Reports | December 07, 2012 20:58

London R6: Carlsen also beats Polgar, Anand blunders, McShane beats Jones

On Friday Magnus Carlsen also defeated Judit Polgar to get to a stunning 5.5/6, a 3147 performance rating and a 2863.6 live rating. In the London Chess Classic's 6th round Luke McShane won against his compatriot Gawain Jones, and Vishy Anand blundered horribly against Mickey Adams.

On stage at the start of round 6 in London | Photo © ChessVibes

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.

Just before the start of the round, the players (joined by commentator of the day
Nakamura) are waiting to be called onto the stage
 | Photo © ChessVibes

By now it's clear that London 2012 will make the history books. After winning yet another game, Magnus Carlsen only needs half a point out of his last two games to break Garry Kasparov's record officially, and in this super form he's in, we don't see him losing a game actually.

Michael Basman plays the first move at the board of Magnus Carlsen, saying
"It's such an important event that I should play this!" | Photo 
© Ray Morris-Hill

On Friday his victim was Judit Polgar, who finds herself on the other end of the leaderboard having a very bad tournament.

Carlsen puts back the h-pawn to start with 1.c4 instead | Photo © ChessVibes

After Carlsen had entered the commentary room under a big applause, he said

It was probably my best game so far.

and indeed for the first time there were no moments of hesitation and no positions where he was worse. It was a smooth win from start to finish.

PGN string

Carlsen in the commentary room after the game | Photo © ChessVibes

When Carlsen sat down next to commentators Danny King and Lawrence Trent, he was first asked whether he "had seen it". For about twenty minutes, King and Trent had talked about one thing only: the Blunder by the World Champ. But Magnus didn't know this of course, and in fact, he hadn't seen it was a blunder either, despite the fact that after Anand had made his 41st move, he had looked at the position on stage. This made it clear that although it was a blunder, Adams' reply (and that Bxf7 could be answered by Kg7!) was also the kind of move anyone can miss every now and then. At the press conference Adams said he saw Qd1 quickly, and that he noticed that Anand saw it too. He added that the Indian "was quite nice after the game actually".

PGN string

A rare blunder by the World Champion, Vishy Anand | Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

About an hour later, the other two games also ended almost simultaneously. Like in their match in Zurich last year, Aronian played 1.e4 to enter the complications of the Berlin Ending, which he plays with Black as well. For a long time it wasn't clear whether Black was better or not (the players seemed to disagree at the press conference) but from move 25 onwards Aronian was on the defending side.

PGN string

A tough fight in a Berlin Endgame between Aronian and Kramnik | Photo © ChessVibes

The all-English clash between McShane and Jones saw the latter sacrificing material once more, and again it was both creative but not enough. McShane could have decided the game quicker but he was always in control.

PGN string

 Luke McShane beats Gawain Jones | Photo © Ray Morris-Hill


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 3-0 Polgar
Jones 0-3 Anand   Anand 0-3 Adams
Adams 0-3 Carlsen   McShane 3-0 Jones
Polgar 0-3 Nakamura   Aronian 1-1 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 6 standings (football)


London Chess Classic 2012 | Round 6 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.


boardgame's picture

True, Carlsen seems to be unbeatable in tourneys. Still, I would bet on Kramnik if he played a match against Carlsen.

Big Alex's picture

Very true.... but currently Carlsen is playing so precise that he would make it difficult for Kramnik to win.

Kramnik is in top form and I love his positional style. I don´t see any other player but him to stop Carlsen.

S3's picture

Aronian, in different form. I

Thomas's picture

"Kramnik's game is ... lacking creative and aggressive ideas"
Huh? Did you actually watch or play through the games, or do you cherish your prejudices? Kramnik's win against McShane certainly had creative and aggressive ideas - commentators nominated that one for game of the tournament (rather than the comedy of errors or at least inaccuracies between Aronian and McShane). Maybe it was played by some Kramnik look-alike (and talk-alike during the press conference)?? There was also nothing wrong (lack of creativity) with the way he converted his advantage against Polgar.

"currently Carlsen is playing so precise that he would make it difficult for Kramnik to win."
Give Kramnik the positions McShane and Adams had against Carlsen, and he might score one or two wins (certainly more than 0/2). Another story is if Carlsen would drift against Kramnik the way he drifted against the English players, but he was also worse in their head-to-head encounter. This time the advantage wasn't enough to win, maybe next time (even without further inaccuracies by Carlsen), that depends on small details ... . Hence difficult, yes, but not necessarily impossible.

redivivo's picture

"I would bet on Kramnik if he played a match against Carlsen"

Did you bet on Kramnik to win his matches against Grischuk, Aronian, Gelfand, Kamsky, Leko and Anand too? :-)

jussu's picture

At this moment, I would bet on Kramnik to win a match against anyone but Carlsen. The norwegian seems to be drifting to a level of his own, though.

rogge's picture

I believe Kramnik would be Carlsen's toughest opponent in matchplay. Unfortunately, it's not very likely we'll see it happen.

However, high priority will be given to opening preparations before a WCC match, Magnus has said he might even pick up again his collabration with Kasparov.

boardgame's picture

I'm talking about the direct comparison between the two considering their current form in the tourney from my point of view. To me, Kramnik is superior in the opening and early middlegame, while Carlsen is superior in the late middlegame and endgame. However, I think that Kramnik's superiority in the early part of the game is more distinct and has a bigger impact on the result than his inferiority in the later part. Even though the differences are not huge imo, that's why I would bet on Kramnik if they played a match.

jussu's picture

Unfortunately, they won't play a match anytime soon, unless one of them dethrones Anand and faces the other in the next title match. However, I suppose Kramnik is going to retire if he doesn't regain the title in this cycle. So let's root for him this time, otherwise this interesting match will never happen :)

redivivo's picture

It is difficult to evaluate players based on parts of one event. In Dortmund Kramnik finished behind Caruana and Karjakin, in Tal Memorial he was behind Carlsen, Radjabov and Caruana. In the Olympiad he lost against Nakamura and had a forgettable first board performance. So his previous events in 2012 have been far worse than London, where he still will be behind Adams if the latter wins with white against McShane today. So a bit early to say something more definitive about Kramnik's current level, but he has played well in London and looks certain to finish in the top three.

Thomas's picture

No doubt Kramnik had worse results in his other recent events - to discuss what he is (still) capable of, we can also include the second half of 2011? But finishing behind Karjakin, Caruana and/or Radjabov is nothing to be terribly ashamed of - these guys might be able to compete with Carlsen in the rather near future (the first two already did in some events). As to the Olympiad, losing two rating points at his level (and falling short of team gold in a tiebreak lottery) isn't completely forgettable, certainly if we 'ignore' the game against Nakamura - nothing to be very proud of for either player barring Nakamura's "in the end I won and that's all that matters" approach to chess.

Kramnik might finish behind Adams in the end, even if, unlike Adams, he still has white against Jones who lost against almost everyone with either color so far. If so, it's because Adams' games against Carlsen and Anand followed a worst-case scenario from Kramnik's point of view: any other results would have been more logical and better for Vlad's tournament prospects - be it two draws or even Adams beating Carlsen and drawing Anand.

RealityCheck's picture

Hey, you have forgotten Topalov.

jussu's picture

Topalov certainly has the material to (re)join the struggle for the high peaks, but he keeps it somewhere out of sight. Currently, there is entire horde of players to consider before him.

sab's picture

You mean toiletov?

Martin Matthiesen's picture

What makes you think he'll withdraw this time?

SetNoEscapeOn's picture

Not Carlsen- Carlson :)

harvey's picture

@S3: You seem to have more and more problems disregarding MC's achievements, - last try is obviously to misspell his name :-)

Anonymous's picture

I agree, the guy is past his genuinely funny days. But well, we're all getting older.

S3's picture

Hey harvey. I am not disregarding Carlson's achievements, i merely expressed my admiration for Kramnik's play. In comparison, after the London GP I thought Grischuk ("2"nd place) played best, and no one went ballistic about that. But it seems some people get truly agitated and can't rest until I share their (wrong) opinion :-). I never felt so important before!

Frits Fritschy's picture

Why do you misspell his name twice? You've been around here long enough. Beats me.

Septimus's picture

Lack of proper education could do that, or perhaps mental retardation due to intensive drug use?

Zeblakob's picture

LOL!! Feel free to play Vs S3 on ChessCube, I am the arbiter.

boardgame's picture

Poor Anand, what a setback. I would have granted him to feed on his win a little longer with a nice series of draws. I think he would have deserved it.

redivivo's picture

I hadn't even noticed that Carlsen was one of the participants, maybe because Kramnik has been so much more impressive and Carlsen as usual has been all hype and nothing else.

Anonymous's picture

Nice one :-))

Big Alex's picture

hype??? 5.5/6.0 hype???

sab's picture


Kronsteen's picture

Anand-Adams would fit perfectly into any of Reinfeld's _1001 Sacrifices_ I used to solve on the bus to school.

Anthony Migchels's picture

It's incredible, the envy of Carlsen.

Clearly he's on an incredible surge. That people can't see that Carlsen completely outgunned Adams after getting an indifferent, close to losing position from the opening is beyond me.

This kind of domination is reminiscent of Lasker, who also just aimed for an even remotely playable position, only to completely tear apart his far inferior opponents.

Although something can and probably will happen in the last two rounds, Carlsen is onto something really big here.

Big Alex's picture

His strongest tournament so far!

He used to start sloppy and then warmed up throughtout the tournament.

But in this one he is pulvering the opposition since the first round. I have never seen this before....

RealityCheck's picture

Yes, strong showing by Carlsen so far. In next years Chess Classic exhibition we'll invite four Brits, Judit Polgar and Yifan Hou (but only if she beats her Elo rated inferior Anna Ushenina).

Londons' moto: "the more bottom fish the merrier"

Thomas's picture

I have seen this before in Biel 2011 where Carlsen started with 3.5/4: wins against Pelletier, Shirov (past his prime?), draw against Morozevich, win against Caruana (before his prime). So yes, how you score is also a bit related to whom you play.

Anonymous's picture

Yes, I agree, truly amazing...years ago GK picked him as the future of chess

RealityCheck's picture

Duuuuh, Gk also picked Kramnik and Topalov and Nakamura and who really gives a rats ....

Bertil's picture

I agree with that. I read Carlsens comments on Arcticsec and he seem to be a really nice person. Not a single disrespectful word about his opponents, and then he is on 5.5/6. And about gifts, I am not sure that the contenders are making bigger mistakes against Carlsen then against other opposition. But sure, I love Kramniks plying style too, so powerful.

Anonymous's picture

I was starting to wonder if it was just me the one that had been thinking of Carlsen as the Lasker of our days: Yes, he plays "inaccurately", So what? I wish him to keep his inaccurate play to further heights, and if he finally gets tired of chickening out, work his magic in match play (and against the unpredictable Jhon Doe in the Tromso Olympiad, if he dares!). Congrats to him.

Anonymous's picture

Magnus is now as close to 2900 as Hikaru is to 2800.

(Hikaru said that he would reach 2800 by the end of the year.)

Pablo's picture

Take into consideration that Carlsen have to win a lot more games to reach 2900 than Nakamura. That's mainly because of the oposition; one game gives Carlsen little elo compared to Nakamura who play against player with same elo or even stronger (sometimes).

But your comment is both nice and funny. Magnus is just a beast. (Naka is good too, but no comparision can be made.)

Tom Servo's picture

Whenever I need to remind myself of the evil that humanity is capable of, I simply read internet comments!

sab's picture


Tom Servo's picture

Whenever I need to remind myself of the evil that humanity is capable of, I simply read internet comments!

elgransenor1's picture

I have a theory that carlsen won't play a match with anand even if he qualifies. he could be more than 100 points higher rated than vishy then, so anything less than a resounding match victory will lead to him losing a ton of rating points.

Sasha's picture

Yes who would want to exchange 10-20 elo points for the wc title and 1 million euros.

Anonymous's picture

Plus 4 in a match against Anand can't be bad

Frits Fritschy's picture

In recent times, I liked Topalov's games: he sacrifices an exchange, gets an intiative, some space advantage and wins, and I can understand it. Then Kramnik with white: it's 4 to 4 on the kingside and 2 to 2 on the kingside, he exchanges the queens, works some magic and just has that extra bit of activity to wear black down. I don't understand what happens, but I feel the flow of the game.
Now Carlsen. Polgar may not have the ideal piece setup, but no clear weaknesses and he plays 23 e5. A humble pawn move. Looks positionally a bit dubious, a slightly weaker guy in a slightly different position would get punished, but a few moves later she is lost. I don't have a clue what has happened.
What about his game against Adams: a pawn down, bad pawn formation and the knight doesn't seem to be any worse than the bishop. Just Adam's fault he loses?
For some it may be difficult to acknowledge in the engine age: there still is magic.

trollaras's picture

23.e5 humble pawn move? positionally suspicious? Ha ha, 23.e5 was the key move of the game and it was a perfectly sound and appropriate move, especially from a positional point of view.

trollaras's picture

I'd love to see Kasparov's face after this tournament..he he

Jambow's picture

Kramnik would be getting much more notice if he wasn't over shadowed by Carlsen, he is play very well and I think as a player his philosophy will allow new heights beyond his former peak elo of 2811.

On the whole Carlsens performance is astounding and yet his play seems only marginally better than Kramniks and some would agrue marginally inferior? He certainly has gotten breaks that he has exploited but then again he has doing that for years hasn't he, there is either a method to his madness or he is smoking four leafed clovers out of a rabbits foot pipe. Carlsens current 3147 TPR makes Nanjing pale in comparision that is genuine computer engine territory.

Aronian has been out of sorts lately but I suspect he will bounce back. Mickey Adams really is playing as well as he ever has and seems to be seeing the board well which is good because I was wondering if he would ever return to form. Anand gave him a gift today and seems to have lost interest in chess to some degree, his dynamic chess is but a memmory now, His tendancy to attack over here then switch forces to another front was always exciting to watch.

Maybe Carlsens secret is that his opponents get mental fatigue trying not to make the slightest inaccuracy and he understands their position better than they do themselves so when they do he can get a hold of it.

Ah well enough word pollution just musing online I suppose. Peace to all enjoy the games.

MW's picture

"there is either a method to his madness or he is smoking four leafed clovers out of a rabbits foot pipe."

Carlsen's detractors have been boxing themselves in with the ludicrous position that he really doesn't play that well but somehow gets ten times the luck that other players do. They are starting to remind me of Janowski who, in the process of getting crushed 8-2 in a match versus Lasker, complained how "bad" Lasker's play was. Janowski then went on to challenge Lasker to a rematch and lose 9.5-1.5.

You would think they would start to question their own assumptions after a while and think maybe it's not "luck" or "gifts" but rather Carlsen is somehow eliciting these errors from his opponents. And you'd think they'd start to think after a while, just possibly, they aren't understanding the full dynamic because they are sitting at home with commentators and Houdini pouring info into their heads and fooling them into thinking it's far easier to find the right moves that it really is, but this never seems to happen.

Carlsen's opponents unfortunately have to face the real situation without help where they are (usually) behind on time (even if they have a bit of a positional advantage) and the psychological pressure where they know they better not slip because even a slightly worse ending means, not a draw as it would versus most opponents, but losing.

Bertje Enkelhaar's picture

Did it occur to any of you that Anand is just over his peak and will gradually drop out the top 10. Nothing wrong with that at all after such an amazing career in wich there is nothing left to achieve.

For god sake is it soooo hard to imagine the real battle about the WC is between probably Aronian or Karjakin. Maybe Kramnik can do some tricks but I doubt that although he plays great atm.

Come on everybody. Stop sticking in the past and join the present. Calsen is the man to beat and that will not happen by those oldies.

Deal with it. At least I will with all delight.


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