London Chess Classic 2014

Martin Lokander Martin Lokander is an up and coming 18 years old Swedish FM with a rating of 2365. Despite being a full-time student he plays a lot (about 120 games/year!) and also closely follows top level chess events.

The last of many super-tournaments this year. Although we lack the presence of undisputed World Champion Magnus Carlsen, London has attracted a very strong field and there’s bound to be some fighting chess. I won’t bore you with a long recap of the latest super tournaments, since most of the readers have been following these elite players the last couple of months anyway. Instead, I will give a few very wild predictions of what we might look forward to.

Adams is a bit of joker. He hasn’t been active for a while in the strongest tournaments, but winning the rapid tournament is certainly a good sign. However, since this is quite a short tournament (only 5 rounds), I wouldn’t be surprised if Adams’s solid style would get him at least 4 draws. And maybe one win!?

I haven’t got my mind straight on Giri’s form. Some of his recent results are amazing, but there’s still some instability, like we saw towards the end of Qatar Open. Something tells me that Giri might lose an early game (possibly against Hikaru in round 1!?) and he won’t be able to get more than 50 % in this tournament. I do however think he’ll manage a draw against his nemesis Vladimir Kramnik.

Neither do I think Caruana will impress (at least not with 5-0!). The initial blitz & rapid tournaments can’t have been a pleasant experience for him and these things will definitely affect his self-confidence.

Now, to my predicted winner of the tournament, Hikaru Nakamura. This might be a bit of a surprise for many and I agree that his recent results in classical chess haven’t been too spectacular, but you never know with Hikaru. If he would go and finish last I wouldn’t be surprised either, but his blitz & rapid certainly shows that he’s on a roll and if he gets off to a good start I definitely think he’s capable of winning the tournament.

These are of course very wild predictions and with my luck it could probably backfire in the opposite direction, but my main task is to provide some food for thought and confuse my competitors so I’ll win some prize myself! 😀