Reports | November 08, 2012 14:16

Pairings London Chess Classic again announced in advance

Pupils from the Liverpool’s Sacred Heart Primary School

Like last year, the drawing of lots for the London Chess Classic has been performed in advance and the full pairings 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 coaches working for the Chess in Schools and Communities charity introduced the game there a year ago.

Pupils from the Liverpool’s Sacred Heart Primary School performed the drawing of lots | Photo courtesy of the organizers

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.


Name Title Country Rating Ranking Born
Carlsen, Magnus world #1 NOR 2848 1 30.11.1990
Aronian, Levon world #2 ARM 2815 2 06.10.1982
Kramnik, Vladimir ex-world champion RUS 2795 3 25.06.1975
Anand, Viswanathan world champion IND 2775 6 11.12.1969
Nakamura, Hikaru U.S. #2 USA 2755 13 09.12.1987
McShane, Luke grandmaster ENG 2713 29 07.01.1984
Adams, Michael grandmaster ENG 2710 32 17.11.1971
Polgar,Judit strongest female ever HUN 2705 43 23.07.1976
Jones,Gawain grandmaster ENG 2644 112 11.12.1987

The average rating of the 2012 London Chess Classic (November 2011 list) is 2751, making it comfortably the strongest event ever held in the UK.

World champion Vishy Anand drew number one, which meant he gets to sit out the first round. The pairing which catches the eye is McShane-Carlsen: the same round and same colours as 2010, when Luke won, and same colours as last year, when they met in round two and drew. After that, Luke has to look forward to Black against a well-rested world champ on the following day. But Luke knows all about tough starts as last year his diary for consecutive days in December read something like “Office: clear in-tray and set answering machine message... Olympia: play world number two... Olympia: play world number one”.

Gawain Jones makes his Classic debut with White against Mickey Adams, while Judit Polgar starts with Black against Vlad Kramnik. Aronian meets Nakamura, and he will be keen to avenge his loss to the American last year – this time the Liverpool schoolchildren have given him the advantage of the white pieces! Nakamura, for his part, will be glad to see he has White against Carlsen in round seven – after three straight Blacks against him in London.

Last rounds are always eagerly awaited, too. The Liverpool children have done a marvellous job here, serving up a humdinger of a last-round pairing between world number one Magnus Carlsen, playing White, and world champion Vishy Anand on 10 December.

Malcolm Pein, Chief Executive of CSC and London Classic director, who was on hand in Liverpool to conduct the draw, added:

We’re well on track to introduce chess into 1,000 schools around the UK in the next five years and the success of Sacred Heart serves to remind us of the scheme’s importance. We would encourage chess players of all ages and levels, children and parents, to visit the London Chess Classic 2012 and discover all that chess has to offer.

Text & photos taken from the London Chess Classic Facebook page

London Chess Classic 2012 | Full pairings

Round 1 01.12.12 15:00 CET   Round 2 0212.12 15:00 CET
McShane - Carlsen   Polgar - Jones
Aronian - Nakamura   Nakamura - Kramnik
Kramnik - Polgar   Carlsen - Aronian
Jones - Adams   Anand - McShane
Anand bye Assisting the commentary   Adams bye Assisting the commentary
Round 3 0312.12 15:00 CET   Round 4 04.12.12 17:00 CET
Aronian - Anand   Nakamura - Adams
Kramnik - Carlsen   Carlsen - Jones
Jones - Nakamura   Anand - Kramnik
Adams - Polgar   McShane - Aronian
McShane bye Assisting the commentary   Polgar bye Assisting the commentary
Round 5 06.12.12 15:00 CET   Round 6 07.12.12 15:00 CET
Kramnik - McShane   Carlsen - Polgar
Jones - Anand   Anand - Adams
Adams - Carlsen   McShane - Jones
Polgar - Nakamura   Aronian - Kramnik
Aronian bye Assisting the commentary   Nakamura bye Assisting the commentary
Round 7 08.12.12 15:00 CET   Round 8 09.12.12 15:00 CET
Jones - Aronian   Anand - Nakamura
Adams - McShane   McShane - Polgar
Polgar - Anand   Aronian - Adams
Nakamura - Carlsen   Kramnik - Jones
Kramnik bye Assisting the commentary   Carlsen bye Assisting the commentary
Round 9 10.12.12 13:00 CET        
Adams   Kramnik        
Polgar - Aronian        
Nakamura - McShane        
Carlsen - Anand        
Jones bye Assisting the commentary        

Timetable, course details and tickets are available here: The 4th edition takes place 1-10 December in Kensington, London.

Editors's picture
Author: Editors


Septimus's picture

Pulling for Luke and for Magnus to break 2850!

Hortensius's picture

Incredible field

Sam M's picture

Yes sans Anand; hungry young blood like Fabiano or Sergey or Radoslaw would be much better to have. Anand can play exhibition matches fron now on. Or take break and come up with some fresh stuff like Kramnik.

Anbelt's picture

Why is Polgár described as "strongest female ever" and not just "Grandmaster" like the rest of the GM's. I just don't see what is so significant about being female that it needs to be pointed out explicitly.

noahses's picture

It's significant because it's why she was invited. Stranger is that Nakamura is credited as US #2 but McShane isn't acknowledged as UK#1. It's a shame Nigel Short isn't playing. His games and commentary after them are highly amusing.

Anbelt's picture

Ah, I didn't realize that the London Chess Classic condoned and actively participated in gender based discrimination.

redivivo's picture

They must surely have committing the worst gender based discrimination since the age of the Neanderthals, outrageuos.

Anbelt's picture

It doesn't need to be the worst or for that matter the least to still be entirely inappropriate.

redivivo's picture

They condone and actively participate in gender based discrimination by pointing out that she's the strongest femte ever?

Anbelt's picture

That is not what noahses said and I was repling to him.

redivivo's picture

Does anyone think Hou would have been invited to Wijk A if she wasn't a woman, or that Polgar would have been invited to half the events she plays if she wasn't a woman? But I'm sure there have been more extreme cases of gender based discrimination.

Anbelt's picture

I wouldn't be surprised at all to learn that the composition of their chromosomes was a motivating factor in tournament invitations where their ratings were not up to par. And history is rich in the details of far worse discrimination, but being of lesser magnitude doesn't make it right. It's still demeaning, it's still wrong.

Anonymous's picture

"It's still demeaning, it's still wrong."

Why? It is what it is. The best female players are still weaker than the best male ones. But they get special invites. Get used to it and stop whining.

Anonymous's picture

the main problem is they are all dogs, with the exception of AKost.

Anbelt's picture

"... stop whinning."

Thomas's picture

At the peak of her career Polgar was top 20 or even top 10 - back then being a woman was a 'bonus' but not a requirement for supertournament invitations. She dropped out of the top 20 in April 2008, and Corus a few months before was her last round-robin (not counting Hoogeveen which always invites a woman). Now London may well be positive gender discrimination - not nearly as extreme as Hou Yifan in Wijk aan Zee, Polgar fits well in the lower half of the field.

I find it more interesting or revealing that Nakamura is introduced as US #2 (#1 when invitations were sent out). Is he always invited primarily because he is American? When will they invite Radjabov or Caruana or Karjakin - only if one of them becomes top2 and/or world champion??

Ruben's picture

Just visit the "fathers for justice" site there you can see the real genderbase discrimation. The only fact that you were born with a penis in stead of a vagina with make your unable to see your own childs.

fen's picture

Inviting Judit because she is a woman isn't any more or less inappropriate than inviting the English players because their English. The tournament is a business and it needs to make money so they invite people who they think will attract interest.

She's going to get squished like a bug by Kramnik in the first round though, poor thing!

Coco Loco's picture

"because their English". What about their English?

Morley's picture

I don't think she will be squished, but she does have a really rough start ... black against Kramnik in round one, and black against Carlsen in round two. Go Judit!

fen's picture

I hope one day this tournament will be a double round robin to make things a bit more fair. Some of the players have really hard draws.

abhi's picture

Mark my words...Judit will win the tournament....she is a great fighter and even anand was intimidated by her during her glory days.. :)

Anonymous's picture

Isn't she the only female that refuses to play in the phoney baloney "women's" world championship cycle and matches?

Ruben's picture

If you want to see real gender based discrimination then find information about the family right system. Or visit the site fathers for justice. Then you can see you it is to be really discriminated because of your sexe.

Thomas's picture

Only the foreign participants got 'special' titles justifying their invitations. Morover the current rating gap between McShane and Adams is too small to be meaningful (same for Nakamura vs. Kamsky but at the moment they cannot call him US #1).
Short himself didn't want to play the London Classics any more - after some bad experiences at earlier occasions.
BTW the average rating of the London Grand Prix was 2739, is 12 points difference really a "comfortable" lead? The gap with the London Classics 2011 is even smaller, and a new record will be set for the candidates tournament.

Lee's picture

I was actually hoping Nigel Short would be on the commentary team. I find him interesting to listen to.

Failing that, I hope they snagged good commentators to keep us entertained. Last years coverage was outstanding, I hope it retains that quality.

valg321's picture

it seems even the english toddlers have smug written all over their faces

Morley's picture

Fantastic field! Round #3 ... o.O

Morley's picture

Carlsen got pretty great pairings ... white against Aronian and Anand, black against Kramnik.

harvey's picture

Great field, great event.
Hope the same for the live internet coverage.

Morley's picture

It would appear that all of the people behind the Grand Prix event recently held in London will be at work here when it comes to video. So yes, I think the video coverage will be great.

Tom Servo's picture

Look at how Luke McShane must start the event! First game vs the world number one, second game against the world champion, 3rd game against the world number two, and 4th game vs. the most recent former world champion and world number three. Whew! Now consider the fact that Luke has a day job and therefore doesn't play often. What a way to shake the rust off!

PircAlert's picture

Peter has got the picture sequence correct!

Tournament lineup is really good. If you could have Krajakin/Fabiano and Gelfand in the fray in place of 2 Englishme, nothing like it.

Anonymous2's picture

If Luke wins two of his first four games he will win the tournament.

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