London, Rounds 4 and 5

In the 4th round, Carlsen tried to play the English opening, but Nakamura wanted to play the Dutch. They argued about it over the board for several moves and settled on a Dutch-like English. Carlsen quietly, relentlessly, and effectively coordinated his pieces on the queenside and kept posing defensive puzzles for Nakamura to solve. At about move 30, Nakamura’s defense began to crack. By move 40, he was down a pawn and his position was shaky. A few moves later, he lost another pawn. Carlsen locked down Nakamura’s remaining bishop and pawn and methodically moved his king in front of his pawns to lead them down the board for the win.

Nigel Short played a Grand Prix attack against World champion Viswanathan Anand’s Sicilian defense. Although popular among amateurs, the Grand Prix is rarely played by the world’s top players. The game was fairly evenly balanced until Short sac’d his bishop to clear a path for his queen to attack Anand’s king, which looked lonely and nearly defenseless in the corner. It was all an illusion. Anand’s bemused queen rushed in and effortlessly brushed off the attack: “You sac’d your bishop for this?!” Short’s feckless queen bounced back to regroup for a move or two, intending to renew the attack along a different pathway. In the meantime, Anand’s jubilant rook pounced on the open c-file, delivered check on the back rank. This set the stage for Anand’s queen to enter the attack with checkmate two moves later. With his win, Anand moved into a tie for first place. If ends up winning the event, it will be his first tournament victory in nearly three years — an amazing statistic for the world champion. (In the meantime, he did win spectacular world championship matches against Kramnik and Topalov.)

Former world champion Vladimir Kramnik beat up on the lowest-rated player in the event, David Howell. The surprising tournament leader Luke McShane drew against Michael Adams to maintain a share of first place.

In the fifth round, Carlsen won yet again (against Howell). Nakamura also won, handing Short his fourth loss in five games. The other games were drawn.

After five rounds, the standings are:

W L D Points
1 MCSHANE, Luke 2 0 3 9
ANAND, Viswanathan 2 0 3 9
CARLSEN, Magnus 3 2 0 9
4 NAKAMURA, Hikaru 2 1 2 8
KRAMNIK, Vladimir 2 1 2 8
6 ADAMS, Michael 1 1 3 6
7 HOWELL, David 0 2 3 2
8 SHORT, Nigel 0 0 1 1

NOTE: Bilbao scoring is used for this event — win = 3 pts, draw = 1 pt.

The games can be found at There is a lot of additional information, including pictures, videos, standings, pgn downloads, stories, schedule, etc. at the official site.

Monday is a rest day. Round 6 is Tuesday, and the final round is Wednesday.

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