London Chess Classics Update

| Chess
| London, United Kingdom

The previous time I played the London Chess Classics, in 2015, I started with six draws. Involuntarily I’m on the same trajectory now.

After 5 rounds Caruana has shown good opening preparation and agile dynamic play, and deservedly is sole leader at 3.5/5 points. I’m multi-shared 2nd at 2.5 points together with overall Grand Chess Tour contenders Vachier-Lagrave and (theoretically) Aronian.

Overall I haven’t been playing as well as I had hoped. Yesterday against Wesley So was slightly encouraging as I managed to create an interesting and somewhat imbalanced position in the middle game (as he allowed c5 instead of shutting down with c5 himself). In the 5th hour I probably reached a winning position after Ba3 Kb3. Both Bc5 and Bc1 looked promising, but I should have spent more time calculating continuations as he managed to hold after Bc5.

In round 2 against Karjakin I played a sharp variation, but bailed out into a manageable endgame early. The game against Anand was a disappointment as I thematically sacrificed a pawn and never found a way to play for an advantage. I was black against Maxime (V-L) in round 4, and while the opening went as planned I missed a crucial variation and ended up having to defend a pawn down with some compensation in the bishop pair.

On the rest day today we followed another London tradition and played some football in Hyde Park.

The LCC games has had much more content than the high draw ratio (23 out of 25) so far indicates, but what really caught the attention of chess players is the report yesterday of Google Deep Mind AlphaGo Zero AI chess games. I’ve not been a huge fan of computer chess in the past, but I must admit that some of the examples shown from the match against Stockfish (previously considered the strongest chess engine) are truly remarkable. It will have a significant impact on the understanding of dynamic chess. And importantly it shows some of the mindboggling potential of Artificial Intelligence.

Friday I have the black pieces against Nakamura in round 6.