Saturday 2 December 2017

9th London Chess Classic 2017: A Great Start

The 9th London Chess Classic is now underway.

10 of the world's top players - including Wotrld Champion Magnus Carlsen and former World Champion Vishy Anand - are contesting the Classic, which is also the final leg of the Grand Chess Tour 2017.

This fine annual festival of chess - flagship event of Chess in Schools and Communities - features many other events too, including the British KO Championship, a big FIDE Open including many strong Grandmasters, two conferences, two CSC Tutor Training Days and, of course, a large number of special events for schools.

In a change to the norm, the first two days of events took place at Google HQ before switching to Olympia today.

Google HQ (very close to King's Cross Railway Station) proved to be a very impressive venue indeed, with excellent facilities and staff who all managed to pull of the rare combiniation of being efficient, helpful and friendly in equal measure. I would be very surprised if they did not go on to host more chess events, especially as the worlds of Google and chess share a strong and common link in the form of Demis Hassabis, former child chess prodigy and co-founder of DeepMind. Indeed, Demis played some fine chess during the first day of this year's Classic when he partnered UK No.1 Michael Adams in the 5th Pro/Biz Cup.

Also in action was former World Champion Garry Kasparov, who was taking things very seriously indeed. Kasparov, together with his partner, Terry Chapman, defeated the team of Magnus Carlsen and Chris Flowers.
Carlsen and Flowers - Kasparov and Chapman

The white knight needs to move and any retreat leaves Carlsen and Flowers a pawn down. However, that would have been preferable to the ambitious 28 Nd6 which allowed a pin with 28 ...Rd8, winning a piece. Carlsen and Flowers resigned as soon as Kasparov and Chapman played the pinning - and winning - move.

Nevertheless, this was not enough for Kasparov and Chapman to win the event as the team of Ian Nepomniachtchi and Rajko Vujatovic emerged victorious with a score of two match wins and one draw.

We conclude our Pro/Biz report with a gallery.
Wesley So and Sergey Karjakin entertaining the juniors
Vishy Anand and Fabiano Caruana learning some new skills
All set for the games
The impressive Google HQ
Bowie-themed rooms made a big impression

Vishy Anand playing several juniors at once
The top players were excellent with the juniors all day long
Malcolm Pein opening the show
The games in action
Serious stuff

Not-so serious stuff
Kasparov's expressions were familiar

Interviews by Maurice Ashley

Nigel Short presenting the trophy
Follow of the news and games at the official website.

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