The 2012 London Chess Classic kicked off today with fiercely fought battles in all four games in the first round.
First to finish was Vladimir Kramnik who extended his excellent record against Judit Polgar with another comfortable win. The #1 women's player was in trouble with black right out of the opening and never recovered.
Lev Aronian had white against Hikaru Nakamura, but found himself under pressure from early in the game and eventually his position fell apart and he resigned after 32 moves. A great start for the US champion!
Luke McShane's game with Magnus Carlsen looked fairly level throughout, but the world's #1 is always dangerous and seemed to conjure up a win from nowhere in the endgame by sheer force of will.
That win for Magnus also means that - for one day at least - he has equalled Garry Kasparov's record highest (official) rating of 2851 Elo! (clarification added, since Kasparov acheived 2856 Elo as a 'live' rating).
In the last game to finish, Mickey Adams beat Gawain Jones in a 7-hour marathon!
Vladimir Kramnik showed Judit Polgar no mercy
Hikaru Nakamura defeated world #2 Lev Aronian
Magnus Carlsen defeated Luke McShane after a long struggle
Gawain Jones lost a long game to Mickey Adams
The packed auditorium before the start of the first round
The 2012 London Chess Classic runs from 1-10 December , with one rest day on the 5th December. Games start at 14:00 GMT, except round four (16:00), and the final round (12:00).
The time control is 2 hours for 40 moves, then 1 hour for 20 moves, then 30 minutes to finish. The 'Bilbao' style 3-1-0 scoring system is being used.
In the event of tied scores at the end of the competition, tie breaks are 1) # of wins 2) # of wins with black, 3) head-to-head result. If these mathematical tiebreakers are not enough, then there will be rapid tie-break games and if needed, a final sudden death game.
More information on all the London Chess Classic events is at the official website, including live games and video commentary.
Photos by Ray Morris-Hill. Games via TWIC.