Reports | December 06, 2012 19:01

London R5: Carlsen wins again, and so do Anand, Kramnik and Nakamura

London Chess Classic

Magnus Carlsen won yet again at the London Chess Classic on Thursday. Although he was clearly worse out of the opening, the world's number one still managed to beat Mickey Adams to get even closer to beating Garry Kasparov's record rating officially. The tournament is far from decided yet, as runner-up Vladimir Kramnik won (quite a nice) game against Luke McShane. The round started with a quick, tactical victory for World Champion Vishy Anand against Gawain Jones and it ended with a blunder by Judit Polgar in a tough ending against Hikaru Nakamura.

Olympia's auditorium | 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.

The venue, Olympia. It's dark already around 16:30 in London.

After the rest day the London Chess Classic saw yet another amazing round on Thursday with all games ending decisively. The last time this happened was in round 1 and, like then, there were three black wins. Carlsen won yet again, and now only needs 1.5/3 to break Kasparov's Elo record on the January 1 FIDE rating list. Kramnik won as well, and so he's still in striking distance of the Norwegian. Vishy Anand won his first game, and so did Nakamura.

The entrance and first hall of the venue

The World Champion had a relatively easy day at the office against Gawain Jones. It was clear that the young Englishman missed some tactics.

At the press conference, Jones said

The problem was I had too much to prepare this morning and this wasn't on the list.


I decided to try him in the Grünfeld because I couldn't find a single Slav game of his, so I had no idea which system to look at.

PGN string

Carlsen's win was far from convincing and he was the first to admit it. It was painful for the local spectators and puzzling for just about anyone to see how Adams managed to lose the position he got after 24 moves.

PGN string

The next game to finish was Kramnik-McShane, a positional as well as tactical masterpiece from the 14th World Champion. At some point Nigel Short asked Kramnik jokingly:

Didn't anyone teach you the concept of rook=5 points, knight=3 points?

Kramnik played along, and replied:

There's also the concept of active pieces. Don't forget I was studying in the Kasparov Chess School!

PGN string

The 4th winner of the day was Hikaru Nakamura, who beat Judit Polgar in a complicated ending. The Hungarian, who now only scored 0.5/4, wasn't completely lost yet when she suddenly blundered and allowed a mating net.

PGN string

Commentary videos (produced by Macauley Peterson)

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 1-1 Anand   Nakamura 1-1 Adams
Kramnik 1-1 Carlsen   Carlsen 3-0 Jones
Jones 1-1 Nakamura   Anand 1-1 Kramnik
Adams 3-0 Polgar   McShane 0-3 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 3-0 McShane   Carlsen - Polgar
Jones 0-3 Anand   Anand - Adams
Adams 0-3 Carlsen   McShane - Jones
Polgar 0-3 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 5 standings (football)


London Chess Classic 2012 | Round 5 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.


Ians's picture

Kramnik 's play today was of an exceptional quality , there was probably a forced draw had McShane taken the rook with his knight on move 17 , but the rest of the game is stunning

Excalibur's picture

Yeah, world class game by Kramnik. Reminds me of his win against Gustafsson in Dortmund.

Zeblakob's picture

Looks good for MC.

noyb's picture

The London Classic is quickly becoming THE tournament of the year. Always interesting, just wish it were a couple of rounds longer!

filiusdextris's picture

What's the big deal about "official"? Players get norms based on mid-tournament ratings, players could always drop out if they really felt the need to prove the point, and we can see each game's rating increment eventually anyways on the FIDE ratings website. It makes sense to celebrate Carlsen's achievement now (for instance, if he drops off somewhat) instead of two months later when the supplement is posted since it will not likely undermine the current live rating report. And celebrating supplement-only ratings definitely seems arbitrary.

RealityCheck's picture

@filiusdextris What's the big deal about "official"? Hey, don't say that too loud! No one wants to offend the Boss. Although he's been a subject for the history books for quite some time, now he's really history. Ancient history. A Russian ruin in the time when they had tsars.

eric's picture

Carlsen is amazing! He is a great player etc. But more weird thing is the way he won the games he played in London. Against Luke, he could not achieve to an equal position. Against Aronian, there were times Aronian had the initiative. Kramnik had a better game after the opening and was a pawn up etc. Then also today, Adams had a better middle game then he lost the game! I guess besides being a great player, Magnus also knows some Jedi mind tricks.

n1uknow's picture

It's not about "mind tricks" its mental strength and consistency. Carlsen exhibits an amazing ability to stay strong no matter the odds. All the other prodigies like Karjakin and Radjabov etc are just not able to play at a solid level consistently.

eric's picture

"Consistency" in terms of getting a slightly worse middle game. Not achieving an opening advantage. These two cannot be a good area of being consistent, I guess.

redivivo's picture

"These two cannot be a good area of being consistent, I guess"

Carlsen is consistent in that he in more than his last dozen tournaments has scored a higher Elo performance than the player that was #2 in the world (2815+ in 18 of the last 19 tournaments, missing top three only once in more than 30 tournaments). Such results contribute to the unbearable Carlsen hype :-)

Anonymous's picture

Why is it so hard for you to admit what Eric said is true ? Why not a reply on the subject ?

Anonymous's picture

Sorry, my fault. You're right, redivivo.

eric's picture

For sure, he scores higher Elo than the other guys and takes the lead. But I just think even he is not satisfied with the ups and downs in his games, especially in London. Before London, I remember a tactical shot he and Karjakin missed in one of the earlier tournaments. Similarly, I remember Kramnik and Moro getting promising positions after the opening, but amazingly, Magnus could find a way out (with the help of his opponents!). Some might take this as him being great, but I take these examples as gaps in his play, which is OK, because he has all time in the world to solve these issues:)

Anonymous's picture

Yes ! And we will have to study what means " no advantage after the opening " ...

harvey's picture

Really nice to see Kramnik's strong play this tournament. When not counting MC (already legendary?), Kramnik seems to be well ahead of the field at the moment.

Anonymous's picture

Can't wait for this::

Godzilla vs. Thor

Jambow's picture

"As to Nakamura "always looking for the mate threat" - maybe in general, but in the given game it seems that he found something he wasn't really looking for. First the game was rather about grinding out a positional advantage or winning a pawn, then Polgar played 33.g4 weakening her king (to repair other deficiencies of her position), then there came mating threats. 33.g4 seems by itself OK if she then doesn't lose her sense of danger, which happened in the game."

Agree with what you said "generally" but I doubt even most top players would have switched gears when it was called for as Nakamura did in this game. Looking at the board I saw the potential for a mating attack about that time but lets be honest if it were Leko, Adams or Anand I doubt they would have when.

Nakamura found something he wasn't playing for, but when the opportunity arose he saw it because he was looking for that possibillity. It's very unlikely you will see a mate threat when it comes up if your not considering it. Hopefully that explains what I meant better.

Jambow's picture

"Finally: Would Capa also be proud about the positions Carlsen had at some stage against McShane and Adams, hence about these whole games??"

Of course not Carlsen has won by grinding out endgames something Capa was known to be great at. Like I said before perhaps Carlsen is training with Houdini and learning to be an escape artist. Carlsen often is credited with being lucky and yet it continues? He simply starts in the middle game and keeps improving until its over and his opponents wonder what happened.

al's picture

i could't agree more, he is an end game yoda class above his toughest rivals(in the end game). I believe kramnik is the best at the other parts. Aronian brilliant but too optimistic

Mindhunter's picture

Anand made Jones look like a child (and not a 13 year old Carlsen-type child!!) :D

Great chess today guys! Cheers!

Anonymous's picture

To me, the Classic is the best tourney of the year.

RealityCheck's picture

We're glad you think so. I say TATA Steel is far more interesting. Wijk aan Zee, TATA Steel, is a hard core chess tournament. Chess pure. Whereas London falls into the category of an exhibition! Too many silly extras.

The Golden Knight's picture

Mr. Positive - as always!

valg321's picture

i agree with rc on this one. i'm off to see the doctor

Anonymous's picture

Don't let it happen again!

RealityCheck's picture

When I grow up, and I'm allowed an opinion of my own +/-, I wanna be jus like The Golden Knight :-)

noahses's picture

Tata fails to deliver acceptable internet coverage, which is a great shame. From a purely chess point of view, you're probably right, but for me as a fan sitting at home infront of my computer I'd have to agree that London is the most enjoyable event of the year.

harami's picture

Nice game by the World Champion. Hope he starts winning regularly.

The great Judit Polgar among the Brit players is a bit surprising. I'm sure she would find her game soon.

Nice tournament so far.

Anonymous's picture


giovlinn's picture

But NOT a blazing one!

brabo's picture

I am surprised nobody commented on Nakamuras insulting remark on Polgar: If I was playing Carlsen I would play 18... c5 19. Qf2 dxe5"
It is very clear from this statement that Nakumara finds Polgar inferior.
You can think such things but you can't say this in public.

jussu's picture

I'd say that he finds Carlsen superior, and there is nothing strange in that.

brabo's picture

That Carlsen is superior can be seen from the rankings so surely Nakamura had something else in mind.
Nakamura only shows that he can permit against Polgar to play second rate moves and get away with it as she plays weak. Even if it is true then still such remark shows a lack of respect.

jussu's picture

Look, I don't think that jumping out of window every time you spot some remark that could possibly be regarded as sexist, helps to promote women rights. Nakamura said that he would play one move against a player who is primarily a great attacker, and another move against the probably most versatile player of the World. The former happened to be a woman, and you go ballistic.

brabo's picture

I think that you misunderstood me. I would've reacted in the same way if Nakamuras opponent was a man.

jussu's picture

Oh I see, sorry about that. Well, Nakamura is a loudmouth, but I still don't find anything wrong with this particular remark of him, it looks merely technical to me.

Thomas's picture

Who am I to defend Nakamura :) but at this occasion I didn't mind his remark: Carlsen isn't just stronger but Nakamura also has a pretty bad score against him (which raises the question what Nakamura would do against Svidler!?).

And 18.-f5 isn't necessarily worse (second rate) than 18.-c5, just a "different" move with a different concept. If Nakamura or anyone else made a similar remark not referring to the opponent but to the tournament or match situation, noone would take offense!?

brabo's picture

I don't believe it is a coicidence that Nakamura made the remark to the opponent and not to the tournament situation/ match situation (which indeed is perfectly fine). It is not the first time that he speaks without respect about people and I expect it won't be the last time either. He won't make any friends with such remarks.

trollaras's picture

If it is ok for chess players to choose different moves in the opening based on the opponents they face, then it is perfectly ok to choose different moves in the middlegame based on their opponents' particular characteristics/style.

brabo's picture

Sure. However contrary to playing different moves, I don't see what you gain by making such remarks in the post-mortem unless you want to offend the opponent.

jussu's picture

"12... Bc5 [...] 21. Rfd1 and White is much better - this was all calculated by Kramnik"

and it was far from forced. These men are simply superhuman.

Al F's picture

Why isn't it possible to choose how to sort comments, and more importantly - why aren't they just sorted newest to oldest by default?

It's really a pain in the... neck! to sort out who's replying to what.

Evgeny's picture

Indeed in this round Anand ripped a very lower rated Jones, compared to the field, as cold sharp. This was very impressive!

Evgeny's picture

meant a "cold shark "

trollaras's picture

Genious play by Anand, he proved once again why he is the Champ.

trollaras's picture

Vlad and Luke have the most hypocritical smiles ever.


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