On Friday, Ray and i travelled down to Kensington to see the World's elite and the top four English Grandmasters competing in round three (of seven) of the London Chess Classic. We could have watched all the moves along with commentary over the Internet, but this would have been nothing like being there.
We started off in the auditorium watching the players with giant screens projected behind them, but after half an hour or so we headed to the commentary room to have it all explained to us by yet more Grandmasters. This was where we stayed for most of the day. These guys were extremely good and entertaining - analysing what was going on, and talking through the different variations, whilst the audience called out their own moves. There was a VIP room that we did not get to see - Viktor Korchnoi and Julian Hodgson were commentating in there and that is where the wine was kept.
Round three was when Vishy Anand, the world Champion, played white against Magnus Carlsen, the world number one. This game was an epic struggle with Anand missing a couple of mating chances (although Ray hadn't) before finally finishing Carlsen off. As Malcolm Pein had pointed out, this was the first time that Anand and Carlsen had met since Carlsen had withdrawn from the World Championship Cycle and there was rather more at stake, in this tournament, for these two players, than just the prize money.
The other games were all draws - though one sided draws- and when analysed in the commentary room were still very instructive. The Fortress was a recurrent theme.
At the conclusion of each of the games, the players came in to the commentary room and went through their games explaining their thoughts and plans. This was really useful.
It was great also to walk around people spotting and putting faces to names.
This was an excellent day out and well worth the six hours of travelling.
On Tuesday 14th, Ray will be at the Heathcote if anyone fancies a game.
Haka Dave has spotted some Chess related programmes on the Radio3 listings. They are:
Night Waves (? or should it be Knight Waves at 9PM tonight (Monday)), and The Essay at 11PM all week.