London Chess Classic participants

Carlsen, Kramnik, and Nakamura head the field

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Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen was born on 30 November 1990. He is widely seen as a future world champion. He became a Grandmaster at the age of 13 years, 4 months, and 27 days, making him the third youngest Grandmaster in history.

In 2004 Magnus came to the attention of the international chess world after his victory in the C group at the Corus chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee. He had a score of 10½/13, losing just one game (against the highest rated player of the C group, Dusko Pavasovic). With this performance and a rating performance of 2702, he achieved his first GM norm.

In 2008, playing in Group A at the Corus tournament in Wijk aan Zee Magnus had a outstanding result, finishing =1st with Aronian on 8/11. In events this year he has had more fine achievements: second place at the super strong Linares, with an 8/14 result – second only to Vishy Anand a half a point above him and a tie for first at the Baku FIDE Grand Prix tournament with +3, and his best result, first place at the Aerosvit super GM event, with a remarkable 8/11.

At the Tal Memorial in Moscow he became the youngest World Blitz Champion. After the London Chess Classic he continues the busy schedule with Corus 2010.

Vladimir Kramnik

Vladimir Borisovich Kramnik, born 25 June 1975, was Classical World Chess Champion from 2000 to 2006, and undisputed World Chess Champion from 2006 to 2007.

Kasparov described Kramnik’s style as pragmatic and tenacious. He is one of the toughest opponents to defeat, the former unable to defeat him during their 2000 World Championship match, mainly due to the his solid black opening repertoire.

The Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund resulted in a fine victory. After an inauspicious start the former World Champion mopped up in the second half to finish a full point ahead of his nearest rivals, Peter Leko, Magnus Carlsen and Dmitry Jakovenko all on 5½/10, therefore winning the event in fine fashion. His performance rating was 2848.

Kramnik’s latest achievement is the first place at the Tal Memorial.

Vladimir is married to French journalist Marie-Laure Germon. They have a daughter named Daria who was born December 28th 2008.

Hikaru Nakamura

Hikaru Nakamura was born in Japan, to a Japanese father and an American mother, and at the age of two years old, he moved with his parents to the United States. At the age of 10 years and 79 days, he achieved the title of chess master from the United States Chess Federation (USCF), becoming the youngest American ever to do so.

Hikaru solidified his reputation as a chess prodigy, by earning, at the age of 15 years and 79 days, the Grandmaster title, breaking by three months Bobby Fischer’s record for the youngest American to have achieved the same.

He is generally regarded as an aggressive player who is reluctant to draw games early, having once said in an interview that “there is no point of taking draws”.

In February 2009 he came joint third at the 7th Gibtelecom Masters in Gibraltar, again finishing strongly with 4½/5 to end the event on 7½/10. In May he won the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship, scoring 7/9 to take clear first.

In July 2009, Hikaru beat Ruslan Ponomariov in a blitz playoff to win the Donostia – San Sebastian Chess Festival. His most recent title is the first place at BNbank blitz.

Nigel Short

Nigel David Short MBE challenged for the World Chess Championship against Garry Kasparov at London 1993. He is also a chess columnist, coach and commentator.

A chess prodigy, Nigel first attracted significant media attention, as a 10-year-old, by defeating Viktor Korchnoi in a simultaneous exhibition and in 1977 he became the youngest ever competitor in the British Championship at the age of 12.

Nigel’s highest world ranking (third) was achieved during January 1988-July 1989 and his highest Elo rating of 2712 was reached in April 2004.

As well as his playing activities, Nigel is a chess writer. He has written columns and book reviews for the British newspapers The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, The Spectator and for the ChessBase website.

Nigel is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Bolton and was appointed MBE in recognition of his chess accomplishments in 1999. In August 2009 he scored 8/10 at the Staunton Memorial with a 2862 performance which will mean a 2700+ rating in the next FIDE list making him the only English player in this elite Super-GM group.

Michael Adams

Michael Adams is a former world number 4, achieved several times from October 2000 to October 2002. On the July 2009 FIDE rating list he was the number one British player.

Mickey, as he is more commonly known, has performed strongly in a number of World Chess Championship tournaments coming close to winning the 2004 FIDE Championship, when he reached the final losing closely (4½-3½) after a rapid play-off to Kasimdzhanov.

In September 2007, he took part in the China-UK Summit Match, held in Liverpool and playing alongside Mickey was former World Championship challenger Nigel Short. That event was the first time in almost 15 years that the two GMs had played chess together on British soil.

In August 2008, there was a second successive victory in the Staunton Memorial. Mickey finished on 8/11, ahead of Loek Van Wely (7½/11) and Jan Smeets (7/11). He followed this with a share of second place at the 4th EU Individual Open Championship in Liverpool.

Ni Hua

Ni Hua was born in Shanghai. In 2003 he became China’s 14th Grandmaster at the age of 19. On April 2008 he and Bu Xiangzhi became the second and third Chinese players to achieve a 2700 Elo rating, after Wang Yue.

In February 2000 he gained his first GM norm at the 1st Saturday GM Tournament in Budapest with 7/10 score. He achieved his second GM norm at the April 2001 China Team Championship in Suzhou with a score of 6½/10. His third GM norm was achieved at the Tan Chin Nam Cup with a score of 6½/9 in Qingdao in July 2002.

In the 2001 China-USA Summit Match, Ni Hua scored notable victories against Dmitry Schneider and Hikaru Nakamura.

In the 2007 China-UK Summit Match, he scored 4/6 (+3, -1, =2) and in June 2008, he became the Chinese National Champion for the third time with 7½/11 points in Beijing having a performance of 2666 and in January 2009 he won the 51st Reggio Emilia chess tournament, the first Chinese player to win this event.

Luke J McShane

Luke was something of a prodigy, winning the World Under-10 Championship at the age of eight. At sixteen he became the youngest ever British Grandmaster, gaining the three norms required in tournaments in Germany, Iceland and the Politiken Cup in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Playing for England in the 2002 Chess Olympiad in Bled, Luke scored 6½/11 and also in 2002, won the silver medal at the World Junior Championship in Goa. In 2003 he finished a respectable fifth in the strong Hrokurinn tournament in Reykjavík, finishing ahead of Britain’s number one player Michael Adams and drawing games against Viktor Korchnoi and Alexei Shirov.

Luke is a strong blitz player. He won the 136-player Kuppenheim tournament in 2003 ahead of Vladimir Epishin and former German blitz champion, Robert Rabiega, finishing with a score of 50½/53. In this tournament he played his games over the Internet, while all other participants were in the playing hall in Germany.

In 2003 he won the British Blitz Championship held at Uxbridge with a score of 14½/16 and the Greenland Open rapid with 8½/9.

David Howell

David Howell is the newly crowned British Champion, achieved with a score of 8/11 in August 2009 in Torquay. He is also the youngest Grandmaster in the UK, a title he earned when he came second during the 35th Rilton Cup in Stockholm on 5 January 2007.

In Torquay this year he also took the British under 21, under 18 and English Championship titles and is the youngest player in the world to have qualified to compete in a national chess championship when he competed in the British Championship in 2000 at the age of nine.

A significant rise in his Elo rating followed his achievements of 2008, beginning with victory at the Andorra Open, where he scored an impressive 8/9, ahead of experienced grandmasters Julio Granda Zuniga and Mihail Marin. He followed this with a share of third place at the World Junior Chess Championship in Gaziantep, where he was always challenging for the lead. At the very strong EU Individual Open Chess Championship in Liverpool he finished with a share of fifth place.

At the Dresden Olympiad of 2008, he joined the England team on board 3 and contributed a very useful 7½/11 for a tournament performance rating (TPR) of 2675. Many believe he is destined for greatness and that he will soon establish himself as a 2700+ player.

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