Amber 09: Mountain tribes of Monaco

3/30/2005 – They wear red bandanas and, armed with bows and arrows, rule supreme in the mountains around Monaco. They also play blindfold and rapid chess. After the Easter Monday rest Vishy Anand, the supreme leader, defeated Dutch champion Loek van Wely 1½:½, increasing his overall lead to three full points. Full illustrated report.

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The Fourteenth Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess Tournament will take place at the Monte Carlo Grand Hôtel in Monaco, from 19th to 31st March 2005. The Dutch billionaire J.J. van Oosterom is the exclusive sponsor of this event.

Round nine


The city state of Monaco, between France and Italy, on the Mediterranean


Monte Carlo, with its sea-front buildings and hilly backdrop


A ship arrives in the harbour of Monte Carlo


The ubiquitous tourists from Cameraland outside the famous casino in Monaco

The excursion on the free Easter Moday saw the grandmasters visit the picturesque village of La Turbie, a in the mountains above Monaco, where they were subjected to all kinds of sports activities.


A panorama of the city from up in the hills on a bright and clear day


The mountains around Monte Carlo are inhabited by a fierce tribe of archers


You do not want to mess with this crowd, with their red bandanas and deadly arrows

The chess tournament was resumed on Tuesday, with Anand once again performing his magic and outplaying Loek van Wely with his pawns in a queen and knight vs queen and bishop ending. In their rapid game van Wely had a completely winning position with the black pieces, with the chess engines of the spectators on the Playchess.com server displaying +5 and more in their evaluation windows. But somehow Anand extricated himself from the mess and went on to draw a bishop and pawn vs rook and pawn in 119 moves.


Vishy Anand calmly outplaying Loek van Wely in their blindfold game


And about to get into deep trouble in their rapid game (Anand survived)

In their rapid chess game Peter Svidler got trouble on move nine, but improvised well to get a psychologically dangerous position against his friend and mentor Vladimir Kramnik. The latter promptly overextended and lost.


Classical chess world champion Vladimir Kramnik against his second Peter Svidler

In the rapid chess game between Vassily Ivanchuk and Peter Leko the Ukraine GM was obviously playing for a win, perhaps with a view to catching Anand in the rapid section (in the blindfold section Anand is a point and a half clear of everyone). But he, too, overextended and was in trouble around move 40.


Top Hungarian GM Peter Lékó

Ivanchuk,V (2711) - Leko,P (2749) [C86]
Amber Rapid Monte Carlo MNC (9), 29.03.2005
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Qe2 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5 9.d3 d4 10.h3 Bc5 11.Bg5 Qd6 12.Nbd2 h6 13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.Bd5 dxc3 15.bxc3 Bd7 16.a4 Rab8 17.Nb3 Bb6 18.axb5 axb5 19.c4 bxc4 20.dxc4 Nd4 21.Nfxd4 Bxd4 22.Nxd4 exd4 23.e5 Qg6 24.Ra3 Rb1 25.Rxb1 Qxb1+ 26.Kh2 c6 27.Be4 Qc1 28.Ra6 c5 29.Rd6 Be6 30.Bd3 Qg5 31.Qe4 g6 32.f4 Qe7 33.Qf3 Rb8 34.Be4 Rd8 35.Rxd8+ Qxd8 36.Bd5 Qc8 37.Kg3 Kg7 38.Bxe6 Qxe6 39.Qd5 Qf5 40.Qd6 g5 41.fxg5 hxg5 42.Kh2 Qf4+ 43.Kg1 Qe3+

Here White should definitely play 44.Kf1, instead of Ivanchuk's 44.Kh2?. Now Black can play 44...d3 and ultimately bring his king to safety from the white queen checks on – you guessed it – the square e2. 45.Qf6+ Kg8 46.e6 fxe6 47.Qg6+ Kf8 48.Qf6+ Ke8 49.Qg6+ Ke7 50.Qg7+ Kd6 51.Qf8+ Ke5 52.Qg7+ Ke4 53.Qb7+ Kd4 54.Qb2+ Kxc4 55.Qa2+ Kc3 56.Qa3+ Kd2 57.Qb2+ Ke1 58.Qb1+ Ke2 0-1.


Vassily Ivanchuk at the start of the rapid game against Leko

Alexander Morozevich scored a fine, subtle victory over Alexei Shirov in their blindfold game to take second place in the cross table, behind – a long way behind – leader Vishy Anand.


Alexander Morozevich, now in second place

Evgeny Bareev was on the verge of producing a blindfold jewel against Francisco Vallejo, after he sacrifice a piece, but he did not quite follow through with the attack and eventually lost.


Back to the bottom of the table: Evgeny Bareev

Bareev,E (2709) - Vallejo Pons,F (2686) [E14]
Amber Blindfold Monte Carlo MNC (9), 29.03.2005
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 b6 5.Nc3 Bb7 6.cxd5 exd5 7.Bb5+ c6 8.Bd3 Nbd7 9.0-0 Be7 10.b3 0-0 11.Bb2 Bd6 12.Rc1 Re8 13.Qc2 Qe7 14.Ne2 g6 15.Ng3 h5 16.Rfd1 Rac8 17.Qe2 Ba8 18.Rc2 Ne4 19.Nf1 Bb8 20.Rdc1 Qd6 21.Ne5 Nf8 22.Ba6 Rc7 23.f3 Nf6 24.Bd3 Rcc8 25.Qf2 N8d7 26.f4 Ne4 27.Qh4 Nxe5 28.dxe5 Qe7 29.Qh3 c5 30.Ng3 Bc6 31.Bxe4 dxe4 32.Nxh5 gxh5 33.Qxh5 Qf8 34.e6 f6 35.Qf5 Qh6 36.Bxf6 Rc7 37.Rd2 Rh7.

After his all-out piece-sac attack, Bareev played the preemptive 38.h3?, missing the bolder 38.Rd7!, which would have won a very fine game for him. As it turned out he went on to lose and to return to the bottom of the cross table. 38...Qh5 39.Qxh5 Rxh5 40.Rd8 Rh6 41.Bg5 Rhxe6 42.Rcd1 Bc7 43.Rxe8+ Bxe8 44.g4 Rd6 45.Rxd6 Bxd6 46.Bf6 b5 47.Kf2 b4 48.f5 a5 49.Ke1 a4 50.Kd2 a3 51.h4 Bd7 52.Ba1 Be7 53.h5 Kf7 54.Be5 Bf6 55.Bd6 c4 56.Kc2 Bc3 57.h6 Bc6 58.bxc4 Ba4+ 59.Kc1 Bb3 60.Bxb4 Bxb4 61.axb3 Bd2+ 62.Kb1 Bxe3 63.Ka2 Bxh6 0-1.


Reflections: Paco Vallejo in his game against Bareev


Aruna and Vishy Anand with visiting grandmaster John Nunn

Blindfold
Gelfand-Topalov 1/2
Van Wely-Anand 0-1
Svidler-Kramnik 1/2
Leko-Ivanchuk 1/2
Morozevich-Shirov 1-0
Bareev-Vallejo 0-1
Rapid
Topalov-Gelfand 1/2
Anand-Van Wely 1/2
Kramnik-Svidler 0-1
Ivanchuk-Leko 0-1
Shirov-Morozevich 1/2
Vallejo-Bareev 1/2

Standings after nine rounds

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