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London Chess Classic Tournament

Vladimir Kramnik16(+4 -0 =4)[games]
Hikaru Nakamura15(+4 -1 =3)[games]
Magnus Carlsen14(+3 -0 =5)[games]
Luke McShane13(+3 -1 =4)[games]
Viswanathan Anand9(+1 -1 =6)[games]
Levon Aronian9(+1 -1 =6)[games]
Nigel Short6(+1 -4 =3)[games]
David Howell4(+0 -4 =4)[games]
Michael Adams3(+0 -5 =3)[games]
* Chess Event Description
London Chess Classic (2011)

The 3rd London Chess Classic was a 9-player round robin played at the Olympia Conference Centre in Kensington, London, England, 3-12 December 2011, as part of the London Chess Classic Festival. Rest day: 7 December. To discourage draws, the players received 3 points for a win and 1 point for a draw. Time control: 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 more minutes for the next 20 moves, then 15 more minutes for the rest of the game, with 30 seconds added per move from move 61. Total prize fund: 160,000 euros, with 50,000 euros to the winner. Dress code: Suit and tie or just suit. Tournament director: Malcolm Pein.

Vladimir Kramnik won with 16/24.

Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 Kramnik 2800 * 1 1 3 1 1 3 3 3 16 2 Nakamura 2758 1 * 0 1 3 3 1 3 3 15 3 Carlsen 2826 1 3 * 1 1 1 1 3 3 14 4 McShane 2671 0 1 1 * 1 1 3 3 3 13 5 Anand 2811 1 0 1 1 * 1 3 1 1 9 6 Aronian 2802 1 0 1 1 1 * 3 1 1 9 7 Short 2698 0 1 1 0 0 0 * 1 3 6 8 Howell 2633 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 * 1 4 9 Adams 2734 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 * 3

Category: XX (2748). Chief arbiter: Albert Vasse

Official site:
Regulations 1:
Regulations 2:

Previous: London Chess Classic (2010). Next: London Chess Classic (2012)

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 36  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Carlsen vs D Howell 1-0402011London Chess ClassicC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
2. Adams vs Anand ½-½492011London Chess ClassicB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
3. Kramnik vs Nakamura ½-½452011London Chess ClassicE04 Catalan, Open, 5.Nf3
4. Aronian vs McShane ½-½422011London Chess ClassicD15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
5. Nakamura vs Aronian 1-0542011London Chess ClassicD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. Short vs Kramnik 0-1432011London Chess ClassicC48 Four Knights
7. D Howell vs Adams ½-½352011London Chess ClassicC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
8. McShane vs Carlsen ½-½832011London Chess ClassicC78 Ruy Lopez
9. Carlsen vs Nakamura 1-0412011London Chess ClassicC53 Giuoco Piano
10. Adams vs McShane 0-1612011London Chess ClassicC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
11. Anand vs D Howell ½-½652011London Chess ClassicD16 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
12. Aronian vs Short 1-0602011London Chess ClassicE15 Queen's Indian
13. D Howell vs McShane 0-1372011London Chess ClassicC45 Scotch Game
14. Anand vs Nakamura 0-1492011London Chess ClassicE97 King's Indian
15. Carlsen vs Kramnik ½-½552011London Chess ClassicE20 Nimzo-Indian
16. Adams vs Short 0-1712011London Chess ClassicC03 French, Tarrasch
17. Short vs Anand 0-1622011London Chess ClassicB52 Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack
18. Kramnik vs Adams 1-0552011London Chess ClassicE00 Queen's Pawn Game
19. Nakamura vs D Howell 1-0382011London Chess ClassicA22 English
20. Aronian vs Carlsen ½-½392011London Chess ClassicD12 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
21. Adams vs Aronian ½-½342011London Chess ClassicC67 Ruy Lopez
22. McShane vs Nakamura ½-½312011London Chess ClassicB40 Sicilian
23. Anand vs Kramnik ½-½392011London Chess ClassicD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
24. D Howell vs Short ½-½362011London Chess ClassicB22 Sicilian, Alapin
25. Aronian vs Anand ½-½252011London Chess ClassicD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 36  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 54 OF 54 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-15-11  Shams: <It's amazing what a nice thick envelope or two will do for some.>

This must explain how "Battlefield Earth" got distribution.

Dec-15-11  King Death: <Shams> I'd never heard of that film, but I just read a synopsis. It sounds unbelievably bad, almost a caricature of itself.
Dec-15-11  Everett: <Shams> Did Tybor Fischer write "The Collector Collector"? Or was that Will Self... enjoyed that one.

<King Death and others> The Atlantic magazine had an interesting article on the "business plan" of what was to become the catholic church. Cant find it on-line currently, but are some recent articles on the church's fall from grace. Sure you guys know all the salient points, but I figured it couldn't hurt.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <King Death: ... I'd never heard of that movie The Magdalene Sisters. "Fallen" women. Are you freaking kidding?>

Sadly, no. Some girls got sent to magdalene asylums just because they were attractive and some authority figure assumed they'd "get in trouble" with boys if they weren't removed from them. I gather that the Catholic Church basically ran Ireland for centuries, and the result wasn't pretty. It's funny how religion, by most people's lights, is a good thing, yet theocracies - where the church runs everything - are invariably horrible places. "There was a time when religion ruled the world. It is known as the Dark Ages."

Dec-15-11  Shams: <Everett> <<Shams> Did Tybor Fischer write "The Collector Collector"?>

Yes! And you're the only person I know who has read it. My favorite by him, with "The Thought Gang" close behind.

Fischer doesn't make you work as hard as Self. Being lazy, I appreciate that.

Dec-15-11  King Death: <FSR> Have you ever read the Leon Uris novels "Trinity" and its sequel "Redemption"? If not, they'll provide you an interesting time.

Trinity in particular is scathing in its portrayal of Ireland before World War I. Redemption delves into the beautiful adventure called Gallipoli, among other things. Old Winnie Churchill was lucky his political career didn't end because of the disaster at Gallipoli.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: What would be scathing in Ireland, before WWI? Rough British occupation? Sectarian fighting? I thought the food shortages of the 19th century must have been brutal enough without people fighting over other things.

The Gallipoli massacre was certainly avoidable. Churchill was brilliant in many things, being a front line officer was not one of them. The very young <Mel Gibson> gets his start in the movies by playing a young Australian soldier fighting for England, who participates in the fighting near Gallipoli.

Dec-16-11  pablo333: The London Chess Chess Classic tournament is the one of the few things that make me proud to be British... I only wish it could be televised on free-to-air channels.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <King Death <DUBLIN — For years, it was Ireland’s hidden scandal: an estimated 30,000 women were sent to church-run laundries, where they were abused and worked for years with no pay. Their offense, in the eyes of society, was to break the strict sexual rules of Catholic Ireland, having children outside wedlock.

Although it has been over a decade since their story came to light, the women are still waiting for an apology, and possibly compensation.

Now, an advocacy group, Justice for Magdalenes, which has spent the last two years lobbying the Irish government to investigate the history of the laundries, is taking the case to the United Nations, alleging the abuse amounted to human rights violations, and hoping that an official rebuke from the international body will shame the government into action.

“We don’t take any pleasure in embarrassing the government in this way but we have worked the domestic structure as far as we can and still the government has done nothing,” said James Smith of Boston College, a spokesman for Justice for Magdalenes.>

Dec-16-11  King Death: <FSR> All in the name of religion, and they didn't even waste time on such devices as "Arbeit Macht Frei".
Dec-18-11  Mr. Bojangles: <NGambit: It's amazing how UK continues to be the world leader in organizing world class sports events. >

World leader??? Hahahah

Dec-18-11  siamesedream: <Magnus Carlsen`s Blog

London Chess Classics R9 2011

(Haslum, December 18th; The below blog item was written in London but unfortunately not published until now. I’ll be back later with more on my activities this week as well as Christmas greetings!) Yesterday I drew with Anand with black. We played a topical theoretical line and when he allowed me to capture on b5 and play Qc6 any problems I might have had was over. Maybe I could have found a way to play for an edge later on. As it unfolded he found a few necessary defensive moves and a drawn rook ending was reached after two hours play. Luke McShane tried hard to win with white against Kramnik but ended up losing instead. Before the last round I was in a must-win situation without serious prospects for 1st as Kramnik anyhow would have the better tie break with a draw against Aronian. As it was, I had problems just defending as black against Short in the last round. Several mistakes in the middle game left me with an unpleasant position and in the end a two-against-three-pawns-and-rook-ending that was manageable. Draw. Kramnik had already drawn against Aronian to take sole first at 16 points. Nakamura played the Kings Gambit as white and was worse for most of the game against Adams, but the latter went astray in the time trouble and lost instead. Consequently Nakamura took sole 2nd place with 15 points while I'm third with 14 ahead of McShane at 13. I was a bit low on energy after many long hard fights during Tal Memorial and despite trying my absolute best - by now I feel really exhausted & I'm not happy with most of my games except the win against Nakamura. As it turned out none of my blunders resulted in irreparable damage and the result in itself, 3 wins and 5 draws, is absolutely a good result for me. As it happened both Kramnik (beating all the English players) and Nakamura (also winning four games) scored even better and deservedly ended up 1st and 2nd this time around. Congratulations! I think the third London Chess Classics was a success and hope to be back next year. Many thanks to the organizer for a great event in a great city! The next few days I'm fairly busy with '60 minutes' and other media interviews after which I look forward to a well-deserved Christmas break☺ Magnus Carlsen, London, December 12th, 2011

2011-12-18 19:12:29>

Dec-18-11  NGambit: <<Mr. Bojangles> Hahahah> well that is too good an argument to refute!

And if you want to dig up posts buried several pages below it would be courteous to others on the board if you copy the whole post.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <...religion, by most people's lights, is a good thing, yet theocracies - where the church runs everything - are invariably horrible places. >

Indeed. The problem, I believe, is not the particular religion or whatever, but the particular class people in government. Its always basically the same crowd of people that just wants to lord over things for the sake of lording over thing; and a religion or an ...ism provides them with a sufficient ideological cover.

Dec-18-11  King Death: < Gypsy: <...religion, by most people's lights, is a good thing, yet theocracies - where the church runs everything - are invariably horrible places. > Indeed. The problem, I believe, is not the particular religion or whatever, but the particular class people in government. Its always basically the same crowd of people that just wants to lord over things for the sake of lording over thing; and a religion or an ...ism provides them with a sufficient ideological cover.>

Some people have a need to feel superior to others. When this is combined with a drive to succeed, a "mission", etc., we've seen the result in history. The ultimate end is one with mounds of skulls as its legacy.

Dec-21-11  visayanbraindoctor: I checked the won games by the top finishers of this tournament for an offbeat theory- that while opening prep is helpful, it is mostly over the board play that wins tournaments.

Short vs Kramnik, 2011

Kramnik won despite an opening prep meant to introduce a very drawish endgame (with a little help from Short).

Kramnik vs Adams, 2011

Kramnik was the one that introduced a novelty, but if anything it was he that got surprised by Adam's opening variation. He spent some time thinking before playing his Ne3 novelty, which looked like an OTB choice. In the middlegame, Kramnik found an OTB plan to surround and win Adam's a-pawn.

Kramnik vs D Howell, 2011

No scintillating opening novelty. Just Howell collapsing.

McShane vs Kramnik, 2011

A game with a nondescript opening. It's outcome was determined by the most fascinating middlegame and endgame play in the tournament.

Carlsen vs D Howell, 2011

Howell is outplayed and collapses once again in the middlegame.

Carlsen vs Nakamura, 2011

Carlsen wins by finding a logical middlegame plan, to which Naka at first seemed clueless about.

Carlsen vs Adams, 2011

Ironically Adams out-prepped Carlsen in the opening and got what he wanted- a middlegame which he could easily force into drawish lines. Except he shuffled about without a plan, while Carlsen found a good one which utilized all his positional pluses.

Adams vs McShane, 2011

This game looked equal until Adams allowed a pawn grab; and failed to find the equalizing line afterward.

D Howell vs McShane, 2011

Howell struggles again, unsuccessfully and collapses. But not because of any brilliant McShane opening novelty.

Short vs McShane, 2011

If anything, it was McShane that got surprised by the King's gambit. Short lost because McShane kept on finding better moves than him in the middlegame.

Nakamura vs Aronian, 2011

Again ironically, Aronian easily equalized, gained the advantage; but he went astray in the complicated middlegame.

Anand vs Nakamura, 2011

Anand gets a winning position right in the opening itself. He loses his way in the middlegame.

Nakamura vs D Howell, 2011

Naka got an early advantage out of the opening. He successfully increases it in the middlegame, but it still took bad play from Howell to completely lose the game.

Nakamura vs Adams, 2011

Once again it is the guy with the opening disadvantage that wins the game.

Dec-21-11  visayanbraindoctor: This theory may not apply in matches, which often feature opening theory debates. It also does not apply to chess players like Kasparov who had so many good opening novelties up their sleeves that they tend to win at least a couple of games in any tournament they join right out of the opening.
Dec-21-11  King Death: <visayan> While watching Carlsen-Adams through Black's 29th move, it seemed to me that Black was at least equal but like you say, he drifted and Carlsen came up with a good plan.
Dec-21-11  visayanbraindoctor: In Howell vs McShane, 2011 above, I should have said Howell struggles again <this time to attack>. And made an unsound sac.

In brief in tournaments, except for a few historical players such as Kasparov who went to each tournament armed with fantastic opening novelties, or Botvinnik who prepared nearly invincible opening systems, the secret to success is middlegame play.

Adams, who was in bad shape, typifies failure of middlegame play. He essayed good openings. He had the clear opening advantage over Nakamura, and had at least a draw in hand against Carlsen and McShane. Yet if one goes over his games above, he spoils his positions with listless or downright bad middlegame play. Which is why he ended up last.

Opposite Adams, Naka quite obviously was an opening failure in this tournament. Right out of the opening, he incurred one indubitably lost and two very nearly lost middlegames (against Anand, Adams, and Aronian). I believe it was his Laskerian style of moving the game into muddy tactical waters that not only saved his behind but also garnered him two wins and a draw in the above games. For his former trainer Kasparov, what Naka did is probably unthinkable. Kasparov always arrived in tournaments very well prepared in his openings. Kasparov must have been quite frustrated at Naka's (relative lack of) opening knowledge when they were still working together.

It is in matches that we see the art of opening prep in full bloom. Anand for example gained the undisputed and uncontroversial WC title by beating Kramnik in a Slav duel. He got the dynamic and easier to play positions that he wanted repeatedly against Kramnik, because he had better opening prep. This was an exciting Slav duel, but sometimes matches can overdo this as well- the 'worst' case being the QGD mono-buffet in the Capablanca-Alekhine 1927 match. AAA must have analyzed the QGD variations he was playing well into the middlegame again and again during the match itself, in order to ascertain he never entered a disadvantageous middlegame.

The Kasparov vs Kramnik 2000 WC match was essentially a Berlin duel; as was the Lasker vs Schlecter 1910 WC match, although they used different variations of the Berlin.

For some psychological reason chess players tend to stick to the openings that they have previously prepared in matches. Yet I do not see a clear reason why they should do that. They could well treat a match like a tournament, trotting out one different opening after other. Or throw in offbeat lines such as Naka's h6 that threw Anand off the beaten path.

Dec-21-11  jsy: visayanbraindoctor,

Your exercise only proved that opening prep alone will not be enough. The examples you gave included only decisive games. What about draws? Also note that opening prep will be less relevant where there is a substantial rating disparity (as we had in London)

Dec-21-11  visayanbraindoctor: I just included wins because it's the ability to rack up lots of wins that wins tournaments. In matches, I think it's more of the ability to avoid losses and possibly to draw at will once you are in the lead.

<Also note that opening prep will be less relevant where there is a substantial rating disparity>

There is a limit to the human chess playing capability- we will never play as well as computers. Somewhere, there is a sudden cut-off. The best players will be near this cut-off, and play at a similar error-rate level. Since they are playing at a similar level, I agree that any opening prep advantage will probably make a difference. In case these players meet someone way below them, it would hardly matter what openings they play. The much weaker player will inevitably make more errors in the middlegame and will lose.

The same is true when a computer plays these top humans, but this time odds are in the computer's favor. Since the computer is so much stronger, it does not matter much what opening they play (unless they go to a really drawish one). The human, even if he is the best player in the world, will inevitably have a higher error rate than the computer and so will lose more games.

Dec-21-11  James Bowman: <visayanbraindoctor> Insightful summary of London.

Consider that being a slave to too much opening prep and the players might suffer a real middle game deficit due to a lack of calculations leading to the given position, brains are just not fired up. I thought that Anand/Topolov WC match might be an example of just that as the play was well below my expectations for them both, with many unexpected blunders.

Another reason I'm not of the opinion that blitz is all bad in moderation.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <James Bowman: ...
Another reason I'm not of the opinion that blitz is all bad in moderation.>

Could you untangle the negatives and qualifiers and parse this for us: Are you in favor of blitz or not?

Dec-23-11  James Bowman: <Are you in favor of blitz or not?>

In moderation I'm in favor of blitz.

Ok now I see I left the negative off. ...blitz is <not> all bad, sorry about that.

Dec-24-11  KingV93: Savvy tournament play by Kramnik. Defeat the lower ranked, 'easier' marks; draw the better players relatively quickly and with safe play, don't lose!... and walk away at, or at worst, near the top.
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