Reports | March 22, 2009 3:10

Anand & Kramnik take over lead at Amber

Aronian-KramnikViswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik are in shared first place with 9/14 at the Amber tournament. In the 7th round in Nice they both won 1¬?-¬?: Anand beat Karjakin while Kramnik defeated tournament leader Aronian. Scoring 2-0 against Wang Yue, Carlsen climbed to shared third with Aronian.

The 18th Amber Blindfold and Rapid tournament, organized by the Association Max Euwe in Monaco, takes place from March 14 (first round) to March 26 (last round) at the five-star hotel Palais de la Mediterran?©e, splendidly located on the famous Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France. The total prize-fund is ‚Ǩ 216,000 and this year‚Äôs field is stronger than ever with all the world‚Äôs best players taking part.


Round 7
Blindfold games: Rapid games:

Carlsen continued doing well in the blindfold tournament with an easy victory over Wang Yue, who refrained from the obvious 26.f4 but then found out that he had tricked himself. Topalov-Ivanchuk was about equal all the time; 26...Qd4! and 27...g5! were very nice moves but yielded Black only a symbolic advantage. Morozevich escaped with a draw against Leko, who had a big advantage. "It looked like I was completely winning but after the very tricky move 30.h4 it was not completely winning but just winning. I thought 30...Bg7 was the most precise but in fact it was probably the only legal move that was not winning!" the Hungarian said.

Radjabov-Kamsky

Radjabov & Kamsky both won their White games

Radjabov desperately needed a win after losing three in a row, and he got it. It wasn't too difficult since both the Scandinavian and the Alekhine aren't the most reliable choices at top level, and Kamsky's combination of the two wasn't either. Almost out of the opening White got a huge advantage that soon turned into a winning one.

The top match Kramnik-Aronian started with a draw in the blindfold; the Armenian GM surprised his opponent with the Gr?ºnfeld and, to use the words of one of the kibitzing GMs, "the guy is so practical, he can play anything." Against Karjakin, Anand again made blindfold chess look deceptively simple; his bishop on d5 was a monster and didn't have to move for the rest of the game to have decisive influence anyway. And don't miss that nice little combination at the end.

Ivanchuk and Topalov drew again and amazingly quickly this time - it took them about ten minutes. After running with both kings to the queenside there was nothing to do else. Carlsen easily beat Wang Yue again, while Leko finally won. "It would have been more logical if I had one the other promising positions I had, instead of this one."

Leko-Morozevich

Leko-Morozevich at the moment when Mororezich wants someone in the audience to be quiet and Leko making his last move, caught on video

The game had started with the very interesting move 6...e5!? in the 4...Nd7 Caro-Kann, which wasn't new (8...exd4 was) but still a big surprise, and praised by many GMs here, including Leko himself, because Black was fine around move 13 (where ...Nb4!? was worth a try). It went downhill for Morozevich starting from the move 15...b6?! and when he took on a2, allowing mate in three, a clear "ooh" could be heard from the audience and Morozevich looked in that direction, waving his hand. Almost simultaneousy he resigned, with an angry face, as Leko had already played his knight.

Anand-Karjakin was theory for a long time (rare at this event!); 14...Nh5 was the novelty while the same variation was played two years ago in the same tournament between Anand and Van Wely, where the Dutchman had chosen 13...Qc7. The rest of the game was as sharp as the opening and we have to give credit to Karjaking for holding everything together against the world champ.

Kamsky then levelled the score against Radjabov with one of his trademark positional victories; the American is just so strong in positions with a slightly better pawn structure. Impressive.

An important game for the tournament was of course Kramnik's win with Black over Aronian; according to the Russian it was a game "full of mistakes", and he "wasn't really happy with the level of play". He thought 29.Nb4 to be the decisive mistake and did think he played quite accuretaly in the remainder of the game.

Carlsen is now the sole leader in the blindfold tournament while Kamsky tops the rapid! It's an important phase for the tournament since tomorrow we'll have Anand-Kramnik.



The Amber videos are now also available as an iTunes video podcast! (Link launches iTunes, if installed) You can share the Amber videos on your own web site or blog too. Just click the “Email and embed this video” button next to the volume control in the player.

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*Pairings may be changed by the arbiter depending on the standings.



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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.

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Comments

Aleksander's picture

Nice to see the champ back again where he belongs!

Thomas's picture

Do you mean Anand or Kramnik? :)

Glenn (The Veteran)  Bady's picture

What happen to the younger generation of chess players? You might think they would do better in a tournament like Amber, because of the blindfold games. Radjabov, Karjakin and Wang performed horrible in the blindfold event, wasn't there a recent interview, of the former World Champion, about the pliable minds of younger players? I guess Anand and Kramnik minds were younger this time out!!

Guillaume's picture

What are you talking about, Glenn? Magnus Carlsen is now the sole leader in the blindfold section with an outstanding 2983 performance, and he is the youngest player in the field.

Thomas's picture

One could also argue that in blindfold chess experience (number of previous games against high-level opponents) is more important than a "young pliable mind"!?
BTW, Radjabov's blindfold performance isn't that bad or 'horrible' either. I didn't check his games, but his 50% score is almost his ELO expectation.

chessplanet7's picture

I think that Radjabov's win in the blindfold was remarkable.

In particular, it was bold to play the correct and complicated 17 Nd5! which is the right sacrifice. I can only imagine what it takes to calculate it in a rapid blindfold game.

Leko's 40 Ng5+ was a nice refutation of 39..Qa2 against Morozevich.

These were my two favorites key positions of the day. See http://www.top10chess.com for the diagrams !

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