Luke McShane helps London Classic live up to its name
Leonard Barden
Friday 9 December 2011 07.52 EST

The London Classic at Kensington Olympia reaches its final three rounds this weekend, and is well worth a visit. Spectators can watch the world elite in action, and can also take part in interactive commentaries and side events, or just chat and play friendly games.

Ticket details are online, and the games can also be viewed free and live on the internet (2pm start).

The most compelling statistic at midway was that while Moscow’s recent Tal Memorial had a dreary 80% of draws, more than half the games in London have been decisive, in most cases after sharp and entertaining fights.

As in 2009 and 2010, Luke McShane has been the standout England performer, sharing the half-way lead with the world No1 Magnus Carlsen. It could have been still better, as McShane should have beaten Carlsen in their individual game while David Howell, 21, had the world champion Vishy Anand on the verge of defeat.

How exactly Carlsen does it is the question which fascinates and mystifies commentators and rivals. When Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov were kings, they had recognisable styles and could dominate entire games and tournaments.

Carlsen is more pragmatic and opportunist, ready to coast along but poised to strike at the right moment. His tough physical quality enables him to continually probe and exploit nuances in long games, and his nerves are strong in mind-boggling complications. This week revealed how well, at just 21, he understands practical chess psychology.

More here.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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