Reports | December 10, 2012 19:12

Carlsen wins 4th London Chess Classic

Carlsen wins 4th London Chess Classic

Magnus Carlsen won the 4th London Chess Classic on Monday, finishing two points ahead of Vladimir Kramnik. In the last round the top of the standings didn't change as Adams-Kramnik, Carlsen-Anand and Polgar-Aronian ended in draws. Hikaru Nakamura beat Luke McShane.

Magnus Carlsen, the winner of the 4th 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.

A really great tournament in London finished with a slight anti-climax as three of the four games ended in draws. This way Carlsen kept his two-point lead and won without having to play an Armageddon game, while Kramnik, with the same score as last year, had to be satisfied with second place this time. Nakamura and Adams did pretty well too but Anand's score was mediocre and his games included too many big mistakes. Aronian and Polgar played below their standard and in fact the two locals, McShane and Jones, did so too, with TPRs in the 2500.

Polgar and Aronian seemed to be quite happy to be able to finish their tournament with a short draw, to get it over with. They cheerfully analysed their game a bit at the press conference even though it wasn't too interesting and the first 22 moves had been played before.

PGN string


After the beginning I was not even hoping that I will somehow recover as much as I did. Obviously this level is not exactly what I'm prepared for, doing other things in my life. One of the biggest problems I felt that I have that simply my mind was not focused on the tournament. Besides that, of course some lack of preparation was there. For chess unfortunately you need a clear mind and a lot of energy which none of them I had much had too much of. And obviously they're great players.


I was playing my usual but my opponents were not, they were playing much better than usual! Tomorrow I'm going to Beijing to play the Mind Games. It's the best thing, that you can have another tournament when you have been playing chess in this manner. I'm sure I'm going to do better there.

Not long after, Adams-Kramnik also ended in a draw which meant that the tournament had been decided. Kramnik needed to win his game against Adams but decided to follow his opening repertoire anyway. About this he said:

When you're playing Black against such a strong player you cannot really count on winning. Actually the last time I managed to win with Black against Mickey was in January 1998! Of course there was the choice of playing some very rare, random openings and I looked at the games of Mickey and he's scoring incredibly well there. He knows exactly what to do against any kind of random opening. I'm quite experienced and usually what happens in such cases you lose the game like an idiot; you get a worse position and you lose. So I decided to play my repertoire and I see what Mickey is doing. He's playing many lines against Berlin, with d3, and we can get a complicated game with a lot of pieces like my game against Anand.

PGN string


I think in the end some games could have gone better, some games could have gone worse but in the end my score is about right, so obviously I'm very happy to have a decent score, really. I would be absolutely over the moon if someone told me before the tournament I could get this.

Kramnik repeated exactly his performance of 2011 with four wins and four draws.

That time it was enough to be clear first and actually the tournament was more or less of the same strength. This time unfortunately it's only enough to be clear second but of course. It seems that the only chance to win this tournament was to win the direct encounter against [Carlsen] and I was close but he defended very well. But I was really happy with my play; I was playing really well, better than last year. My form was close to optimal. I don't think I can play much better than I did here. If I get a little bit more luck I will get some chances to win the Candidates Tournament and actually I am now number two in the world and also exactly twenty years in the top 10. It's a good way to celebrate that I am number two in January, you can almost say number one because Magnus is not here, he is in the space. Between humans I'm the best probably!

Nakamura got a belated birthday present from McShane, who dropped a full piece.

PGN string


Except for today's game and the one against Kramnik where I got completely outplayed, overall I played very well. It's always nice to do well here in London.

Tomorrow I fly to China for the World Mind Sports Games, another strong event, and after that I will be playing in Wijk aan Zee in January.

For McShane it wasn't the best of finishes. He said:

I think I played quite a few interesting games here. I think I had a pretty tough time from the first four rounds to come away with only half a point because the games were quite interesting and a couple of them could have been different but of course it's always difficult when you're playing against the best players in the world so that's the way it goes. After that I thought I played reasonably well against Gawain, that was a good game, but the last couple of rounds I don't seem to have been showing particularly good chess.

When Vishy Anand arrived at the last press conference (while Magnus Carlsen was delayed as he was giving an interview to Norwegian media) he seemed quite frustrated about his play. He started by saying

It's completely ridiculous. Every day I have positions I should draw in my sleep and I'm sitting there awake and I just blunder and blunder and blunder.

PGN string

After the post-mortem Anand said:

I would say it's more or less catastrophic. It was the same last year and it has been the same for a while. I really had hopes that it would go better this time but somehow they were not realized. It seems to just go from bad to worse. The only thing I can say is that yesterday and today I actually played "fun" chess, maybe that's a kind of compensation.

It's a real pity to see the World Champ struggling with his form for not just one or two tournaments, but for longer than a year now and we certainly hope that he'll find it back in time to be able to fight for the top places in Wijk aan Zee next month!

As a compliment to the organizers we'll finish off by referring to their charity Chess in Schools & Communities. We strongly suggest you to donate (we did!) which will also help to create the 5th edition of the Classic.

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 1-1 Kramnik        
Polgar 1-1 Aronian        
Nakamura 3-0 McShane        
Carlsen 1-1 Anand        
Jones bye Assisting the commentary        

London Chess Classic 2012 | Final standings (football)


London Chess Classic 2012 | Final 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

1. Carlsen: Thor’s hammer crushes through making history!
2. Kramnik: Prussian virtues pay off.
3. Nakamura: America’s slow recovery from the recession.
4. Adams: Some prey is even too big for a boa constrictor.
5. Anand: Long live the toothless Tiger of Madras!
6. Aronian: Home is where the heart is.
7. Polgar: This is a maaaan’s world!
8. McShane: Banker on holiday loses track of time adoring Caissa.
9. Jones: Fireworks gone wrong.

Morley's picture

Nice :-)

Anonymous's picture

>> 7. Polgar: This is a maaaan’s world!

Really?? Of all the witty things possible, you used her gender?? Hmm...try competing with the elite with 2 kids back @ home & no time to prepare (unlike the "men")!!

Andreas's picture

boardgames' list is creative and inspired - but there will always be crabbers like you who like to mathematically prove there's something wrong with it.

Anonymous's picture

you can also have a great sens of humor, it helps a lot, espaecially with two kids back home

Daaim Shabazz's picture

Of course you're right about gender, but one sexist comment does NOT deserve another. Male players at the tournament have kids at home too. You cannot use domestic reasons in chess... no more than you can use other personal factors. You play or not play... your choice. Besides... the writer above seems to be is referring to a famous James Brown song that says "this is a man's world, but it would be nothing without a woman or a girl." Lighten up.

valg321's picture

well said sir, you beat me to it actually, i got nothing more to add

valg321's picture

well said sir, you beat me to it actually, i got nothing more to add

Thomas's picture

Having kids at home seems to be a slight disadvantage: Players with kids at home finished in second, fifth and seventh place, while players without kids took first, shared third and sixth place. I dunno about the three other players.
[This comment is meant to be tongue-in-cheek]

boardgame's picture

@Daaim: you got it ... nothing without a woman or a girl!
@Anonymous: sorry for rubbing salt into the wound...

eric's picture

-"2 kids back @n home"
you are also using the gender! in your modern way of thinking woman does all cleaning, cooking or taking care of babies. so she could not have enough time to prepare.
-"no time to prepare"
come on, how do you know that?? did she say something about that?
so she did have a bad performance because she is lack of this high level of experience recently. or she just had a bad tournament like aronian or luke etc. not "2 kids @ home" :))

Anonymous's picture

Wake me when there are no longer "women's" tournaments, WM and WGM titles and a "Woman's World Champion"...the last time i played, physical strength, quick reaction times and overpowering physical endurance didn't seem to have any bearing on the outcome of any of the chess games i played or witnessed.

Calvin Amari's picture

BTW, before this fine event is forgotten, I hope others will go to the event's main site and donate to the Chess-in-Schools charity that sponsored it. These folks not only teach thousands of kids, they pull off the best managed and best presented tournament of the year. Donating also proves to others that a sponsoring a high-profile chess event is an excellent way to bring attention to a cause (or a product, service, business, etc).

bronkenstein's picture

Hehe nice one =)

Bobby Fiske's picture

Funny! And I cant wait for the cartoon. I bet Jose Diaz will outdo himself. This years LCC carries all his favourite elements, including Kasparov! (Only the Martian missing for complete family photo). LOL

The Golden Knight's picture

And now we are waiting for RealityCheck, Thomas & CO to tell us all WHY Carlsen is NOT the best chessplayer. Get ready for another BLABLABLA from these "chessmasters" ;)

Congratulations Magnus - you are the best ever!!!

Anonymous's picture

1.Carlsen : Reality Check Nightmare
2.Carlsen : Reality Check Nightmare
3.Carlsen : Reality Check Nightmare
4.Carlsen : Reality Check Nightmare

10.Carlsen : Reality Check Nightmare

S3's picture

Interesting interview with Adams and Kramnik after their rather dull game.

Adams apologized to Kramnik for his "gift" to Magnus and said that if he had played normal the tournament would have been different for Kramnik.

Kramnik said that he thinks he has good chances to win the candidates tournament if he can keep his current form.

It will be interesting to see if the redivivos, calvins, rogges, guillames and so on will attack them just like they tried to insult people with similar ideas.

About the tournament, two guys were playing at another level but Jones,Mc Shane and Polgar were just much to weak for this field.
Carlsen was the fighter, bouncing back from worse positions,tiring and tricking opponents. Kramnik played easily and his chess made a great impression. I don't know what type of chess will gain more points against the stronger competition in the candidates but it will surely be a lot harder on both of m.

Thomas's picture

The interview with Adams and Kramnik was also interesting (to me) because they pointed out quite some hidden subtleties in a seemingly dull game.

As to the candidates event: I will be surprised if anyone scores +4 or +5. If Aronian finds back his form he can also compete for first place (and the biggest uncertainty is which Ivanchuk will show up).

I think you are a bit too harsh on the tailenders. It was rather clear beforehand that the event will be tough for Jones, but Polgar and McShane demonstrated at earlier occasions that they can put up a fight against the world elite. Those days may be gone for Polgar, but for McShane they aren't that long ago (Tal Memorial 2012 !).

Guillaume's picture

@S3: You're still beating straw men (and misspelling their names). Kramnik happens to be my favorite player. His comments on his own games in the commentary room are masterclasses.

Anonymous's picture

Indeed, you are WAITING for it to happen and asking for it with your equally silly "you are the best ever". Kid's play...

Calvin Amari's picture

That is inevitable.

Kramnik today said that, as the new number 2 on the rating list, he holds the position as best human, with Carlsen standing alone in the superhuman category. Vlad has not always extended his characteristic graciousness to Magnus, but he has now cleary dropped his prior claims of parity among the very top players.

Throughout this tournament, Vlad has also declined at every turn from absurdly suggesting that his perfomance was the equal or better than Magnus's. One has to read the aforementioned mastermind commenters to find such delusions.

Anonymous's picture

I guess your lies are a step forward compared to earlier insults calvin :-)

barry's picture

I heard the interview and that is exactly what kranmick said.

RealityCheck's picture

Typ Typ typical @Calvin Amari You intentionally forgot to mention that Kramnik said what he'd said in jest.

Second, Magnus Carlsen also declined suggesting, at every prompt from the boot licking commentators, that his performance was beyond reproach; that he stands head over heals above the rest.

Good day,

Thomas's picture

Hey, a Carlsen fan quoting Kramnik for supposed truth - but it's a selective quote for a selective truth. Kramnik said that the rating gap cannot be overcome in the foreseeable future, but does give himself chances to win the candidates event. "Prior claims of parity among the very top players" were during a period when Carlsen's rating edge was small, and when he had a minus score against Kramnik.

Carlsen's performance (i.e. TPR) was better than Kramnik's, but Vlad's repeated "I am satisfied with the result AND the quality of my play" could be interpreted also as a reference to Carlsen's play. On the other hand, such comparisons aren't his job - I actually wonder how closely he would follow Carlsen's games during the event.

P.S.: Adams' 'I feel sorry about what I did against Carlsen, it was unfair to Kramnik' could have been mentioned in the report !? But even journalists - not just Peter Doggers - refrain from anything that could put Carlsen's result in context ... .

rogge's picture

Ha ha ha.

I think I'll stick to what Kramnik actually said during the tournament:

" can almost say number one because Magnus is not here, he is in the space. Between humans I'm the best probably!"

" The position is dead even, so Magnus will win"

"Magnus is not god, he's close, but he's not god".

Let it go, hater. Kramnik's all right, but some of his fanboys are unbearable :-)

Good luck to Kramnik, he's Carlsen's toughest opponent, and a Kramnik-Carlsen match would've been great. Sadly, most likely it won't happen.

Thomas's picture

Kramnik also said what I quoted (but what you seem to deny or ignore). "Your quotes" are so over the top that they seem clearly tongue in cheek, maybe a parody on all the hype around Carlsen and/or an attempt to please the organizers.

That's easier for Carlsen, he just has to say something. Even if he recited a children's rhyme, the response might be "thanks Magnus, that was BRILLIANT !" :) or :(

rogge's picture

Ha ha ha :-)

Why would I deny that Kramnik said: "I am satisfied with the result and the quality of my play" ?
A fair description of his tournament performance :-)

Like I said, pay attention to what your hero actually said, don't twist his words in order to fit your agenda :-)

redivivo's picture

"even journalists - not just Peter Doggers - refrain from anything that could put Carlsen's result in context"

Haha, poor Doggers no longer fit to be called a journalist for not being negative enough about Carlsen :-)

Thomas's picture

Oops, this was wrongly or misleadingly phrased, what I meant is "Peter Doggers and other journalists" (I hope and trust that Peter himself understood what I meant).

The point isn't not negative enough but rather too positive. Earlier examples, also by Peter and several others, include
- the description of Carlsen's loss against Caruana in Sao Paulo (for example, not at all mentioning that Carlsen was much worse out of the opening)
- not asking any questions on how Carlsen could replace Dominguez in Biel

rogge's picture

"not at all mentioning that Carlsen was much worse out of the opening"

Ha ha ha :-) That's terrible. How dare they :-)

redivivo's picture

Reminds me of the scandal in Baden Baden 1925, when a journalist from the Frankfurter Allgemeine wrote some positive comments on Alekhine's winning the tournament that he had played the opening slightly inaccurately in one of his games.

redivivo's picture

Reminds me of the scandal in Baden Baden 1925, when a journalist from the Frankfurter Allgemeine wrote some positive comments on Alekhine's winning the tournament without even mentioning that he had played the opening slightly inaccurately in one of his games (some words were lost in the previous version)

Anonymous's picture

Wasn't it redivivo who dismissed whychess and it's pack of GM journalists as bad reporters because they did not share his opinion? Rogge and redivivo have a lot in common with religious fundamentalists, they don't understand humor and get angry when they hear another opinion.

Thomas's picture

In the last Whychess report on London, "they" (author is Sergey Kim) may have corrected 'past sins':
"In London, the young and nenergetic Carlsen and nakamura have once again shown that they will not give the chess world a peaceful life, at any cost!"
Old guys like Kramnik and also Adams weren't worthwhile mentioning?!

redivivo's picture

"Wasn't it redivivo who dismissed whychess and it's pack of GM journalists as bad reporters because they did not share his opinion? Rogge and redivivo have a lot in common with religious fundamentalists, they don't understand humor and get angry when they hear another opinion"

I don't think they are bad journalists for not sharing my opinion, and don't feel like a religious fundamentalist for pointing out that descriptions like these of Carlsen's chess this year seem unnecessarily negative, especially considering that they were made during a tournament where he played excellent chess and performed close to 2900:

Carlsen is "taking the path of least resistance and impoverishing himself in purely chess terms". He "doesn’t open our eyes to a new approach to chess. It doesn’t make a bold aesthetic impression", "he’s emphatically left the chess mainstream, which is something you can’t do even if you possess his talent – it’s a road to nowhere". Carlsen "isn't capable of finding new ideas", he is "a product of computerization", "it's precisely against Carlsen people play their worst chess, certainly below what they are capable of", and "it's unlikely he'll ever become World Champion" unless he changes his approach, Carlsen's chess "is disappointing" etc.

It's rare to see these types of extremely negative descriptions of such a strong player from the editors of a big chess site.

abhi's picture

+1 Carlsen haters take a breat :)

Anonymous's picture

Yup,....and Kramnik's comment re the level of Carlsen's chess certainly confirms Kasparov's statement a few years ago that the future of chess is in Carlsen's hands. A very exciting time to be following pro chess....I remember a similar feeling whenever Bobby F.would play in a tournament.

john's picture

any next super tournament coming consisting these gentlemen?

Morley's picture

Yes. Carlsen, Aronian, Caruana, Anand, Karjakin, Nakamura, Wang Hao, Leko, and Giri will be playing in Tata Steel which begins January 12th.

Then Carlsen, Aronian, Kramnik, Radjabov, Gelfand, Svidler, Grischuk, and Ivanchuk will play in the Candidates Tournament, which will be held in March.

Thomas's picture

It's just rapid, blindfold and blitz but the World Mind Games start already next week - Aronian wasn't sure about the format(!?) but said that he travels from London directly to Beijing. I couldn't find much info on the event, nothing on the other participants (except that Hou Yifan is ambassador of the chess event). I remember that an earlier edition was almost comparable to the Amber events (but then overlapped with London).

And if Adams and Short are also gentlemen: they will play Gibraltar starting Jan 22nd with, among others, Ivanchuk, Kamsky, Wojtaszek and Shirov.

Morley's picture

Here is the list of participants and the schedule:

Looks like a twist on the Amber events ... Rapid, Blitz, and Blindfold.

Anonymous's picture


Morley's picture

Great tournament. Some fascinating games (most of which involved the luckless McShane). Carlsen, of course, was the main feature, notching his thirteenth consecutive tournament performance rating of 2815+ and winning yet another super tournament. Few players seem able to contend with him at this point.

Kramnik played outstanding chess, and said he has been preparing intensely for the Candidates for over a year. That will be a sight to behold.

Polgar and McShane drop out of the 2700s, and Aronian almost out of the 2800s. Nakamura is back in the top 10 (it was bound to happen, in my opinion).

Anand was clearly unhappy with his play this tournament. He was very critical of his play during his comments after the game today with Magnus, and was uncharacteristically short with the commentators on several occasions. Hopefully he gets his mojo back and comes looking to kill at Tata!

elgransenor1's picture

that may be true but I believe that vishy showed some signs of a return to form in this event. at least his games were more interesting in general showed some signs of life that had been worryingly absent during the last few years.

Iraqi Master's picture

Please, can anyone tells me when the last time the "world champion" won a major tournment ?

Morley's picture

The last time Anand won a super tournament was Linares 2008, I think.

Anonymous's picture

Can you pleeze tells mees when iraq won a major war?

Niima's picture

@ Anonymous

You are unbelievably rude. It did not occur to you that the question posed was sincere and not meant to be sarcastic? Even if it was, such a distasteful reply was out of place.


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