Many of the World’s top players have been gathering in the capital this week for the London Chess Classic, the strongest tournament ever held in the UK, which started yesterday at Olympia and will run until next Sunday.
The 10 players forming the top section, with their nationality and world rankings, are Magnus Carlsen (Norway – World Champion); Veselin Topolov (Bulgaria – no. 2); Vishy Anand (India – no. 3); Hikaru Nakamura (USA – no. 5); Fabio Caruana (USA – no. 6); Lev Aronian (Armenia – no. 7); Anish Giri (Holland – no. 9); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France – no. 12); Alexander Grischuk (Russia – no. 14) & Michael Adams (no. 18).
Today’s Rd. 2 pairings are:- 1. Giri vs Adams. 2. Aronian vs Anand. 3. Carlsen vs Caruana. 4. Nakamura vs Vachier-Lagrave & 5.Topalov vs Grischuk. The games may be watched live on the event website. Interestingly, the football league system of awarding 3 points for a win and 1 for a draw is used, to reduce the risk of short, dull, grandmaster draws, and increase the likelihood of spirited fighting chess.
Among the many other sections available to players of more modest talents is a new knockout tournament involving 8 of Britain’s top players, in which England’s 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 6th grades, David Howell, Luke McShane, Nigel Short and Gawain Jones are joined by the 2 most promising juniors, Yang-Fan Zhou and Daniel Fernandez plus Scottish No. 1 Jonathan Rowson.
Visitors will also be able to play them as several, including Nunn, Speelman and McShane will be taking on 20 at a time – simultaneously.
This game came from the London Classic Knock-Out 2 years ago.
White: Michael Adams (2754). Black: Peter Svidler (2758)
Sicilian Defence – Sveshnikov Variation. [B90]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 The signature move of the Sveshnikov, in which Black accepts a weakening of his d-pawn and a weak d5 square, in return for buying time to develop his pieces. 7.Nf3 Qc7 8.a4 Be6 9.Be2 h6 10.0–0 Nbd7 11.h3 Be7 12.Nh2 0–0 13.Ng4 Qc6 14.Qd3 Rfc8 15.Rfd1 Rab8 16.a5 Nc5 The power of the check comes into play. 17.Nxf6+ Bxf6 allowing his already weakened d-pawn to fall. If 17…gxf6 18.Bxc5 Qxc5. 18.Qxd6 Qxd6 19.Rxd6 Be7 20.Rd2 Bg5 21.Bxg5 hxg5 22.Bg4 b5 23.axb6 Rxb6 24.Nd5 Threatening Ne7+ winning a rook. 24…Rb7 25.f3 Rcb8 26.b4 1–0 After 26…Bxd5 27.Rxd5 Ne6 28.Bxe6 fxe6 and Black’s doubled pawns can be picked off at leisure.
Last week’s position was ended by 1.RxP+! with the threat of 2.Ne6+ forking king & queen.
Last year’s winner of the London Chess Classic was former World Champion, Vishy Anand. This position from a game in 1987, however, was not one of his finest moments. White to play and administer a knock-out blow.