2015 London Chess Classic (Round #8)

Round #8: Saturday, 12 December 2015
Anish Giri 1-0 Hikaru Nakamura
Veselin Topalov ½-½ Magnus Carlsen
Alexander Grischuk ½-½ Levon Aronian
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Michael Adams
Fabiano Caruana ½-½ Viswanathan Anand

Two players at opposite ends of field. Photo by Amruta Mokal.

Despite losses last round, bright smiles for two national legends.

Two players at opposite ends of field. Photo by Amruta Mokal.

Two players at opposite ends of field,
but still a fierce fight ahead.
Photos by Amruta Mokal.

Some very interesting games in the eight round despite only one decisive game. Front-runner Anish Giri was facing Hikaru Nakamura who was conming off of a tough loss against his nemesis Magnus Carlsen. That game ended in a bitter loss for the American, his 12th loss in classical chess against the World Champion.

Anand tried to create counterplay with 37…a5! 38.Rxa5 b3 39. Ra7 b2. This caused white to relase his grip on the position and stop the racing b-pawn.

There were some interesting struggles notably Caruana-Anand in the Catalan. There was 11.Ng5!? and the interesting 16.Bc1!TN The instructive ending coming out of the resulting middlegame as Anand was racing pawns down the board.

Topalov-Carlsen had a very interesting scenario in that Carlsen tried for 50 moves to try to win a very lifeless ending. There was a unique predicament for Carlsen. He had to capture a pawn or move a pawn to restart the count. However, if he had done either, the game would have dissipated quickly. In the end, he had nothing better than to take the e-pawn to avoid the 50-move rule, but Topalov held easily.

Carlsen explains to Anand why he took the pawn with 84. Nxe5. Photo by Amruta Mokal.

Carlsen explains to Anand why he took the pawn with 84. Nxe5.
If not, the 50-move rule would have been invoked!
Photos by Amruta Mokal.

Grischuk-Aronian was a tense struggle in an English where black employed a hedgehog-type structure. With the d-pawn missing it has a different character, but black executed novel play with 16..Ra7, 18…Qa8 and 22…h5 with raking bishops hitting at the imposing white center. After 32…Nde5 it appeared that Aronian had good play, but overlooked 36.Nh6+! making a draw.

MVL-Adams had a theoretical game going all the way to move 23 before making a new move. After that, the game went only a few more moves before being drawn.

Games of Round #8
(Game notes by IM Sagar Shah)

Standings after Round #8

1st-2nd: Giri, Vachier-Lagrave, 5.0
3rd-5th: Carlsen, Grischuk, Aronian, 4.5
6th-7th: Caruana, Adams, 4.0
8th: Nakamura, 3.5
9th: Anand, 2.5
10th: Topalov, 2.0

Games (Round #8): https://www.thechessdrum.net/palview7/london15-8.pgn

Video by CCSCSL.

Official Site: https://www.grandchesstour.com (live games)
Video Archive: https://livestream.com/accounts/3913412/events/4518826
Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2015/11/29/2015-london-chess-classic-london-england/

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

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