London Chess Classic – Round Five

Magnus Carlsen joins the leaders, report and photos by John Saunders

Today’s chess was an unofficial ‘England versus the World’ match as well as a critical juncture in the tournament as the joint leaders Vishy Anand and Luke McShane clashed.

The first game to finish was Anand-McShane, which ended in a draw. Luke seemed to be under some pressure from the opening and Vishy retained an edge for most of the game, but he was never able to amplify his edge.

London anand rd 5

Vishy Anand

London mcshane rd 5

Luke McShane

Nigel Short had another off-day. He tried a sideline of the Marshall Attack (9…e4) for which Hikaru was barely prepared but the American found a very sensible continuation based on 11. g3 which suggests that this line may not be feasible at super-GM level. Short’s position after 20. Qf5 looked hopeless and so it proved.

Mickey Adams confronted Vlad Kramnik’s celebrated Berlin Wall with 4 d3, which the great Russian said he thought of as the “second main line” against his favourite barricade. After some exchanges, the players reached a position with a small edge for White but one which proved readily defensible by Black. After some further exchanges a draw was agreed.

London adams rd 5

Mickey Adams

London kramnik rd 5

Vladimir Kramnik

At the back of the field but just ahead of Nigel Short, David Howell, like his senior English colleague, found that “he that has not, from him shall be taken even that which he has”. Chess is a cruel game and there is a tendency to gang up on players who are not doing too well. Of course, the fact that he was paired with Magnus Carlsen didn’t help. Even so, David was alive and reasonably well at the time control. However, almost immediately he went astray with 42 g5 and then the disastrous 43. Qg3 which cost him a piece.

This third success for Magnus catapulted him into the joint lead with Vishy Anand and Luke McShane; technically he is the leader on tie-break because he has had more Blacks (and more wins) than his rivals. The unofficial ‘England versus the World’ thus ended 3-1 in favour of the World.

London howell rd 5

David Howell

Tomorrow is a rest day – round six is on Tuesday, 14.00 start.

Scores after round 5: Magnus Carlsen, Vishy Anand, Luke McShane 9/15, Vladimir Kramnik, Hikaru Nakamura 8, Mickey Adams 6, David Howell 2, Nigel Short 1. (Note, games are scored 3 pts for a win, 1 pt for a draw and 0 pts for a loss).

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