London R1: Adams Beats Caruana in Rollercoaster Game

London R1: Adams Beats Caruana in Rollercoaster Game

| 23 | Chess Event Coverage

After winning the blitz on Monday, GM Michael Adams got off to a great start at the London Chess ClassicIn a rollercoaster game he defeated GM Fabiano Caruana.

Both Nakamura-Giri and Kramnik-Anand ended in draws. Round two will be played on Thursday starting at 4 p.m. GMT.

The side events are over, and now it's time for the real thing. After a year of rapid only (won by Nakamura), the London Chess Classic has returned to classical chess, albeit for only five rounds. The first of those five certainly did not disappoint.

London mayor Boris Johnson opened the Classic. | Photo Ray Morris-Hill.

In his game with Nakamura, Giri gave a positive answer to one of his recent tweets:

Black was certainly OK in this game. Nakamura played the quiet 5.Re1 line against the Berlin and followed up with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave's remarkable 11.Re2!? which blocks both white's bishop and queen! The idea of the move is to double later with Rae1, or sometimes play Qe1. Giri equalized quickly, after which it was all about “finding a way to make a draw without playing for six hours,” as Nakamura put it.

Black is OK! | Photo Ray Morris-Hill.

Meanwhile, Kramnik and Anand were involved in a heavy theoretical debate — even more theoretical than Kramnik realized! In this Botvinnik Semi-Slav, almost the whole game was known among the experts. 

Kramnik was flabberghasted when Nigel Short told him that the position after move 40 had been played ten (!) times — in computer vs computer games, that is. "Well, computers have a lot of time," joked Anand.

Commentator Danny King guessed that Anand might have prepared this back in 2008 for “a certain World Championship match.” Anand confirmed.

Kramnik & Anand shake hands while chief arbiter Albert Vasse starts the clock. | Photo Ray Morris-Hill.

Kramnik's knowledge was “limited” to knowing an old game Jussupow-Tukmakov. He hadn't looked at the line for a few years, but remembered that it should be a little bit better for White. Garry Kasparov had expressed exactly the same to Nigel Short in the VIP room.

Anand: “I remember the first time I saw this position [after 25...Qxc6] I just wanted to take back and try something else, but there was quite some correspondence and computer activity here and the statistics were quite good for Black.”

“What are we playing now. What is this chess nowadays,” lamented Kramnik. “Well, you have played the perfect game of chess,” said King. Kramnik: “Thank you.”

Deep prep by Vishy Anand. | Photo Ray Morris-Hill.

The third game was sort of a rollercoaster, especially when you look at the computer evaluations. “Pretty effortless”, Adams joked at the start of his press conference, after six hours and 73 moves. 

Things didn't go well in the opening for the English GM. “I already was pretty unhappy after this 19...d5. I thought the tactics worked for me but they always seemed to work for him.”

Adams thought he should have went for Bb5 instead of c4 on move 21. “The only good thing is that I had a bit more time.”

Adams might be lowest rated player, but he's also the only one with three points! | Photo Ray Morris-Hill.

Caruana spent a lot of time on the clock, and couldn't deliver a decisive blow. But when the computer finally showed a clean win with 34.Re4, Adams miscalculated and played something else.

Right after the time control misjudged the position and traded rooks, after which the white pawns became too dangerous. “I've got very good pieces and I got two pawns which are running so I don't believe White should be worse,” was Adam's understatement!

Here's the game, annotated by GM Dejan Bojkov:

Adams grabs an early lead. | Photo © Ray Morris-Hill.

2014 London Chess Classic | Round 1 Standings

# Name Rtg 1 2 3 4 5 6 Score Perf
1 Adams, Michael 2745 phpfCo1l0.png 3 3 3564
2 Anand, Viswanathan 2793 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 2769
3 Nakamura, Hikaru 2775 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 2768
4 Kramnik, Vladimir 2769 1 phpfCo1l0.png 1 2793
5 Giri, Anish 2768 1 phpfCo1l0.png 1 2775
6 Caruana, Fabiano 2829 0 phpfCo1l0.png 0 2010

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