Anna Ushenina is the new KO champion. The Ukrainian IM beat Antoaneta Stefanova in tiebreaks in the final of the Women’s World Cup in Khanty Mansiyisk. Ushenina wins the right to challenge Hou Yifan for the “full” title in a 2013 match.
The Tashkent Grand Prix ended in a three-way tie for first between Wang Hao, Sergei Karjakin and Alexander Morozevich. They scored 6.5 from 11, losing one game each. The only undefeated player, Kasimdzanov, was fourth with 6 points.
In the London Classic, Magnus Carlsen has crossed into new rating territory. He shares the lead after four rounds with +3,=1, and 10 points, soccer-scoring. He crosses Garry Kasparov’s all-time live high of 2856, though he’ll have to complete well to beat the “official” high of 2851. Kramnik is just behind with +2=2. Kramnik nearly beat Carlsen but the Norwegian GM defended grimly.
Carlsen was also lucky against English GM Luke McShane (who is Irish) before the world’s strongest amateur lost the thread. Carlsen also won against Gawain Jones after the English Champion (who is Welsh) tried an amazing queen sacrifice. The third Englishman, Michael Adams (Cornish), is well-placed with two wins and a draw plus bye. Anand has three draws plus bye. He failed to win a promising position against Aronian, held an inferior position against McShane and drew without much action against Kramnik.
The Diagram (Carlsen Vs Jones, London Classic 2012), WHITE TO PLAY, is the start of insane complications. White played 16.Ba3 Qa5. Now the best is 17.b4 Nxb4 18. Bxb4 Qxb4 19. Nd5 Qa5 20. Nxe7+ Kh8 21. Nxf5 gxf5 22. Rxd6. This sequence isn’t easy to fathom and black has counter-chances with 22.--Rfe8.
Instead, Carlsen tried a sane move to take Nc3 off attack and protect Ba3 17.Nb5 axb3 18.axb3. Now the engines see a rook-lift with 18.--Rf6 19. Bxc5 Re6! 20. Qd2 dxc5, which is equal. Jones went for broke with 18.--- Qxa3 !!??
This understandably shocked Carlsen, who said he took it seriously once he saw it. 19.Nxa3 Rxa3. White has a huge material edge but black has active coordinated pieces. 20.Nd2 Bd4 21.Qg3 Be5 ?! After 21. – Ra2, it’s quite unclear. If 22. Bf3 Be5 kicking the queen around. Shots like Rxd2 and Ne4 are also in the air.
Play continued 22.f4! Bf6 23.Bg4 Nd4 24.Kh1 Bc2 25.Rde1 Kh8 26.Re3 h5 27.b4 h4? Even here 27. – Nd3 keeps the pot boiling. Now white takes control after 28.Qf2 Nd3 29.Qg1 Nf5 30.Bxf5 gxf5 31.Nf3 Rc3 32.c5 Bb3 33.Ne1 Bd4 34.Nxd3 dxc5 35.Qf2 Rf7 36.Rc1 cxb4 37.Rxc3 bxc3 38.Qe1 (1–0). If 38.- Bxe3 239. Qxc3+. Pity one lacks the space to analyse this game in detail.