Nakamura Beats Anand In London, Again

Nakamura Beats Anand In London, Again

| 41 | Chess Event Coverage

With again only one decisive game in round four, the London Chess Classic now has three leaders: Anish Giri, Hikaru Nakamura and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. On Monday, Nakamura improved his score against Viswanathan Anand to 6-1.

Nakamura joined the leaders. | All photos by FM Mike Klein.

“I don't think there's a secret. It's just that for whatever reason certain people do well against certain people,” said Nakamura. 

Nakamura didn't have a special reason for it, but somehow he keeps on winning against Vishy Anand. In classical games the score is now 6-1 for the American, who also beat Anand in the playoff to win the Zurich Chess Challenge earlier this year.

“I don't think my style is that much different from Vishy's but I seem to find a way against him,” said Nakamura. “Especially here in London things have seem to gone my way.”

Nakamura defeated Anand for the second time in London in a classical game, but he also won the rapid game last year, and the two exchanged wins in the blitz last year.

Yet another win for Nakamura against Anand.

But Anand does seem to bring out the best out of Nakamura somehow. The latter won a complicated game but made it look easy in the post-mortem afterward. Impressively accurate play.

Annotations by GM Robert Hess, with notes by GM Hikaru Nakamura

Anish Giri started with a win and is still on top of the standings, despite drawing his next three games. In round four he split the point with Levon Aronian, who seemed to be doing his best not to draw too quickly as Black.

“With 20...axb6 it's draw agreed, no?” asked Giri after the game. “Why 20...Nxe5?” “You play Nxe5 because it looks cool!” said Aronian. “I was trying to give you a chance to play and you don't appreciate it!”

“I really like these kind of people, most of the players nowadays they want to finish it as fast as possible,” said Giri. “So I really like it when people are pushing their luck, but I wasn't able to use it today unfortunately. The position is too solid.”

Giri deeply concentrating at the start of the game.

The second draw of the day appeared on the board of Alexander Grischuk and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. This game had a promising start: the 6.Bg5 Najdorf. We don't see this line that often anymore in modern chess, which is a pity.

MVL played the Delayed Poisoned Pawn, so first ...h6 and only then ...Qb6. It adds the move g7-g5 to Black's possible moves in many positions.

Grischuk didn't allow his b2-pawn to be taken, castled queenside, and a typical Sicilian position appeared. With an early d6-d5 push Vachier-Lagrave solved his problems and even got a slight advantage, but with aggressive play Grischuk held the balance.

A draw in the 6.Bg5 Najdorf in Grischuk vs MVL.

The other two games went well beyond the first time control. The next game to end was Magnus Carlsen vs Michael Adams, where the world champion had been trying in vain to win an endgame where he was an exchange up for a pawn.

He won that exchange on move 28, when Adams “wasn't very optimistic” about his drawing chances. If Carlsen was winning anywhere it must have been somewhere close to the time control.

Moving the knight to d6 was a good maneuver as it held away the white king. Adams admitted that he missed 64.Bxf7 but he kept his cool.

Excellent defense by Mickey Adams against the world champion.

Topalov vs Caruana was yet another game in London that ended in a draw, but could have been won by either player. First it was Caruana who got his chances with a great position out of the opening, but he spoiled his chances, got into trouble and then defended very well.

After six and three quarters of an hour, the game was finally over.

Tournament director IM Malcolm Pein starting the fourth round. 

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 ½-½ Giri   Giri ½-½ Aronian
Vachier-Lagrave 1-0 Topalov   Carlsen ½-½ Adams
Caruana ½-½ Nakamura   Nakamura 1-0 Anand
Anand ½-½ Carlsen   Topalov ½-½ Caruana
Adams ½-½ Aronian   Grischuk ½-½ 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 4 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Nakamura 2793 2864 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 1 2.5/4 4.75
2 Vachier-Lagrave 2765 2887 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 2.5/4 4.25
3 Giri 2778 2858 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 1 2.5/4 4.00
4 Grischuk 2750 2784 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 2.0/4 4.25
5 Carlsen 2850 2775 ½


½ ½ ½ 2.0/4 4.00
6 Aronian 2781 2778 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 2.0/4 4.00
7 Adams 2744 2803 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 2.0/4 4.00
8 Caruana 2787 2806 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 2.0/4 3.75
9 Anand 2803 2704 0 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.5/4
10 Topalov 2803 2580 0 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/4

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

Image courtesy of Spectrum Studios.

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