Friday 30 November 2012

2012 London Chess Classic

The last 'Big' tournament of 2012, the London Chess Classic starts tomorrow (1st December). Like last year it is a 9 player round robin, with the 'Bye' player roped in to commentary duties for their 'rest day'. One change from last year is the reduction in home (English) players from 4 to 3, with GM Nigel Short moving into the commentators seat on a full time basis.
As with previous editions of the tournament the field is a very strong won. Magnus Carlsen and Lev Aronian top the field, with last years winner Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand adding World Champion class. Judit Polgar and Hikaru Nakamura complete the overseas contingent, with Michael Adams, Luke McShane and Gawain Jones turning out for the host country.
In terms of the winner, I am going to make my usual, safe prediction, and go for Carlsen. As an added omen, today is his 22nd birthday, so hopefully this will put him in a good frame of mind. Luke for McShane to play the maximum number of moves, with Aronian playing the most interesting chess. However I sense one thing will change this year, and we might see a reinvigorated Anand, eschewing his usual quota of draws. (NB I am basing this on nothing but gut feeling).
Along side the Classic are a number of side events, including a big Open tournament. Looking at the field I have spotted a few young Australian players including Justin Tan, Ari Dale and WIM Emma Guo. At one stage Guo was slated to play in the Women's Invitational, but she was 2 rating points short of the level needed to allow the tournament to offer norms.
The official tournament website is with all the usual tournament goodies. However the start time for the rounds is 1400 GMT which translates into 1am Canberra time. So I suspect the only live coverage I'm likely to see are the tail end of games involving Luke McShane.


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