Reports | December 07, 2011 1:52

LCC R4: Wins for Nakamura, Short and McShane, who now leads with Carlsen

LCC R4: Wins for Nakamura, Short and  McShane, who now leads with Carlsen

Luke McShane and Magnus Carlsen are sharing the lead after four rounds at the London Chess Classic. McShane, who beat his compatriot David Howell with Black on Tuesday, even has the tiebreak advantage. Carlsen drew with Vladimir Kramnik. Vishy Anand finished his long streak of draws with a loss against Hikaru Nakamura while Nigel Short got his first three points thanks to a win against Mickey Adams. In this round Levon Aronian had his rest day. There's no round on Wednesday.

Carlsen and McShane lead with five rounds to go | Photos © John Saunders, all other photos in this report © Ray Morris-Hill for the official website

Event London Chess Classic 2011PGN via TWIC
Dates December 3rd-12th, 2011
Location London, UK
System 9-player round robin
Players Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, Kramnik, Nakamura, Adams, Short, McShane, Howell
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.

Videos by Macauley Peterson

For iPhone/iPad users: you can access the video feed in iTunes here.

The fourth round of the London Chess Classic started about 16.15 local time, or 17.15 CET. It was scheduled for two hours later than normal because of a Chess in Schools and Communities junior tournament, which was delayed a bit at the end.

However, for the spectators, and especially those in the USA, it was worth the waiting as they would witness another great round.

Let's start with what the organizers dubbed as the first US player to beat a reigning world champion for 19 years. They probably referred to a tweet by Mig Greengard, who thinks the last time was Kamsky over Kasparov at Dortmund 1992. Hikaru Nakamura beat Vishy Anand in a King's Indian that could easily have swung the other way.

PGN string

It's really live or die, and nothing in between, in Nakamura's KIDs! He explained his opening choice like this:

I didn't like the way I lost yesterday. I figured that if I lose at least I should give myself some chances. Vishy has only been playing 1.d4 for the last couple of years and he has very little experience with the King's Indian. I thought he wouldn't understand the structures as well as I did.

To the question whether this was his biggest single win, Nakamura answered

Probably overall it is. I had some better quality wins but certainly beating the World Champion... the first time you do that is something special.

Later that night he tweeted:

Live by the sword and die by the sword. Sometimes I wonder just how many of these games I can play in the KID before I die of a heart attack

Magnus Carlsen got some chances in an ending with opposite-coloured bishops and rooks against Vladimir Kramnik. The Russian wasn't happy at all with how he got out of the opening - the same in which he once beat Garry Kasparov in a blitz game.

PGN string

Magnus Carlsen had to be satisfied with a draw against Vladimir Kramnik

This allowed Luke McShane to catch Carlsen in the standings.

With Black he beat David Howell, who suffered a case of chess blindness - in timetrouble he went for a tactical sequence that looked brilliant, until it turned out to be... incorrect.

PGN string

During the commentary Levon Aronian said about McShane:

Luke is very gifted positionally, and works really well during the game.

Nigel Short scored his first win in three London Chess Classics against Mickey Adams, thereby also avenging his British Championship tie-break defeat.

PGN string

Nigel Short washes away that nasty zero on the leaderboard with 3...h6 in a French...

...a move that prompted the legendary Viktor Korchnoi, here with Julian Hodgson in the VIP room, to say: "Switch the game!"

On Wednesday the players don't have a round. There is chess in Olympia, though, as the FIDE Open and the Women's International reach their fifth round. Besides, there's a Chessbase workshop, a Bobby Fischer Against the World screening and an astronomy lecture by Vishy Anand (!) and John Nunn.

Round 4 standings

No. Name Rtg Score/game Tiebreak TPR
1 McShane,L 2671 8.0/4 2 black wins 2942
2 Carlsen,M 2826 8.0/4 2 white wins 2909
3 Nakamura,H 2758 7.0/4   2905
4 Kramnik,V 2800 5.0/3   2886
5 Aronian,L 2802 4.0/3   2709
6 Short,N 2698 3.0/3   2654
7 Anand,V 2811 2.0/3   2583
8-9 Howell,D 2633 2.0/4   2568
8-9 Adams,M 2734 2.0/4   2510

Round 4 standings (classical)


London Chess Classic 2011 | Schedule & results

Round 1 03.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 2 04.12.11 15:00 CET
Kramnik ½-½ Nakamura   Howell ½-½ Adams
Aronian ½-½ McShane   McShane ½-½ Carlsen
Carlsen 1-0 Howell   Nakamura 1-0 Aronian
Adams ½-½ Anand   Short 0-1 Kramnik
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
Aronian 1-0 Short   Carlsen ½-½ Kramnik
Carlsen 1-0 Nakamura   Adams 0-1 Short
Adams 0-1 McShane   Anand 0-1 Nakamura
Anand ½-½ Howell   Howell 0-1 McShane
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
Nakamura - Howell   Adams - Aronian
Short - Anand   Anand - Kramnik
Kramnik - Adams   Howell - Short
Aronian - Carlsen   McShane - Nakamura
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
Short - McShane   Anand - Carlsen
Kramnik - Howell   Howell - Aronian
Aronian - Anand   McShane - Kramnik
Carlsen - Adams   Nakamura - Short
Nakamura bye Assisting the commentary   Adams bye Assisting the commentary
Round 9 12.12.11 13:00 CET        
McShane   Anand        
Nakamura - Adams        
Short - Carlsen        
Kramnik - Aronian        
Howell bye Assisting the commentary        


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.


Ashish's picture

2.5/4 with three Blacks against the top four players in the world! Not too shabby a start for the H-Bomb.

noyb's picture

Excellent observation. 2.5/4 vs. all 2800+ is an excellent start. I'll bet no one else does better than that, certainly not with three Blacks. Even the 2800 players will be very happy to get 2/3 vs. each other.

Kholmov's picture

Anand to be on the downslope on grounds of age, raised the dead, nakamura was all smiles at the press conference, when he loses, do not put anything in your tweet, lost 5 matches in a row for Carlsen, Carlsen of the customer, and break Kasparov also become your customer, when they want to laugh, read the nonsense on twitter nakamura

Daaim Shabazz's picture

You are not following chess much. Nakamura often put comments about his losses. Also... lots of players have several games to Carlsen. No shame in that.

Yes... Twitter is a light-hearted way to post your thoughts. It's not meant to be scholarly. However, Nakamura should take a bit more care in writing those tweets.

Bryan Urízar 's picture

It is shameful. Nakamura is one of the players that people hope to be a contender for the world crown. Carlsen is certainly going to be one, so Nakamura is "expected" to stop him or at least slow him down. But he's no where near doing that with all the losses. You can't compare him to all the other people who lose to Carlsen. Furthermore, Nakamura is young still so he's the future for chess, but from what it seems like he's a piece of cake for Carlsen. On the other hand, Kramnik recently said that he believes the only current player that can be a serious contender is Aronian and that he seems them fighting for the WCC in the next 10 years.

Daaim Shabazz's picture

I meant, "Also... lots of players have LOST several games to Carlsen."

Nigel P's picture

One of these days Naka will tweet "Today I was outplayed by a better player" and the skies will open and the world will end...

Chris Girardo's picture

Who is N. Nakamura? This seems to be a strong new player on the scene boasting a 2900+ TPR.

Juan Castillo's picture

I don't know, but he just beat the world champion!

victorhdiaz's picture

If you check the full game, notes how crazy bunch of blunders he made (Anand)..he was better all time..instead lose! don´t even think about Nakamura is better than Anand..far from reality!

RealityCheck's picture

Where you been, man? Meet us at Toshi's Teriyiaki imbiss near the Space Needle. We give you the full scoop on the H-Bomb from White plains to the Internet, from Seattle to St. Louis...

aerodarts's picture

have you guys checked out this video from 2009 us championships?

RealityCheck's picture

The music rocks!!!!!

aerodarts's picture

I posted some video on my youtube page that you might find interesting.

Sumit Balan's picture

Anand will WIN, When he plays 1.e4, Anand will LOSE,When he plays 1.d4

KingTal's picture

Anand, shame on you! What an embarrassing performance for a WC.

Bert de Bruut's picture

Why complain? At least he ended his drawing streak.

RealityCheck's picture

At least he's playing!! But, he shd have taken that 5 year break like Garry. People still would've called him the champ....

Bartleby's picture

Try playing main line against the King's Indian yourself. It's not an exact science. Most of the times you press through slowly on the queen side. Sometimes you lose horribly. What looked like minor inaccuracies in executing the press-through part allowed Black to grab the initiative, and within a few precise moves reverse the course of the game.

TomTom's picture

Aha, you mean mistakes have an influence to the result?

KingTal's picture

You are speaking about Anand, he is WC you know. And a WC shouldn´t blunder 4 moves in a row and even get a loosing position in a clearly winning one, plus wihtout any time trouble. It´s embarrassing for a player of his caliber.

Zeblakob's picture

Even Einstein makes mistakes !!

Bartleby's picture

He played what looked like mere inaccuracies to the not computer-assisted human observers. Only with hindsight, and thorough tactical calculation by a non-human calculator, you can see that these were decisive mistakes. That sharpness is part of the deal when you play the King's Indian. He is guilty of not finding the most accurate moves, but they were not obviously losing blunders.

noyb's picture

We've all been spoiled by Fischer, Karpov and Kasparov's domination. Most World Champions never dominated tournaments/matches to the same extent. Get used to more "normal" results for years to come (except maybe for Carlsen...).

Zeblakob's picture

wer iz S3 ???

S3's picture

Right here, what should I say?

Zeblakob's picture

say something.

Lee's picture

I'm loving the work by the commentary team. Particularly the daily guest Super GM work. Aronian and Kramnik in particular have been a delight. Aronian is quite a funny guy (Endangered Weapons - referring to the French h6) while Kramnik's thoughts on computers was interesting.

Is there any way to download those videos of the daily streaming? It would be neat to watch them on the way to work on ye olde ipod.

Macauley's picture

I've started .m4v conversions (for iTunes) for previous shows. You can access the feed in iTunes here:

Further rounds / parts will follow.

Bryan Urízar 's picture

Really? That's awesome! I've been on this site since it started almost and it's amazing to see you guys improving and providing amazing coverage of events. I really appreciate it! :)

Bryan Urízar 's picture

I've tried accessing it, but can't. I'm not sure if I'm just putting that link in the wrong place. Any help? Thanks :)

Macauley's picture

The link should prompt you to open iTunes (or open iTunes automatically) and subscribe to the RSS feed for the London Chess Classic, giving you the chance to download the shows to iTunes.

fen's picture

Macauley, is there any more video from round 3 to be posted? The end of the day seems to be missing. Thanks.

Bryan Urízar 's picture

I just clicked on the link on my iPhone but Safari says it can't open the page..

Lee's picture

Bryan, you'll need to be a bit creative in using that link as it doesn't show as a true 'link' in comments, which would fire up iTunes as expected.

I'm only getting the astronomy lecture at this point, but I'll keep an eye on the feed. Cheers

Bryan Urízar 's picture

So could you help me out here? Because I tried the link but it doesn't open iTunes. I'm on my iPhone.

lefier's picture

As age now is starting to be an issue in Anand's play, odds are that he will retire after the Gelfand-match.

Webbimio's picture

Anand lost a game. That's all. Remember all he won in many years and wait a minute before saying he is finished as a player. I bet he will win some nice games in this tournament.

redivivo's picture

I wonder about his winning "some nice games in this tournament", he has Kramnik, Carlsen and Aronian in the upcoming rounds. It should be something around 25 games now since he won against someone else than Vallejo.

lefier's picture

"Anand lost a game. That's all."
No, that's not all.
Add his game with Howell where Howell's time-trouble saved Anand a lost position.
Add his cautious draw-games over a long period hesitating to try any sharp play against opponents.
And add his loss to Aronian recently where he admitted to feel untypical "lost" in the game.

Parkov's picture

The depth of calculation showed by Howell at the post-game press conference was impressive. It's scary to think how good both he and McShane could be if they were devoted to chess fulltime

Bobby Fiske's picture

Yes, really a pitty for England if Howell and McShane doesnt go profesional. They can become strong chess ambassadors. "Future of British chess"!

S3's picture

Just 3 games, but it looks like Kramnik has gone back to his old style grinding with white and taking it easy with black.

redivivo's picture

Probably partly because the opposition is stronger here than it was in Dortmund and Univé, he's playing more like in Kazan and the Tal Memorial against the top players. He did try some wild stuff in the Russian Superfinal but it didn't work against the best players there.

S3's picture

Like you say, he also played like that in the Russian championship and I wouldn't say that Dortmund was weak either. He may switch back because of results, but I doubt he switched to that attacking style in order to improve his results. I guess people will soon start complaining again.

kholmov's picture

I am more impressed with a lot of nonsense that nakamura usually post on his twitter, now has a new nonsense only official website of the tournament actually is not quite a silly nonsense is bordering on insanity, he says nakamura: that as Anand seems to have little experience in india king was the reason for your choice ..... now think, have you ever seen someone carry the title of world champion without having full knowledge of one of the most popular existing openings? the thing borders on insanity to put it mildly, that this be a lesson to Anand for the next matches with nakamura he has a greater attention, not that he is playing with a top grandmaster, different, as Anand, Carlsen , Ivanchuk, Topalov, Aronian, Kramnik, but do not underestimate, and thus will win the nakamura naturally.

huh?'s picture

Problems with the bulgarian-english-translator ??

lefier's picture

5 players still in the winning-field: Carlsen, Kramnik, Aronian, McShane, Nakamura, - sorted by assessed winner-odds (?).
Most impressive so far: McShane; - a pity that he is not playing full-time.
The english have the material, but not the ambition?

Chess Fan's picture

Luke McShane is and has always been brilliant.
I have followed him since his brilliant loss against Anand with black pieces in 2004 when Anand won with the defensive move of the year - Luke had dared to play actively on the black side of the Sicilian Sveshnikov.I followed all his games in his latest Canadian open that he won convincingly and all the wonderful games that he has played against the greats like Magnus and Anand. In my opinion he is the greatest British player currently and definitely one of the young players to watch in the world if he focuses on chess.

Pulern's picture

Live rating notes:

#1 Carlsen: 2833,3
#2 Aronian: 2811,5 (21,8 points behind Carlsen)
#3 Anand: 2797,1 (36,2 points behind Carlsen)
#4 Kramnik: 2790,2 (43,1 points behind Carlsen)

If you look at all 41 players rated 2700 or higher, then:
-Aronian has played the most games (21)
-Anand has lost the most points (13,9)
-Dominguez has gained the most points (17,9)

On Thursday we will se the most exiting game of the tournament:
Aronian – Carlsen :)

BTW, Does anyone have the liftime score in rated games,
between Aronian-Carlsen and Carlsen-Aronian?


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