It's getting to be an all too familiar script, but nevertheless an exciting one: The Norwegian World No.1, Magnus Carlsen dominates the elite scene with a strength and flair that sets him aside from everyone else.
Just turned 21, he's already the second-highest rated player of all time continues to find additional gears to pull clear of his rivals in the world rankings. Carlsen has now gone to 2833 in the unofficial live rating list after his performance last month in winning the Tal Memorial and also now co-leading at the London Chess Classic at the the midpoint - and its now not "if" but "when" he can supplant Garry Kasparov's high of 2851.
And like last year's London Chess Classic, it's Carlsen and surprise package Luke McShane of England who are setting the pace. Both lead on 8-points from four games (using the 3-1-0 football scoring system: 3/4 in old money) going into the rest day - though McShane should really have the sole lead in the tournament, as he failed to convert his advantage over the ever-resourceful Carlsen in round two. McShane though does hold the advantage in the tiebreak scores, with two black wins to Carlsen's two white wins.
But London is London and they won't have it all their own way.
And the player they have to lookout for is Hikaru Nakamura, who again is defying his critics with a roller coaster ride from the Tal Memorial to the London Chess Classic. He's bounced back at London - albeit with luck on his side - with big wins over world numbers two and three, Levon Aronian and Vishy Anand - the latter being his first won over the world champion, and the first American to beat a world champion in a tournament since Gata Kamsky beat Garry Kasparov at Dortmund in 1992.
Nakamura is a wild and exciting player who lives by the sword and dies by the sword. He was lost against Anand, but one false slip from the world champion was all it took for a very cruel reversal of fortunes. To quote Nakamura in his post-game commentary before the blunder of 29 Nc4?: "Objectively it's much worse [for black] but we're human. I don't really have to find any difficult moves here. I attack and if it works, it works, if it doesn't I lose horribly and look an idiot. The onus is on Vishy to find all the right moves." (You can check it all out in Suat Atalik's Game of the Day below)
And all of this means we're heading for an exciting finish in London - and the ICC Chess.FM team will be here to bring to you the very best in live commentary action during the final rounds. There will also be another "Svidler Saturday" this coming weekend, with World Cup winner and six-time Russian Champion, Peter Svidler joining host Yasser Seirawan in the commentary booth.
Play gets underway at 9am ICC each round (with the final round at 7am), and the remaining Chess.FM schedule is listed below. We'll also have the daily live trivia to win prizes of one and 3 months ICC membership, plus the Game of the Day (hosted by GM Suat Atalik) trivia, where each day ICC members have the chance to win a 1-year subscription to New in Chess magazine!
|1||Kramnik||4||4||0||16 / 8||--||2800||2963|
|2||Nakamura||4||3||1||15 / 8||--||2758||2851|
|3||Carlsen||3||5||0||14 / 8||--||2826||2902|
|4||McShane||3||4||1||13 / 8||--||2671||2852|
|5||Anand||1||6||1||9 / 8||1 black win||2811||2750|
|6||Aronian||1||6||1||9 / 8||0 black win||2802||2733|
|7||Short||1||3||4||6 / 8||--||2698||2586|
|8||Howell||0||4||4||4 / 8||--||2633||2570|
|9||Adams||0||3||5||3 / 8||--||2734||2519|
|London '11||ICC 1 month||ICC 3 months||NiC subscription|
|Game of the Day Trivia! ICC presents the daily trivia contests, where each day an ICC member will win 1 and 3 month membership extensions.||'New in Chess' TRIVIA! ICC and New in Chess present The New in Chess' Trivia Contest, where each day an ICC member will win a 1 year subscription to NIC!|