Posts Tagged London Classic

London Classic Revisited

After my debacle last year, I approached the London Chess Classic with a certain amount of trepidation, but after a good start winning a couple of decent games against Gawain Jones and Judit Polgar things went considerably better. However, I lost to Magnus Carlsen, where I made one of the least excusable errors in chess allowing my time to run very low in a pleasant position thinking the position was too safe to lose. As some players in the candidates have also found the 40 moves in 2 hours time control without increment means you have to handle your clock responsibly or pay the penalty. I then scored a rather fortunate victory versus Viswanathan Anand, but it was nice to beat the World Champion! I slipped up against Luke McShane in a lengthy struggle, generally well played by both players but I have highlighted a couple of key moments where we went wrong.
[pgn height=350 initialply=114]
[Event "London Classic 4th"]
[Site "London"]
[Date "2012.12.08"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Adams, Michael"]
[Black "McShane, Luke J"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C65"]
[WhiteElo "2710"]
[BlackElo "2713"]
[Annotator "Blog"]
[PlyCount "167"]
[EventDate "2012.12.01"]
[EventType "tourn"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "ENG"]
[EventCategory "21"]
[Source "Chessbase"]
[SourceDate "2013.01.03"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. Nbd2 O-O 7. O-O Re8 8.
Nc4 Nd7 9. a4 Bd6 10. Be3 Nf8 11. d4 exd4 12. Qxd4 Bg4 13. Nxd6 cxd6 14. Nd2
Ne6 15. Qb4 Be2 16. Rfe1 Ba6 17. Rad1 Qf6 18. Nf1 c5 19. Qb3 Rad8 20. c4 Nf8
21. Qc2 Qe6 22. Nd2 b6 23. f3 Bc8 24. Nf1 Ng6 25. b3 Ne7 26. Bg5 f6 27. Bh4 Ng6
28. Bg3 Ne5 29. Ne3 Qe7 30. Rd2 Be6 31. Qd1 Qc7 32. h3 Qc6 33. Bxe5 fxe5 34.
Rd3 Rd7 35. Re2 Red8 36. Red2 h6 37. Qe1 Rf8 38. Kh2 Qc7 39. Kh1 Qc6 40. Qd1
Rfd8 41. Qe2 Rf7 42. Rd1 Rfd7 43. Nd5 Bxd5 44. Rxd5 Re8 45. Qd2 Re6 46. a5 Qc7
47. b4 cxb4 48. Qxb4 Rd8 49. axb6 axb6 50. Rb5 Rb8 51. Qb3 Qc6 52. Qd3 Kh7 53.
Qd5 Qc8 54. Rdb1 Rf6 55. Rxb6 Rxb6 56. Rxb6 Rxf3 57. Rxd6 Rc3 ({Luke had seen
the ending arising after} 57… Rf1+ 58. Kh2 Qf8 59. Qxe5 Qf2 60. Qf5+ Qxf5 61.
exf5 Rxf5 {and didn’t like it. I thought it looked drawish but the debate is a
bit academic, It’s Black’s only chance.}) 58. Qf7 Rg3 59. Kh2 Rg5 60. Rd2 ({I
realised I should have played the simple} 60. h4 {just after the game} Rg4 61.
g3 {leaves Black with no good moves}) (60. Re6 Qd8 61. h4 {was also winning.})
60… Qc6 ({I was impressed by this cool move at the board especially as Luke
had a few seconds left, the computer is less enamoured and prefers} 60… Rg6 {
but as we will see the reason is rather deep.}) 61. Rd8 Qb6 62. Qg8+ Kg6 63.
Qe8+ ({White is winning here with the counterintuitive} 63. Qf8 {in fact the
machine gives an assessment of +11 but it is very hard to work out why.} Kh7 (
63… Qe3 {Now Black’s king can be driven up the board} 64. Qe8+ Kh7 65. Qh8+
Kg6 66. Rd6+ Kh5 (66… Kf7 67. Rd7+) 67. g4+ ({I think the line} 67. Qe8+ Kh4
{turning the tables put me off during the game}) 67… Rxg4 (67… Kh4 68.
Rxh6+ gxh6 69. Qxh6+) 68. hxg4+ Kh4 69. Qd8+ g5 70. Rxh6+ Kxg4 71. Qd1+ {wins})
(63… Qb2 64. Qe8+ Kh7 65. Qg8+ Kg6 66. Rd6+ Kh5 67. Qf7+ Kh4 68. Qf3 {This
unexpected quiet move leaves Black helpless.}) (63… Qb7 64. Qe8+ Kh7 65. Qg8+
Kg6 66. Rd6+ Kh5 67. Qf8 {This sneaky move ends all resistance} Qxe4 68. g4+)
64. c5 Qb2 65. Qg8+ Kg6 66. Rd6+ Kh5 67. Qf7+ Kh4 68. Qf3 {again locks Black
king into a desperate spot.}) 63… Kh7 64. Qg8+ Kg6 65. Rf8 Qb3 {After this
strong move Black is surviving and successfully concluded an impressive
rearguard action.} 66. Qf7+ Kh7 67. Qg8+ Kg6 68. Qf7+ Kh7 69. Qf1 Qg3+ 70. Kh1
Qe3 71. Qf3 Qc1+ 72. Qf1 Qe3 73. Qf3 Qc1+ 74. Kh2 Qxc4 75. Re8 Qc2 76. Re6 Qc8
77. Re7 Qd8 78. Rf7 Rg6 79. Rf8 Qg5 80. Rf5 Qe7 81. Rf7 Qg5 82. Rf5 Qe7 83. Rf7
Qg5 84. Rf5 1/2-1/2

It is great to have such a special event in London and just as pleasing to see the evolution of the Chess in Schools Charity which supports the event, making massive strides with an ever increasing number of coaches and pupils involved. Malcolm Pein has also pulled off a great coup in securing additional funding of £689,000 from the Education Endowment Foundation.

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Tricky Timing

At the London Classic I got chatting to Daniel Parmet who kindly mentioned that he might be able to set up some events if I played in the Chicago Open again. I decided to give it a go as it was a good excuse to follow up with a Florida visit. He put me in touch with Sevan Muradian at The North American Chess Association where I gave a couple of lectures, for which I was a bit more prepared this time, and a simul. NACA had not long before hosted the FIDE president, and when we drove back into the centre of Chicago that evening, we found the city gridlocked due to the NATO Summit with security at our hotel being especially tough as another President, Barack Obama by name was a fellow guest, this made things interesting!

I also gave a clock simul at Daniel’s local club, I haven’t played a serious event like this before so was interested to get the chance to play a 10 board event against solid opposition. I didn’t do a great job at concealing my unfamiliarity when after making a move on the first couple of boards I failed to press my clock! After this I got into the swing of things a bit, and ended up ahead on time in most games and managed a 10-0 sweep much to my surprise.
[pgn initialply=31 height=350]
[Event "DGCC Clock Simul G90+5inc"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2012.05.23"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Adams, Michael"]
[Black "Klug, Steffen"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D08"]
[WhiteElo "2738"]
[BlackElo "2131"]
[Annotator "Adams,Michael"]
[PlyCount "55"]
[EventDate "2012.??.??"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e5 {Not a bad choice in a simul leading to complex positions.}
3. dxe5 d4 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. a3 Bg4 6. h3 {I played this hoping to avoid theory
which I was totally unfamiliar with. The database reveals that although it is
rarely essayed both Lasker and Marshall have given it an outing.} Bxf3 7. exf3
Nxe5 8. f4 {Black’s knight doesn’t have a comfortable retreat square.} Ng6 9.
Bd3 Nf6 $6 ({It was better to develop with tempo} 9… Bd6 $1 10. g3 Nf6 11.
O-O O-O) 10. O-O Be7 11. Re1 Nd7 ({There is not much choice as} 11… O-O 12.
f5 Nh8 {leaves the knight cornered.}) 12. g3 $6 ({Not a bad move preparing to
develop but I should have stranded the king in the middle with} 12. Qe2 $1 Nc5
{didn’t seem that clear but of course} 13. f5 {is huge for White there so this
was much stonger.}) 12… O-O 13. Nd2 Nc5 $6 (13… c5 {looks ugly but at
least stabilises the position.}) 14. Bf1 a5 ({This secures one knight, and}
14… Bf6 15. b4 Nd7 16. Ne4 {doesn’t look tempting.}) 15. f5 {However now his
colleague is exiled.} Nh8 16. Nb3 $1 {Trading Black’s best piece and gaining
time.} Nxb3 17. Qxb3 b6 ({Maybe} 17… Rb8 18. Bg2 c6 {should have been tried.
Now the light squared bishop dominates the board.}) 18. Bg2 Ra7 19. Bd2 Re8 (
19… c5 20. Bd5 {is also grim, but this doesn’t help.}) 20. Qb5 Kf8 (20… Rf8
{was relatively best}) 21. Bc6 f6 22. Re6 Nf7 23. Bf4 $1 ({A good move
preventing any activity, there are some fighting chances after} 23. Bxe8 Qxe8
24. Qxe8+ Kxe8 25. Rae1 c5 (25… Ne5 26. Rxe7+ Kxe7 27. f4) 26. Bf4 Rb7) 23…
a4 24. Bxe8 ({I thought I should avoid} 24. Rae1 Ra5 25. Bxe8 Rxb5 26. Bxb5 {
but in fact it wins even easier.}) 24… Qxe8 25. Qxe8+ Kxe8 26. Rae1 c5 27.
Rxb6 Kd7 $2 28. Bb8 $1 1-0 [/pgn]

Michael Adams & John FedorowiczDaniel has written a comprehensive report on the event which is well worth a look. Many thanks to Daniel Parmet for all his efforts.

Flushed with success from this and having got over jetlag I should have been in good shape at the Chicago Open but played horribly from start to finish. I’ve had a pretty good run in opens ELO and prize wise recently, but this wasn’t a happy outing. The high point of the event was submerging it with large beers afterwards with John Fedorowicz whom I hadn’t seen for way too long.

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Less Than Classic Performance in London

The LCC has established itself very quickly and was as usual well organized. The addition of an extra player proving an inspired decision, as well as evening up the colours, the concept of having the player not playing that day involved with the commentary proved very popular both with spectators at the venue and large numbers of internet followers.

Even now with some distance from the debacle, it’s hard to explain exactly what went wrong during the chess, I don’t remember such a total wipeout for a long time. The opening positions in my 5 losses should have been quite playable but I made far too many errors thereafter.

I hope things will improve in the New Year!

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Simpson’s Simul Swindle

One of the nice touches at the London Classic is the simultaneous display that accompanies the closing dinner: all the participants give a tandem simul making one move each in turn which leads to a happy kind of chaos. The event is quite competitive as several of the boards (each having 4 players consulting) have on their team a GM including  Speelman, King, Rowson, Norwood, Watson, Keene  and several other handy players;  last year the tournament participants had a fairly heavy loss.  Chess players are maniacally quite competitive and this year we were paying a bit more attention (whilst making sure not to miss out on their Yorkshire pud and glasses of claret).  Malcolm Pein gave a running commentary on the mic, eventually he announced that the score was even at 8 all with just  1 game remaining, at this stage Magnus took over the game , a not unwelcome development that I wouldn’t have minded availing myself of on a few other occasions. Still the game seemed destined for a draw as there were only queens and a few pawns remaining, the Black players were the presidents of three federations :CJ de Mooi of the ECF ,Tomas Sielicki of the Polish Federation, Viktor Kapustin of the Ukraine Federation and Frederic Friedel of Chessbase fame who had put up stiff resistance in a Stonewall Dutch.

Magnus has just nudged his king forward to h4, a move which contained a rather vicious trap.

[pgn height=350] [Event "Simpsons LCC Simul"]
[Date "2010.12.15"]
[White "Classic Participants"]
[Black "CJ DeMooi et al"]
[Result "*"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/7p/p1q4k/8/3Q2PK/8/7P/8 b - - 0 1"]
[PlyCount "6"]
[EventDate "2010.12.26"]
[SourceDate "2010.12.26"]

1… Qg6 ({After} 1… Kg6 {perpetual check would be inevitable, although the
queen move leaves Black’s king gasping for air it is spectacularly unfortunate
that it loses immediately.}) 2. Qe5 {This centralization is amazingly powerful,
it’s highly surprising that with so little material remaining the treat of
g4-g5+ can’t be adequately met for example:} Qg8 ({or} 2… Qb6 3. Qg5#) 3.
Qf6+ Qg6 4. g5# *[/pgn]

I hope all my visitors have had a happy holiday season – all the best for 2011!


London Chess Classic

We’re now past the rest day in the London Classic and coming into the home stretch. Pretty open field so a lot to play for!