London in the rain

Although rain is forecast in London this evening, it won't stop play in the London Chess Classic.
Carlsen played the other first round victor Luke McShane in the battle for the lead. He kept pressing and eventually broke the young English player's resistance.
Carlsen is now already well ahead of his rivals.

The second round results were as follows:

Magnus CarlsenNOR28011-0Luke McShaneENG2615King's Indian (E94)
Vladimir KramnikRUS27721-0Ni HuaCHN2665Chebanenko Slav (D15)
Nigel ShortENG27070.5-0.5David HowellENG2597Petroff Defence (C42)
Michael AdamsENG26980.5-0.5Hikaru NakamuraUSA2715French Tarrasch (C03)

Before getting down to the day's happenings it's worth mentioning that it doesn't always rain in London! In fact if I picked out six major international cities: New York, Nice, London, Rome, Sydney and Tokyo you may be surprised to find out that of these London has the lowest annual rainfall!

In the aftermath of yesterday's eventful games a number of commentators seem to have the opinion that Nakamura must have missed a win yesterday.

However finding where he went wrong is less obvious!

Have a look at the latest Analysis of the Week (sorry, subscribers only!) and you'll see what I think.

In the McShane-Short epic, I think that Nigel went wrong as early (or as late as?) move 85.

Luke McShane (2615) - Nigel Short (2707)

London (Chess Classic 1) 08.12.2009

Nigel missed his chance to equalize.


Now Black's pawns come under pressure.

There should however be sufficient counter-activity with 85...d4! 86.♘d1 ♖a7 87.♘f2 ♖a3 88.♖d3 ♘d7.

86.♖xd7+ ♘xd7 87.♗c7!

This tangles Black's pieces which now have very limited scope.

87...♔f7 88.♘d1 ♔e8 89.♘c3 ♗e7 90.♘xe4 ♗d8 91.♘d6+ ♔e7 92.♘c8+ ♔e8 93.♘d6+ ♔e7 94.♘c8+ ♔e8 95.♗g3

Threatening ♘-a7.

95...♘b6 96.♘d6+ ♔f8 97.♘b7 ♔e8

Or 97...♗e7, when after 98.♘a5 Black also drops a pawn.

98.♘xc5 ♗e7 99.♘e4 ♔d8 100.♗e1 ♘d7 101.♗c3 c5!?

Now the point is to stop even a hint of any Black activity. Then there is no hurry in such positions, White just needs to gradually increase the pressure.

102.♗b2 ♔e8 103.♔f2 ♔d8 104.♔g2 ♔e8 105.♔h3 ♔f7 106.♔g3 ♔e8 107.♗c3 ♔d8 108.♔h3 ♔c7 109.♗b2 ♔c6 110.♘c3 ♘b6 111.♔g3 ♗d8 112.♔f3 ♗e7 113.♔e3 ♗d8 114.♔d3 ♗e7 115.♔e4 ♗d8 116.♘d5 ♘d7

Even worse is 116...♘xd5 117.cxd5+ ♔d6 118.♗c3 ♗e7 119.b4

117.♗c3 ♔d6 118.♗e1 ♔c6 119.♗g3 ♘f8 120.♔d3 ♘d7 121.♔c2 ♘f8 122.♗e1 ♘d7 123.♗g3 ♘f8 124.♔b2 ♘d7 125.♔a3 ♗a5 126.♘e7+ ♔b6 127.♗d6 ♔a6 128.♘d5 ♗d8 129.♗g3

Simpler is 129.♔a4! with Zugzwang e.g. 129...♘b6+ (129...♔b7 130.♔b5 etc.) 130.♘xb6 ♔xb6 131.b4 cxb4 132.♔xb4 ♔c6 133.c5 and Black has no good moves. Perhaps mcShane was concerned about the desperate try 133...♔d5 134.♔b5 ♔e4 but White wins with 135.♔c6 ♔f3 136.♔d7 ♗a5 137.c6 ♔xg4 138.♗e7 ♔xf5 139.♗d8 and so on.

129...♗a5 130.♔a4 ♗d2 131.♗c7 ♗c1 132.♗d8 ♗b2 133.b4 ♗d4

It's relatively straightforward for White after 133...cxb4 134.♔xb4 ♗d4 135.♗e7 ♗b2 136.c5 ♗d4 137.♔c4 ♗b2 138.♘b4+ ♔a7 139.♔d5 and so on.

134.b5+ ♔b7

Now McShane prepares to invade via d5 and e6 with his king. Black is just a spectator while the plan unfolds.

135.♔b3 ♗e5 136.♔c2 ♗d4 137.♔b3 ♗e5 138.♗e7 ♗d4 139.♗d6 ♗f2 140.♔c2 ♔a7 141.♔d3 ♔b7 142.♔e4 ♗d4 143.♗e7 ♗e5 144.♘e3 ♗f4 145.♘g2 ♗g3 146.♔d5 ♗f2 147.♔e6 ♘e5 148.♗xf6 ♘xc4 149.♗xg5 ♘a3 150.f6 ♗d4 151.f7 ♗g7 152.♗f6 ♗f8 153.♗e7 ♗g7 154.♗xc5 ♘xb5 155.f8♘c7+ 156.♔f7 ♗xf8 157.♗xf8 ♔c6 158.♘f4 ♔d7 159.g5 ♘b5 160.g6 ♘d4 161.g7 ♘f5 162.g8♘h6+ 163.♗xh6


Now back to today's games starting of course with the leader!

Carlsen maintained his space advantage and kept McShane at bay on the c-file whilst gradually turning the screw. Despite valiant resistance Carlsen got there in the end and takes a clear lead in the tournament.

The leaders fighting it out!
© official site

Kramnik bounced back from his first round loss with a comfortable win over Ni Hua today.

In the Slav with ...a6 (Chebanenko Slav) Kramnik played a sharp line which is not considered by theory as dangerous for Black, but the complications turned in his favour. Clearly some home preparation that paid off! He had no problems converting the extra pawn in the endgame.

David Howell drew again with a solid Petroff that Nigel Short couldn't break down. Two solid draws by David so far, but wins are what are needed to get one up the points table.

Michael Adams was in his element today as he kept a small pull against the French Defence due to his better structure. The rook ending a pawn up eventually led to Rook and two connected passed pawns against Rook and passed pawn. These positions generally offer good winning chances and often the only hope to save such a position is to play actively with the king (much as Ni Hua did to save his dubious rook ending against Nakamura yesterday) and somehow the American got his counterplay going just in time. It was Nakamura's birthday today and saving that dodgy looking ending was a reasonable enough present from lady chance!

Here is the points table, bearing in mind that Sofia points (3 for a win, 1 for a draw) are used for the final positions.

NameCountryRatingAgeWorld rankingSofia pointsStandard pointsElo points change
Magnus CarlsenNOR280119262+7.2
Vladimir KramnikRUS277234531-1.1
Luke McShaneENG26152515831+3.7
Hikaru NakamuraUSA2715222421-0.9
Michael AdamsENG2698383621-1.2
David HowellENG25971920221+2.9
Nigel ShortENG2707442910.5-7.8
Ni HuaCHN2665266010.5-2.8

For more information go to the official site: Official site for the London Chess Classic.

© official site
© official site

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