Reports | March 20, 2009 4:58

Aronian beats Carlsen, joins Kramnik in the lead

Radjabov-Wang YueAfter the first rest day, the Amber tournament resumed today with the 5th round. In his rapid game against Carlsen, Aronian snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and now the Armenian leads the combined standings together with Kramnik, who drew twice with Topalov. And... Wang Yue won his first game of the tournament, with Black against Radjabov.

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 5
Blindfold games: Rapid games:

After a rest day that consisted of the traditional laser game and casino dinner party in the evening (where Karjakin busted the bank at the roulette table) the tournament resumed with the fifth round on the program.

Wang Yue started with a very quick draw against Radjabov; apparently the Chinese, who is a bit on his own during this tournament (he didn't bring anyone accompanying him), still doesn't feel too comfortable with blindfold chess. Or did he want to save energy for his rapid game?


Kramnik & Topalov drew twice today

Although we wouldn't like to focus too much on it, we do take note that Topalov and Kramnik, who faced each other in this fifth round at Amber, still do not shake hands, not even in a friendly atmosphere like this. What they did do is create a good fight at the virtual board of their blindfold game which resulted in a position in which both players couldn't really avoid a repetition of moves. It was Topalov who had to be disappointed this time (and he certainly was), because his position looked highly promising around move 30.

Morozevich admitted that his victory over Karjakin had come after many mistakes. "Black is OK after the opening, but after 14.Bxb4 I got confused and thought for about ten minutes." He then missed a few opportunities for an advantage, after which White took over the initiative. "His last mistake was probably 30.Rf3; he must have missed my trick on e5." The fact that Karjakin finished with the typical blindfold megablunder didn't really change the verdict of the position this time.

Aronian-Carlsen was a difficult game; Ljubojevic thought White was the one who had to be careful but Aronian himself didn't think he was worse anywhere. He said he should have played 12.Ne3 instead of 12.Na3. "Black was OK there, but when he allowed me to play my rook to d6 I was better again." Perhaps White should have tried 25.Bxc5 although Black must be very close to a draw even there.

Wang Yue

Wang Yue: finally a win!

Ivanchuk-Anand was quickly drawn and this was a small surprise, since the World Champion seemed a bit better in the final position after 28...Nxf4 29.gxf4 Rc8. However, he felt the doubled f-pawns might be to White's advantage in this position because of possible attacking chances.

Leko escaped with a draw against Kamsky after Black was better despite having knight against bishop, but the distant passed pawn was a big asset of course, but not enough to win. Kamsky afterwards asked Ljubojevic: "Did I miss anything, Ljubo?" to which the former world's number three answered negatively. "OK, than I can go," the American smiled.

In the first rapid session, Kramnik and Topalov also drew their second game but Wang Yue finally won a game at Amber, and even with the black pieces. Radjabov certainly missed the draw at some points and the final pointe in the rook ending was highly instructive: with a g-pawn it would have been a draw, but by keeping the pawn on the f-file it's winning (because in the final position that pawn will simply run to f3).

Karjakin scored an excellent win over Morozevich in the first rapid session. After the game he thought White could have saved himself with 36.c7 Nxc7 37.Rc4, but the computer finds a way to stay a pawn up: 37...Rxc4 38.Kxc4 Nb5! 39.Rxa4 Rc7+ 40.Kb3 Rc3+. In the game Karjakin won showing excellent technique, while profiting from the fact that Morozevich was in timetrouble.


Anand vs Ivanchuk - who kind of sees it coming

Anand won a nice game with White against Ivanchuk playing the sharp Winawer French. "F5 was cute, but things remained unclear till almost the very end. Maybe the computer will laugh at us," the Indian said. Ivanchuk was clearly taken aback when 37.h5+ was played, and then missed a chance to complicate with 43...Nh2.

Kamsky is still not a main line kind of guy but his positional play again fully compensated against rocky solid Leko (in fact, "Peter" means rock...!). In the end the Hungarian was hoping for one of those famous bishop fortresses, but this position wasn't one of them.

Carlsen then lost an ending that had started as almost winning for him. "I knew that I didn't deserve to win this one but I was happy with how I fought back," Aronian said. He had all the reason to be happy, finding himself next to Kramnik on top of the combined standings.

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, 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.


John A.'s picture

The rapid game between Carlsen and Aronian was superb! That was some impressive endgame play by Aronian!

Bacchus's picture

Yeah, that game was a WOW.

Arne Moll's picture

Wasn't Carlsen just pushing too hard?

Daan's picture

I seems to be a typical angstgegner game....

chessplanet's picture

I think that Aronian is very strong in the middlegame, especially in complex,unbalanced positions. That's how he won with Black against Anand in Linares, while objectively Anand was better but missed tactics in that game

Aronian is very confident in the middle-game, always looking for counter-chances and played h2-h4-h5 against Kamsky's Gruenfeld, and managed to win while he was worse for a long time.
Same thing happened with the Carlsen game, I think that 69 Re2 was better than 69 g4? and 86 Rh2 more resistant than 86 Re2? leading to the pin with ..Bg4. Very resilient play by Black prevailed !

"A good player is always lucky" said the great Capablanca. Still true today

Coco Loco's picture

Did you guys do away with the links to other sites' news for good?
Chessvibes was a great homepage due to that feature. Bring it back!

Peter Doggers's picture

For the moment, yes. After trouble with the server we've cut down a number of modules that put pressure on the database. After the Amber tournament we'll be investigating it some more.

jussu's picture

Well, it was a useful feature but I can imagine how the server was glowing red due to the entire chess world passing by Chessvibes on their way to other sites. I, for one, abused it a lot :)

Peter Doggers's picture

Good to know that it was quite popular. After Amber we'll do our best to get it back as quickly as possible.

Jean-Michel's picture

Just a little "me too" to say I loved the news from other sites as well. It helped turn Chessvibes into my first chess read of any day.

Aronjanfan's picture

I agree with Chessplanet
BTW, he quotes Capablanca. The game with Carlsen remains me a little bit of Winter-Capa, were the Bishop was traped, too. The Aronjan-Carlsen Version is mutch more complex, of course.

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