(1) The World on Twitter - London Chess Classic [B06]
London Classic Twitter Games London, 02.12.2011
[Saunders / Pein]



1.e4
First serve, Boris Becker. He wasn't there in the room but is alleged to have started the game. It is unclear to the extent the great German tennis star participated thereafter.

1...g6
The GMs were taking it in turns to make moves, but there were some discussions between them about plans. It was all very informal and the strict laws of the game were not being adhered to. At one point I was shocked to hear what sounded like an arbiter giving advice to a player. Well, to be honest, I was not so much shocked that an arbiter should break the rules in this flagrant manner as incredulous that he should imagine that someone rated about 700 points above him would take his advice in a million years.

2.d4 Nf6
A whim of Nigel Short's, designed to tease Magnus Carlsen. It elicited a large guffaw from the knowledgeable super-GMs when Nigel suggested it. Magnus was game for a laugh and agreed to Nigel's whim.

3.e5 Nh5
Why did the GMs laugh? This is a line once played by Tony Miles that Magnus took up but with which he lost to Michael Adams at the 2010 Khanty-Mansiysk Olympiad. First psychological blow to the English GMs - but they may pay for it later.

4.Be2 d6 5.Bxh5
[5.Nf3 Nc6 6.exd6 exd6 7.d5 Ne7 8.c4 Bg7 9.Nc3 0-0 10.0-0 Bg4 11.Re1 was Mickey Adams' more measured approached against Magnus Carlsen at the 2010 Olympiad. The Twitter audience decides to grab the offered pawn. It looks like a freebie but you may be surprised to find that even your materialistic analysis engine is sceptical.]

5...gxh5 6.Qxh5 dxe5 7.Qxe5 Rg8
The GMs have good play for a pawn here. Whatever White does, Black will soon gain a tempo - and with four 2800s leading the debate, one tempo is going to hurt a lot.

8.Nf3 Nc6 9.Qh5 Nxd4
[Someone, I think Vishy Anand, asked Luke McShane why he hadn't snaffled a pawn with 9...Rxg2 around here. But of course the enquiry was made in the mildest tone. There were no recriminations amongst the GMs. In fact, the game acted as a pleasant ice-breaker after the press conference. By now they were fully absorbed in the chess game, discussing its nuances in the most affable, relaxed terms - and, of course, utterly confident of a successful outcome. Levon Aronian showed himself to a natural chairman, summarising the various ideas and plans.]

10.Nxd4 Qxd4 11.0-0
Malcolm Pein sat at the computer keyboard, fielding and sifting the Twitter suggestions as they came in. No easy task, and he had arbiter Albert Vasse sitting at the electronic board, chivvying him along, to keep the game moving. For their part the GMs were moving more or less instantly.

11...Qe4 12.g3 Bg7
Kramnik's idea. Black has the edge with development and weak white squares to aim at.

13.Nc3 Bxc3 14.bxc3 Bd7 15.Ba3?!
Well, the idea is clear, but unfortunately Black gets a big threat in first.

15...Bc6 16.f3 Qe3+ 17.Kg2 0-0-0
[diag] Black is now piling the pressure on White's king. Unless a few thousand of them had Rybka switched on, they were in big trouble.

18.Rae1? Qxc3
[The massed ranks of GMs can't see what your analysis engine sees instantly: 18...Rxg3+!! 19.hxg3 Rd2+ 20.Kh1 Bxf3+!! 21.Qxf3 and now the real point of 18...Rg3+ is revealed: 21...Qh6+! giving mate in a couple of moves.]

19.Bxe7 Rd2+ 20.Kh1 Rf2!
[diag] Standing close to Magnus Carlsen when he played this, I opined to the arbiter that he was "showboating" (doing something unnecessarily flash when a more routine move would serve as well) but on reflection I'm inclined to think that it was simply the mystic gravitational force which drags Magnus Carlsen towards the right move. Which it is.

21.Rxf2 Qxe1+ 22.Kg2 Qxe7
At this point Nigel Short suggested to Malcom Pein that the GMs offered the World "resigns" since White is a bishop down with no hope of salvation. "And if that doesn't work, we offer them a draw," suggested a smiling Vladimir Kramnik, who was prepared to trade a half point in favour of an early return to the hotel with his wife and daughter. He is unlikely to be so generous from tomorrow onwards. But Malcolm took the hint and brought the curtain down on the Twitter crowd's game. 0-1