Amber 2011: Aronian leads after 2-0 win over Gashimov

3/18/2011 – Magnus Carlsen collapsed against Vassily Ivanchuk in both his games, while Levon Aronian defeated Vugar Gashimov in both of theirs. Aronian now tops both the blindfold and rapid sections in Monaco, leading in the overall score with 8.0/10, 1½ points ahead of Vishy Anand in second place. Ivanchuk won the € 1,000 Game of the Day prize for his rapid win over Carlsen. Round five report.

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The 20th Amber Blindfold and Rapid Tournament is taking place at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort in Monaco, from March 11 to 24, 2011. Every day four sessions are played, two blindfold and two rapid. The first session starts at 14.30h, the fourth session finishes around 20.00h. The rate of play is 25 minutes per game per player. With every move made in the blindfold games 20 seconds is added to the clock, with every move made in the rapid games 10 seconds is added.


The Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort in Monaco (photo John Nunn)

Report after round five

Blindfold Chess   Rapid Chess
Ivanchuk-Carlsen
1-0
  Carlsen-Ivanchuk
0-1
Gashimov-Aronian
0-1
  Aronian-Gashimov
1-0
Giri-Nakamura
1-0
  Nakamura-Giri
½-½
Anand-Karjakin
½-½
  Karjakin-Anand
½-½
Topalov-Grischuk
1-0
  Grischuk-Topalov
1-0
Kramnik-Gelfand
0-1
  Gelfand-Kramnik
0-1

Round five started with a bang, when tournament leader Magnus Carlsen overlooked a tactical motif against tailender Vassily Ivanchuk.

Ivanchuk,Vassily (2779) - Carlsen,Magnus (2815) [A15]
20th Amber Blindfold Monaco MNC (5), 17.03.2011
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 a6 6.e4 Qc7 7.a3 b6 8.Be3 Bb7 9.f3 Be7 10.Be2 0-0 11.Rc1 Rd8 12.0-0 Bd6 13.Kh1

13...Nc6?? 14.Ndb5! axb5 15.Nxb5 and after a queen retreat comes Qxd6. Nobody would have blamed Carlsen if he had resigned immediately, but he opted for a queen sacrifice, perhaps in the vague hope to muddy the waters, but Ivanchuk had no trouble keeping his cool and scored his first win of the tournament with great ease. 15...Bxh2 16.Nxc7 Bxc7 17.c5 bxc5 18.Rxc5 d5 19.Rxc6 Bxc6 20.Qc1 Be5 21.f4 Bxb2 22.Qxb2 Nxe4 23.Rc1 Rab8 24.Qe5 Be8 25.Bd3 Rb3 26.Bd4 f6 27.Qxe6+ Bf7 28.Qa6 h5 29.Rc7 1-0.

In their rapid game Carlsen played a rare variation against Ivanchuk’s French Defence. As the kibitzing GMs in the press room remarked, this may be a good idea against any other player, but perhaps not such a good idea against an omniscient veteran like Ivanchuk. At the end of the game Carlsen showed that at least he had not lost his sense of humour when he let Ivanchuk mate him.

Carlsen,Magnus (2815) - Ivanchuk,Vassily (2779) [C17]
20th Amber Rapid Monaco MNC (5), 17.03.2011
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.Qg4 Ne7 6.Qxg7 Rg8 7.Qxh7 Qa5 8.Bd2 cxd4 9.Nb1 Nbc6 10.Nf3 Bd7 11.a3 0-0-0 12.c3 dxc3 13.Nxc3 d4 14.Nb5 Bxd2+ 15.Nxd2 Nf5 16.Rc1 Kb8 17.b4 Qa6 18.Qh3 Nxe5 19.Nxd4 Qd6 20.N4b3 Bc6 21.Rg1 Bd5 22.Qc3 Bxb3 23.Nxb3 Nh4 24.Be2 Nxg2+ 25.Kf1 Nf4

26.Qe3? There may have been chances of survival after 26.Rxg8 Rxg8 27.Qc5 Qxc5 28.Rxc5. But now: 26...Rxg1+ 27.Kxg1 Qd5 28.Bg4 Qg2 is mate. 0-1.

Gashimov,Vugar (2746) - Aronian,Levon (2808) [C67]
20th Amber Blindfold Monaco MNC (5), 17.03.2011
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Nc3 h6 10.Rd1+ Ke8 11.Ne2 Ne7 12.b3 Bg4 13.Bb2 Rd8 14.c4 Ng6 15.h3 Bxf3 16.gxf3 Be7 17.f4 Nh4 18.Ng3 g6 19.Kf1 Rf8 20.Ne4 Rd7 21.a4 Kd8 22.Bd4 b6 23.a5 Kc8 24.axb6 axb6 25.Be3 Rxd1+ 26.Rxd1 Rd8 27.Ra1 Rd3 28.Rb1 Rd8 29.Ke2 Kd7

30.f5? Nxf5. What was the reason for this pointless donation of a pawn. Well, it turned out that Gashimov forgot that he had played 29.Ke2 on his previous move and was under the impression it had been 29.Ng3, protecting the f5 square. A blindfold chess mistake which allowed Aronian to slowly but surely convert his material advantage into a full point. 31.Ra1 Ke6 32.f4 f6 33.Ra7 Rc8 34.exf6 Bxf6 35.Nxf6 Kxf6 36.Bf2 c5 37.Kf3 Ke6 38.Ke4 Re8 39.Kd3 Rd8+ 40.Ke2 Kd6 41.Ra1 Kc6 42.Rg1 Rd6 43.Rg2 Kd7 44.Rg1 Ke7 45.Ra1 Kd7 46.Rg1 Nd4+ 47.Bxd4 cxd4 48.b4 Re6+ 49.Kd2 Kd6 50.h4 c5 51.bxc5+ Kxc5 52.Kd3 Re3+ 53.Kd2 Rh3 54.Rxg6 Rxh4 55.Kd3 Rxf4 56.Rxh6 Rf3+ 57.Kd2 Rc3 58.Rh8 Kxc4 59.Rc8+ Kb4 60.Rd8 b5 61.Rxd4+ Kb3 62.Rd7 b4 63.Rb7 Ka3 64.Ra7+ Kb2 65.Rb7 b3 66.Rb8 Rc7 67.Rd8 Kb1 68.Rb8 b2 69.Ra8 Rd7+ 70.Ke2 Rd5 71.Ra7 Kc2 72.Rc7+ Kb3 73.Rb7+ Ka3 74.Ke3 Ra5 0-1.

In the rapid game Gashimov soon ended up in trouble when his opening went seriously wrong. Black’s decisive mistake came as early as move 14, after which the win was not too difficult for Aronian. After 35 moves he had completed his 2-0 wipe-out.

Anish Giri (above left), the event's rookie, had had the tournament leader Aronian on the ropes in both games of the first round – and lost both. Today he was in a tough position against Hikaru Nakamura, only to take the full point from the US grandmaster in the end. In their rapid chess encounter, a Grünfeld, Giri had his opponent soon on the defensive, but in the queen ending Nakamura played accurately and secured the draw.

In the 23-move blindfold game between Vishy Anand and Sergey Karjakin White won a pawn, but despite the activity he cannot avoid giving it back and drawing. In their rapid chess encounter Anand had a promising position in a Sicilian Najdorf, but allowed his 21-year-old opponent to slip away. When he walked into the hospitality lounge Karjakin told his wife that he would like to have a martini. Anand quipped: "Make that two, I can also use one."

The blindfold game between Veselin Topalov and Alexander Grischuk the Russian grandmaster had been trying to find a win for more than thirty moves when disaster struck:

Topalov,Veselin (2775) - Grischuk,Alexander (2747) [B90]
20th Amber Blindfold Monaco MNC (5), 17.03.2011
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be3 Be7 9.Qd2 0-0 10.0-0-0 Nbd7 11.g4 b5 12.g5 b4 13.gxf6 bxc3 14.Qxc3 Nxf6 15.Na5 Rc8 16.Nc6 Qe8 17.Nxe7+ Qxe7 18.Qa5 Rc6 19.Rg1 Rfc8 20.Kb1 d5 21.Bg5 d4 22.f4 h6 23.Bxh6 Ng4 24.Bxg7 Rxc2 25.Bd3 R2c5 26.Qa3 Kxg7 27.f5 Kf6 28.fxe6 Ne3 29.exf7 Nxd1 30.Rxd1 Kxf7 31.Bxa6 R8c6 32.Qb3+ Kg7 33.Bb5 Rg6 34.a4 Rg2 35.Qa3 Rc7 36.Qxe7+ Rxe7 37.Bc4 Ra7 38.b3 Rxh2 39.Rf1 Rg2 40.Kc1 Ra8 41.Rd1 Kf6 42.Rd2 Rxd2 43.Kxd2 Ke7 44.Bb5 Kd6 45.b4 Kc7 46.Kc2 Kb7 47.Kb3 Rh8 48.Bd3 Rh3 49.Kc2 Rh2+ 50.Kb3 Rd2 51.Bc4 Rd1 52.Kb2 Kb8 53.a5 d3 54.Kc3 d2 55.Bd3 Rb1 56.Kxd2 Rxb4 57.a6 Ka7 58.Kc3 Rd4 59.Kc2 Kb6 60.Kd2 Kc6 61.Kc2 Kc5 62.Kc3 Ra4 63.Kb3 Ra1 64.Kb2 Rh1 65.Kc3 Rh3 66.Kc2 Kd4 67.Bb5 Ra3 68.Kb2 Ra5 69.Bf1

69...Ra1?? (blindfold blindness after all that maneuvering) 70.Kxa1 1-0.

In the rapid game Topalov (above right) played the Dutch Defence, but went astray with 23...d5 and 25...Bxe4, followed by forced sequence after which Grischuk had a winnable position. "In the rest of the game I didn’t blunder anything and so I won", Grischuk summed up the remainder of the game.

Vladimir Kramnik sacrificed a queen on move 11 of an Exchange Slav against Boris Gelfand and found himself suffering when his opponent returned material to play with his queen against two rooks and take the full point. Gelfand was delighted with the win and has been continuously happy for a couple of days: on Tuesday his wife gave birth to a son. Kramnik hit back in the rapid game, when he obtained a strong attack with the black pieces and played the rest of the game impeccably. In the hospitality lounge he quickly checked his game with a computer and concluded with a wry smile: "Maybe I finally played a decent game."

Standings after the fifth round

Blindfold
 
Rapid
 
Combined
1. Aronian
4
2. Anand
3
  Gelfand
3
  Grischuk
3
3. Carlsen
  Gashimov
  Karjakin
4. Giri
2
  Ivanchuk
2
  Nakamura
2
  Topalov
2
5. Kramnik
 
1. Aronian
4
2. Anand
  Carlsen
3. Topalov
3
4. Grischuk
  Karjakin
  Nakamura
5. Ivanchuk
2
  Kramnik
2
6. Gashimov
  Gelfand
  Giri
 
1. Aronian
8
2. Anand
3. Carlsen
6
4. Grischuk
5. Karjakin
5
  Topalov
5
6. Gelfand
  Nakamura
7. Gashimov
4
  Ivanchuk
4
8. Giri
  Kramnik

Player portraits: Vassily Ivanchuk


Photo by John Nunn in Monaco

Vasily Ivanchuk – Ukraine, Elo rating: 2779, World ranking: 5. Date of birth: March 18, 1969. Amber highlights: Second in 1996, 1997, 2000 (shared) and 2002. Overall winner in 1992 and (shared) 2010.

Rarely was a winner treated to a warmer applause than last year, when Vasily Ivanchuk shared tournament victory with Magnus Carlsen, 18(!) years after he had won the very first Amber tournament in 1992. Ivanchuk is the only player who has taken part in all twenty Amber tournaments, which says two things. To begin with that the Ukrainian grandmaster has been a member of the world elite for some twenty years already and secondly that the affection is mutual. 'Chuky', as his colleagues and fans call him, loves the unique atmosphere of the event, as he expressed in a touching speech at last year's prize-giving.

Ivanchuk is one of the greatest players of modern time, both adored by chess lovers and admired by his fellow-grandmasters, who speak about 'Planet Chuky', to indicate that sometimes he is moving in different spheres. The Ukrainian number one is one of the most active players on the circuit, tirelessly travelling the globe and taking part in one tournament after the other. At 41 (he will celebrate his 42nd birthday in Monaco!) he is also living proof that 'older' players can still play a prominent role at the top of the chess Olympus.

Ivanchuk's international career took off after he had won the Junior World Championship in 1988. Already the next year he won the Linares super-tournament for the first time, a win he would repeat in 1991 and 1995. He also won the Tilburg super-tournament in 1990 and in the years that followed he won so many tournaments that even a selection produces a long list: Munich 1994, Horgen 1995, Wijk aan Zee 1996, Belgrade 1997, Tallinn 2000, Malmö 2003, European Championship 2004, Havana 2005, Odessa 2006, Merida 2006, Foros 2007, MTel Masters Sofia 2008, Tal Memorial Moscow 2008, Bazna 2009, Jermuk 2009 and Havana 2010.

This year he got off to a flying start with a superb win in Gibraltar. Fully concentrated Ivanchuk crushed the opposition, scoring 9 out of 10, a 2968(!) performance.

Source: Amber 2011 web site

Links

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