London Chess Classic

One of the strongest chess tournaments of the year starts Wednesday, Dec 8 in London. It features many of the strongest players in the world, including:
Vishwanathan Anand (from India, World champion and world’s highest-rated player), Magnus Carlsen (from Norway, second highest-rated player in the world), Vladimir Kramnik (from Russia, previous world champion, fourth highest-rated player), Hikaru Nakamura (from USA, highest-rated American player), and the four strongest British players (Michael Adams, Nigel Short, Luke McShane, and David Howell).

Anand wrested the World Champion title from Kramnik in a 2008 match. Anand has a universal style, excelling in all aspects of the game — attack, defense, openings, tactics, strategy, endgames. He is especially famous for tenacious and innovative defense and very strong openings. Watch for smooth play and scores near the top of the standings. Prediction: 3 wins, 4 draws

Carlsen is just 20 years old and was the youngest player ever to be the highest-rated in the world. At this point in his career, he is satisfied with having the highest rating and is not very interested in battling to become World Champion. Carlsen plays solid, dynamic chess and is one of the favorites to win the tournament. Prediction: 4 wins, 2 losses, 1 draw

Kramnik beat Garry Kasparov in a match in 2000 to become World Champion. They played 15 games. Kramnik won two, and the other thirteen were draws. The results were vintage Kramnik — a few Kramnik wins scattered amongst a lot of draws. Prediction: 2 wins, 5 draws

Nakamura likes to play wild games, rich with tactical possibilities for both sides. Although best known for his tactical wizardry, he has a profound strategic sense and also excels in the endgame. He seems comfortable with a wide array of openings and is always ready with a surprise for his opponents. He has not played in very many tournaments with the top players in the world and will likely take a cautious approach against the top three. He’s been rising rapidly up the ratings list, but he may not be ready to win a tournament this strong — at least not yet. In another year or two, he should be among the toop five players in the world. Prediction: 3 wins, 3 losses, 1 draw

The British players in the tournament are very strong, but none have a strong chance of winning the event. McShane and Howell are on their way up the ratings list, while Adams and Short are on their way down.

Expected scores according to a fancy statistical model:

Anand 4.23
Carlsen 4.16
Kramnik 3.98
Nakamura 3.65
Adams 3.58
Short 3.12
McShane 2.87
Howell 2.40

Games are broadcast live at ChessBomb, while the official tournament site has more complete information.

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