Kramnik leads London Chess Classic with one round to go
Thanks to a win against Luke McShane on Sunday Vladimir Kramnik is the sole leader at the London Chess Classic with one round to go. The games Anand-Carlsen, Nakamura-Short and Howell-Aronian ended in draws; Mickey Adams had a free round.
Videos by Macauley Peterson
Vlad the Anglocide
Report by John Saunders
There was just one decisive result in the penultimate round: Vladimir Kramnik broke English hearts by beating home player Luke McShane in a long, fluctuating struggle. That put the former world champion two points clear of the field. He has White in the final round and is not someone who is readily beatable with that colour. And in order for Vlad not to finish first (at least on tie-break), something would have to happen that has never happened before at a classical time control: Levon Aronian would have to beat him with Black in tomorrow’s final round.
Let’s run through a few possible last-round permutations. If Vlad wins, of course he takes the title and the 50,000 Euros first prize. If he draws, and Magnus Carlsen fails to win (he’s Black against Nigel Short), the same applies. If Vlad draws and Magnus wins, then Vlad is first on tie-break (an extra Black win) but they receive 37,500 Euros each. If Vlady loses, Magnus could jump over him to take first, or if he fails too, Luke McShane can even finish first ahead of Vlad on tie-break (if he beats Vishy) as can Hikaru Nakamura (after a play-off, if he beats Mickey Adams). The upshot of this is that all four boards tomorrow feature a player who has a chance (albeit remote) of first place.
It’s a shame I used my Jack in the Beanstalk pantomime joke in the round five report because, as it turns out, Vlad Kramnik (and not Hikaru Nakamura) was the Giant after all. Today Vlad completed his sweep of the four English players. Luke put up a grand fight, not just to draw but to win, but in the end an extreme case of time trouble was his undoing. Luke fought right through the next time control but it always looked forlorn.
Anand and Carlsen drew rather quickly in a Queen's Gambit Declined (the classical Tartakower this time) where the World Champion made a "Fingerfehler" after which he lost his chances for an advantage.
Levon Aronian was in the mood for something unusual and played the Pirc against David Howell. The Armenian GM got some chances, but not more.
Hikaru Nakamura did his best to beat Nigel Short and maintain some chances to win the tournament, but the Englishman played well enough to draw a very long game.
Round 8 standings
|3||McShane||2671||12.0/7||3 black wins||2852|
|4||Nakamura,H||2758||12.0/7||1 black win||2851|
|5||Anand,V||2811||8.0/7||1 black win||2750|
|6||Aronian,L||2802||8.0/7||1 white win||2733|
Round 8 standings (classical)
London Chess Classic 2011 | Schedule & results
|Round 1||03.12.11||15:00 CET||Round 2||04.12.11||15:00 CET|
|Short||bye||Assisting the commentary||Anand||bye||Assisting the commentary|
|Round 3||05.12.11||15:00 CET||Round 4||06.12.11||17:00 CET|
|Kramnik||bye||Assisting the commentary||Aronian||bye||Assisting the commentary|
|Round 5||08.12.11||15:00 CET||Round 6||09.12.11||15:00 CET|
|McShane||bye||Assisting the commentary||Carlsen||bye||Assisting the commentary|
|Round 7||10.12.11||15:00 CET||Round 8||11.12.11||15:00 CET|
|Nakamura||bye||Assisting the commentary||Adams||bye||Assisting the commentary|
|Round 9||12.12.11||13:00 CET|
|Howell||bye||Assisting the commentary|
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