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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Kramnik||bye||Assisting the commentary||Carlsen||bye||Assisting the commentary|
|Round 9||10.12.12||13:00 CET|
|Jones||bye||Assisting the commentary|
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