Reports | December 05, 2011 23:09

Three winners in third round London, Carlsen leads

Three winners in third round London, Carlsen leads

Magnus Carlsen defeated Hikaru Nakamura on Monday to grab sole lead at the London Chess Classic. Luke McShane, who won with Black against Mickey Adams, is now in second place. Nigel Short is clear last after losing against Levon Aronian while Vishy Anand and David Howell drew their game. Vladimir Kramnik had a rest day.

Vishy Anand is pleased with the first move choice from his young assistant, Niall Ali | All photos © Ray Morris-Hill for the official website except when mentioned otherwise

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

Again the London Chess Classic shows chess at its best, with an amazing atmosphere, superb commentary with well-spoken English GMs assisted by one of the top GMs and on top of that, great games so far. Again, one of the many special guests is 80-year-old Viktor Korchnoi and on the third evening of the festival he gave a simul.

Vladimir Kramnik enjoyed his rest day and at the point when he joined the commentators, he immediately started talking about the game Anand-Howell. The reason was, of course, that the World Champion was looking at a horrible position after 32 moves with White.

32...Rb2 looks just winning here.

said Kramnik.

Vishy is a magician in defending worse positions but he is as close to losing as ever.

PGN string

Vishy Anand escaped with a draw against David Howell | Photo © John Saunders

On behalf of the online fans (either via Twitter or via other channels) Macauley Peterson asked the World Champion whether he is already in the situation where he has to hide the opening preparation he's planning for his upcoming World Championship match against Boris Gelfand in May 2012. Anand answered:

Not really. I realize my recent play is giving the impression I'm hiding something. Hopefully at some point I'll snap out of it.

Smiling, then Anand added:

But with such a question you shouldn't believe any of my answers anyway. If you're Gelfand, don't believe anything I say!

After his first win in a long time on Sunday, Hikaru Nakamura had to suffer another defeat the day after. He lost to Magnus Carlsen, who would later that night see Fulham beat Liverpool 1-0 at Craven Cottage.

PGN string

Magnus Carlsen is the sole leader after three rounds

A good sport, Nakamura did join the analysis in the press room after the game. Asked whether the players change their play with the 3-1-0 point system, the American answered:

Not particularly. In general it's very hard to change your style to suddenly go all out. I think the verdict is still out if it's good or bad.

Kramnik was surprised to see Mickey Adams going for a position a pawn down where the Englishman could have reached a draw easily.

PGN string

Mickey Adams thought he blundered a pawn but missed a tactic...

...which allowed Luke McShane to go into sole second place

Nigel Short is still the cellar-dweller with zero points out of two rounds. He came quite close to a draw this time against Levon Aronian, but in the long run the Armenian proved too strong.

PGN string

Nigel Short and Levon Aronian in the front row of the Olympia Auditorium, just before the round


Round 3 standings

No. Name Rtg Score/game Tiebreak Perf
1 Carlsen,M 2826 7.0/3   2960
2 McShane,L 2671 5.0/3   2912
3 Kramnik,V 2800 4.0/2   2921
4-5 Nakamura,N 2758 4.0/3   2809
4-5 Aronian,L 2802 4.0/3   2709
6 Anand,V 2811 2.0/2   2684
7-8 Howell,D 2633 2.0/3   2665
7-8 Adams,M 2734 2.0/3   2580
9 Short,N 2698 0.0/2   2066

Round 3 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 - Kramnik
Carlsen 1-0 Nakamura   Adams - Short
Adams 0-1 McShane   Anand - Nakamura
Anand ½-½ Howell   Howell - 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.


The Player's picture

Carlsen on a new all-time-high: 2833,7 in liverating :)

Jochem's picture

Funnily the performances in the two standings don't match with each other.

Stelling's picture

Actually the rating performances will only be the same on the two standings when a player draws all games (like Anand), as the point distribution rate for draws is the same in both standings (1-1, 1/2-1/2), in all other cases the point distribution rate are not the same (3-0, 1-0) so the rating performance calculations will differ.

fen's picture

The performance ratings in the "football" scoring chart seem to be using the
Performance Rating = Opponent's Average + Player's Performance Change
calculation and, as far as I can tell, are correct.

The number of games does factor in as part of the performance rating, so keep that in mind when comparing players to each other.

noyb's picture

Memo to Nakamura: "If you want to be the best, you've got to beat the best." C'mon, man!

S3's picture

So who is gonna win of Anand, he has quite a long unbeaten streak..

columbo's picture

yes but for now the beast is chewing Naka

darkergreen's picture

McShane is started really good again! Doing far better then Adams and Short. It is sad for the country that David and Luke have other things to do instead of chess thus they can not mainly focus on it.

Bryan Urizar's picture

I didn't know this. All more impressive!

RealityCheck's picture

C'mon! All the players have distractions. If it aint a new born child, its a divorce proceeding. If it aint schooling its a full time job. If it aint an overly dominant coach its a disruptive parent, a bad manager, another hobby, And the list goes on and on and on an on an on...

Bryan Urízar 's picture

I think what he meant was that chess isn't their profession. You can't compare distractions to having a different profession and actually practicing this profession. If anything, they probably have it twice as bad as all the things you mentioned doesn't exclude them.

darkergreen's picture

Yes! Thank you Bryan!
One has a job and the other has his school. And they take these "other than chess" things in front of chess! So comparing these things with "a disruptive parent, a bad manager, another hobby" is simply dull.

RealityCheck's picture

I think what he meant to say is both GM McShane and GM Howell would play a hell of alot better if they weren't busy doing something else. I say all the players have one distraction or another holding them back from better play. You either make it to the very top with your baggage or you don't.

hurraj's picture

McShane for president!

columbo's picture


nickeur's picture


The Player's picture

I wonder what Kasparov told Naka before and after the match against Magnus. Any suggestions?

columbo's picture

he said " live your twitter alone "

Zacalov's picture

Why did they re-invite Short? I thought he retired from professional chess anyway...hope he doesn't finish on zero...

columbo's picture

they invited Short because it's the LONDON chess classic and Short is ENGLISH. Like in tata Steel they invite players from Netherland. Who else from Egland would you invite to replace Short ?

Parkov's picture

Jones is one that immediately springs to mind. Maybe Sadler now that he's active again

cip's picture

Funy you should mention Tata, Wijk an Zee. Sadler is invited in Wijk.

Doubi98's picture


Al's picture

More exciting play by Carlsen, awesome to see him play at his full potential again!

Hopefully he can keep this high performance for another 5 rounds, especially against his nemesis Kramnik tomorrow followed by the main competition Aronian the day after. :-)

heigur's picture

Agreed. More than two draws would be a bonus, less would be bad.

Airton's picture

Nakamura should try their luck in poker, as the understanding of chess players of the world's top 10 is beyond your understanding, is not classical chess blitz he plays with some success, magnus is really different, as were Fischer, Kasparov, Lasker Alekhine and

Bertil's picture

Nakamura plays really good now, but he have still problems with Svidler and Carlsen.

Mike's picture

In fact I think he has problems with some positional judgment...After Carlsen's move 13. Nh4, Naka should have played 13....d5, according to Nimzowitch principle of proceeding with energetic reaction in the center as soon your opponent decentralizes his piece(s).

Remco G's picture

That's not actually possible - he *is* a top-10 player. His understanding can't be beyond his own.

Mauricio Valdes's picture

The Gospel (of Chess) according to Luke (McShane)!

Lee's picture

Great to see streaming coverage, but the sound syncing (or lack thereof) makes it quite frustrating to watch the commentators analysis.

kholmov's picture

Aronian has a powerful set, but it lacks ambition, ambitious as it was Carlsen, maybe won as many tournaments as often Carlsen win, it's amazing your understanding of chess, you realize that it is a different player.

Septimus's picture

There were synch issues with the audio. Is there a transcript of the player commentary available (i.e Kramnik for today) available?

SexyZeblakob's picture

Never understand why chessplayers should win or lose ELO pts when they draw. It's a non-sense to me...I wonder how would look top GMs ELO board with this system...

evahaut's picture

Man, if ever I get the chance of drawing that Carlsen dude, I would like to see my ELO rewarded for the effort!

Zeblakob's picture

Ohhh my sool; you are allowed to talk on my behalf.

heigur's picture

Well, if Carlsen or any 2700+ player only got draw against me, they should certainly loose a lot of points :-)

guest09's picture

Hoping Anand would win today.

Phogy's picture

Carlsen is a Beast

The King's picture

Looks like Anand's gonna make a record for the most draws on the trot...

BVK's picture

Is anybody over there to break Anand's draw record either by losing to him or beating him...?? :P :P If you cant beat, atleast try to lose to him. Irritating draws..!!

Anonym's picture

So far it looks like Anand is going to DRAW himself out ot the 2800 club...

lefier's picture

Against Howell, Anand actually made a try for a win, but realized that his chess is now weakening.
I guess he will withdraw after beating Gelfand in the wc-match.

RebeccaBlack's picture

3 things:

-its not fair whenever Carlsen is in a tourney with Naka, he starts with a +1 bonus (Carlsen has Naka's number)
-Since the last year (or even more?) Anand participation in tourneys is just useless, he is prolly at a 99% draw rate.
-Now I'm afraid Nigel short is taking the very envied spot of "the tourney's local idiot" (usually Howel in London, Naidisch in dortmund, Pelletier in Biel, etc...)

Anonym's picture

Hmm, Howell finished third in the 2009 classic, and second last in the 2010 classic. Had a pretty bad LCC last year, but performed very well in 2009. Wouldn't call him local idiot therefore.
But you are right about Anand, he is disappointing in almost every tournament he plays now.

Septimus's picture

That +1 bonus did not magically appear. Carlsen worked for it and is simply a better player.

Anand mentioned that he was in a funk, perhaps a couple of decisive results will help him break out of it. This is good practice for his match because he always seems to end up in worse positions.

Nigel probably has to reevaluate his strategy and approach. I feel he is still a very strong player. Definitely prefer him over some of the other boring super-GMs.

cak's picture

I predict 4 draws in round 4.

Septimus's picture

Looks like Short is have some trouble with patience. Maybe it is a matter of preparation, because the positions he has gotten into feel like they have developed OTB as opposed to his opponents preparation. Aronian did say that the position got really tricky early on.

RealityCheck's picture

Shorts' mind is (has been for some time now) on the next FIDE election. His tournament appearances are pure self promotion. The chess has little to nothing to do with it. As we can see from his games.

Morley's picture


Latest articles