Reports | November 28, 2012 16:27

London Classic starts Saturday, Carlsen's second denied a visa

London Classic starts Saturday, Carlsen's second denied a visa

The 4th edition of the London Chess Classic takes off this Saturday. It runs 1-10 December 2012 at the Olympia Conference Centre in Kensington, London. The pairings are already known, and the first round will have McShane-Carlsen, Aronian-Nakamura, Kramnik-Polgar and Jones-Adams. Top seed Magnus Carlsen has to do without his second Ian Nepomniachtchi, who was denied a visa and could not travel to London.

It's less than three days until the now traditional chess spectacle in London starts. The line-up for the 4th edition is stronger than ever, with an average rating higher than any previous chess tournament held in the UK. Heading the list are World Champion Vishy Anand, former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, and the top two players on the FIDE rating list, Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian. Playing for the first time is the world’s best ever woman player Judit Polgar. Completing the line-up are US champion Hikaru Nakamura and three leading players from Britain: Luke McShane, Michael Adams and Gawain Jones.

Nepomniachtchi's visa denied

Magnus Carlsen will have to do without a second in London. The Norwegian was planning to bring Ian Nepomniachtchi with him, but, as VG reports today, the British embassy in Moscow has denied the Russian top GM a visa. Carlsen's manager Espen Agdestein told VG that Carlsen is quite upset about the matter. 

Even though they can contact each other via Skype, Magnus will play with a handicap this tournament.

Agdestein also explained that they wanted to test their cooperation with Nepomniachtchi before the Candidates tournament in March next year.

Press conference on Friday

On Friday, 30 November (incidentally Carlsen's 22nd birthday) at 14:00 GMT (15:00 CET, 09:00 EST) there will be a press conference at the venue, followed by a London Classic Stars versus the Twittersphere exhibition match played via Twitter, allowing the world’s chess players and fans to test their mettle against Carlsen, Anand and co. The press conference will be streamed live via the net.

The organizers invite chess fans around the world to join in; questions are welcome and may be sent in advance to or in real-time via the official Twitter feed, which is @LondonClassic. (Do use the hashtag #londonchess in your tweets.)

The opening ceremony for the Classic will take place at 13:45 GMT (14:45 CET) on 1 December, with play beginning at 14:00 GMT (15:00 CET, 09:00 EST). Play will be streamed live via the official website.

Chess in schools and communities

The London Chess Classic is a festival of the world’s most enduring game, which is staged by Chess in Schools and Communities, a UK registered charity whose mission is to deliver chess to primary schools in UK inner cities. There was recent UK national press coverage at The Independent and The Daily Mail.


As we reported earlier, the drawing of lots has already been done, and so the full pairings are available. We give them below:

Round 1 01.12.12 15:00 CET   Round 2 0212.12 15:00 CET
McShane - Carlsen   Polgar - Jones
Aronian - Nakamura   Nakamura - Kramnik
Kramnik - Polgar   Carlsen - Aronian
Jones - Adams   Anand - 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 - Anand   Nakamura - Adams
Kramnik - Carlsen   Carlsen - Jones
Jones - Nakamura   Anand - Kramnik
Adams - Polgar   McShane - 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 - McShane   Carlsen - Polgar
Jones - Anand   Anand - Adams
Adams - Carlsen   McShane - Jones
Polgar - Nakamura   Aronian - 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 - Aronian   Anand - Nakamura
Adams - McShane   McShane - Polgar
Polgar - Anand   Aronian - Adams
Nakamura - Carlsen   Kramnik - Jones
Kramnik bye Assisting the commentary   Carlsen bye Assisting the commentary
Round 9 10.12.12 13:00 CET        
Adams   Kramnik        
Polgar - Aronian        
Nakamura - McShane        
Carlsen - Anand        
Jones bye Assisting the commentary        

Timetable, course details and tickets are available here: The 4th edition takes place 1-10 December in Kensington, London.

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.


silvakov's picture

Tashkent lined up 12 players with a rating average of 2747, with no clear underdogs (one could make a case for Kazimdzhanov, rated 'only' 2696', but...), yet a tourney with 9 players, a rating average only 4 points higher and a much higher diff in ratings gets way more attention.
As I put things this way, I almost convice myself of the crazyness of my arguments, yet the facts are somewhat interesting when you look at them in this perspective hehehehehe

Kamalakanta's picture

I strongly feel Carlsen should threaten to withdraw, and he should withdraw, if his second is not allowed in the country. It is ridiculous to bring te no.1 player in any sport, and deny entry to his assistant/second. If the organizers cannot get this done, it just shows their mediocrity and incompetence.

It is an insult to Carlsen; to his dignity as a sportsman. Period.

RG13's picture

If he withdrew because of this then his organizers could probably sue him. Unless of course his contract stated that he had the option of withdrawal for such a reason. Besides, I don't think the organizers have enough clout to order around the British embassy in Moscow.

Anonymous's picture

DIGNITY is one thing ( and i totally agree with you ! ) but PUBLICITY is another ... And in this case, i'm afraid some of the comments saw through it ...

Saji's picture

For Visa matters, all the countries must treat Grand Masters in a separate way. You can not apply the same rules to Grand Master because of the nature of the game and its organisational matters. At least somebody who knows these issues must be appointed such kind of visa request section. Only few know how much of pain, sacrifice and time one might have invested to getting a GM title. It should be considered as equal to a doctoreate from a very reputed University.

Appa's picture

British people allow muslim Pakistanis(basically terrorists) to their country ...but they denied visa to Nepo! East London is full of muslim immigrants(islamic fundamentalists) and a megamosque. Ha ,there are already 5% islam in UK ;watch out !

Thomas's picture

Yes, people shouldn't travel any more at all: all Pakistanis are Muslim terrorists, all Russians have connections to KGB and/or mafia, all British people are drunken football hooligans.
I am of course sarcastic, it must be a pretty small minority in all cases ...

valg321's picture

"If something is predictable, then such a reaction from a known Carlsen fanboy."

pot calling kettle black?

Anonymous's picture

Nakamura 2700 before the end of the year ?

Harrry_Flashman's picture

Do you mean a he will sink into a 2700 rating or you just made a typo , intending 2800 ( high dive ) ? ^__^

Anonymous's picture

i was trying to make understand to Choufleur that we can always fall lower than a vegetable ...

Anonymous's picture

Visa denied..Anything to make the news. Good marketing again.

Jambow's picture

Carlsen just tied Kasparov's all time elo peak 2851. Nakamura wins againt Aronian with black. London is off to a roaring start. Polgar loses to Kramnik too.

McShane had Carlsen so bound up I thought he would win but Magnus held and finally uncorked himself and ground Luke down in Q+B vs Q+N endgame with two passers on the G & H files. Great start to London.

RealityCheck's picture

@Jambow In all fairness to Kasparov you shd wait until the numbers hit the next FIDE Elo rating list before you start cumming all over yourself.

Grand-Pa Kasparov wasn't rated on the Live list. At least wait untill the tournament ends.

Besides, the other players may not be as eager as McShame to just give Carlsen some Elo.

Merry Christmas already.


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