The elite event at the London Chess Classic, with 10 of the world’s top players, attracts most of the attention among the media and fans, but there are two other tournaments taking place as part of the same festival: the British Knockout Championship and the London Chess Classic Open. Both events finish Friday.
With one round to go, grandmaster Etienne Bacrot of France leads the open section with 7/8, having defeated grandmaster Chithambaram Aravindh of India in Round 8. The 17-year-old Aravindh had been enjoying a spectacular tournament up to that point, and is still just half a point back, tied with one of his compatriots, grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta, and with Sebastien Maze, another French grandmaster. In the last round the French players have White against the two Indians: Bacrot vs. Gupta and Maze against Aravindh. [Editor’s note: Bacrot drew with Gupta and Maze beat Aravindh in the last round, so the two French grandmasters ended up tied for first, with Bacrot taking first on tiebreaks. Finaly standings are here.]
Aravindh got off to a great start in the tournament, winning his first three games against non-grandmasters before scoring 3½ points out of 4 against other grandmasters, including Florian Handke of Germany, Sebastian Bogner of Switzerland and Ilia Smirin of Israel.
Bacrot trailed Aravindh by only half a point at this point, thanks in part to an impressive win of his own against Bogner in Round 7:
In the matchup between Aravindh and Bacrot in Round 8, Aravindh had White. Had he even been able to draw, his chances for winning the tournament would have been excellent. Instead, Bacrot – once a child prodigy himself – convincingly outplayed his young adversary and now he’s the strong favorite to win the event.
Correction: Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Sebastian Bogner plays for Germany. He plays for Switzerland.
Dennis Monokroussos is a FIDE master who has written about chess on his blog “The Chess Mind,” since 2005. He has been teaching chess for almost 20 years and for the last 10 years has been making instructional chess videos, which can be found at ChessLecture.com. Between 1995 and 2006, he taught philosophy, including a four-year stint at the University of Notre Dame.
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