Reports | December 08, 2012 22:02

Carlsen beats Kasparov's rating record in London

Carlsen beats Kasparov's rating record in London

The London Chess Classic has become a historic tournament on Saturday as with his draw against Hikaru Nakamura, Magnus Carlsen has beaten Garry Kasparov's record rating of 2851. With his win yesterday against Polgar the Norwegian already secured a new rating of 2851, but now even if Carlsen loses his last game on Monday against Anand, he'll leave Londen with a rating gain of 8 points. This means he'll be topping the January FIDE rating list with an Elo of at least 2856.

All games in round 7 ended in draws, and so Carlsen also maintained his 4-point lead over Vladimir Kramnik. However, because the world's number one has his (well deserved!) rest day tomorrow, nothing has been decided yet.

Carlsen will be the highest rated player ever on January 1st, 2013 |  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.

And so he did it. Two years after becoming the world's youngest number one ever, Magnus Carlsen is reaching international headlines once again by becoming the highest rated player ever.

It's pretty cool. It's probably the biggest achievement so far in my career,

he told us in an interview we had with him after the game. The video will be posted as soon as possible!

Before we move on to the game itself, we'll include a tweet from the man who reached 2851 in July 1999 but lost his record today, Garry Kasparov:

Congratulations to @MagnusCarlsen! Could my rating record last other than 13 yrs? It was always 'my' number. 22 was also a good age for me!

Top ratings over the years

Playing Black, Carlsen faced Hikaru Nakamura. The opening was a c3 Sicilian (Alapin), which you don't see too often at this level. Carlsen:

I think we were both pretty surprised by the position that came on the board.

Nakamura said that he had prepared this opening for his game against Topalov at the Grand Prix in September.

At move 16 Carlsen gave a knight for two pawns which seemed quite promising, but when he took on f3 to win a third pawn, it was White who got the upper hand. Still, with some accurate moves the world's number one saved the draw and secured the record.

PGN string

By then Jones and Aronian had finished their game already; a 3.f3 Grünfeld that started very promising but then suddenly petered out into a draw.

PGN string

Not much happened in Polgar-Anand. The Indian felt he might have been slighty better out of the opening, but a few moves later it was White who was pressing a bit. Black's tactic at the end was nice.

PGN string

Yet again Luke McShane was involved in the last game. He was basically defending throughout the game, and many people felt that Adams was going to win another game, but not this time.

PGN string

During Sunday's 8th round, Magnus Carlsen is the one who will be assisting the commentators. We'd say that more than ever, the Livestream page that provides streaming video of the commentary room is worth visiting!

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 1-1 Aronian   Anand - Nakamura
Adams 1-1 McShane   McShane - Polgar
Polgar 1-1 Anand   Aronian - Adams
Nakamura 1-1 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 7 standings (football)


London Chess Classic 2012 | Round 7 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.


Anonymous's picture

no it's not a fact, it's only your way of thinking

Andreas's picture

+1 magnus is constantly giving back to chess more than a dozent of other strong players together; by the way, not all world class players contribute 'automatically' a lot to opening theory.

Anonymous's picture

He's a lot like Lasker, who also ducked matches for the championship. But Lasker held the title.

Brian Wall's picture

First, congrats to Magnus.
Second, what would his rating be if he beat 20 GMs in a row like Bobby did?

brabo's picture

Which 20 GMs did Bobby beat in a row?
Which rating does a GM has averagely?

giovlinn's picture

Carlsen is one cool dude. He's the best player in the world now, no matter what of some comments.

chesshirecat's picture

There is no"Magnus" Any idea how difficult it is to create a "new" variation these days?
Anyway, over the years some players were more creative than others in the opening, didn't mean much in terms of intrinsic chess strength. In fact, Lasker was known to play the opening rather carelessly, in general; he relied more on his middlegame and endgame skills.
Don't know of any "Tal" variation, so does that mean Tal was automatically less worthy than, e.g., Najdorf?
Well done to the Norwegian wunderkind, will he become interested in fighting to become world champ, I wonder? It's not the be-all and end-all, either - I preferred Vishy before he became champ : ) , perhaps it is a poisoned chalice...

Anonymous's picture

Totally agree with what you say, except at the end : It is a MUST to become world champion ... Especially when the world champion is the BOSS !!! and also to burry Thomas, Reality check and a bunch of others :)

Andreas's picture


redivivo's picture

With one game left for Carlsen, with white, and with a score of +5 -0 =2 and a 3045 performance, we can start summing things up:

Kramnik has played better and has more creativity, erudition and strategical understanding of the game than Carlsen, as has Morozevich, Ivanchuk and many others.

Carlsen has more stamina thanks to his young age, but is consistent only in getting bad positions. His rating is caused by inflation only, and should in fact be in the lower 2600s if not for inflation, and he would have struggled to be top ten 40-50 years ago the way he is playing.

As pointed out on another site, even if Carlsen would be #1 for 50 years in a row he would still not have accomplished anything admirable or memorable, and he can't be compared to for example Gelfand or Ushenina, who both proved their strength in a way Carlsen haven't.

Every time Carlsen says something sensible the Carlsen fans disagree with him, and he hasn't even created any opening variation that goes by his name as with the famous "Vladimir Variation", "Gelfand Line" and "Anand System".

In short, Carlsen has once again accomplished nothing, played forgettable chess and been unimpressive, and we can only look forward to that some player will do something impressive some day but it sure does look as if Carlsen just will continue to disappoint.

columbo's picture

you forgot to mention the FACT that Carlsen lost all of his games in London 2012, I wonder why he is still invited to top events ?!

redivivo's picture

At least I recall Thomas hoping that organisers would dare not to invite Carlsen when the Tata field was discussed :-)

Thomas's picture

That's quoted out of context: what I wrote is that the organizers might have gotten two or three other strong players (who would also deserve but rarely get supertournament invitations) for the prize of Carlsen. All I do question is whether Carlsen _has to_ play every single top event.

BTW given that you tend to discard my comments as irrelevant, it's amazing how much you remember ...

rogge's picture

In a nutshell, yes. But you forgot that Carlsen's games are rigged.

columbo's picture



Zeblakob's picture

It is rather MC against {S3,Thomas, RealityCheck} :)

S3's picture

I challenge him for a match Zeb!

Anonymous's picture

Bring Houdini

giovlinn's picture

Of course they are!

Andreas's picture

;-) you made my day! magnus should really think about that all and consider changing his profession. fashion, maybe.

eric's picture

I do not know where does that graph from, but I see 2811 (April, 2002) rating point in Kramnik's chart. Here it shows 2809.

Rini Luyks's picture

mmm, at least SOME analysis of the last 75 moves of Adams-McShane would be nice ...;)

Mindhunter's picture

Congratulations Magnus!! A momentous achievement, well done! :)

Bartleby's picture

London commentary has its low moments. The commentators are playing "Guess the computer line".

giovlinn's picture

You cannot compare a guy like Fischer with Carlsen. Jesus, Fischer played his last match 40 years ago.


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