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  1. 22 Year old Norwegian GM Magnus Carlsen has won the IV London classic (his third English title!) with a rather impressive score of 6.5 out of 8, and a performance rating of 2994 (!). This result will push Carlsen's rating to a staggering 2861 (+13.4), the highest ever on the planet!! However, there are some clouds over the horizon: although Magnus result was very impressive indeed, the games were... how would I put it, BORING! not exactly spectacular! He played no less than 7 endgames, some of them were not particularly brilliant and looked rather drawish but he still managed to scrap the full point. His victory over Adams was somewhat dramatic, as Michael was even a little better at several points. Kramnik's second place, with just half a point less, was on another level. His chess was pretty impressive all along, and he did have his chances against Carlsen as well. Anand, now 7th in the world, will need to struggle a little if he's to make it back into the top 5 again. Aronian played some of the worst openings of his life and was fighting for equality in several games from very early on. Nakamura did pretty well and is now back in the top 10 (9th with 2768). Polgar suffered and lost 9 ratings points and loses the 2700 mark... not sure if she'll ever be able to get it back again, as she has growing family commitments and doesn't compete much anymore... Michael Adams had a wonderful tournament and proves once again that at 41, he's still got it. McShane was not at the level of last year's event, but that's understandable considering that he's not a professional player. Jones was only able to get 3 draws, but some of his games showed "potential"... Here's the final standings: And here's my favourite game of the tournament, fully annotated. [pgn][Event "4th London Chess Classic"] [site "London ENG"] [Date "2012.12.06"] [Round "5.1"] [White "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [black "McShane, Luke J"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D15"] [WhiteElo "2795"] [blackElo "2713"] [Annotator "I.M. Javier Gil"] [PlyCount "97"] [EventDate "2012.12.01"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 a6 5. g3 {Javier: This is a pretty tough line against the Shebanenko variation of the Slav defence.} dxc4 6. a4 e6 7. Bg2 c5 8. O-O cxd4 9. Nxd4 Nbd7 10. Nc2 Qc7 (10... Bc5 {This was Karjakin's choice against Kramnik in Moscow 2010. It didn't end well for black. ..} 11. Ne3 Ne5 12. Qxd8+ Kxd8 13. a5 Rb8 14. Na4 Bb4 15. f4 Neg4 16. Nxc4 Bd7 17. h3 Bb5 18. b3 Nh6 19. g4 Nd7 20. f5 exf5 21. Bf4 Rc8 22. Bxb7 fxg4 23. Bxc8 Kxc8 24. Ncb6+ Kb7 25. Rfc1 {Javier: And black resigned.}) 11. Bf4 $146 (11. Qd4 { Javier: There's no doubt that McShane had studied the game Kramnik - Gelfand, where Kramnik played 11.Qd4 and the game ended in a draw in just 15 moves. But it's been 16 years since that game, and Luke must have expected a new move from Kramnik somewhere, and here it is. 11.Bf4 is a novelty.} Bc5 12. Qh4 Be7 13. Na3 Ne5 14. Bf4 h6 15. Bxe5 {1/2-1/2 Kramnik,V (2740) - Gelfand,B (2700) Linares 1997}) 11... e5 (11... Qc5 12. Be3 Qc7 13. Qd4 {Javier: This would be an improved version of the game against Gelfand. In that game, white's B was still on c1, and ...Bc5 is then a good move, as 12.Qxc4?? would lose to 12... Bxf2 discovered check. However, that trick wouldn't be possible here..}) 12. Bd2 (12. Bg5 {Javier: This look like a more logical square for the B. Can't really see what's so good about 12.Bd2 to be honest!} h6 (12... Be7 $6 13. Ne3 $1 {Javier: When Nd5 becomes a threat.}) 13. Bxf6 Nxf6 14. Ne3 {Javier: White has the usual compensation, the d5 square, pressure against c4, better development...} Be6 15. a5 Bc5 16. Qa4+ Bd7 17. Ncd5 $5 {Javier: Instead of taking on c4.} (17. Qxc4 {Javier: Intending b4.} Rc8 18. Qb3 {Javier: Planning Nd5.} Bxe3 19. fxe3 Bc6 20. Bxc6+ Qxc6 21. Qb4 Qc5 22. Qxb7 Qxe3+ 23. Kh1 O-O 24. Qxa6 {Javier: Looks a little better for white.}) 17... Nxd5 18. Nxd5 Qc8 19. Qc2 O-O 20. Rfc1 Bb5 21. b4 $1 {Javier: And white wins the exchange, as the N is attacking both b6 and e7.} Bd6 22. Nb6 Qc7 23. Nxa8 Rxa8 24. Bd5 Rc8 25. Rab1 $14) 12... Nc5 (12... Bc5 13. Ne3 Bxe3 14. Bxe3 Nc5 15. Nd5 Nxd5 16. Qxd5 Nb3 17. Rad1 O-O 18. Qd6 Qxd6 19. Rxd6 {Javier: An black's position is a little uncomfortable, due to the pressure of the 2 white BB.}) 13. Bg5 Be6 ( 13... Nb3 14. Bxf6 gxf6 15. Ne3 Nxa1 16. Ned5 Qd8 17. Qxa1 {Javier: And the position would resemble the one in the game.}) 14. Bxf6 gxf6 15. Nd5 Qd8 16. Nce3 Nb3 17. a5 $1 {Javier: A very nice exchange sacrifice. White has better development, Black's K is still in the center, f6, b7 and c4 are targets, the b6 square is weak...} Rc8 (17... Nxa1 18. Qa4+ Bd7 $8 19. Qxc4 Rc8 20. Qh4 Rc6 21. Rxa1 f5 22. Qh5 $44 {With good compensation for the exchange.}) 18. Ra4 Nd4 19. Nb6 Rc7 20. Rxc4 $3 {Javier: White insists on sacrificing the exchange!} Bxc4 21. Nexc4 {Javier: The whole point is that white has total control over the light squares now, d5 and f5 in particular being the axis of white's idea.} Nb5 22. Qb1 Qd4 23. Rd1 Qc5 24. e3 Be7 25. Qf5 $16 Kf8 (25... O-O $4 26. Be4 $18) 26. Bd5 Kg7 27. Qg4+ Kh6 (27... Kf8 28. Nd7+ Rxd7 29. Qxd7 $18) 28. e4 { Javier: Planning Ne3, then the N has access to f5.} Nd4 29. Ne3 {Javier: Threatening Rxd4 and then Nf5.} f5 30. Qh3+ Kg7 31. Rxd4 $3 {Javier: Double exchange sacrifice!} exd4 32. Nxf5+ Kf8 33. Qh6+ Ke8 34. Bxf7+ Kd8 (34... Kxf7 35. Qg7+ Ke8 36. Qxh8+ Bf8 37. b4 $1 Qxb4 38. Qe5+ Kd8 39. Nd5 {Javier: And white's NN will become a tornado.}) 35. Qg7 Rf8 36. Nxd4 Rc6 37. Nxc6+ bxc6 38. Qg4 Kc7 $8 39. Qd7+ Kb8 40. Qd2 $6 (40. e5 $1 Qxe5 (40... Rxf7 $4 41. Qc8+ Ka7 42. Qc7#) 41. Qxc6 Ka7 42. Nc8+ Rxc8 (42... Kb8 43. Qb6+ Kxc8 44. Be6+ $18) 43. Qxc8 $18) 40... Kc7 41. Qd7+ Kb8 42. Kg2 Bd6 (42... Qd6 43. e5 Qxd7 44. Nxd7+ Kc8 45. Nxf8 Bxf8 46. f4 {Javier: And white has too many passed PP on the Kside.}) 43. b4 Qd4 (43... Qxb4 44. Qxc6 $18) 44. Qxc6 Ka7 45. Kh3 Qd1 46. Nc8+ Rxc8 47. Qxc8 $6 {Javier: Doesn't really spoil anything, but 47.Qb6! was more accurate.} (47. Qb6+ Ka8 48. Qxa6+ Kb8 49. Qb6+ Ka8 50. Bd5+ Qxd5 51. exd5 $18) 47... Qf1+ 48. Kg4 h5+ 49. Kxh5 {Black resigned.} 1-0 [/pgn]
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