The London Chess Classic â€“ photographic impressions
â€“ We still can’t get over what has been for us the tournament of the year. Apart from the super-exciting chess there was so much to see and so many interesting people to meet, that there are bound to be a few retrospective articles to appear on our pages. We start with some interesting pictures that did not make it to our daily reports. Big pictorial review.
Jan Gustafsson – Black repertoire against 1.e4 Vol. 2: Open games
The open games after 1.e4 e5 offer White a huge choice. Part 1 of this series covered the main line Spanish and recommended the Marshall Attack – but what to do against the Exchange Spanish, the Scotch or the Italian Game?
London Chess Festival
By John Saunders â€“ pictures by John Nunn
In the age of digital cameras, large numbers of visual impressions are captured,
and it seems a shame to let most of the material end on the cutting room floor.
Here are some pictures we particularly liked and want to share with you.
What have I done? What did I play? In round six Nigel Short embarked on some
19th century romanticism â€“ he played a King’s Gambit against fellow Englishman
David Howell. In the spirit of the opening, both players disdained to defend
pawns and attacked hard but eventually the pieces came off and the game was
Dominic Lawson writes for the Independent and the Sunday Times. He is the son
of a former Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer Lord Nigel Lawson. Domnic
was educated in Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, and is an avid
chess fan, having written books on the subject. As a frequent guest in the VIP
room he can always be counted on for an interesting and controversial discussion
on a wide variety of subjects.
Ken Thompson turned up for the second half of the tournament, having travelled
from balmy San JosÃ© (where he works for Google) to icy cold London. He is a
good friend of Fred Friedel and Vishy Anand, and was often spotted with the
two at breakfast and dinner â€“ the latter inevitably in the wonderful Japanese
Noodle and Sushi Bar opposite the hotel: Hare Tortoise.
Old friends: Frederic Friedel and Vishy Anand, who have known each other for
many years now. Anand visited Friedel in the early days of ChessBase and chess
software â€“ there are some pictures in this
report â€“ and kept coming back for more. In London the two were inseparable
â€“ Frederic acting as some kind of a bodyguard for the World Champion.
Michael Adams is England’s top grandmaster, today number 22 in the world, but
at one stage the world number four player (in several lists from October 2000
to October 2002). He reached the final of the 1997 FIDE World Championship qualifier,
losing to Anand in a sudden-death tiebreak for the chance to challenge Anatoly
Karpov. In 2004 he reached the final match of the FIDE World Championship, losing
to Rustam Kasimzhanov in rapid tie-breaks in Tripoli.
Tara MacGowran is the wife of Mickey Adams and accompanies the English number
one to most of his chess tournaments. Tara occasionally contributes photos and
off-board commentary on events to the chess press. Daughter of celebrated Irish
actor Jack MacGowran, she herself was formerly an actress, playing lead roles
in movies and major TV productions.
David Howell, son of Angeline (originally from Singapore) and Martin Howell.
There are some nice pictures of the family, which includes sister Julia, in
from the 2009 Chess Classic, where David did extremely well. This time London
was not exactly a triumph â€“ but then again he is just 20 and has his chess career
ahead of him.
Now that’s no easy task: get a picture of Hikaru Nakamura smiling. The top
American GM is usually very concentrated and tends to keep a serious face. Hikaru
has, to the disappointment of some, cut his hair short and abandoned the Johnny
Depp look for which he seemed to be heading.
Hikaru in full concentration during a game
Vladimir Kramnik in a similar mood
A photographer in the audience: Dr Christian Sasse, a German-born physicist
and astronomer, provided pictures for a number of reports on the London Chess
Classic. Christian wields the latest Nikon hardware.
Vishy Anand in a serious mood at the start of one of his games
Adjusting his pieces in preparation for a battle against…
… his main rival in London: Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen
English GM Aaron Summerscale took part in the London Open and scored 6/9. Aaron,
rated 2434, is less active as a player these days but well known as a chess
teacher and coach, often working in tandem with his wife Claire.
IM Susan Lalic is a five-times winner of the British Women’s Championship
five times and has competed at nine Olympiads. These days she and her husband
IM Graeme Buckley spend most of their time teaching the game and organising
English GM Neil McDonald, rated 2449, spends a lot of his time writing chess
books these days but he was in the running for first place at the London Open.
He finished 3rd= with 7/9.
GM Mark Hebden once rejoiced in the nickname of the â€œEnglish butcherâ€
as he carved his way through continental open tournaments. At 52 he remains
a dedicated and popular professional player. He came tantalisingly close to
sharing first place with Gawain Jones but in the end couldn’t quite win
a 123-move last-round scrap with GM Simon Williams.
Danny Gormally finished 3rd= in the London Open with 7/9, starting with four
straight wins and losing only to eventual joint winner Simon Williams. Originally
from the south east, the 2470-rated grandmaster and chess book author now lives
in the north east of England.
Simon Williams was in great form at Olympia, finishing first equal with Gawain
Jones on 7Â½/9. He started with 6/6, including a win with Black over top
seed GM Boris Avrukh but then losing to Gawain Jones. Simon is also a popular
chess author, coach and blogger (his Ginger
GM blog is well worth a visit).
Fiona Steil-Antoni is from Luxembourg and, despite being only 21, has already
played five Olympiads for her country. She won an individual gold medal on board
two at the 2006 Turin Women’s Olympiad.
Lateefah Messam-Sparks, 18, comes from Nottingham and won a chess scholarship
at Wellington College, Berkshire, where she has been studying for her advanced
Natasha Fairley comes from Auckland in New Zealand and has played three Olympiads
for her home country. She is currently living in a famous chess town in the
Netherlands â€“ Groningen.
Dutch woman IM Arlette van Weersel, from Amsterdam, ran away with the Women’s
Invitational tournament, scoring 8/9 for a TPR of 2385. She studied at the Johan
Cruyff Institute for Sport Studies. Maybe the secret of her success is â€˜total
English GM Gawain Jones shared first place in the London Open and beat his
co-winner Simon Williams along the way. Gawain recently spent a long period
in New Zealand but he and his girlfriend, New Zealand women’s Olympiad
player Sue Maroroa, are currently based in London.
Grandmaster Julian Hodgson has four British Championship titles to his credit,
but hasn’t been active as a player for the past decade, being otherwise
occupied teaching chess in schools with his wife Lizette. Julian was nicknamed
the â€˜grandmaster of disaster’ but most of the disasters were suffered
by his opponents as he crushed them with the Trompowsky Attack and various other
off-beat systems for which he was justly famous. â€˜Jules’ was the
main commentator in the V.I.P. room at the London Classic.
GM Chris Ward won the British Championship in 1996 but is perhaps better known
these days for his series of chess books for elementary and developing players,
and his entertaining commentary at the London and Hastings congresses. Spectating
is not a passive activity when Chris is around as he always like to involve
his audience and exchange humorous banter with them.
GM Daniel King’s commentary career includes national TV coverage of the
1993 Kasparov-Short match and beyond, and including work for ESPN, BBC, Eurosport
and Star TV, plus working as chief commentator at world championship and prestigious
man-machine matches. He is a prolific and popular chess writer, with a regular
Monday column in The Guardian G2 section (with Ronan Bennett), the monthly â€˜How
Good is Your Chess’ column in CHESS Magazine, plus a long list of chess
books and articles in other publications.
Viktor Korchnoi was the guest of honour at the London Chess Classic. He played
two simuls during the course of the event, scoring +20, =4, -1 (to Allan Beardsworth,
a former England Olympiad team manager) on 9 December and +23, =3, -3 (to Tony
Stewart, Gordon Scott and David Fowler) on 14 December. The rest of the time
he following the games avidly, keeping up an entertaining banter with commentator
Julian Hodgson in the V.I.P. room.
GM Genna Sosonko joined us in London for the second half of the event. Like
Viktor Korchnoi, he was a notable defector from the Soviet Union in the 1970s
and he too carved out an impressive chess career in the West. These days he
writes for New In Chess, specialising in poignant pen pictures of the chess
characters he remembers from his youth in the Soviet Union.
Garry Kasparov was with us for the last two rounds of play. Garry followed
play closely and shared his views with the online and onsite audience in the
commentary room. His arrival in the country caused a flurry of interest amongst
the London-based general media and he was besieged with interview requests.
His CNN interview
was conducted at the venue.
Frederic Friedel with Marie Laure Germon, a French journalist who writes lead
stories for Le Figaro and who who married
Vladimir Kramnik four years ago. The two had a daughter, Daria, who will
be two in a few days. At the time Vladimir Kramnik gave Fred a surprise
telephone call and interview. Marie Laure cannot attend many tournaments
in which her husband plays, but she never misses the London Chess Classic.
- Official tournament
- All games of the London
Festival Open in PGN
- All games of the Women’s