This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
2015 Grand Chess Tour / 2015 London Classic


Carlsen In Top Form


Caruana, Nakamura well back in pack at London Classic By JOHN SAUNDERS


T


he final day of the London Classic had the lot—a mind-numbing, eight-hour extravaganza of chess in three different


formats, brilliant moves, crazy strategies, outrageous slices of luck—and somehow you just knew that Magnus Carlsen would come through it all to snatch first place in the tournament and in the inaugural Grand Chess Tour. He did so and deserves the plaudits. Here are the results from the 2015 Grand


Chess Tour with the qualifiers for the 2016 Grand Chess Tour:


2015 Grand Chess Tour


Top 3 Grand Chess Tour finishers automatically qualify for the 2016 Tour. The remaining six players for 2016 are determined by 2015’s average FIDE rating.


First PlaceMagnus Carlsen; Second Place Anish Giri; Third Place Levon Aronian; Fourth PlaceMaxime Vachier-Lagrave; Fifth PlaceHikaru Nakamura; Sixth PlaceVeselin Topalov; Seventh PlaceAlexander Grischuk; Eighth PlaceViswanathan Anand; Ninth Place Fabiano Caruana; Tenth Place Michael Adams; Eleventh Place Jon Hammer; Twelfth Place Wesley So.


SLAV DEFENSE (D11)


GM Magnus Carlsen (FIDE 2834, NOR) GM Hikaru Nakamura (FIDE 2793, USA) London Chess Classic 2015 (7), London, England, 12.11.2015


1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bg4 5. h3 Bh5 6. cxd5


“Oh no, an Exchange Slav!” most of us must


have been thinking when we saw this. But at the same time we’ve all seen what Magnus can do with a dry as dust position when he’s on his game. It’s just that he hasn’t really been on his game for quite a time now.


6. ... cxd5 7. Nc3 e6 8. g4 Bg6 9. Ne5 Nfd7 10. Nxg6 hxg6 11. Bg2 Nc6 12. e4 dxe4 13. Nxe4 Bb4+ 14. Nc3 Nb6 15. 0-0 0-0


The continuation 15. ... Nxd4!? 16. Bxb7


Rxh3 is playable but perhaps a little risky for Black.


16. d5 exd5 17. Nxd5 Bc5 18. Nc3 Bd4 19. Qf3 Qf6 20. Qxf6 Bxf6


I expect many people were beginning to write this off as a draw.


21. Bf4 Rad8 22. Rad1 Bxc3 Giving up his remaining bishop for a knight


is risky. But only with the benefit of hindsight: on the board at the time, it looked fine.


Here is a titanic, almost-seven-hour game


between GM Carlsen and GM Hikaru Nakamura. The Exchange Slav elicited a few groans from the watching spectators, as this opening is right up there with the Berlin Wall when it comes to turgid openings. However, any snap judgements on what sort of game we were about to see proved to be very, very wrong. This was to be Carlsen at his majestic best, against an opponent who struggles against him at classical time controls, but there was a golden opportunity for Nakamura to save himself.


44 March 2016 | Chess Life


23. bxc3 Na4 24. c4 Nc3 25. Rd2 Rxd2 26. Bxd2 Ne2+ 27. Kh2 Rd8 28. Be3 Nc3 29. a3 Rd3 30. Rc1 Nd1 31. Be4 Rd7 32. Bc5 Nb2 33. Rc2 Na4 34. Be3 Nb6 35. c5 Nd5 36. Rd2 Nf6 37. Rxd7 Nxd7


(see diagram top of next column)


So there we have the basic tableau for the endgame. Two bishops for two knights is an advantage, but only if there is some vulnerability in the black defenses. If there is, it is not visible here to us lesser mortals.


38. Kg3 Kf8 39. f4 Nf6 40. Bf3 Ke7 41. f5 gxf5 42. gxf5 Kd7 43. Kf4 Ne8 44. Kg5 Ke7 45. Bf4 a6


“Unnecessary.” (Carlsen)


46. h4 Kf8 47. Bg3 Nf6 48. Bd6+ Ke8 49. Kf4 Nd7 50. Bg2 Kd8 51. Kg5 Ke8 52. h5


Now the outline of the Carlsen plan is


becoming clear: he’s going to swap his h-pawn for Black’s g-pawn and get his king to g7 to pressure the f7-pawn. But then surely the black knights can defend and also conjure up a few threats themselves? It still doesn’t look like a winning plan.


52. ... Nf6 53. h6 Nh7+ 54. Kh5 Nf6+ 55. Kg5 Nh7+


A repetition ... draw? 56. Kh4 Not yet, my friend.


56. ... gxh6 57. Kh5 Nf6+ 58. Kxh6 Ng4+ 59. Kg7 Nd4 60. Be4


Not 60. Bxb7? Nxf5+ 61. Kh7 Nxd6 62. cxd6 Kd7 63. Bxa6 Kxd6 with a simple draw.


60. ... Nf2 61. Bb1


The only move to make progress. He must retain the f-pawn, of course. 61. ... Ng4 62. Bf4 f6


Possibly a mistake. Magnus thought so, any -


way. But it was getting very hard to find moves and the agony was writ large on Hikaru’s face as he struggled to find a defense.


63. Be4 Nf2 64. Bb1 Ng4 65. Be4 Nf2 66. Bxb7! Nd3!


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80