Reports | January 04, 2011 22:39

Amber returns to Monaco for farewell jubilee edition

Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort in MonacoFrom March 11 to 25, 2011 Viswanathan Anand, Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik, Veselin Topalov, Alexander Grischuk, Vasily Ivanchuk, Sergey Karjakin, Boris Gelfand, Hikaru Nakamura, Vugar Gashimov and Anish Giri will play in the 20th Amber Blindfold and Rapid Tournament in Monaco. This was announced today in a press release, in which the organizers also confirm that the upcoming tournament will be the final edition.


Amber returns to Monaco for farewell jubilee edition

The 20th Amber Blindfold and Rapid Tournament will take place at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort in Monaco, from March 11 to 25, 2011. The tournament is organized by the Association Max Euwe of chess maecenas Joop van Oosterom, which is based in Monaco.

This 20th Amber tournament will be the final edition of an event unparalleled in the history of chess.

In this final jubilee edition the following grandmasters will take part: World Champion Viswanathan Anand (India), Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Levon Aronian (Armenia), Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Vasily Ivanchuk (Ukraine), Sergey Karjakin (Russia), Boris Gelfand (Israel), Hikaru Nakamura (United States), Vugar Gashimov (Azerbaijan) and Anish Giri (The Netherlands).

The total prize-fund is € 227,000.

The first Amber tournament was held in Roquebrune, France, in 1992 to celebrate the birth of Mr and Mrs Van Oosterom’s daughter Melody Amber. That first tournament was a rapid event won by Vasily Ivanchuk, the only player to have taken part in all Amber tournaments (and the shared winner, together with Magnus Carlsen, of last year’s edition!).

In the tournament of 1993 the formula was introduced that made ‘Amber’ unique in the chess world: a double round-robin in which the grandmasters play both a rapid and a blindfold game against each other.

The 1993 tournament took place in Monaco, which would become the home of ‘Amber’ till it moved to Nice in 2008. For historical reasons Mr and Mrs Van Oosterom and the Association Max Euwe have chosen to return to Monaco for the farewell edition of this unique chess spectacle.

The Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort will be an appropriate venue for a tournament that has been the favourite meeting place for the chess elite over the past two decades.

Furthermore, today the official website of the 20th Amber Blindfold and Rapid Tournament was launched:

Like in 2008-2010, Macauley Peterson and Peter Doggers will be providing on-the-spot (live) video coverage of the tournament for the official website, to make the event as enjoyable as possible for the chess fans at home. To get in the mood, below you can find material from previous editions.

2010 Preview video by Macauley Peterson


Playlist 2010 edition

Editors's picture
Author: Editors


columbo's picture

what a field !!! glad to see anish giri invited to play against the elite

Harish Srinivasan's picture

is there any news on why this is the last edition?

Felix's picture

They should have invited Morozevich... I was so disappointed when he didn't play last year. Even if his rating may not be that high at the moment, he was always very entertaining at that tournament

Thomas's picture

Maybe he was invited and declined? And, in your opinion, whom from the field should he replace?

gg's picture

Why not Moro instead of for example Gelfand? After all Moro has won the blindfold section numerous times and is a much more exciting player, while Gelfand's results always are bad in Amber.

Thomas's picture

I knew someone would mention Gelfand (or maybe Gashimov) ... .

In my opinion, Gelfand is one of the most underrated players - regarding fan appreciation, not Elo. He has a universal style and a deep chess understanding - I may have said so before: read his book "My most memorable games"! And, for what it's worth, he seems to be rather popular among his colleagues for his pleasant personality. Last year he scored 50% in both sections which isn't THAT bad, by definition some players have to score 50% or less!

Moreover, the organizers may not have appreciated that Morozevich dropped out about one week before the event last year "for private reasons" ... .

gg's picture

There are many reasons that Moro may not have been invited, and many naturally prefer to see Gelfand in Amber, but I do think it's a pity that a player that has been overall winner several times in quite few starts and may be the most extreme blindfold specialist in the world is missing from the last event.

Felix's picture

You are right about Gelfand. looking forward to some exciting draws in the Petrov. :P

Aun1's picture

his daughter was born when he was 53?

bhabatosh's picture

very sad day in an otherwise exciting news. It feels really bad to hear this is going to be the last one. This tournament was great promotion of chess, can not think of any other tournament that fascinates general public so much.

But this is super strong tournament as usual , my bet

1. Vishy
2. Kramnik
3. Carlsen
4. Aronian

Lobster's picture

Lack of l'argent is the reason this great tournament is coming to an end. Lack of soldi, lack of money, lack of gelt. Money makes the world go 'round.

Thomas's picture

Money might not be the main reason - Joop van Oosterom probably has still enough (just turned 73) of it but is getting old and his health declining.

Anyone here with enough $$$ or €€€ to replace him? :)

ebutaljib's picture

I don't know about his health, but 73 is not that old.

Must be the money issue or he just isn't enthusiastic about chess anymore. There will be no more NH tournaments and Amber tournaments. Looks like van Oosteroom is getting out of chess. This tournaments will certainly be missed because they were unique in the chess world.

S's picture

It's not the money, at least officially it's because of age and health. van Oosterom had a stroke or something last year and he wants to end his chess activities himself, while he still can.
The 20th edition seems like a "good" occasion to stop it.

Cheesus's picture

All the world's top 10 are playing! Impressive! :D

'glad to see anish giri invited to play against the elite' - you mean amongst the elite ;)

ebutaljib's picture

From top 10 only Mamedyarov (#9) is missing.

columbo's picture


test's picture

Topalov and Kramnik in the same tournament? Team Danailov has stopped the feud?

ebutaljib's picture

They have played together before so....

Thomas's picture

If both are invited .... Amber may be the event where hardly anyone declines an invitation, with few exceptions: Morozevich declined last year, Kasparov always declined because he was fundamentally against blindfold chess.

But it doesn't (or at least didn't) mean that Kramnik and Topalov talk to each other or even shake hands before and/or after their games. At one occasion (2009?) an arbiter approached both of them before their game suggesting that it might be the right moment to end their feud, to no avail ... .

Richard's picture

What a marvelous line-up to end this! Nice to see Giri getting a little extra push from van Oosterom.

Thanks for all his support towards chess. Hope to see him get old and enjoy a lot of chess although not in the same way involved...

Mauricio Valdés's picture

The most exciting Tournament says goodbye!
It can´t be!

Thomas's picture

Hard to argue with such good ol' prejudices - well, let's try some facts:
Gelfand's overall score last year: +7=9-6
Gelfand's score with the Petroff: +2=1-1

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