Ding Liren is 2019 Grand Chess Tour Champion

Ding Liren capped off a tremendous 2019 with a win Sunday at the Grand Chess Tour Finals, one of many important titles decided at the 2019 London Chess Classic.

Ding Liren (photo Ootes)

Ding defeated Maxime Vachier-Lagrave by a score of 16-12 to take the 2019 GCT title, riding two wins in the classical and rapid components of the match to take the crown. Magnus Carlsen finished in third place, besting Levon Aronian 17-11. The Grand Chess Tour Finals were composed of games in three time controls, each with different point values:

  • Classical games (2): 6 points for a win, 3 points for a draw
  • Rapid games (2): 4 points for a win, 2 points for a draw
  • Blitz games (4): 2 points for a win, 1 point for a draw

If a match was tied after these eight games, a rapid tiebreak round was to be contested, followed by a single Armageddon game. In only once case were tiebreaks needed. Semi-Finals

Semi-Final Classical Rapid Blitz Playoff Final Points
Carlsen 1 1 2 0.5 14.5
MVL 1 1 2 1.5 15.5

 

Semi-Final Classical Rapid Blitz Final Points
Aronian 1 0 1.5 9
Ding 1 2 2.5 19
 
Ding-Aronian (photo Ootes)

Ding’s win over Aronian was not terribly surprising, given his form over the past six months and Aronian’s ongoing respiratory problem, which forced to withdraw from the final stop of the FIDE Grand Prix tour starting on Wednesday. Still, even a slightly weakened Aronian is a formidable competitor, so Ding’s incisive play made an impression in this match. His first win in the rapid section was particularly memorable.

[pgn] [Event "11th London Classic 2019"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2019.12.04"] [Round "1.3"] [White "Ding, Liren"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D37"] [WhiteElo "2801"] [BlackElo "2775"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [PlyCount "70"] [EventDate "2019.12.02"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. Be2 dxc4 8. O-O a6 9. a4 Nd5 10. Bxc4 Nxf4 11. exf4 c5 12. dxc5 Bxc5 (12... Nxc5 13. Ne5 Nd7 14. Qe2 Nxe5 15. fxe5 Bd7 16. Bd3 Bc6 17. Rfd1 Qc7 18. Be4 Rfd8 19. Bxc6 { 1/2-1/2 (19) Fedorovsky,M (2478)-Feldmann,J (2208) Munich 2017}) 13. Qe2 b6 14. Rad1 Qe7 15. Rfe1 g6 (15... Nf6 16. f5 Ng4 17. Ne4 Bb4 18. Neg5 Bxe1 19. Rxe1 Nf6 $13) 16. Nd5 Qd8 17. Ng5 exd5 (17... b5 18. axb5 axb5 19. Nxe6 fxe6 20. Qxe6+ Kh8 21. Bxb5) 18. Bxd5 Ra7 (18... Rb8 19. b4 $5 (19. Bxf7+ Rxf7 20. Nxf7 Kxf7 21. b4) (19. Nxf7 Rxf7 20. Bxf7+ Kxf7 21. b4 Bf8 22. Qc4+ Kg7) 19... Bxb4 20. Bxf7+ Rxf7 21. Nxf7 Qf8 (21... Kxf7 22. Qc4+ $18) 22. Ng5 Bxe1 23. Qe6+ Kh8 24. Qxe1 $1) 19. b4 $1 Bxb4 20. Bxf7+ Rxf7 21. Nxf7 Qf8 (21... Kxf7 22. Qc4+ $18) 22. Nd6 Bxd6 (22... Bxe1 23. Qc4+ Kg7 24. Nxc8 Bxf2+ $1 (24... Rb7 25. Nd6 ) 25. Kxf2 Ne5 26. Qd4) 23. Qe6+ Kg7 24. Rxd6 Rc7 25. g3 (25. Rc6 Rxc6 26. Qxc6 ) 25... Qf7 26. Rc6 Rxc6 27. Qxc6 Qf8 28. Rc1 Nc5 29. Qxb6 Ne6 30. Qc6 Nd4 31. Qc7+ Kh6 32. Qxc8 Qe7 (32... Ne2+ 33. Kf1 $18) 33. Rd1 Nf3+ 34. Kg2 Qe4 35. Kh3 Nd4 1-0 [/pgn]

Carlsen-MVL (photo Ootes)

Much more surprising, given his form at the just-completed Tata Steel Chess India Rapid & Blitz, was Carlsen’s narrow loss to Vachier-Lagrave. The two drew all games in the classical and rapid portions, and swapped wins in the blitz, forcing a rapid (G/10+5) playoff. In the first game, Carlsen repeated his Game 1 line against Vachier-Lagrave’s Najdorf, and MVL took advantage of this passive approach to the opening to grind Carlsen down in 82 moves.

[pgn] [Event "11th London Classic 2019"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2019.12.04"] [Round "1.9"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B95"] [WhiteElo "2872"] [BlackElo "2780"] [PlyCount "164"] [EventDate "2019.12.02"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f3 h6 8. Be3 b5 9. a3 Nbd7 10. Qd2 Bb7 11. O-O-O h5 12. Kb1 Be7 13. Rg1 Rc8 14. Be2 Nb6 15. Qe1 Nfd7 16. g4 hxg4 17. Rxg4 Bf8 18. Rg2 Ne5 19. f4 Nec4 20. Bc1 Qc7 21. Bxc4 Nxc4 22. Rd3 g6 23. b3 Bg7 24. Qd1 Qa5 25. f5 Ne5 26. b4 Qb6 27. fxg6 Nxg6 28. Be3 Bh6 29. Ndxb5 Bxe3 30. Nxd6+ Ke7 31. Nxb7 Ne5 32. Rxe3 Nc4 33. Rd3 Qxb7 34. Na4 Rhd8 35. Nc5 Rxd3 36. Nxd3 Nxa3+ 37. Kc1 Qxe4 38. Rf2 Qe3+ 39. Kb2 Nc4+ 40. Ka2 Nd6 41. Qh5 Nf5 42. Re2 Qg1 43. Qf3 Qb6 44. Ne5 Qb5 45. c4 Qa4+ 46. Qa3 Qxa3+ 47. Kxa3 f6 48. Nd3 Rxc4 49. Nc5 Nd4 50. Re4 a5 51. Ka2 Rxb4 52. Nd3 Nb5 53. Rxb4 axb4 54. Nxb4 f5 55. Kb2 Kf6 56. Kc2 Nd4+ 57. Kd3 Nf3 58. h3 e5 59. Ke3 Nh4 60. Nd5+ Kg5 61. Ne7 Ng6 62. Nc8 Nf4 63. h4+ Kxh4 64. Ne7 Kg5 65. Kf3 Ng6 66. Nd5 e4+ 67. Ke3 Ne5 68. Kd4 Ng4 69. Nc7 Nh2 70. Ke3 Nf1+ 71. Kf2 Nd2 72. Ke3 Nc4+ 73. Kd4 Nd6 74. Ne6+ Kg4 75. Ke3 Kg3 76. Nd4 f4+ 77. Ke2 Kg2 78. Ne6 f3+ 79. Ke3 Kg3 80. Nf4 Nc4+ 81. Kxe4 f2 82. Ne2+ Kg4 0-1 [/pgn]
Carlsen then did his best to complicate in the return game, but he blundered on his 23rd move, giving Vachier-Lagrave a significant advantage. MVL chose a ‘safety first’ approach to the position, eschewing risky continuations and moving swiftly to draw and advance to the Finals. Finals

Finals Classical Rapid Blitz Final Points
Ding 1.5 1.5 0.5 16
MVL 0.5 0.5 3.5 12

 

3rd Place Classical Rapid Blitz Final Points
Aronian 0.5 1 2 11
Carlsen 1.5 1 2 17

 

While both the Final and 3rd Place matches were hard-fought, there was little question after the first two days of play that Ding and Carlsen would be victorious. Ding, in fact, had clinched the GCT title with his game 4 draw in the Rapid, rendering the blitz games meaningless save for rating. He showed both his tactical flair and his resoluteness in defense in the two classical games, saving a difficult double queen ending in Game 1, and winning Game 2 with style.

[pgn] [Event "11th London Classic 2019"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2019.12.06"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Ding, Liren"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C84"] [WhiteElo "2780"] [BlackElo "2801"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [PlyCount "180"] [EventDate "2019.12.02"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. a3 O-O 9. Nc3 Na5 10. Ba2 Be6 11. b4 Bxa2 12. Rxa2 Nc6 13. Bg5 Qd7 14. Bxf6 Bxf6 15. Nd5 a5 16. c4 Ne7 17. Qb3 bxc4 18. Nxe7+ Bxe7 19. dxc4 axb4 20. axb4 Qc6 21. Re1 Rxa2 22. Qxa2 Ra8 23. Qb3 g6 24. b5 Qc5 25. Qc2 c6 26. bxc6 Bd8 27. Nd2 Bb6 28. Nb3 Qxc6 29. Ra1 Rc8 30. Rc1 h5 31. h4 Ra8 32. Ra1 Rxa1+ 33. Nxa1 Qd7 34. g3 g5 35. Qd2 gxh4 36. c5 Bxc5 37. Qg5+ Kf8 38. Qxh4 Ke8 39. Nb3 Qa4 40. Nxc5 $6 (40. Qh3 $3 {leads to an unbelievable perpetual:} Qxb3 41. Qc8+ Ke7 42. Qc7+ Ke6 43. Qc8+ Kf6 44. Qd8+ Kg6 (44... Ke6 45. Qc8+) 45. Qg8+ {etc}) 40... dxc5 41. Qxh5 Qxe4 {The commentators were correct in saying that this should be a technical win - Black just has to get his king in front of his pawn and be willing to give up the f7 pawn to accelerate the c-pawn's progress. Proving the win over the board, of course, is a very different story.} 42. Qh8+ Ke7 43. Qc8 Qd4 44. g4 c4 45. g5 c3 46. Kg2 Kd6 47. f3 Qd2+ 48. Kh3 Kd5 49. Qf5 Kc6 ( 49... Kc4 50. Qe4+ Qd4 51. Qb1 Qe3) 50. Qc8+ Kd6 51. Qf8+ Kc6 52. Qc8+ Kb5 53. Qb7+ Kc5 54. Qa7+ Kd6 (54... Kb4) 55. Qb8+ Kd5 56. Qb7+ Kd4 57. Qe4+ Kc5 58. Qxe5+ Kc4 59. Qe4+ Kb3 60. Qb1+ Ka3 61. Qa1+ Kb4 62. Qb1+ Kc5 63. Qf5+ Qd5 64. Qc8+ Kd4 65. Qg4+ Kd3 66. g6 c2 $2 {Stumbling at the finish line. The position remains complicated, but MVL now has a clear path to draw. One assumes that Ding calculated a mate, but there is no mate to be had with precise defense!} ( 66... fxg6 $1 67. Qxg6+ Kd2) 67. gxf7 c1=Q 68. f8=Q Qh1+ 69. Kg3 Qe5+ 70. Qgf4 (70. Qff4 $4 Qee1#) 70... Qg1+ 71. Kh4 (71. Kh3 $2 Qh5+ 72. Qh4 Qh1+ 73. Kg3 Q5xh4#) 71... Qh1+ 72. Kg3 (72. Kg4 $2 Qeh5+ 73. Kg3 Q1h2#) 72... Qee1+ 73. Kg4 Qhh4+ 74. Kf5 Qh5+ 75. Kf6 (75. Qg5 $2 Qa5+) 75... Qa1+ 76. Ke6 Qa2+ 77. Kf6 Qb2+ 78. Ke6 Qb3+ 79. Kf6 Qb2+ 80. Ke6 Qb3+ 81. Kf6 Qc3+ 82. Ke6 Qg6+ 83. Q4f6 (83. Q8f6 $2 Qc6+ 84. Ke5 Qc5+ 85. Ke6 Qe8+ 86. Qe7 Qexe7#) 83... Qc6+ 84. Ke7 (84. Ke5 $2 Qg3+ 85. Kf5 Qd5+ 86. Qe5 Qdxe5#) 84... Qc5+ 85. Ke6 Qc6+ 86. Ke7 Qc7+ 87. Ke6 Qb6+ 88. Ke7 Qc5+ 89. Ke6 Qcf5+ 90. Ke7 Qc5+ 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]
[pgn] [Event "11th London Classic 2019"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2019.12.07"] [Round "2.2"] [White "Ding, Liren"] [Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A37"] [WhiteElo "2801"] [BlackElo "2780"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3q3k/6b1/3pB2n/2pPp2R/4Pp2/3P4/pr3P1P/3Q2RK w - - 0 48"] [PlyCount "5"] [EventDate "2019.12.02"] 48. Rxg7 $1 Kxg7 49. Qg1+ Kf8 50. Rf5+ 1-0 [/pgn]
Both confident and modest in the post-game interviews, Ding expressed his happiness at his victory, and described his plans to rest and prepare before the Candidates tournament.

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Carlsen’s path to victory was a bit narrower, with his win in Game 1 of the Classical round pushing him over the top.

[pgn] [Event "11th London Classic 2019"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2019.12.06"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D02"] [WhiteElo "2872"] [BlackElo "2775"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2r2nk1/q4p1p/Nr1b2p1/4n3/Q2B4/2P3PP/1PB1RP2/R5K1 b - - 0 38"] [PlyCount "56"] [EventDate "2019.12.02"] 38... Nf3+ (38... Rc4 $1 39. b4 Nf3+ 40. Kg2 Nxd4 41. cxd4 Rxd4 {is a better version of the same idea.}) 39. Kg2 Nxd4 40. Qxd4 Ne6 41. Rxe6 $5 (41. Qe3 Bc5 42. Nxc5 Qxa1 43. Nd7 {is a viable alternative, but the text gives clear compensation for the exchange.}) 41... fxe6 42. Be4 Rf8 43. Ra2 Rb7 44. Qxa7 Rxa7 45. b4 Rb8 (45... Rc8 $5) 46. c4 Rb6 47. b5 Kf7 48. Rc2 Rbxa6 { Probably best. Aronian heads for an ending where the players have opposite-colored bishops, but the presence of the rooks gives the 'attacking' side the advantage.} 49. bxa6 Rxa6 50. c5 Be5 51. c6 Ra7 52. h4 Kf6 53. Rd2 Bc3 54. Rd3 Bb4 55. Kh3 Be7 56. f3 e5 57. Rc3 Bd6 58. Rc1 h6 59. Rd1 Be7 60. Kg4 Kf7 61. Rb1 Bd6 62. h5 gxh5+ 63. Kxh5 Kg7 64. Rd1 Bb4 65. Rd5 Re7 66. Bf5 { Unable to stop the advance of the c-pawn, Aronian resigns.} 1-0 [/pgn]
Ding takes home $150,000 for his win in London, and nearly $300,000 overall for Tour play. Second place earned Vachier-Lagrave $100,000, while third place finisher Carlsen wins $60,000. Of equal importance is the fact that with their top three finishes, Carlsen, Ding, and MVL all qualify for the 2020 Grand Chess Tour. Adams, Praggnanandhaa, Smirnov and Cohen Also Win! The London Chess Classic is a true chess festival, featuring the GCT Finals, the British Knockout Championship, and the London Chess Classic Open along with a slew of side events and the annual London Chess Conference.

Mickey Adams defeated David Howell to claim the 2019 British Knockout title, while the “third place match” between Gawain Jones and Luke McShane was an exhibition featuring Vladimir Kramnik’s proposed “no castling” rules. Are the Jones-McShane games a glimpse of the future? Have a look for yourself.

[pgn] [Event "ch-GBR KO 2019"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2019.12.06"] [Round "3.1"] [White "McShane, Luke J"] [Black "Jones, Gawain C B"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A50"] [WhiteElo "2677"] [BlackElo "2683"] [PlyCount "94"] [EventDate "2019.12.01"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 cxd5 5. Bf4 Nc6 6. e3 e6 7. Bd3 Bd6 8. Bxd6 Qxd6 9. f4 h6 10. Nf3 g5 11. Qd2 gxf4 12. exf4 Bd7 13. Kf2 Ng4+ 14. Ke2 Qb4 15. Bb1 Na5 16. b3 Rg8 17. g3 Nc6 18. Rc1 Ke7 19. Kf1 h5 20. Kg2 h4 21. a3 Qb6 22. Re1 Kd8 23. h3 Nf6 24. g4 Nxg4 25. hxg4 Rxg4+ 26. Kh2 Kc7 27. Bc2 Rg3 28. Rf1 Rag8 29. Rf2 Kb8 30. Kh1 Rh3+ 31. Nh2 Nxd4 32. Na4 Bxa4 33. bxa4 Nxc2 34. Qxc2 Rc8 35. Qe2 d4 36. Qe4 f5 37. Qe5+ Ka8 38. Qb5 Qc7 39. Rb1 a6 40. Qf1 Rg3 41. Qe2 Qc6+ 42. Rf3 Qd5 43. Rbf1 d3 44. Qe3 d2 45. Rd1 Rc1 46. Qe2 Rxf3 47. Nxf3 Qb3 0-1 [/pgn]
[pgn] [Event "ch-GBR KO 2019"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2019.12.06"] [Round "3.2"] [White "Jones, Gawain C B"] [Black "McShane, Luke J"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A40"] [WhiteElo "2683"] [BlackElo "2677"] [PlyCount "122"] [EventDate "2019.12.01"] 1. d4 e6 2. Bf4 c5 3. e3 Qb6 4. Nc3 a6 5. a3 Nf6 6. Nf3 Nh5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. Na4 Qa5+ 9. c3 Be7 10. b4 Qd8 11. Bd6 b5 12. Nc5 Qb6 13. Bxe7 Kxe7 14. g4 Nf6 15. g5 Ne8 16. Bg2 d6 17. Nd4 Ra7 18. Ne4 Ra8 19. Nc5 Ra7 20. Ne4 e5 21. Nb3 Be6 22. Na5 Nc6 23. Nb3 Kf8 24. Kf1 Ne7 25. Na5 Rc7 26. Qd2 h6 27. h4 d5 28. Ng3 Nd6 29. Kg1 Rc8 30. e4 Nc4 31. Nxc4 dxc4 32. Rd1 Ng6 33. Nf5 Nf4 34. Bf3 Nd3 35. Qe3 Qxe3 36. Nxe3 a5 37. gxh6 Rxh6 38. Be2 Nf4 39. Kf1 axb4 40. axb4 Ra8 41. Bg4 Bxg4 42. Nxg4 Rd6 43. Re1 f6 44. h5 Ra3 45. h6 gxh6 46. Nxh6 Rd2 47. Nf5 Nd3 48. Rh8+ Kf7 49. Rh7+ Kg8 50. Rg7+ Kf8 51. Rg6 Rxf2+ 52. Kg1 Raa2 53. Rxf6+ Ke8 54. Nd6+ Kd7 55. Rxf2 Rxf2 56. Nxb5 Ra2 57. Re3 Kc6 58. Nd4+ exd4 59. cxd4 Rd2 60. d5+ Kb5 61. d6 c3 0-1 [/pgn]

Praggnanandhaa-Smirnov (photo Ootes)

The London Chess Classic FIDE Open was won by two juniors: 14-year-old R Praggnanandha and 18-year-old Anton Smirnov, both with 7.5/9.  This result pushes Praggnanandha over the 2600 barrier.

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A number of Americans played in the side events: Weekend Open: Lawrence Cohen Weekend U2050: Dylan Mize Weekend U1825: Samprabhu R Rubandhas, Cecil Sloan Weekend U1600: Kai Hanache Weekday U2050: Chris Baumgartner, Ari Chaney, Lawrence Cohen Weekday U1750: Mark Engelen, Cecil Sloan Rapid U2050: Ritwik Chauhan Blitz: James C. Flowers, Vikas Rajasekaran, IM Dmitry Schneider

In an curious twist of fate, Cohen (IL) and Chaney (FL) found themselves paired against one another in the first round of the Weekday U2050, with Cohen winning the all-American matchup. He explained to CLO that:

Personally I did not expect to travel all the way from Chicago to London just to play someone from Florida in the first round.  The standard for many tournaments is to use the same rating system for all players.  As a result of that my opponent was listed as a FIDE unrated player and we were paired.

[pgn] [Event "London Chess Classic"] [Site "?"] [Date "2019.12.02"] [Round "1"] [White "Cohen, Lawrence"] [Black "Chaney, Ari"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A10"] [WhiteElo "1824"] [Annotator "Cohen"] [PlyCount "119"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. c4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 Nc6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 a6 6. Nge2 e5 7. d4 e4 8. O-O Be7 9. f3 exf3 10. Bxf3 O-O 11. Nf4 Qe8 12. Nfd5 Bd8 13. Qd3 d6 14. Bd2 Bd7 15. Rae1 Rb8 16. Nxf6+ Bxf6 17. Nd5 Qd8 18. b4 Ne7 19. Nxf6+ Rxf6 20. e4 fxe4 21. Bxe4 Ng6 22. Rxf6 Qxf6 23. Rf1 Qe7 24. Re1 Qf6 25. Bd5+ Kh8 26. Rf1 Qe7 27. Rf7 Qe8 28. Qf1 c6 29. Bg2 Kg8 30. Rf2 Qe6 31. Qe2 Rf8 32. d5 Qe5 33. Rxf8+ Kxf8 34. Qf3+ Ke8 35. Bc3 Qe7 36. Qe4 Kf8 37. h4 Qxe4 38. Bxe4 Kf7 39. c5 dxc5 40. bxc5 Ne7 41. d6 Nf5 42. Kf2 g6 43. Kf3 h6 44. Kf4 Ng7 {If 44....g5ch, 45 hxg5 hxg5ch, 46 Kxg5 Nxg3, 47 Bg6ch is good for White.} 45. Bxg7 Kxg7 {Forced, and losing for Black due to the pawn and King positions.} 46. g4 Kf6 47. g5+ hxg5+ 48. hxg5+ Kf7 49. Ke5 Kg7 50. Bc2 Kf7 51. a3 a5 52. Bb3+ Ke8 53. Be6 {Also winning is 53 Kf6 Bf5, 54 Bf7ch followed by Bxg6.} Kd8 54. Kf6 Bxe6 55. Kxe6 Ke8 56. a4 Kd8 57. d7 b5 58. cxb6 c5 59. b7 c4 60. b8=Q# 1-0 [/pgn]
Asked for his general impressions of the event, Cohen told CLO:

The annual London Chess Classic featured the Finals of the Grand Chess Tour, but also a number of other events. This included
  • a 9 round FIDE (open) rated norm event tournament,
  • two different 5 round tournaments in different rating classes,
  • the annual British Knockout,
  • a (English) Women/Girls Rapid Play tournament,
  • a scholastic tournament,
  • a 1 day rapid tournament,
  • a 1 day "super blitz" tournament,
  • a simul by GM John Nunn,
  • a simul by GM Jon Speelman,
  • and a lecture by Sadler and Regan on (their new book) Game Changer.
There are many things to do and sites to see in the London area, of which I saw a few. (After all, I did play 10 games of chess over 8 days!) Seeing the live commentary and interviews by GM Maurice Ashley, as well as being able to sit in the auditorium and watch the GCT live in progress, was quite an experience. Entry into any of the events gave the festival participant a pass for the entire 10 days of the London Chess Classic. It was only £45 in advance to play in one of the 5 round events, but it was £25 for a one-day spectator pass. Overall the events were fairly well run, especially considering how many events were going on. There was even a free movie at a local cinema for the participants. However, that was only listed only on one poster by the registration area and not announced to the participants. This was an interesting event to watch and participate in as a chess player.

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In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Fabulous report.You are there. Jude Acers/ New Orleans

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