London Chess Classic
The London Classic switched formats again, one considerable upside was the new large open rapidplay event. Despite some uneven play and some lucky escapes I began with 5.5/6 but got confused about the round times and arrived late for my next rather tough assignment with Hikaru Nakamura, and didn’t put up much resistance. I also lost to Anish Giri after we were bizarrely paired together despite a large number of weaker players on that score group in the penultimate round.
The blitz to decide starting numbers was more successful, despite slipping back onto a minus score after winning my first three games, two victories over Anish Giri in the last double round left me confident I had secured an extra White game, but I was surprised to be declared winner on tiebreak. It also made me an overall rating winner as I picked up more points in this event than evaporated in the other 2 time limits.
The next day was the pro celebrity blitz, which gained a sprinkling of stardust due to the participation of Clive Woodward, the standard was quite high overall. I had been partnered with my friend Ali Mortazavi on paper one of the stronger pairs, unfortunately a pre game strategy meeting with Ali had a disastrous effect as a couple of key pawns went west before the game had really started, despite a bit of a comeback we were eliminated at the first hurdle.
The Classic itself began well with a win against Fabiano Caruana, but it was a bit fortunate and the next few rounds confirmed my slightly shaky form. Normally I would have looked for a solid game to finish, but I realized that a decisive result in my encounter with Anand could win the tournament if the other games were drawn, as in fact happened. I had a decent opening but Vishy handled the position much better and deservedly won the game and the tournament.