Judit Polgar to play the 2012 London Chess Classic?

London Chess Classic organiser IM Malcolm Pein has been teasing his Twitter followers by revealing who he’s invited for the 4th edition of the tournament. Assuming the invitations are accepted we now know all nine participants, with the world’s best female player Judit Polgar and England hope Gawain Jones replacing Nigel Short and David Howell.

With the Candidates Tournament now switched to spring 2013 the London Chess Classic is all set to again be the focus of the chess world later this year. The likely line-up was revealed in two tweets by Malcolm Pein:

4th June 2012:

London Chess Classic invites are out to Anand Carlsen Kramnik Aronian Nakamura Judit Polgar

Today, 12th June 2012:

London Chess Classic invites out to Mickey Adams Luke McShane and Gawain Jones

So the line-up would consist of:  

  1. Magnus Carlsen: 2835 (1st on the May 2012 rating list)
  2. Levon Aronian: 2825 (2nd)
  3. Vladimir Kramnik: 2801 (3rd)
  4. Viswanathan Anand: 2791 (4th)
  5. Hikaru Nakamura: 2775 (7th)
  6. Michael Adams: 2728 (19th)
  7. Judit Polgar: 2709 (36th)
  8. Luke McShane: 2706 (39th)
  9. Gawain Jones:  2657 (93rd)

The tournament would again have the current top 4 (including the World Champion), with Hikaru Nakamura another international star from the top 10. Changes were expected in the English participants, and Nigel Short’s absence is no surprise given he’d found the event very tough and had already suggested he’d prefer to return as a commentator rather than a player. Gawain Jones had also been widely tipped to gain a place after making big strides recently (he’s up 60 points from this time last year, and has finally broken into the top 100). David Howell’s rating had slipped to 2607, and he was always likely to miss out.

The surprise, though, is that the organisers have decided to cut the number of English players rather than offer a place to Matthew Saddler (2635). However, it’s unlikely the London crowds will be disappointed by the presence of the greatest female player of all time in Judit Polgar. Her brand of fighting chess has always posed a challenge even to the world’s very best players.

This year’s London Chess Classic takes place from December 1st-10th.