Reports | December 10, 2011 20:39

Again three winners in London; McShane back in the lead

Again three winners in London; McShane back in the lead

Luke McShane is still doing very well in London. The English grandmaster, who has a regular job when he doesn't play tournaments, is leading the Chess Classic with two rounds to go. He beat Nigel Short on Saturday, who tried his luck in a King's Gambit. Vladimir Kramnik and Magnus Carlsen, who beat David Howell and Mickey Adams respectively, are equal with McShane on points, but placed 2nd and 3rd on tiebreak.

McShane is sharing first with Kramnik and Carlsen | 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.

Hikaru Nakamura enjoyed his free round on Saturday and so chances were high that the tournament would have a different leader after round 7. For this to happen, either Luke McShane, Magnus Carlsen or Vladimir Kramnik had to win, and in fact all did.

Especially Kramnik's game and subsequent analysis session was impressive. Earlier in the tournament the Russian had lamented about his age and his calculation abilities, but the lines he showed were just amazing. See for yourself:

PGN string

Nigel Short, always good for some entertainment on and off the board, played the King's Gambit against Luke McShane. After the game he explained:

I did beat Garry Kasparov a few weeks ago with the King's Gambit so I thought it was worth a try. It is a lousy opening and you should be in the mood for it. I slept very well last night so I felt refreshed, and ready for some action.

PGN string

Magnus Carlsen is still in the running for winning yet another top event, after what was a strange game against Mickey Adams. Just look at all these queen moves by White! Carlsen said about them:

I thought all of these queen moves were just as ugly to me as they were to all of those who were watching this but I didn't see anything else.

PGN string

Levon Aronian and Vishy Anand got the highly topical 5.Bf4 QGD on the board, which seems to be the opening against 1.d4 what the Petroff is against 1.e4 - verrrrrry drawish.

PGN string

Round 7 standings

No. Name Rtg Score/game Tiebreak Perf
1 McShane,L 2671 12.0/6 3 black wins 2933
2 Kramnik,V 2800 12.0/6 1 black win 2934
3 Carlsen,M 2826 12.0/6 0 black win 2924
4 Nakamura,H 2758 11.0/6   2878
5 Anand,V 2811 7.0/6 1 black win 2738
6 Aronian,L 2802 7.0/6 1 white win 2750
7 Short,N 2698 4.0/6   2551
8-9 Howell,D 2633 3.0/7   2531
8-9 Adams,M 2734 3.0/7   2523

Round 7 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 ½-½ Aronian
Short 0-1 Anand   Anand ½-½ Kramnik
Kramnik 1-0 Adams   Howell ½-½ Short
Aronian ½-½ Carlsen   McShane ½-½ 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 0-1 McShane   Anand - Carlsen
Kramnik 1-0 Howell   Howell - Aronian
Aronian ½-½ Anand   McShane - Kramnik
Carlsen 1-0 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.


Brandon's picture

Such an exciting tournament! I can't wait for tomorrow's games!

Celso's picture

I am sorry! With 3 weaklings, there is no "exciting tournament"!

Parkov's picture

Yes, Mickey Adams is such a weak player, he's only what...2730? And David Howell, what a patzer...he only spends about 30 minutes a week studying chess

S3's picture

Today Adams was a weakling in the second half of his game. The way he misplayed his position without apparent reason, using lots of time in the process, was bizarre. And Short's kings gambit performance might have been equalled by any reasonable clubplayer. Man, I wish I was there to take some rating points of them.

Joey's picture

"The way he misplayed his position without apparent reason, using lots of time in the process, was bizarre."

I guess less then one minute on the clock is no reason.

S3's picture

And I guess it's hard to read and interpret "lots of time". Just so you know, he started to drift already before his blunder, when he had about 15 minutes on the clock. Maybe he was annoyed by Magnus theatrics behind the board, or maybe he just had a bad day but at any rate it was very strange.

redivivo's picture

"Maybe he was annoyed by Magnus theatrics behind the board"

I wonder why you hate Carlsen so much?

S3's picture

I don't. Just watch the video.

PP (NL)'s picture

There are 4 "weaklings"... One of them just happens to be at the top of the rankings!

Having some weaker players just make the tournament MORE interesting.

stevefraser's picture

Don't the three weaklings actually make it a more interesting tournament?

Pablo's picture

The point, after all, is: why aren't you considering McShane as "weaky". It doesn't anysense. You have to talk about the player's strong before the tournament. No way you can said, when the tournament is in progress: "Oh, it's less exciting because some players are not playing good". Bizarre!

It's like saying, in the tournaments when Shirov makes a really bad performance: "Oh, yes, it's less exciting because there is one weaky". And any other tournament when some players have a bad perfomance, you have to said that over and over again.

What's the point of my argument? That you ARE NOT considering McShane in your words. And he is suppose to be a "weaky", right? But that weaky is on the lead of the tournament. Then, what is "weaky" for you? Just a big gap of elo? The why aren't you considering McShane? That's easy: you said someone is weaky when he is SUPPOSE to be weak (or weaker, that's better) and he play like you would think that a player with that elo should play. But this tournament throw away all that reasoning. And then: what's weaky? And why McShane is not a weaky? And why Shirov is not a weaky when he plays bad? Or even better: why, until yesterday, Anand was not a weaky and Adams was?

Sorry, but I don't like your assesment. I find it faulty and vague. The tournament is, indeed, really exciting. And there are four names: Carlsen, Naka, Kramnik, McShane. All of them, at least in this tournament, are equally strong. That's great. That's exciting.

S3's picture

The difference is that some people consider people weak based on rating and other people consider players weak based on common sense.
Short's performance here is no surprise, obviously. Howells neither, especially considering what he did right before this tournament. Only Adams dissapoints, but nonetheless it was obvious that he isn't in the league of the superelite atm.
As for mcShane-winner of Tata Steel B, co winner of London in an earlier edition- it's not surprising that he holds his own. Yet he still has to play Anand and Kramnik and that is the real test. It's unlikely that he will win against any of them.

In conclusion, before this tournament it was clear that there would be many decisive results because of the "weaklings". And because of these patzers and their mediocre play the games are less interesting for some, and more interesting for others.

Parkov's picture

As commendable an achievement as winning Tata B is, it's a bit different from a super tournament peppered with 2800 players.

S3's picture

Agreed. It does show that he can beat the likes of Howell and Short though.

theeagle1's picture

you are really clueless. what about the fact that adams has been british number one for years. i'd love to see you take him on, then we'll see if you consider him a "weaky" thats a really insulting term. before this tournament he hadn't lost to a another british player in about fifteen years, he had about 5-0 against Mcshane. he recently got the gold medal on board 1 in the european team championship. crushing ivanchuk in the last round. (presumably you think he's a weaky as well) he defeated mcshane earlier this year in the bundesliga. can you reveal your own rating, so we can all understand how you have the incredulity to consider a 2700 player weak? or perhaps you are just a bandwagon jumper?

Anonymous's picture

Too much "common sense", S3. Exactly. You said it.

pat j's picture

what would chessvibes be without the usual trolls, trolling away

Anonymous's picture

Round 8 will be the critical point of the tournament.If Kramnik wins against McShane then only Nakamura can overcome him. If not then it is most probably Nakamura or Carlsen. So the time for betting is now :P

theeagle1's picture

If kramnik wins against mcshane, carlsen can also still overtake him.

Anonymous's picture

Re: I am sorry! With 3 weaklings, there is no "exciting tournament"!
The obvious solution and still keeping with the concept of the London Chess Classic is to not invite Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, Kramnik and Nakamura. If McShane has retired next year there is always Matthew Sadler. The tournament will be perfect with no weaklings.

Thomas Richter's picture

Adams isn't a "weakling" (in the sense that the organizers could have known before the event), he is just out of form this year. He scored 3.5/7 last year and 4/7 in 2009 - giving Carlsen a hard time with black in another Nimzo-Indian even if the game was eventually drawn. Even Howell scored a very respectable 4/7 in 2009.

The only permanent weakling would then be Nigel Short. The organizers might consider inviting him just as a commentator. However, while he is entertaining making fun of himself he can be a bit annoying when he makes fun of other people ... .

That being said, most wins with black turns out to be a strange tiebreaker: in the end it may all depend on the color distribution against the three players who keep losing with either color this year.

Brandon's picture

If you can even consider not calling this an exciting tournament then we're obviously using completely different dictionaries. 2 rounds to go and almost half the field is still able to win the tournament, a high percentage of decisive games, the current tournament leader being the second lowest rated- I'm curious as to how this could be considered anything but exciting.

John's picture

I think this is a highly exciting tournament, and the scoring system forces the best players to play for a win in all games. It also clearly shows the difference between "strong GMs" and the "best of the best" in the world. Even at such high level the difference is huge between those groups - in all aspects of the game; from opening preparations, middlegame handling and endgame technique. And I think last but not least the attitude to keep playing in difficult positions without losing, that's why Magnus Carlsen is no 1.

RealityCheck's picture

Carlsen collects three milk bones from Adams.

Pulern's picture

The biggest lead Carlsen has had over second place on the Fide rating list is 23 points. Currently he is 26points a head of Aronian. MC is currently up 11 points up on the live rating list, and only 15 points away from beating Kasparovs 2851 record!

Celso's picture

HELLO SPONSORS!! New wonderful formula for exciting tournaments: Top players against Weaklings!

stevefraser's picture

Yup, if weak = at least 2600. It helps to have local players to get more interest from the press.

Knallo's picture

After seeing Kramnik analyse his game against Howell, my favourite is clear.

Anthony's picture

This whole 'weaklings' stuff is so incredibly stupid.

Clearly the London format is designed to give Britain's best players a chance to fight the absolute best, while at the same time enjoying a world class tournament.

And thereby clearly greatly enriching chess culture AND strength in Britain.

It's absolutely marvelous to see the best of the world slug it out with a twofold assignment: beating as many lower rated players and keeping a close eye on each other.

Carlsen is looking just incredible. Maybe Kramnik and particularly McShane show great form.

Magnus is just being himself.

His domination, both in rating and this year's tournaments are simply magnificent.

Having said that, the last two round look favorable for Nakamura and far less so for Carlsen.

Kramnik and McShane have very tough opposition too. I'm not too sure how dangerous Luke has been with white.

S3's picture

Deep analysis man, not bad for someone who doesn't play chess.

christos's picture

One should not blindly trust Kramnik when he says he does not want to calculate variations. He probably says this in a (failed) attempt to lull his opponents.

Leo's picture

The stage is set for a strong Nakamura finish and comeback after Tal Memorial, it seems... I've nothing against him, he's a great fighter; still, I will be rooting for Short to trip him up ;)

James's picture

Did anyone see the comments made by nakamura regarding kasparov? Stated that kasparov did well because of his opening prep, and that other players were better in middle game and endgame. He sounded quite negative about kasparov in general, and didn't even sound keen about doing more training sessions with him. The video is available at CB.

guest09's picture

Agree with James.

Ashish's picture

Yeah, I noticed that as well - seemed quite dismissive of Kasparov's post-opening play. The Boss will not be pleased. We might have to begin the next lesson with a spanking.

Austin's picture

why then was it that even though one could easily predict Fischer's moves in the openings, Fischer's devices were still successful in the middle and endgames? Nakamura should reconsider his comment.

Anonymous's picture
christos's picture

Carlsen had asked his father to "get him out of this" (sessions with Kasparov) and now come these bitter comments from Nakamura. Probably Kasparov is just a very very expensive but simply bad trainer, that is why both his former pupils have turned against him.

hujik's picture

In today's Game, i think Aronian was scared.

zammerman's picture

Was reading somewhere about Anand:

"Anand is the only player to have won the super tournament at Wijk aan Zee (Corus from 1989-2010) five times. He is the first player to have achieved victories in each of the three big chess supertournaments: Corus/Wijk aan Zee (1989, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2006), Linares (1998, 2007, 2008), Dortmund (1996, 2000, 2004)."

Is all this true? Did this ever happen in past? arrgghhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!

fen's picture

It's true that Anand is the only player to win Wijk aan Zee five times.

I believe the honor of being the first to achieve wins at the three super-tournaments falls to Anatoly Karpov with wins at Wijk aan Zee in 1988 and 1993; a win at Dortmund in 1993; and wins at Linares in 1988 (shared with Larry Christiansen) and again in 1994.

redivivo's picture

Yes, but Kasparov only played Wijk three times, and won all three times ahead of Anand, so if he hadn't concentrated more on Linares he would probably have won Wijk a dozen times.

Anonymous's picture

Theoretically possible, but pure speculation.
Same theory could be applied to Anand and Linares.
People should be careful about hyperbolic extrapolation.

Chess Fan's picture

Anand is also the only player to have won the World Champion title in three different formats: FIDE knockout, round-robin, and the classical world championship format.

guest09's picture

Did he won all the tourneys by drawing.

S3's picture

No, you can't win the crown by just drawing. That is why Anand is still the champ and why some people insist on a wchtournament with weakies like this one.

Chess Fan's picture

Sorry S3. My comment was directed against "Guest09" - the parental comment of yours. But the system has somehow wrongly posted my comment under yours.

Chess Fan's picture

Sorry S3. My comment was directed against "Guest09" - the parental comment of yours. But the system has somehow wrongly posted my comment under yours.

Chess Fan's picture

If your logic is so lacking, you should comment on some other sport like football rather than an intellectual game like Chess. Sorry to be so harsh, but you seem like a guy who can't differentiate between "your ass and your elbow", in the words of Lee Iacocca.
There is something called "Google" that you can use to find out that he did NOT win by just drawing games, before you make such ignorant comment.

Parkov's picture

Anand is also the only Indian World Champion, and one of only six to wear eye-glasses


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