Grischuk was a Berlin with 4.d3. There was an interesting moment in the opening when Grischuk played 7...a6, which he had done a few times before, whereas these days few people “ask” the bishop there.

However, as he pointed out, Carlsen has taken on c6 several times without ...a6 being played! Grischuk: “One of those things [playing ...a6 or taking on c6 voluntarily] must be borderline retarded!”

“One of those things must be borderline retarded!” |  Photo Ray Morris-Hill.

Aronian-Anand was a bit irregular at the start when White put his bishop on d2 instead of g5, but it became some kind of Ragozin anyway. “I felt under pressure but I also didn't see a clear way for him,” said Anand.

The Indian also didn't see another plan than the Ragozin one with c5-c4, followed by putting his knight on d6. “In Armenia we call this the Petrosian knight” said Aronian, who refered to the game Bobotsov-Petrosian, a classic for anyone studying the Queen's Gambit. 

2015 London Chess Classic | Pairings & Results

Round 1 04.12.15 16:00 GMT   Round 2 05.12.15 14:00 GMT
Topalov 0-1 Giri   Giri ½-½ Adams
Grischuk ½-½ Nakamura   Aronian ½-½ Anand
Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Carlsen   Carlsen ½-½ Caruana
Caruana ½-½ Aronian   Nakamura ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave
Anand ½-½ Adams   Topalov ½-½ Grischuk
Round 3 06.12.15 14:00 GMT   Round 4 07.12.15 16:00 GMT
Grischuk - Giri   Giri - Aronian
Vachier-Lagrave - Topalov   Carlsen - Adams
Caruana - Nakamura   Nakamura - Anand
Anand - Carlsen   Topalov - Caruana
Adams - Aronian   Grischuk - Vachier-Lagrave
Round 5 08.12.15 16:00 GMT   Round 6 10.12.15 16:00 GMT
Vachier-Lagrave - Giri   Giri - Carlsen
Caruana - Grischuk   Nakamura - Aronian
Anand - Topalov   Topalov - Adams
Adams - Nakamura   Grischuk - Anand
Aronian Carlsen   Vachier-Lagrave - Caruana
Round 7 11.12.15 16:00 GMT   Round 8 12.12.15 14:00 GMT
Caruana - Giri   Giri - Nakamura
Anand - Vachier-Lagrave   Topalov - Carlsen
Adams - Grischuk   Grischuk - Aronian
Aronian - Topalov   Vachier-Lagrave - Adams
Carlsen - Nakamura   Caruana - Anand
Round 9 13.12.15 14:00 GMT        
Anand - Giri        
Adams - Caruana        
Aronian - Vachier-Lagrave        
Carlsen - Grischuk        
Nakamura - Topalov        

2015 London Chess Classic | Round 2 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Giri,Anish 2778 2964 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1.5/2
2 Adams,Michael 2744 2790 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.0/2 1.25
3 Carlsen,Magnus 2850 2776 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1.0/2 1.00
4 Anand,Viswanathan 2803 2763 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.0/2 1.00
5 Nakamura,Hikaru 2793 2758 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1.0/2 1.00
6 Caruana,Fabiano 2787 2815 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.0/2 1.00
7 Aronian,Levon 2781 2795 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/2 1.00
8 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2765 2821 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/2 1.00
9 Grischuk,Alexander 2750 2798 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.0/2 0.75
10 Topalov,Veselin 2803 2574 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/2

The London Chess Classic takes place in Kensington Olympia, London and runs until Monday, December 14. December 9 is a rest day. You can watch live streaming commentary daily at with GMs Jan Gustafsson and Daniel King. phpfCo1l0.png

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