Reports | March 17, 2009 3:08

Carlsen and Topalov win 1.5-0.5 in Nice

Morozevich joins AronianScoring his first win ever with Black against Anand, Carlsen won his minimatch against the World Champ 1.5-0.5, and so did Topalov against Wang Yue today. All other minimatches ended in 1-1 and so Aronian and Morozevich still share the lead in the combined tournament. Video added!

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 3
Blindfold games: Rapid games:
Wang Yue

Wang Yue, concentrating to do better in the rapid game

On the third, very sunny though a bit windy day in Nice, there were some huge oversights in the blindfold games. To start with, Wang Yue-Topalov saw arguably the biggest mistake so far in the tournament. After an interesting queen sac by the Bulgarian which yielded excellent compensation in the form of the bishop pair, the Chinese came up with an even more interesting queen sac: he suddenly put her majesty on a square where it was under attack. Karjakin, Kramnik, Morozevich and Radjabov have (much) more experience with blindfold chess and drew their games.

Then, Carlsen defeated Anand nicely, using several pins along files and diagonals directed to White's king. It was the first victory with Black over the world champion and the Norwegian was clearly happy with it. Aronian-Kamsky was very entertaining though not very good. 41.Rxh7?? and 42...Qf7?? were examples of mutual "blindness" and Kamsky was the last to blunder with 44...Qe6?.

Leko wasn't sure whether his opening play against Ivanchuk was correct, but after analysing it for long with Ljubojevic, the Hungarian started to appreciate his position more and more. 29.a4 was a strong move after which White was clearly better. He nicely made use of the newly created weakness on a5 combined with Black's back rank problems.

The first three rapid games all ended in a draw. Again Kramnik versus Karjakin was quite interesting and they analysed it for quite a while; the former world champion had a slight edge but 25...d4! was well-timed and an immediate draw.


Topalov climbed a bit in the standings

Even better was Morozevich-Radjabov; Black was constantly threatening to mate the white king on g2, and it was instructive to see White defending by keeping the f3 under fire. After the smoke had cleared, Radjabov declined a draw offer at first, but a few moves later he gave up his attempts. A quick computer check gives the alternatives 32.Re5! as better for White and 32...Rf7! as winning for Black.

Topalov-Wang Yue followed the highly topical Slav with 5...Bg5, which appeared in the Topalov-Kramnik, Elista 2006 match and in many recent games as well. 18...Qb6 was an improvement over Stellwagen-Beliavsky, Paks 2008 - too bad it was only played today, now that Daniel has left again (he and Jan Smeets were visiting the tournament this weekend) because we could have asked him for some details. The ending seemed about equal but it was Topalov who had to be careful.



In his rapid game Anand chose the Caro-Kann against Carlsen, and after Black had equalized the players soon called it a day, but "not without a fight". After 27...a4 Anand offered a draw, but Carlsen declined. After 33.g4 Carlsen offered a draw on his turn, to which a clear "no" by Anand could be heard in the playing hall. Then the players went for a threefold repetition, Anand clearly disgruntled. More attention should go to Ivanchuk-Leko which was a fine, positional show by the Ukrainian, slowly but surely breaking the Hungarian's defence. He wasn't sure where Black made the decisive mistake, but he suggested 23...Qd5 24.c4 Qd4 and Qe5 on moves 30 and 33 as possible impovements for Black.

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.




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.


test's picture

Video won't load. Just a white empty space.

CAL|Daniel's picture

excellent report peter.

test's picture

Ok, apparently is down. That would explain it. :/

test's picture

And it's up again... jeezus, sorry for the disturbance.

Thomas's picture

"Scoring his first win ever with Black against Anand, Carlsen won ...."
Carlsen's first ever win with white against Anand, just a short time ago in Linares, is clearly something for history books. But yesterday's win with black - come on it was just a blindfold game, and while Carlsen DID play well, Anand was drawing fire on him (in a way he wouldn't do in serious games).

I would say a 'historic' black win by Carlsen against Anand is still to come - in a regular game, Linares-style event. And then journalists may describe it accordingly: first win with black, omitting/forgetting to add "in an ELO-rated game at regular time control".

All of this doesn't question
1) that Peter is formally right in the first sentence of the report
2) that Magnus Carlsen can be happy about his win
3) that the rest of Peter's report is great stuff as usual

xtra's picture

Well Thomas, you know, it could be that for Carlsen it is important to have won a game with black against Anand, regardless of time control and format. But it would be interesting to hear it from the guy himself, how important is this victory, does it make it easier to play black against anand in a classical game now that you gave beaten him from the black side of a chess board?

Peter Doggers's picture

This question will be answered in the round 3 video, soon to be added to the playlist!

chessplanet's picture

Excellent report for Round3 as expected !
I like the "art" angle on chess , with the sculpture background. Let's say it's right on Marcel Duchamp footsteps, as the artist saw the wealth of ideas offered by the chessboard.

What was Nunn exactly showing Topalov though ? Any other tricks Karjakin could have tried ? Or a shorter way to win for White ?
The intermediate Ng3+ played by Topalov was quite nice, followed by underpromotion with the rook.

Peter Doggers's picture

Thanks, appreciated.

Nunn showed that there was one position in which Black has only one move to save the game (and Karjakin missed it). Go to this tablebase website, click on Input Fen and copypast this string:

5R2/1K6/4r1kP/5N2/8/8/8/8 b - - 0 65

Only Kh7 draws :-)

Thomas's picture

@xtra: Maybe I was misunderstood, I did NOT question that Carlsen has the right to be happy and proud of this game. Apparently he was (according to the video) but himself he added "though it was not at classical time control" which was the essence of my post. Hence, I merely considered it a bit exaggerated by Peter to mention "first win with black" that prominently, the very first sentence of the report .... .
The following questions to Carlsen may be a bit stupid, because the answers would probably be obvious:
Which 2009 win against Anand is more important, Corus or Amber blindfold?
Which first-ever black win against a world-top player is more important, Kramnik-Carlsen (Corus 2008) or Anand-Carlsen (Amber 2009)?

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