- The Guardian,
England’s top six players will take on the world elite in a new format of the 2013 London Classic, the UK’s most popular audience event. The Classic at Olympia in mid-December will have one-hour rapid games instead of the classical five-hour sessions of previous Classics. Sixteen players will compete in four groups, followed by knock-out mini-matches.
The world champion, Vishy Anand, and world No2, Vlad Kramnik, head the list, which also includes the all-time No1 woman, Judit Polgar, and, making his Classic debut, Italy’s highly rated Fabiano Caruana.
England’s team is led by the former world title finalists Michael Adams and Nigel Short and has the inventive Luke McShane plus the rising young grandmasters Gawain Jones and David Howell.
There is one conspicuous absentee. Magnus Carlsen, world No1, winner of three of the previous four Classics and, at 22, already a legend, is not listed in the field.
The organisers have announced instead that one place will be given to a wild card in late November. The Anand v Carlsen 12-game world championship series in Chennai ends on 26 November, so the inference is that Carlsen will decide then whether he would prefer to celebrate his global crown at home in Norway, lick his wounds after a defeat or take on a new challenge in the Classic.
Two of the 16 places are allocated to qualifiers from the Classic Open, itself a very strong event with a £2,500 first prize and nine GMs already entered. Play in the Open starts on Saturday 7 December, the Classic on Wednesday, and the Open leaders after four rounds will qualify to take on the stars. It is an ingenious and novel plan, though the chances of an unknown player or even anyone other than a GM qualifying is remote.
As usual the London Classic has fine spectator facilities, many side tournaments for players of all levels and special low-cost or free entry for children. All details and entry forms can be found on the tournament website.
Manchester’s rising talent Dan Fernandez, 18, tied for second at last weekend’s Bedford e2e4 Open with this quick final-round win. Positions with roaming queens and rooks are notoriously error-prone, and the action was encapsulated in the final two moves. White could keep an edge by 23 Rgf1 but his 23 Re7? missed the trick 24 Rexg7? Qxg1+! Next turn, White suicided by 24 Rd1?? when 24 Rge1 is level.
Justin Tan v Daniel Fernandez
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nxe5 d6 4 Nf3 Nxe4 5 Nc3 Nxc3 6 dxc3 Be7 7 Be3 Nc6 8 Qd2 Ne5 9 0-0-0?! Nxf3 10 gxf3 Bf5 11 Qd5 Qc8 12 Rg1 Bg6?! 13f4 0-0 14 Bd3 Bxd3 15 Qxd3 f5 16 Qd5+ Kh8? 17 Bd4 Bf6 18 Rde1 Bxd419 cxd4 Qd8 20 Qxb7 Qh4! 21 Qxc7 Qxf4+ 22 Kb1 Rg8 23 Re7? Qxf2 24Rd1?? Rac8 0-1
3325 1 g4?? (1 Bc3!) Bh6! wins on the spot. If 2 Qxh6 Qxc2 mate or 2 g5 Bxg5!