Reports | December 08, 2011 20:33

LCC R5: Nakamura grabs the lead on a bad day for England

LCC R5: Nakamura grabs the lead on a bad day for England

On Thursday the London Chess Classic resumed with the fifth round, and again three of the four games ended decisively. Vishy Anand bounced back from Tuesday's loss by beating Nigel Short. Hikaru Nakamura won again and grabbed the lead; he beat David Howell while Vladimir Kramnik defeated the third English player, Michael Adams. Levon Aronian and Magnus Carlsen drew their game; Luke McShane had a free round.

Hikaru Nakamura leads the London Chess Classic after five rounds | All photos © Ray Morris-Hill for the official website

Event London Chess Classic 2011PGN via TWIC
Dates December 3rd-12th, 2011
Location London, UK
System 9-player round robin
Players Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, Kramnik, Nakamura, Adams, Short, McShane, Howell
Rate of play 2 hours for 40 moves followed by 1 hour for 20 moves followed by 15 minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds increment from move 61
Prize fund € 160,000
Tiebreak 1. # games won. 2. # games won with Black. 3. Result of the game(s) between the tied players. Otherwise Armageddon.
Notes Draw offers only through the arbiter. 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw. The player who has a “bye” will assist the commentators during the round.

Videos by Macauley Peterson

For iPhone/iPad users: you can access the video feed in iTunes here.

The 3rd edition of the London Chess Classic has been pretty exciting for five rounds already, not the least because there have been less draws than we usually see in top events. An interesting aspect of the footbal score is that the standings can shuffle quite a lot in each round, and so it happens that we see Hikaru Nakamura in clear first place thanks to two consecutive wins. He must be waking up feeling great on Friday, when he celebrates his 24th birthday.

In round 5 the American profited from David Howell's by now typical breaking-down-in-timetrouble. It was a nice finish by Nakamura, though.

PGN string

At the press conference Nakamura was asked whether Kasparov has given him any advice about physicial exercise.

He hasn't said anything like that. However, when I'm not a tournaments I like to do mountain hiking and I like running so on my own I do quite a bit of exercise.

David Howell again spoiled a reasonable position in timetrouble

Nakamura won three points and surpassed Magnus Carlsen in the standings as the Norwegian only got one point out of his game with Levon Aronian. After the opening Carlsen missed some tactics (later he would defend accurately) but then his opponent wasn't at his sharpest either.

PGN string

Nigel Short was doing fine for a long time with White against Vishy Anand, but then, just before the time control, he played what he called

a move of criminal stupidity

PGN string

To make things worse for the local fans, Mickey Adams then got beaten as well, by Vladimir Kramnik. It looked like the Russian slowly outplayed his opponent (well, maybe he did) and indeed he received some compliments afterwards from GM Jon Speelman. However, there was one moment where basically a one-move tactic could have saved Adams.

PGN string

GM commentator of the day was "strongest amateur in the world" Luke McShane. When asked about his tournament, he said:

I expected it to be very difficult this year and I'm surprised that I've surived so far. I certainly have done a little bit but not the same amount of preparation I was able to do last year. It is difficult. You come to the board slightly less in the way of ideas and kind of freshness, but on the other hand, one of the advantages you have is when you play you really want to play and I think that does have an influence, I enjoy the games.

Danny King then asked: 'Can you imagine becoming a full time professional again?'

It's a very difficult question to answer. I was playing for al ittle while and not I'm not so I kind of took that decision. I'm on holiday at the moment and I just want to play.

Round 5 standings

No. Name Rtg Score/game Tiebreak TPR
1 Nakamura,H 2758 10.0/5   2922
2 Carlsen,M 2826 9.0/5   2880
3 McShane,L 2671 8.0/4 2 black wins 2940
4 Kramnik,V 2800 8.0/4 1 black win 2945
5 Anand,V 2811 5.0/4 1 black win 2706
6 Aronian,L 2802 5.0/4 1 white win 2738
7 Short,N 2698 3.0/4   2596
8-9 Howell,D 2633 2.0/5   2519
8-9 Adams,M 2734 2.0/5   2482

Round 5 standings (classical)


London Chess Classic 2011 | Schedule & results

Round 1 03.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 2 04.12.11 15:00 CET
Kramnik ½-½ Nakamura   Howell ½-½ Adams
Aronian ½-½ McShane   McShane ½-½ Carlsen
Carlsen 1-0 Howell   Nakamura 1-0 Aronian
Adams ½-½ Anand   Short 0-1 Kramnik
Short bye Assisting the commentary   Anand bye Assisting the commentary
Round 3 05.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 4 06.12.11 17:00 CET
Aronian 1-0 Short   Carlsen ½-½ Kramnik
Carlsen 1-0 Nakamura   Adams 0-1 Short
Adams 0-1 McShane   Anand 0-1 Nakamura
Anand ½-½ Howell   Howell 0-1 McShane
Kramnik bye Assisting the commentary   Aronian bye Assisting the commentary
Round 5 08.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 6 09.12.11 15:00 CET
Nakamura 1-0 Howell   Adams - Aronian
Short 0-1 Anand   Anand - Kramnik
Kramnik 1-0 Adams   Howell - Short
Aronian ½-½ Carlsen   McShane - Nakamura
McShane bye Assisting the commentary   Carlsen bye Assisting the commentary
Round 7 10.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 8 11.12.11 15:00 CET
Short - McShane   Anand - Carlsen
Kramnik - Howell   Howell - Aronian
Aronian - Anand   McShane - Kramnik
Carlsen - Adams   Nakamura - Short
Nakamura bye Assisting the commentary   Adams bye Assisting the commentary
Round 9 12.12.11 13:00 CET        
McShane   Anand        
Nakamura - Adams        
Short - Carlsen        
Kramnik - Aronian        
Howell bye Assisting the commentary        


Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Knallo's picture

Note that Kramnik and McShane can overtake Nakamura.

Brandon's picture

Yeah, the rest of this tournament should be as exciting as what's already occured. As you mentioned Kramnik and McShane can both overtake Nakamura, along with Carlson. That being said: Nakamura (in theory) has the easiest opposition for the remaining rounds out of the 4 of them, followed by Carlson- both of which have higher scores currently.

Brandon's picture

Whoops, Carlsen- not Carlson. My bad.

Daaim Shabazz's picture

Yes... there is a Carlsson who is a Swedish GM.

Daaim Shabazz's picture

Yes, but Nakamura has the "easiest" path to victory since he has already played the top four seeds. All of the British players seem off form except McShane.

Anthony's picture

Oh, the line up for the last few rounds is quite intriguing.
It looks like a Carlsen - Nakamura race, with Kramnik as the joker.

Luke McShane would do very well if he manages a top three position with the rest of his program.

Hopefully Short and Adams can put up some resistance in the last few rounds, but they face up hill struggles

Chris Girardo's picture

Seriously, who is N Nakamura? I could see either C or H, but not N.

Parkov's picture

Take a look down at your keyboard. See how close the N is to the H?

Zeblakob's picture

My deepest sympathy and sincere condolences for the British ✝ ✝ ✝

Septimus's picture

Anand needs another win or two to stay at 2800+. Short played quite well actually. I really liked the way he pushed b4 and went for a very open game, but somehow he did not seem to follow up.

noyb's picture

Nice to see Hikaru in the lead, with the first US win over a WC in almost 20 years. Maybe he's a "seasonal" player, just plays better in the Fall/Winter? And like he said, maybe next year he can learn to beat Magnus with Black. If he manages that, look out!

Harish Srinivasan's picture

I can't access the iPad iPhone video link that you have.

guest09's picture

Naka is a arrogant person.

Anonymous's picture

The Standings Table name Nakamura, N. This is a mistake. It should be Nakamura, H.

Pablo's picture

Thx, corrected!

iLane's picture

Actually it should be Nakamura, Hi as there is another chess player called Nakamura Hajime in Japan. Just for the record.

Guest's picture

This tournament is very interesting! Thank you for covering it.

Guest's picture

Errors in players names are not important. We players don't mind, you can make any typing mistake, as long as you pay us due appearance fees, everything is OK.

Szoker's picture

this is great ;)

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