Reports | December 02, 2012 23:17

Carlsen and Kramnik winners in second round London Classic

Round 2 of the London Chess Classic in action

Both Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik also won their second game at the London Chess Classic on Sunday. The world #1 beat world #2 Levon Aronian, while the former World Champion won against Hikaru Nakamura.

Round 2 of the London Chess Classic in action | Photos © Ray Morris-Hill

Event London Chess Classic |  PGN via TWIC
Dates December 1st-10th, 2011
Location London, UK
System 9-player round robin
Players Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, Kramnik, Nakamura, Adams, Polgar, McShane, Jones
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.

After the amazing start in London, Sunday was another fantastic day of top chess with four hard fought games. It says a lot that the shortest game lasted 59 moves!

This game might also be one for the history books, because by beating Aronian, Carlsen surpassed Garry Kasparov's all-time rating record. The Norwegian reached 2855.7 in the live ratings, which, however, is still not "beating" Kasparov, as some argue. A Norwegian blog calculated that on 28 February 2000 and on 4 March 2000 The Boss had a virtual rating of "at least 2856, probably 2857".

All that matters, of course, is Carlsen's published rating on the FIDE list, and therefore his final score in London. GM Bartek Macieja calculated for us that the Norwegian needs 6/8 to beat Kasparov, because 5.5/8 would win 3.4 points, just not enough! With 6/8 Carlsen's new FIDE rating would be 2856. It's quite a high score even for Carlsen, but on the other hand it's now "only" 4/6 for him to make history...

The win against Aronian wasn't a smooth one. Somehow Carlsen messed up in a position where he was a healthy pawn up, but after the time control Aronian started to play badly.

PGN string

The winner from last year also started with two victories. Kramnik reacted well to Nakamura's rare sixth move, and slowly built up pressure on the white center. Perhaps the queen ending was a draw, but obviously it's extremely difficult to hold such a position.

PGN string

Polgar-Jones was a fascinating struggle that started as a Sicilian Dragon. As the Hungarian lady explained afterwards, she examined this variation thoroughly a few years back and with 20.Rd3! she kept an advantage. In fact during the game and also in the post-mortem she felt that the position around the time control should have been a technical win for White.

PGN string

The World Champ got a slight plus out of the opening against McShane. At some point Anand sacrificed a pawn to end up with the better pawn structure, but Black's activity turned out to be the more important factor. By the skin of his teeth the Indian eventually held a R vs R + f&h.

PGN string

Pairings & results

Round 1 01.12.12 15:00 CET   Round 2 0212.12 15:00 CET
McShane 0-3 Carlsen   Polgar 1-1 Jones
Aronian 0-3 Nakamura   Nakamura 0-3 Kramnik
Kramnik 3-0 Polgar   Carlsen 3-0 Aronian
Jones 0-3 Adams   Anand 1-1 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        

London Chess Classic 2012 | Round 2 standings (football)


London Chess Classic 2012 | Round 2 standings (classical)


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.


PP (nl)'s picture

Carlsen on 2855.7! Wow!

RealityCheck's picture
Son of Winter and Stars's picture

Poor Anand. 0 Elo :(

filiusdextris's picture

Bravo, great game to enter virgin rating territory.

Zaraki ken.p's picture


Bertje Enkeljhaar's picture

Its scary. Carlsen is 50+ratingpoints up at the rest of the top 10 who are all together wiring a 50 rating point range.

This is pretty bizarre

Thomas's picture

This may be interpreted as Kasparovian dominance, but for the time being it's a snapshot. Two months ot twelve games ago (October 2012 official list) the gap with Aronian was 22 points, and the gap between Aronian and Kramnik was 26 points. In the meantime the gap between #1 and #2 has widened in both directions (and the gap between #2 and #3 became negligible).

There is something right with Carlsen, that's for sure, but there also seems to be something wrong with Aronian at the moment, I hope it's temporary. And with respect to lasting Kasparovian dominance, what is the upper limit for Caruana and Karjakin? They have already proven that they can play at Carlsen's level in single tournaments.

The Golden Knight's picture

And still some people think that he is not the best chessplayer in the world...

Isildur1's picture

He is not only the best chess player in the world, he the best chess player of all times,

And this is coming from a huge Kasparov fan...

Anonymous's picture

So far Kramnik's games impressed more, in my opinion, although both players had a lot of help from their opponents. Especially the win against McShane was pretty labored. Kasparov played very different.

RG13's picture

Let's have a little perspective; Carlsen has not broken the rating record until it is published and before that happens some draws will make him lose points. Even if he breaks it he has to stay number 1 for more months than Karpov or Kasparov did. I think he has the talent to do it but does he have the staying power? Time will tell.

Anonymous's picture

He is the best, he is amazing, but Kramnik also looks a bit scary at the moment.

elgransenor1's picture

While Carlsen is ascending the pinnacle of chess Everest, everyone else is stuck in base camp. I think he'll turn over Kramnik tomorrow as well, to reach heights not even Kasparov has gone before (apparently he once touched 2856 on live ratings.)

RealityCheck's picture

@elgransenor1 I beg to disagree. He'll be lucky to draw against Kramnik to-morrow.

Vlad is probably mad as devil having to play on in an ending Houdini showed as winning (-1,14) before his oppenent threw in the towel (-1000). He'll relieve this stress crushing Carlsen.

He didn't show Ms Polgar any pity either; not that she wanted any. He manhandled her like Klitschko would one of his sparring partners.

Great job Vlady! You're my man 'til you play Vishy.

redivivo's picture

"Vlad is probably mad as devil having to play on in an ending Houdini showed as winning (-1,14) before his oppenent threw in the towel"

The ending was drawn in spite of Houdini showing an almighty -1.14 before Nakamura blundered, so it is kind of understandable that Kramnik "had to play on", and he's hardly "mad as a devil" that his opponent didn't resign while the position still was drawn.

RealityCheck's picture

@ redivivo. My comment was based on the last TWENTY moves of the game.

It is not hard to imagine that former world champion Kramnik, currently rated above 2800, just might be irritated (mad as a devil) having to play out this ending. Pure provocation on Naka's side.

We all remember Carlsen lucking into a 1/2 point against Kramnik having used the same tactic.

arkan's picture

What made you think Kramnik was so annoyed by that? Personally i always enjoyed it enormously when i had a forced win and an opponent wouldn't resign - it's that devilish sense of superiority, like a lion tripping a gazelle and you know it is game over

RealityCheck's picture

@arkan Good point. I'll remember that, the lion and the gazelle. Thx.

I now can see that my line of reasoning put too much emphasis on Vlad blundering the 1/2 point to MC using the same tactic--pushing wood until the bitter end. The chance of it happening again surely annoyed me more than it did you, or him.

only karpov's picture

tomorrow kramnik will beat mr. big rating.

Anonymous's picture

" Mr Big Rating " ? that's how you salute such a performance by a 22 years old kid ?

PircAlert's picture

Another Houdini by Anand.. Incredible play. Anand should try like thi in every game and he can top this tournament.

filiusdextris's picture

I was checking the 6-piece endgame with the database. He did miss once on 90.Ra1 which somehow allowed 90...Kg4 to be a win (mate in 29), but otherwise it was perfect.

PircAlert's picture

I was kind of surprised to see the eval shoot up and was thinking why Anand wouldn't trade his b6 pawn for the h7 pawn, when he had chance, leaving only one pawn for McShane. Maybe that is a bad trade that could have put Anand in trouble?? Yep and except for that one mistake, nice to see Anand wiggle out of from what appeared to be a almost certain loss.

AAR's picture

Ra1 by Anand was a clear blunder especially when opponent was surviving on incremental time and Anand himself had like 20 min.

Anand has to find his motivation and get into winning ways else he may be humiliated into retirement.

PircAlert's picture

Maybe by your argument, McShane shouldn't be invited and should be made to play club level tournament for the number of weak moves (countable??) he played in one single game against Anand! ;) ;)

Anand is motivated but he can't do much if his opponents are unwilling to risk as much as they do with others knowing his strength.

AAR's picture

Could you please tell me when was the last time Anand had a convincing win?

I am from Anand's home town and a big fan of him all these 20 years.

I only want my hero to retire gracefully if he doesnt have it in him anymore so I will be left with good memories and not these kind of sub par performances.

Thomas's picture

Even if Anand is past his prime - at some stage we and he might reach this conclusion - does this mean that he "must" retire? Some players retired at or near their peak (Kasparov, Fischer), others kept playing (e.g. Karpov, Korchnoi, Timman). If they still enjoy the game and can still achieve something - albeit at a lower level - why not? And, while some people might disagree, I don't think it's a question of motivation for Anand: it seems that he got himself into trouble against McShane because he played ambitiously.

RG13's picture

I don't think Anand is playing for the fans. As long as he has the title he will get invites and therefore pay. He is a professional and chess is his business.

RG13's picture

Better to win ugly than to draw brilliantly with White. Just sayin'.

Anonymous's picture


Bertje Enkelhaar's picture

Nice motto in a casino orsomething. But thats your motto in sport?


Morley's picture

Outstanding start by Kramnik and Carlsen. Tomorrow is shaping up to be one of the most important rounds of the tournament, with the two leaders squaring off (I hope for an endgame!) and Anand and Aronian playing each other, both probably hungry for a first win. Great fighting tournament so far by all players.

tod's picture

Kramnik beats Nakamura as predicted.

Where's jambow, jsy, and Company to make a million excuses for Nakamura?

Anonymous's picture

It's quite obvious that Nakamura's chess has already peaked. But then again, he never took it seriously, and it's a pity because he had such potential.

He should have realized that those all-night, online blitz sessions with patzers do not constitute "elite training".

Frankly I think he'll be lucky to reach double-digits in this tournament's scoring - but only if he manages to stay out of the London casinos and off the internet.

choufleur's picture

Naka "knows how to deal with Carlsen" he said in a new in chess interview. How pretentious !

Jeff Hall's picture

Yes, he knows how to shake Carlsen's hand after Carlsen beats him.

pjalle's picture

Naka brings a bit of color to chess, it's all for show. Personally I think it's great to have Naka in this tournament because he will go to great efforts to win, coming up with wild ideas. Often they backfire but at least it's entertaining.

Big Alex's picture

I like Naka chess style...However I can't say the same about his cocky speech

Zeblakob's picture

What a semi-loss for Anand :(. Straggling wiz white vs an amateur.

Evgeny's picture

I do not see a place in top 10 for anand any more!!!

hippase's picture

I don't understand why Anand keep playing 1.d4 .... He is not a natural d4 player, and when he plays it as a surprise weapon in world championship against kramnik and topalov it was a brilliant idea but now especially in tournament he must play e4 !

harvey's picture

Chess is Anand's business, so he will go on and squeeze the bucks as long he is still the official wc, knowing that the invitations will be fewer afterwards, when it will be time for retirement.

Evgeny's picture

True, it's his business. However, take a look at Aronian it's his business too. He seems not to be in the shape, at least in the beginning of the tournament and he has lost two in a row. Now he is in a MUST WIN situation. So, the point is if you are not in shape, you can not do anything about it.
And Anand is not in shape for about two years long already!!!

Evgeny's picture

and if you say something similar to "What? ...Anand is the best.... and is always in shape...I am his best fan...", then just take a look at the game, which has just finished, against Mozo with Leko. That is how top GMs should play.

Amazing Moro is on fire!!!

Pulastya's picture

this tournament is the worst ever super tournament in terms of live broadcast. being worse than sao paulo-bilbao in that respect is prize-worthy achievement indeed. Hats off, Mr. Pein!

trollaras's picture

A norwegian blog in defence of Kasparov's record? Some compatriots of Magnus might not be very fond of him? Who knows...

trollaras's picture

A norwegian blog in defence of Kasparov's record? Some compatriots of Magnus might not be very fond of him? Who knows...

redivivo's picture

"Some compatriots of Magnus might not be very fond of him?"

That must be it, any Norwegian fond of Carlsen should definitely deny the existence of Kasparov's record.

Septimus's picture

I won't be surprised if Kramnik overtakes Aronian by the end of 2013. But catching up with Carlsen, well...

Of the players, Polgar seems to be the one who is not averse to risky play. I like the fact that she prefers to attack even when pieces are left hanging everywhere.

redivivo's picture

Aronian has horrible events now and then, but he can also play like in Wijk this year, so he will surely soon be back with a string of great results.

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