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Preparations at the London Chess Classic

by Sagar Shah - 04/12/2015

The main elite event with an average rating of 2784.2 begins on the 4th of December 2015. Meanwhile the World Champion Magnus Carlsen has arrived in London and appeared on the BBC One show at prime time. He managed to checkmate his opponent using 17 seconds!Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal visited the playing venue and have some exclusive pictures of the preparation of the event.

Pictorial report from London by Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal

The main event at the London Chess Classic featuring eight of the top ten players of the world begins from the 4th of December 2015. On the previous day I along with my wife Amruta, visited the playing venue Olympia in Kensington, London and witnessed the amount of preparatory work that goes in to organizing such a high class event.

The road outside the Olympia centre in Kensington, where the tournament is going to take place
The panoramic view of the seating arrangements for the spectators in the auditorium
The stage on which the gladiators will fight it out
The press conference room where the sound and quality tests were being done to avoid any last minute glitches
The huge and spacious playing hall for the FIDE open which will take place alongside the main event. The tournament, which has the first prize of £5,000, is pretty strong with players like Evgeny Postny, Tigran Gharamian, Hrant Melkumyan, Edouard Romain and many others. From India there are players like Harika, Tania Sachdev, Vishnu Prasanna, Aravindh Chithambaram, Swayams Mishra, CRG Krishna etc.
The lull before the storm!


In between running from one end to the other, operations director Tao Bhokanandh takes out a moment to pose for our cameras
The charismatic Jennifer Shahade who is here to report for the Grand Chess Tour website
The five-star Hilton hotel is where all the elite players have been given accommodation. The hotel is just 200 metres away from the playing hall.
Magnus has been recently having a few dismal events which have brought him down to 2834 on the ratings list. He needs to put on his war face and get in to action at the London Chess Classic.


Before the tournament begins the World Champion appeared on the BBC one show with Matt Baker and Alex Jones on the 3rd of December. The other celebrity next to Magnus was the singing star Josh Groban
Magnus played a bullet game with Matt Baker where he had 30 seconds as opposed to his opponent’s two minutes. The World Champion checkmated his opponent in just twelve moves with thirteen seconds left on his clock.
[Event "The One show"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.12.03"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Baker, Matt"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D00"]
[PlyCount "24"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
1. d4 d5 2. f3 e5 3. b4 exd4 4. f4 Bxb4+ 5. Kf2 Nf6 6. Nf3 Ne4+ 7. Kg1 Bc5 8.
Qd3 Nc6 9. g4 Bxg4 10. Nxd4 Bxd4+ 11. Kg2 Qh4 12. Ba3 Qf2# 0-1

When Magnus was asked how far he thought in his game against Matt Baker, the Norwegian replied, “It was difficult to think ahead because I couldn’t guess any of your moves!”

If you are in you UK then you can replay the entire show over here. The chess part starts from 12 minutes and 45 seconds.

The player’s posters have been made in “old west wanted style”
The creative minds behind this idea for the posters are Geoff, Mark and Gerald of Create Services
You have to make sure that good food is available for the participants!
IM Malcolm Pein – he looks completely cool on the outside but everyone knows the amount of work that has to be done by a tournament director one day prior to the start of such a huge event

The tournament begins tomorrow at 16.00 hours local time i.e 9.30 p.m IST. The players are not only playing for the London Chess Classic title but also for the additional prize money and Grand Chess Tour standings.

Round 1


Friday 4 Dec, 16.00-23.00


Veselin Topalov


Anish Giri


Alexander Grischuk


Hikaru Nakamura


M Vachier-Lagrave


Magnus Carlsen


Fabiano Caruana


Levon Aronian


Viswanathan Anand


Michael Adams

Round one pairing
The prize money for the London Chess Classic
The players are also fighting for the top three Grand Chess Tour prizes
That’s how the GCT standings look currently

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