London Classic 2014 – Round 1

I like the name of the tournament, although except for the time control I see nothing classic in it. Five rounds is really too short, mixing up amateurs and elite sounds like fun and playing rapid, blitz and long chess in a few days – none of this qualifies as classic.

Today the classical part of the Classic began and the game of the day undoubtedly was Adams’ win over Caruana. It reminded me of the famous Kasparov wins against Karpov: game 16 of the 1986 match in Leningrad and game 20 of the 1990 match in Lyon. The harmonious attack of the white’s pieces and the key Kh2 move are taken from Kasparov’s notebook!

The other interesting game (but only for serious professionals) was the duel of the ex-World Champions. Anand played the Triangle, he first used this move order in game 5 in Chennai last year. After Kramnik’s 4 Nf3 (Carlsen played 4 e4) Anand avoided the Noteboom (4…dc4) and went for the usual Semi-Slav 4…Nf6, but the real surprise came on the next move when he went for the ultra-sharp and heavily analysed Botvinnik line. It’s obvious he prepared this for Carlsen, most probably last year for Chennai, but he never got the chance to play it. And then it started – they followed theory. And followed it, followed it, and then some more. Try to remain calm when I inform you that the new move was on move 42, in a dead-drawn rook endgame, with peace signed on move 45. Incredibly deep preparation by both and exciting for the professionals to find out Anand’s intended black repertoire for his last two matches.

The third game, Nakamura-Giri was a draw and that’s all that can be said about it.

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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