The London Classic finished with Magnus Carlsen winning in style after recovering from a miserable start. He quickly and efficiently dismantled tail-ender Nigel Short’s French defense in the final round to move into clear first place. For his efforts he won a beautiful crystal trophy and a fat check for €50,000 ($67,000). It’s tough to make a living playing chess, but Magnus is doing just fine. So is Vishy Anand, who took in $1,570,000 when he beat Mr. Topalov in their world championship match earlier in 2010. This week he tied for second with Luke McShane, winning $27,000.
|2||McShane, Luke J||2645||ENG||11||1984|
|7||Howell, David W L||2611||ENG||4||1990|
|8||Short, Nigel D||2680||ENG||2||1965|
Standings, games, videos, pictures, reports, etc. can be found at the official website.
Musings…Many super-strong chess tournaments are riddled with what is affectionately known as “grandmaster draws” — games that end in a draw in less than 20 moves, before any real action has occurred and there is still plenty of play left. The players agree to a draw because they want to rest and they don’t want to risk losing. The London Chess Classic was refreshingly different. Virtually all the games were hard-fought, and the event featured an unusually high number of great, exciting games. Why so many good games? Three reasons, listed with the with the more effective and less controversial on top:
- organizers invited players who are fighters and would rather battle for the win than take a safe, uncontested draw in order to relax.
- “Sofia rules” were in effect. With Sofia rules, draw offers must be approved by an arbiter. Quick draws when there is still play left in the position are not allowed.
- They used “Bilbao scoring” with three points for a win, one point for a draw, and zero points for a loss, so a win is three times as valuable as a draw. In the traditional 1, 1/2, 0 scoring, a win is only twice as valuable as a draw. Bilbao scoring encourages players to fight for a valuable win rather than agree to a premature draw.