London Chess Classic starts with a bang
The London Chess Classic had a fantastic start on Saturday with all games in the first round ending decisively. The first winner was Vladimir Kramnik, who defeated Judit Polgar with White. Soon after Hikaru Nakamura followed, who beat Levon Aronian with Black. Magnus Carlsen then won with Black against Luke McShane and finally Michael Adams defeated Gawain Jones with the black pieces as well.
Olympia was jam-packed during the first Saturday | Photos © Ray Morris-Hill
What a start! Everyone's in awe after the first round of the London Chess Classic, where all the games in the first round ended decisively. Let's face it, draws can be very interesting, but in the end we want to see blood on the board, don't we? Well, there was plenty of that on Saturday, and so the absolute world elite managed to make the tournament even more exciting than it already was with their mere presence.
The first to go down was the only lady in the field, Judit Polgar. She "got excited forcing matters" and went for a very interesting piece sacrifice with Black against Vladimir Kramnik. At the press conference the former World Champion said he didn't believe this idea. He did refute it in the game, but only after an extra inaccuracy by Polgar.
As Anand noted in the commentary, for the third time in a row this year Aronian and Nakamura faced each other in the first round. Both in Wijk aan Zee and at the Tal Memorial, Aronian won. This time it didn't go so well for the world's #2, who commented
I think I was playing some weird moves and then I was slightly worse. Then I got some play, but then I just blundered a piece.
McShane, who beat Carlsen in the first round in London two years ago, lost to the Norwegian in the last round of the Tal Memorial this year. Perhaps because of his disappointing Remco Heite tournament, the Englishman decided to play it safe with 5.Re1 against Carlsen's Berlin (at least this was Nigel Short's interpretation).
White's 18th and 20th move were nice, and he got a slight edge, but McShane used too much time on the clock and simply missed 27...Nxg5. Carlsen then slowly outplayed his opponent in typical style in an ending that was objectively drawn.
By the way, Ian Nepomniachtchi got his visa in the end and has already arrived in London to work as a second for Magnus Carlsen.
The longest game was the one between Mickey Adams and Gawain Jones, who is making his debut at the highest level. At the opening ceremony he said his main objective is "to play proper chess", and he actually did that in round one. He got very close to a draw, but faced an opponent who was highly determined to win this one.
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|
London Chess Classic 2012 | Round 1 standings (football)
London Chess Classic 2012 | Round 1 standings (classical)
Highlights of round 1 by GM Danny King
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