Olympia Conference Centre, Kensington, London


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!


Annotations are by Grandmaster David Howell:



Kramnik, V - McShane, L

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.g3 dxc4 6.a4 e6 7.Bg2 c5 8.0–0 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Nbd7 10.Nc2 Qc7 11.Bf4 e5



12.Bd2 A strong and subtle idea. White has provoked Black into playing the undesirable e6-e5, weakening the light squares and creating a permanent outpost on d5. Now he is happy to retreat before playing Ne3 [12.Bg5 h6 13.Bxf6 Nxf6 14.Ne3 Bc5 15.Ncd5 Nxd5 16.Nxd5 Qd6 17.a5 Bd7 18.Rc1 Bb5 19.b3 0–0 (19...cxb3 20.Qxb3 0–0 21.Nc3) 20.bxc4 Bc6]. 12...Nc5 13.Bg5! The fantastic idea behind White's last few moves. He has moved his bishop three times, disobeying traditional opening rules, but he has created weaknesses and now thematically targets the light-squares.  13...Be6 14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.Nd5 Qd8 16.Nce3 Nb3 17.a5! Kramnik played this relatively quickly, and it is unclear how deep his preparation went, but the idea behind the move is brilliant. White is happy to sacrifice a mere exchange for the initiative. 17...Rc8 Black also had other options, which in hindsight might have been preferable: [after 17...Bc5 18.Ra4 Nxa5 19.Nxc4 there is still all to play for.; however, the brave 17...Nxa1!? might be critical: 18.Qa4+ Bd7 19.Qxc4 Rc8 20.Qh4 Rc6! (20...Bg7 21.Rxa1 f5 22.Qb4 looks strong for White.) 21.Rxa1 f5 and Black still has his full share of the chances.] 18.Ra4 Nd4 [now 18...Nxa5 runs into: 19.Nxf6+ (19.Rxa5 Qxa5 20.Nxf6+ Ke7 21.Ned5+ Kd8 looks scary (to say the least) but Black might survive!) 19...Qxf6 20.Rxa5 with a big positional advantage for White.] 19.Nb6 Rc7 20.Rxc4! Kramnik insists on sacrificing the exchange. In return, Black will never be able to compete on the light-squares. Over the next few moves McShane is unable to prevent White from increasing his initiative. 20...Bxc4 21.Nexc4 Nb5 22.Qb1 Qd4 23.Rd1 Qc5



24.e3 Simple and strong. Black can barely move. 24...Be7 25.Qf5 Kf8 26.Bd5 Kg7 27.Qg4+ Kh6 What else? 28.e4! Ne3-f5 is coming... 28...Nd4 29.Ne3 f5 30.Qh3+ Kg7 31.Rxd4! exd4 32.Nxf5+ Kf8 33.Qh6+ Ke8 34.Bxf7+ Kd8 35.Qg7 Rf8 36.Nxd4 Rc6 37.Nxc6+ bxc6 38.Qg4 Kc7 39.Qd7+ Kb8 40.Qd2 Kc7 41.Qd7+ Kb8



42.Kg2! Having safely made the time-control, Kramnik calmly improves the position of his king. Black is almost in zugzwang. 42...Bd6 43.b4 Qd4 44.Qxc6 Ka7 45.Kh3 Qd1 46.Nc8+ Rxc8 47.Qxc8 [47.Qb6+ Ka8 48.Bd5+ would have been even quicker] 47...Qf1+ 48.Kg4 h5+ 49.Kxh5 1–0


Jones - Anand ended a run of seventeen games without a win for the World Champion, who dispatched the British Champion with ruthless efficiency:



Jones, G - Anand, V

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 A bold decision. Gawain hadn't predicted that Anand would play a Grunfeld and so decides to deviate immediately from his game with Nakamura. It must be said that this is risky, since 3.f3 is something Anand had played against Gelfand in their recent World Championship match. 3...d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Be3 0–0 8.Qd2 e5 [8...Nc6 is the main alternative, which has been explored in depth during the last few years] 9.d5 c6 10.h4 cxd5 11.exd5 N8d7 12.h5 White's play is extremely direct so far. The idea behind pushing the h-pawn (apart from the obvious goal of checkmate!) is sometimes positional, forcing Black to recapture with his f-pawn and lose control of important squares. Unfortunately, this idea also takes several moves, so White must be accurate. 12...Nf6 13.hxg6 fxg6



14.Nh3!? An interesting idea; it is hard to judge whether this was home preparation. [14.0–0–0 Bd7 15.Kb1 Rc8 16.Ka1 e4 was the game Anand-Gelfand, WCh (3) Moscow 2012] 14...e4!? An ambitious attempt to fight for the initiative. Black sacrifices a pawn to activate his minor pieces (especially the g7-bishop) and in doing so gains nice control over the central dark squares. [14...Nfxd5 seems counter-intuitive; Black grabs a pawn but loses the initiative: 15.Nxd5 Qxd5 (15...Nxd5 16.Ng5 with attack) 16.Qxd5+ Nxd5 17.Bc4 Rd8 18.Ng5 looks pleasant for White] 15.fxe4 [15.0–0–0 would be a sensible option, but after 15...exf3 16.gxf3 Bf5 it looks like Black is doing well; 15.Ng5 exf3 16.gxf3 Bf5 is similar; White is still struggling to find safety for his king] 15...Ng4 Possibly the key moment in the game. Jones seems to lose the thread around here, but it seems that Black can claim full compensation for the pawn in any case. 16.Bf4 [16.Bg5 Qd6 17.0–0–0 Ne5 would be sensible for both sides. White's king is at least out of danger for now, but Black has many natural attacking ideas.; 16.Bc5 is probably best, but is not at all easy for a human to evaluate.] 16...Ne5 17.Bg5 Qd6



18.Nb5? An oversight in an already difficult position; Gawain simply didn't see that Black is threatening ...Rxf1 after Qc5. 18...Qc5 19.Na3 A sad necessity. [19.Rc1 Rxf1+ wins material] 19...Bxh3! Anand seizes his chance 20.Be3 [after 20.Rxh3 the simple 20...Nbc4 looks fatal: 21.Nxc4 Nxc4 22.Qc2 Rxf1+ 23.Kxf1 Ne3+; likewise, after 20.Rc1 Rxf1+! 21.Rxf1 Qxc1+! looks decisive: 22.Qxc1 Nd3+ 23.Kd2 Nxc1 24.gxh3 Nxa2 and Black emerges a piece up.] 20...Qc8 21.Rc1 Qg4



22.Rxh3 Qxh3 23.gxh3 Nf3+ 24.Ke2 Nxd2 25.Bxd2 Bxb2 A nice little detail to end the combination. White cannot hold everything together. 26.Nb5 Bxc1 27.Bxc1 Nxd5! The final finesse. 28.exd5 Rae8+ 29.Be3 Rxf1 A strong performance from Anand: proof that having an initiative with active pieces is vital to win games at this level. 0–1


Mickey Adams, who is on excellent form this tournament, was rather unlucky to lose to Magnus Carlsen, after achieving a useful advantage out of the opening:



Adams, M - Carlsen, M

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.d3 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.a4 Bd7 9.h3 0–0 10.Be3 Be6 11.Bxe6 fxe6 12.Nbd2 b4 13.c3 d5



14.cxb4! After a quiet opening, Adams starts to initiate concrete variations. This move is not at all obvious, but Black's doubled e-pawns suddenly become a significant weakness. 14...Bd6 [14...Bxb4 15.Rc1 Qd7 16.Qc2 Bxd2 17.Qxd2 looks pleasant for White; the knight on c6 is a bit loose.] 15.b5 axb5 16.axb5 Rxa1 17.Qxa1 Nb4 18.d4 Again Adams takes the direct approach, simplifying and keeping his extra pawn. 18...exd4 [18...Nc2 19.Qa6 Nxe3 20.fxe3 exd4 21.Nxd4] 19.Nxd4 Qe8 20.Qa4 Nxe4 21.Nxe4 dxe4 22.Nc6 Nd5 23.Qxe4 Nxe3 24.Qxe3 Rf5 So far, it is clear that the momentum is going in Adams' favour. He has an extra (albeit doubled) pawn, and his knight on c6 controls several important squares. However, his next move was questionable: 25.Nd4?! [Many commentators expected the simple 25.Qe2! after which it isn't so easy for Black to find a productive plan, for example: 25...Bc5?! 26.b4 Bb6 27.g3 Qd7 28.Kg2 Qd5+ 29.f3! and Rd1 is coming] 25...Re5 26.Qb3 Rd5 27.Qc4 Qf7 28.b3 Qd7! Black's sneaky threat is ...Rxd4! and ...Bh2+ 29.Nf3 [29.Nc6 was also possible, trying to keep the b5-pawn] 29...Rxb5 30.Ra1 Rd5 31.g3 h6 32.Qe4 Qe8 33.Kg2 Kf7 34.Ra2 Qd8 35.Re2 Qf6 36.h4 Qf5 37.Qc4 Rd3



38.Re3?! Magnus, as he does so often, has slowly improved his position and put his opponent under some pressure. However, Adams uncharacteristically cracks over the coming moves. [after 38.Ne1 there is still all to play for] 38...Rxe3 39.fxe3 Qb1 40.e4? The dreaded move 40 blunder. Carlsen now wins a pawn by force, with a winning endgame. [40.Nd4 Qe4+ 41.Kf2 covers everything for now.] 40...Qb2+ 41.Kh3 Qf2 42.e5 Qxf3 43.exd6 Qh1+ 44.Kg4 Qd1+ 45.Kh3 Qxd6 46.h5 c5 47.g4 Qd4 48.Qf1+ Ke7 49.Qf3 Qd5 50.Qc3 e5 51.Kg3 Kd6 Carlsen has displayed good technique, and Adams now makes one final attempt to complicate things for Black. 52.Qc4



Qxc4 53.bxc4 e4 54.Kf4 e3! Carlsen has worked it all out, and proceeds to win convincingly. 55.Kf3 [55.Kxe3 Ke5 with the famous 'opposition' - White's king must give way and Black is able to win a pawn.] 55...Ke6! [not 55...Ke5?? 56.Kxe3 when White has the 'opposition'!] 56.Ke2 Kf6 57.Kf3 Kg5 58.Kxe3 Kxg4 59.Ke4 Kxh5 60.Kd5 g5 61.Kxc5 g4 62.Kd4 g3 63.Ke3 Kg4 0–1


One could assign any number of hyperbolic phrases to Magnus’s performance this tournament: but I think his TPR of 3117 and 2860.5 live rating speak for themselves. Then again, it is worth saying this: I don’t know how many of you have ever described Magnus as “The Mozart of Chess” in conversation with a non-chess player, and been met with incredulity. I certainly have. Yet whatever you think of chess’s intellectual and artistic merits, one thing is clear. With every tournament Magnus Carlsen plays, and with every record he breaks, the more certain it is that the man is a genius, who would succeed in almost any field. Perhaps I couldn’t let his rating speak for itself after all.


Polgar – Nakamura represented another bad day at the office for the Hungarian:


Polgar, J - Nakamura, H

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.a4 Rb8 8.axb5 axb5 9.Nxe5 Nxe5 10.d4 Bxd4 11.Qxd4 d6 12.f4 Nc6 13.Qc3 Ne7 14.Nd2 A rare try. The most popular moves are: [14.e5!?; 14.Ra7; and 14.Qd3 ] 14...0–0 15.e5 Nfd5 16.Bxd5 Nxd5 17.Qd4 Bb7 18.Ne4



f5! With opposite coloured bishops on the board, this energetic break seems to help Black in the struggle for the initiative. White's bishop on c1 is now blocked by his own f4-pawn whereas Black's bishop on b7 has a clear target on g2. Although the position is objectively equal, Nakamura must have been content with the outcome of the opening. 19.Ng5 Qd7 20.Nf3 Ra8 21.Bd2 c5 22.Qd3 c4 23.Qd4 dxe5 24.Nxe5 Qc7 25.Rfd1 h6 26.Be1 Rfe8 27.Bd2 Red8 28.Rxa8 Rxa8 29.h3 Ra2 30.Rb1 Nf6! Black begins to improve his bishop, and targets c2. White is lacking a clear plan. 31.Bb4 Be4



32.Re1!? Sacrificing a pawn for some activity. [32.Rc1 Nd5 33.Bd2 Qa7 is surprisingly strong for Black. Without the queens on the board, Polgar will be unable to hold her queenside pawns.] 32...Bxc2 33.g4 Qa7! Nakamura keeps things simple. [33...Ra6 is also possible, but more risky.] 34.Qxa7 Rxa7 35.Nc6 Ra6 36.Ne7+ Kf7 37.g5 [37.Nxf5?! Bxf5 38.gxf5 Nd5 39.Bd2 b4 gives Black a great chance of converting his endgame advantage. His queenside majority (and White's weak kingside pawns) are likely to decide.] 37...hxg5 38.fxg5 Ne4 39.Nxf5 Nxg5 40.Re7+ Kg6 41.Nd4 Bd3 42.Rb7 Nxh3+ 43.Kh2 Ng5 44.Nxb5 Rf6 45.Bc5 Rf4



46.Nc3? A blunder, ending the game immediately. Nakamura has made good progress, but Polgar will be disappointed at not putting up more resistance. [46.Kg3 would have been a better try.] 46...Rg4 47.Nd1 Bf1! White's king is caught in a mating net. 0–1


So, what’s the verdict after five rounds of the tournament? Here are the current standings:


Rankings after Round 5







Magnus Carlsen  




Vladimir Kramnik




Hikaru Nakamura




Michael Adams




Viswanathan Anand




Levon Aronian




Gawain Jones




Luke McShane




Judit Polgar




It is looking increasingly like a two horse race between Carlsen and Kramnik. Magnus’s chances of winning the tournament are excellent: the significance of his two point lead is intensified by the fact that he and Kramnik have already played each other (draw, see Report 3). In his final three games Carlsen has Polgar (white), Nakamura (black) and Anand (white), with a bye in Round 8. Kramnik will be playing Aronian (black), Jones (white) and Adams (black), with a bye in Round 7. It is very difficult to predict how these games will go, but it is clear that Aronian – Kramnik and Nakamura – Carlsen will be ones to watch.


Chess in Schools and Communities



The Olympia Conference Centre has been a hive of activity over the last few days, as hundreds of schoolchildren arrived to soak up the atmosphere of the event.  Everyone took part in a range of exciting activities, including lessons with a Grandmaster, simultaneous exhibitions, and tournaments, which allowed the participants to pit their wits against children of the same age group from schools across the country.On Tuesday and Thursday they watched the commencement of the main event’s games. International Master Malcolm Pein, Chief Executive of the Chess in Schools and Communities charity, welcomed each player to the stage with a warm introduction. After they had all sat down, he invited a select group of children to join them, as a reward for their tournament successes or for their showing commitment to the charity by travelling a long distance to the venue.


On Tuesday, children from Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol and Leeds were accorded the honour of making the first moves for Vladimir Kramnik, Gawain Jones, Mickey Adams and Judit Polgar, which was greeted by applause from the packed auditorium.


World Number 1 Magnus Carlsen is happy to receive some assistance


World Champion Vishy Anand is pleased to see his assistant choose a solid first move


UK's Number 1 Luke McShane is delighted with his helper's choice


USA Number 1 Hikaru Nakamura gets off to a good start too with 1.e4!


Games from this round



© SC


© 2012 London Chess Classic

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