Tactics and Strategy at the London Classic


Hikaru Nakamura, who defeated GM Vishy Anand in round four of the London Chess Classic, celebrates his birthday on the rest day. Photo Ray Morris-Hill

While the Sinquefield Cup began with all decisive games, the London Classic has had a far more peaceful start. After four rounds, there’s been an 85% drawing rate—with only 3 decisive games. Round five continued the trend, with just one decisive result- Anand over Topalov.

However, many of the draws have been full of depth and fight.

Three tournament leaders have emerged, slightly ahead of the pack: U.S. Champion Hikaru Nakamura, Anish Giri, and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

Here are some of the tactical and strategic highlights of the event so far:

Puzzle #1: Tactic
How did Anish Giri score the first victory of the tournament?
Veselin Topalov vs. Anish Giri

Black to move. Checkmate in 8 moves.
Puzzle #2: Strategy
How did the World Champion gain an advantage?
Viswanathan Anand vs. Magnus Carlsen

Black to move.
Puzzle #3: Strategy
According to Nakamura, Anand’s 30…g6 in their game was “basically the losing move” because it allowed him to get a “structure where the knight is always better than the bishop”. How did Nakamura win the minor piece battle?
 Hikaru Nakamura vs. Viswanathan Anand

White to move.
Puzzle #4: Strategic Sacrifice
Inhis game against Veselin Topalov, Fabiano Caruana showed how to draw a nearly lost position: Counterplay with active pieces.
Caruana is down a pawn and positionally worse. Now, Topalov has just skewered the white queen and rook with 46. Ba6. What’s Caruana’s best chance to save the game?
Veselin Topalov vs. Fabiano Caruana

Black to move.
 Here’s the full game:

Watch live games and commentary by GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Maurice Ashley, GM Alejandro Ramirez with US Chess editor Jen Shahade hosting onsite interviews, at the Grand Chess Tour Website.
London Chess Classic – Schedule
DateTime (CT)Event
December 410 a.m.Round 1
December 58 a.m.Round 2
December68 a.m.Round 3
December 710 a.m.Round 4
December 810 a.m.Round 5
December 9Rest Day
December 1010 a.m.Round 6
December 1110 a.m.Round 7
December 128 a.m.Round 8
December 138 a.m.Round 9 & Playoff

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