London Chess Classic promises quality fare

The London Chess Classic, which opens at DeepMind Google HQ on Friday, features World champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway, the World No. 2 Levo Aronian from Armenia, and five-time World champion Viswanathan Anand, besides several other big names.

Magnus Carlsen

The tournament will give World No.1 Carlsen another chance to familiarise with the city of London, which will be the venue for the defense of his World title next year.   -  AFP

The crème de la crème of world chess have assembled in London to ensure that the year will end with some top quality fare. The London Chess Classic, which opens at DeepMind Google HQ on Friday, features World champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway, the World No. 2 Levo Aronian from Armenia, and five-time World champion Viswanathan Anand, besides several other big names.

The American trio of Hikaru Nakamura, Fabiano Caruna and Wesly So, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, Sergey Karjakin and Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia and local man Michael Adams complete the fascinating line-up. The tournament is a round-robin affair and will go on till December 11.

It is also the last stop of the Grand Chess Tour, which had travelled through Paris, Leuven and St. Louis. Carlsen is leading the tour with 34 points, followed by Vachier-Lagrave (31), Aronian (25) and Karjakian (20.5).

The World No. 1 will once again be the player to beat in London, though the year may not have been as great for him as he would have liked to. He was knocked out in the third round of the World Cup in Georgia in September, but he bounced back in style by winning the Isle of Man Masters, though he had decided to compete in it at the last minute.

The 27-year-old needs to repeat that kind of form if he wants to win the London Classic. The tournament would also give him another chance to familiarise with the great city of London, which will be the venue for the defense of his World title next year.