Reports | December 09, 2012 21:52

Kramnik and Polgar winners in 8th round London Classic

Judit Polgar beats Luke McShane at the London Chess Classic

The London Chess Classic will see an exciting last round on Monday. Magnus Carlsen, who didn't play but joined the commentators on Sunday, is leading by just two points as Vladimir Kramnik defeated Gawain Jones. Judit Polgar won her first game in the penultimate round. Luke McShane didn't handle the Symmetrical English middlegame very well, and this was punished with some powerful moves by the Hungarian lady. The other two games ended in draws, and especially Anand-Nakamura was an epic fight. 

Judit Polgar beats Luke McShane at the London Chess Classic |  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 4th London Chess Classic continues to amaze with wonderfully exciting games played in just about every round. Judit Polgar finally found some form and won a good game, her first, against Luke McShane. Vladimir Kramnik kept chances for tournament victory thanks to a smooth win against Gawain Jones, who has now finished his tournament. (He'll be giving commentary during the final round). Crazy things happened in Anand-Nakamura, but just like the more quiet game Aronian-Adams the result was a draw.

Kramnik surprised with his opening moves 1.Nf3 and 2.b3. At the press conference he said:

I wanted a slow game. I really needed a win today to try and fight for first place.

PGN string

Jones' tournament is now over, and at the press conference the Englishman looked back:

It's been a great experience playing this tournament. To play players like Kramnik, Anand, Carlsen... I picked up a lot of experience from it. It's a huge different level. Your concentration needs to be so high!

Judit Polgar finally won a game, and a good one. She basically pointed out what was wrong with McShane's doubtful and uncertain moves in the early middlegame.

PGN string

Anand-Nakamura was an epic fight which included a complicated tactical sequence of moves in the middle game which eventually led to a highly complicated endgame. In the final phase, the evaluation of the position went a bit up and down as the players made a few errors that seemed almost inevitable.

PGN string

Levon Aronian went for a King's Indian attack but didn't get anything out of the opening. Just before the time control it got worse, and Mickey Adams won a healthy pawn. The presence of opposite-coloured bishops helped the Armenian to save the draw.

PGN string

Tomorrow we'll have Adams-Kramnik, Polgar-Aronian, Nakamura-McShane and Carlsen-Anand. Kramnik said:

It's goint to be a very interesting last round. It would be a pity if Magnus, not for him but for the spectators, would be already the winner after today.

If Carlsen draws and Kramnik beats Adams the two will both finish on 18 points. In fact their tie-break will be exactly the same as well:

  1. Number of games won.
  2. Number of games won with Black.
  3. Result of the game(s) between the tied players.

In this case the players will play an Armageddon game to decide the winner of the tournament. White will get 6 minutes + 2 seconds per move while Black will get 5 minutes + 2 seconds per move, with draw odds.

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 1-1 Nakamura
Adams 1-1 McShane   McShane 0-3 Polgar
Polgar 1-1 Anand   Aronian 1-1 Adams
Nakamura 1-1 Carlsen   Kramnik 3-0 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 8 standings (football)


London Chess Classic 2012 | Round 8 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.


The Golden Knight's picture

Carlsen will beat Anand tomorrow:)

RealityCheck's picture

All in. Anand will spank Carlsen to-morrow!

The Golden Knight's picture

Carlsen will be on fire, so you will have another bad day RC ;))

Anónimo's picture

As if you didn't know that yet another draw is coming guys!

Anonymous's picture

Carlsen will spank RC till the end of times

hichcock's picture

You just knew that McShane-Polgar would be a game that excites and it did not disappoint. Most entertaining.

Somewhat ugly win for Kramnik today, and Anand remains unimpressive and stands to finish at .500 or less.

S3's picture

I kinda liked Kramnik's win today. What was so ugly?

bronkenstein's picture

But...Vlad´s walk in the park...err, game looked quite smooth today (pretty much as expected) and Vishy - Naka was an excellent game imNSHo, the essence of fighting chess. OFC your computer might ´describe´ it as rubbish.

I believe that Anand will, in the long run, psychologically benefit much more from such high tension encounters (including drawn or even lost ones).

eric's picture

What happened in the Anand-Nakamura game? Vishy was going really good after the knight sac. but he could just wait for the last couple of moves before the time control. He rushed 40. Re8, I do not think it was necessary. After that 44.g6? I was just thinking Rb6 to cut off the black king then tie Naka's pawns. You can even go with the king to stop the pawns. But Vishy just made unnecessary pawn moves and let Naka to push his pawns. After that Naka was about to win, he even got the queen! Both of them must be tired, there is nothing to explain this ups and downs in the game. But anyway I enjoyed the game! Sorry about Vishy though, he is kind of losing his killer instinct.

Morley's picture

Wow, Judit really crushed McShane. Shortest game of the tournament? McShane has been quite disappointing at this LCC.

Anand-Nakamura was really entertaining. A great game to watch, even if both players let the win slip away. The feisty Anand in the post-game was great as well ... the "pull a Garry" comment was hilarious, if a tad unprofessional for Anand.

Kramnik continues his great run. Jones never really stood a chance, did he?

Carlsen was great in the commentary room. His off the cuff knowledge of opening theory and chess history was pretty amazing. I look forward to seeing the battle between the world no.1 and WC tomorrow ... a fitting end.

choufleur's picture

Waw Anand-Nakamura, what a game !

Bartleby's picture

Yes, a knight sacrifice that worked beautifully. Anand took over the initiative. Nakamura had to dig deep to find a way to mobilize his center pawns and avoid being pressed into passive defense. And it all led into a fantastic, complicated kind of pawn race where both had winning chances and nobody could calculate it precisely to the end.

NN's picture

After watching live streaming, I am simply amazed with how brilliant Carlsen is. His memory is quite extraordinary, he remembers games (including blitz games), when and where they were played, and even related trivia, like "in this blitz game the clocks stopped and they had to adjourn it" or what Korchnoi said about Short's play after their 1996 game (Short himself had no idea). And by the way, Short is a clown-grandmaster.

The Golden Knight's picture

Yes - really enjoyed it! I think he remembers 10.000 games in his head...

valg321's picture

well since i've had the misfortune to meet him i can tell you for a fact that Mr. Short is not a clown-GM. He's a clown, period.

Thomas's picture

It won't surprise people that I disagree: Memory isn't the same as brilliancy, and Carlsen was rather showing off (quoting 'ancient' games isn't the same as providing chessic insights). As to "in this blitz game the clocks stopped ..." - that was a fairly recent and rather important game from the Kramnik-Radjabov tiebreak in Kazan, anyone who follows chess closely can remember it!?

Most annoying or unwarranted was Carlsen's comment on Aronian's opening - "he played like this when he was young and didn't take chess seriously". Huh 1: conceptually it isn't that different from Carlsen's own 1.e4 e6 2.d3 !? Huh 2: three games from the round had somewhat similar white setups. Kramnik eventually won quite convincingly (well, he had the weakest opponent and the one least familiar or comfortable with such a game), McShane and Aronian got into troubles which may or may not have been sirectly related to their openings.

I for one preferred Kramnik's live commentary, and I am not all alone (there was at least one such tweet during yesterday's round). In foresight as well as hindsight, I put a question mark on a quote from the previous Chessvibes report: "more than ever, the Livestream page ... is worth visiting!" (because Carlsen was part of the show).

brabo's picture

I wouldn't put too much importance to live comments. Afterall it is often done without serious thinking so you quickly regret afterwards what you said.

trollaras's picture

Carlsen is a phenomenal player but a mediocre commentator.

Jambow's picture

I enjoyed the Nakamura Anand game too, I havent looked at the Polgar McShane game yet and look forward to going over it.

Kramnik now at his former peak elo and probably will go beyond it and play as well or better than ever which is a monumental task.

Jambow's picture

Ok Polgar McShane game was good also but as it was lopsided and she trounced Luke I like the Anand Nakamura game better. Stll nice to see Judit play so crisp making Luke look like a club player.

Wallace's picture

Wow, incredible. In a field this strong 6/7 and still not sure to win the tournament... Normally +3 should be adequate! Great performances by Carlsen ánd Kramnik. Can't wait for the last round and the next tournament they will both participate.
Definitely the top 2 of the world today!!

The Devil's picture

Armageddon to determine the winner of Kramnik wins and Carlsen draws tomorrow? That's such a stupid mode IMO. Even just playing Blitz until someone wins is better.

jussu's picture

I simply don't understand what is wrong with shared victories. Anyways, Adams has played a strong tournament and I don't expect him to lose with white today, not even against Kramnik.

redivivo's picture

Adams has been a rather difficult opponent for Kramnik, with white Adams is actually 3-0 after the loss in Wijk 1998, but the wins came when he was significantly stronger than today.

Thomas's picture

Unless Adams has a "sense of justice" and blunders in an equal or favorable position against Kramnik the way he blundered against Carlsen? With football scoring he would then get what he deserves from his three games against Carlsen, Anand and Kramnik - three points (but +1-2 rather than =3).

Zeblakob's picture

As usual, Anand was completely trolled by Naka. But Anand showed in the press conference that he has calculated very long sharp lines in a short period of time. A true world champion. For instance he considered 32.Raf1 in a fraction of a second, evaluated it very quickly, then played something else.

redivivo's picture

Both McShane and Nakamura missed several wins against Anand, but even beating Carlsen with black would probably not lead to a higher finish than 5th of 9. Another unimpressive tournament by Anand added to this sequence:

Bilbao 2011: 3-5th of 6, =
Tal Memorial 2011: 6-7th of 10, =
London 2011: 5-6th of 9, =
Bilbao 2012: 5th of 6, -1
London 2012, 5th of 9, = (one round left)

Also even scores in rated games in: Bundesliga 2012 and the Gelfand match 2012.

It is more than two years since Anand won a single game against an opponent rated higher than 2727.

redivivo's picture

Correction, next month it will be two years since the win against 2735 Shirov, and in these years the clearly highest rated opponent Anand has beaten is Gelfand (2727).

Thomas's picture

Anand also missed a win against Nakamura, so the draw might be considered a 'fair' result after all? In any case, he (and Nakamura) played an impressive game in an arguably for him unimpressive event.

Altogether I would say Anand showed progress in terms of ambition - compared to some events where he seemed to be perfectly happy with a series of draws. He also tried against McShane, just wasn't successful but got himself into trouble.

Anonymous's picture

yet still no one managed to dethrone him

Anonymous's picture

That would be impressive results for a player like, say, van Wely.

redivivo's picture

In a few months Anand will have a decent chance to win his first tournament in five years though. In Zurich he will only have three opponents, and two of them play the Candidates a couple of weeks later and won't take the event particularly seriously (Gelfand and Kramnik). That leaves Caruana as the man to beat, but that might be difficult enough, he has improved a lot lately.

Bob's picture

SAVE us from Armageddon nonsense. Why not shared first??

valg321's picture

publicity gimmick..yet another in a long series in the London classic. Armageddon my @ss

chesshire cat's picture

Kramnik has played very well this tournament. But, when he might have tried for a win and perhaps tie for first, he chooses the Berlin, Adams chooses a harmless variation, and now the game is dead. Why not try for more? I think Kramnik needs some secondary openings to use when he wants/needs to win; but NOT the Pirc, please. This was also evident in the Candidate's! He is more than capable of playing sharply when required, he just needs to expand his repertoire to tale this into account.

Thomas's picture

To some extent I agree: Kramnik doesn't have a more dynamic weapon against 1.e4 (he is more flexible recently against 1.d4). Or maybe he has one to use, in case of need, during the candidates event?
On the other hand, "Adams chooses a harmless variation" is also part of the picture - given that he was primarily aiming for a draw he might have done the same against a Sicilian? Actually he did, initially, earlier in the tournament against Polgar. And then it's also hard to make progress with black without taking excessive risks to, in Vlad's own words, risk losing like an idiot.
Adams also apologized for "what he did against Carlsen", suggesting that it might have been unfair to Kramnik .... .

Finally on 1.e4 e6 2.d3: I didn't call it bad or second-rate, I just said it's conceptually similar to Aronian's Reti setup (actually pretty similar to what then happened in that game). I actually played it myself recently in a club game, got tired of earlier theoretical duels against the same opponent where he knows a bit too much for my taste :) .

chesshire cat's picture

And while I'm at it, why the widespread ignorance of 1.e4 e6 2. d3? This move has long been known and respected, used by many great players including Fischer and Smyslov. It is not second-rate by any means, just another approach.

1-pac's picture

Somebody got his pants back in Round 8: he uses a crown that doesn't fit.

Congratulations to you, old fighting tiger.
It made my day infinitely better...

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