Olympia Conference Centre, Kensington, London


Round 9 Express Report


 Polgar v Aronian with Carlsen looking on


Magnus Carlsen has won the 4th London Chess Classic. This victory was secured before his draw with Vishy Anand, as Kramnik was unable to make anything of his position against Mickey Adams. Round 9 saw surprisingly insipid play from the former World Champion, who essayed a line of his favourite Berlin Defence that left Black without any aggressive options. A draw was agreed on move 38.


Carlsen might have been doing fairly poorly against Vishy Anand out of the opening (Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik had differing perspectives), but the Norwegian managed to turn the tables on his opponent after 28…c5. Despite being a pawn up for much of the middlegame he was unable to obtain a serious advantage, and a draw was eventually agreed after a perpetual. Nakamura – McShane capped off a frustrating tournament for the UK number one.


Despite having some problems in the opening, he came up with an interesting exchange sacrifice that compelled the commentary room to suggest that he could play for a win. Unfortunately he simply blundered a piece on move 32, and had to resign. Polgar – Aronian was an uninspiring draw; Aronian’s Marshall led to mass exchanges and a theoretically drawn rook and pawn ending soon followed.

Round 8 Report


Aronian and Adams waiting for the signal to start


The excitement at the 4th London Chess Classic reaches fever pitch, as Vladimir Kramnik defeated Gawain Jones in Round 8 and thus maintains his chances of pipping Carlsen to first place. Mickey Adams played extremely accurately to develop winning chances as Black against Levon Aronian; however he was unable to convert his extra pawn in the endgame and consequently cannot challenge for first.


Judit Polgar secured her first win of the tournament with an assured performance against Luke McShane, which will restore much of her confidence going into today’s clash with Aronian. The most exciting game of the round was Anand – Nakamura, where both sides missed winning ideas during a complicated endgame. Eventually they had to settle for a draw. [Games] - Detailed pictorial report here.




Round 7 Report


Even in a tournament as exciting as this, it was bound to happen eventually. All four of Round 7’s games were drawn, thus giving Vladimir Kramnik, who had the bye, a chance to catch up with Magnus Carlsen’s astronomic +5 score. The latter was only able to draw against Hikaru Nakamura, who played extremely accurately in an unpleasant looking semi-ending to achieve winning chances against the Norwegian wunderkind. Carlsen’s technique was however impeccable, and the American GM was unable to break through his defence.


Mickey Adams could have made a serious challenge for first place with a win against Luke McShane, but he was unable to convert an endgame where he missed a number of winning variations. Jones – Aronian and Polgar – Anand were both solid draws; the British Champion obtained a small advantage against the World Number 2 but eventually had to allow a perpetual, whilst Polgar was unable to generate serious attacking chances against Anand’s Najdorf. Full pictorial report.

Round 6 Report


Round 6 saw a far better day for the English contingent, who scored a maximum 2/3. The all English clash between Luke McShane and Gawain Jones promised bloodshed, with both parties desperate to secure their first win. Luke, who developed a reputation as a giant killer at the previous two Classics, has thus far struggled against his higher rated opponents.


Despite enjoying significant advantages against Carlsen and Anand he only managed to secure one draw from both games. His subsequent losses to Aronian and Kramnik were, as far as I can see, emblematic of how these frustrations greatly diminished his confidence.


Gawain had been suffering similar fortunes: despite holding worse positions against Polgar and Nakamura he was unable to dent Magnus Carlsen’s winning record, despite an enterprising queen sacrifice that looked to trouble the Norwegian.

Round 5 Report - Matthew Lunn


Round 5 saw yet another exciting day of chess, with four decisive results. Unfortunately for the home fans, the English players scored a depressing 0/3, with Gawain Jones and Luke McShane suffering greatly at the hands of Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik. Having spoken gushingly of McShane – Aronian’s artistic merits, I feel like I would be trying my luck if I were to speak in similar terms of Kramnik’s Round 5 win. Yet many have done so, and with just cause. To see a positional genius show such a cavalier attitude to material is a sight to behold!







Round 4 Report - Matthew Lunn


The life of a chess enthusiast can be rather frustrating. We have all experienced, to a greater or lesser degree, seventh hour blunders, opening mishaps, and ungracious opponents. Yet there are moments that make this all worthwhile: winning our first tournament, outplaying a higher rated opponent, salvaging a result from a terrible position.


Then there are those rare occasions when Caissa smiles upon us, and we feel a deep, ineffable joy ... read more.








Concert of music

This year’s London Chess Classic opening ceremony, at 13.45 GMT on Saturday 1 December, features a mini-concert of music played by two professional musicians who also happen to be chess enthusiasts.


Jason Kouchak is a widely-acclaimed concert pianist who plays popular music and jazz as well as classical music. Jason was born in France and studied piano at the Royal College of Music in London, and at Edinburgh University. He has performed in major concert halls in London, Paris, St Petersburg and other venues in Europe and Asia. He has recorded five albums, including his own compositions, and appeared on BBC TV and the Japanese NHK channel. He has made regular guest appearances with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and recorded and performed with Julian Lloyd-Webber.


Read more ...





Children of Sacred Heart Primary School pair up for London Chess Classic 2012


08.11.12 - The pairings for the 2012 London Chess Classic are now available. This year, instead of involving the players themselves in the draw at the opening ceremony, the honour of conducting the draw was bestowed upon Liverpool’s Sacred Heart Primary School as a reward for the boom in chess which the school has experienced since chess tutor John Gorman working for the Chess in Schools and Communities charity introduced the game there a year ago.


This innovation highlights the status of the London Classic as the flagship of the charity, and helps to emphasise the link between the two. With it come two significant fringe benefits: spectators can now buy tickets with specific pairings in mind, well ahead of the tournament; and, of course, the players themselves will know for certain which colour they will have against each opponent and when, so that they have an extra three weeks to plan their preparation more specifically. And perhaps plan their evening entertainment! Last year Magnus Carlsen managed to fit in a Premiership football match during the tournament – let’s hope the draw will allow the elite players to book tickets for whatever takes their fancy. [Read more].


Classic Pairings  • Player Profiles

Judit Polgár: the girl raised to be a chessmaster


Judit Polgár. Photograph: Phil Fisk


Judit Polgár's father had a theory. An educationalist in Soviet-occupied Hungary, László Polgár was convinced that genius was made, not born. So he decided to demonstrate it, taking his three daughters out of school and concentrating them, from a young age, on a particular specialist subject. The subject was chess: and Judit became his proof. The 36-year-old is now the greatest female chess player of all time and the only woman ever to reach the top 10 in the world rankings.


As Judit points out, László himself was no chess prodigy. "As a teacher, he was good for only a very short time!" she laughs. "But they are genius pedagogues, my mother and father. They know very well how to convince, to lead the child in a way so that we were happy playing. And little by little we got more serious." Judit and her older sisters began by playing just 10 minutes of chess a day; by the time she was 12, it was 10 hours. Then in 1991 she broke the then record to become the world's youngest grandmaster, at just 15.


Read more ...



Chess makes a dramatic comeback in primary schools


Richard Garner | 10 Nov 2012

Chess is making a dramatic comeback in primary schools – thirty years after it all but disappeared completely from the state school scene.


In the past two years, a total of 175 schools – including those serving some of the most deprived areas of the country – have reintroduced the game to the curriculum.


Now the charity behind its revival, Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC), is optimistic the take-up will spread to 1,000 state schools within the next three years.


Academics are agreed the game is a major stimulant for improving pupils’ concentration and believe it can also be used in other subject areas – such as maths – to improve skills. [Read more].

Chess returns to the timetable


By Laura Clark | 12 Nov 2012


Schools are reintroducing chess lessons in an attempt to boost children’s brainpower. Three decades after it was virtually wiped out in state schools, the game is making a dramatic comeback.


In just two years, 175 primary schools across England and Wales have introduced formal teaching in chess. It follows research suggesting the ‘game of kings’ brings a range of educational benefits including improved concentration and memory. The charity spearheading the revival, Chess in Schools and Communities CSC, said its aim was to expose as many children as possible to the benefits of the game. [Read more].

Some changes in the Laws of Chess that might influence your game by Albert Vasse.


You should always play by the rules! So watch it; at the FIDE congress in Istanbul, some of the rules have been changed.


These new Laws of Chess will take effect on the 1st of July 2013.


Many of the changes in the text are just clarifications, but some go beyond cosmetics. I will work through some part of the text, picking ten changes that might directly influence your game.

An original composition by Yochanan Afek

Yochanan has once again paid us the honour of dedicating an original study to the London Chess Classic.



White to play and win




Yochanan, originally from Israel and now resident in Amsterdam, is one of the world's best known and most prolific composers. Uniquely, he holds four 'international' titles - IM for over the board play and for composition, and international arbiter for both - and he has a fifth title, FM for problem solving. He is also a regular contributor to magazines, including CHESS Magazine, and an award-winning author.


In his teens Yochanan was fortunate enough to come under the wing of not one, but two, legends of Israeli chess - Moshe Czerniak and Yair Kraidman. Inspired by them he started composing early in life, and was also organising chess tournaments at 16. He recently celebrated his 60th birthday and can look back on no fewer than 45 years as a dedicated chess professional.


British players will be familiar with Yochanan's amiable presence over the years at Isle of Man, Hastings, Lloyds Bank Masters and Oakham tournaments. He has played in the last two London Opens at Olympia, making impressive scores and only making one draw in eighteen games - so he's not so amiable at the board!


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