The 16th edition of the annual Amber Blindfold and Rapid Tournament is being
held from March 17 to 29 at the Fairmont Monte Carlo Hotel in Monaco, with a
total prize fund of € 216,000 (US $288,000). On each day of play there
are two rounds, one a blindfold session and the second rapid chess.
Results of round eleven (final): Thursday March 29
| Carlsen-Van Wely
|| Van Wely-Carlsen
Vladimir Kramnik won the 16th Amber Blindfold and Rapid Tournament with a two-point
lead over runner-up Vishy Anand. Two draws by both players in the final round
did not change anything at the top of the scoreboard. However, Vassily Ivanchuk's
blindfold loss to Levon Aronian gave Anand an unshared second spot. With is
victory Aronian was able to catch Peter Svidler and share 4-5.
Winner Vladimir Kramnik during his final blindfold game
It was Kramnik's sixth victory in Monaco. He previously won the event in 1996,
1998 (shared with Shirov), 1999, 2001 (shared with Topalov) and 2004 (shared
with Morozevich). The key for this year's success was a very powerful performance
in the blindfold competition, where he scored 9 out of 11. Only Morozevich was
able to top that, last year, scoring 9.5/11 points. Kramnik finished two points
ahead of his nearest rival (Morozevich), and his performance rating in the blindfold
was equivalent to almost 3000 Elo points.
Vishy Anand analysing with Boris Gelfand, with Kramnik watching
The rapid competition was dominated by Vishy Anand. The Indian GM did not lose
a single game and harvested 8½ points in 11 rounds, two more than a group
of four runners up: Carlsen, Ivanchuk, Kramnik and Leko. Anand's performance
in the rapid section: 2939.
Peter Leko about to play a novelty and pick up a valuable point against
In the final round Peter Leko was able to beat Teimour Radjabov in their rapid
game, where he pulled out a novelty he had prepared five years earlier. This
move, 12…exd5, had been possible in an earlier game against Carlsen, but
Leko decided not to use it in a blindfold game where he could mess things up
later. But after discovering that the move had recently been played there was
no reason to hold back against Radjabov, and the extra point gave him a much-needed
boost in the final tables.
Magnus Carlsen (right) in his rapid game against Loek van Wely
Magnus Carlsen, the official bulletin tells us, started his blindfold game
against Loek van Wely with an unusual request. To understand what he was asking
we should explain that in the blindfold games the players have a choice. If
you are playing with the black pieces you can ‘turn around the board’
and play with black at the bottom of the screen. Some players don’t care
about this possibility, others find it more convenient to have the board just
like they would have it ‘in real life’. Magnus was the first player
ever to ask to play with the white at the top of the screen although he was
White! The game was drawn. In the rapid game Carlsen picked up a whole point
with the black pieces (which were on his side of the chessboard).
Alexander Morozevich (left) in an ill-fated rapid game against Peter Svidler
Peter Svidler lost his blindfold French Defence game against Alexander Morozevich,
who in turn lost his rapid chess game against Svidler, playing the risky and
eventually losing 15.Ne6 after a five-minute think.
The draw average in this event was understandably low, with 44% in the blindfold,
48% in the rapid and 46% overall. White was victorious in 35% of the games,
Black in 19%. The shortest games were 19 moves long (three in total), and 21
games ended after 25 moves or less. The longest was the rapid game Carlsen vs
Vallejo in round two, when a draw was agreed after 108 moves.
Rapid chess games
Click to enlarge to a full table