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.

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.

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.

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

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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!

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