London R2: Adams Loses To Giri, Kramnik Crushes Nakamura

London R2: Adams Loses To Giri, Kramnik Crushes Nakamura

| 40 | Chess Event Coverage

On Thursday at the London Chess Classic tournament, leader GM Michael Adams lost to GM Anish Giri.

The Dutch grandmaster now tops the standings together with Vladimir Kramnik, who crushed GM Hikaru Nakamura.

Vishy Anand and Fabiano Caruana drew very quickly today. Round three will be played on Friday starting at 4 p.m. GMT.

Photo © John Saunders.

“It's a sprint, not a marathon,” is one of the favorite lines of the commentators at the London Chess Classic. The tournament lasts only five rounds, and with the “football scoring system” in use, a win has a big impact.

However, the game between Vishy Anand (who celebrated his 45th birthday on Thursday) and Fabiano Caruana was more like a sprint. Already on move 14 they started repeating moves! What happened?

In a 5.Bf4 Queen's Gambit Declined, the line in which Anand had beaten Carlsen last month in Sochi, Caruana played the less common 7...Ne4 instead of 7...Nh5. After Anand's 8.Rc1, taking on c3 followed by 9...b6 was extremely effective, partly because Black doesn't spend a tempo on the move ...c6 in this line.

After 14.Nd2 Anand was happy with his position, but after the game he admitted that he had missed 14...Nd7! which simply prepares a quick ...e5. He didn't see anything better than putting the knight back on f3, and for Caruana too there was no reason to go elsewhere.

A very short draw between Anand and Caruana. | Photo © Ray Morris-Hill.

Meanwhile, Hikaru Nakamura was in big trouble against Vladimir Kramnik. The American was in for a fight and chose one of his pet openings, the King's Indian. Kramnik had prepared something interesting in the Petrosian System.

Normally the white bishop goes back to h4 after Black pushed it with ...h6, but here Kramnik placed it on e3. That invites an immediate ...Ng4 (where White does not have the typical, tempo-winning Be3-g5) and ...f5, and Nakamura went for it, but then Kramnik's idea was revealed: taking on f5 and Qc1, attacking h6!

Sharp preparation from Kramnik. | Photo © Ray Morris-Hill.

Nakamura continued to play in a principled manner, and the position became very sharp. One mistake could be fatal!

And that's basically what happened: Black's early knight maneuver Nf6-d7-e5 was not the best mini-plan, and with simple, direct moves Kramnik got a devastating attack. At the press conference he showed a lot of lines, which made clear that he had executed the attack rather accurately! 

After the game, in the commentary room, Kramnik quoted Tigran Petrosian, the ninth world champion who gave his name to the 7.d5 move: “I am always happy when they play it, because the King's Indian feeds my family.”

 Kramnik: “I have to say I won lots of games in the King's Indian, without false modesty.”| Photo © Ray Morris-Hill.

Mickey Adams was the only winner in the first round, and another victory would be huge of course. However, he didn't even come close.

His opponent Anish Giri played a sideline (5.Nd2) of the Catalan, and afterward he thought that his opponent wasn't familiar with its details. White kept typical “Catalan pressure” along the long diagonal, and eventually reached an ending with an extra pawn.

Giri vs Adams. | Photo © Ray Morris-Hill.

It still was a draw according to the Dutch GM, who used a lot of little tactics to gradually increase his advantage.

With little time on the clock, Adams dropped another pawn and then it was over. Below is the game, annotated by GM Dejan Bojkov:

An excellent game by Giri. | Photo © Ray Morris-Hill.

2014 London Chess Classic | Round 2 Standings

# Name Rtg 1 2 3 4 5 6 Score Perf
1 Giri, Anish 2768 phpfCo1l0.png 3 1 4 2950
2 Kramnik, Vladimir 2769 phpfCo1l0.png 1 3 4 2974
3 Adams, Michael 2745 0 phpfCo1l0.png 3 3 2799
4 Anand, Viswanathan 2793 1 phpfCo1l0.png 1 2 2798
5 Nakamura, Hikaru 2775 1 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 2578
6 Caruana, Fabiano 2829 0 1 phpfCo1l0.png 1 2579

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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