Amber 2011: Four players start with 2-0 scores

3/12/2011 – The four winners were Gashimov, Gelfand, Grischuk and Aronian, and the corresponding 0-2 losers were Ivanchuk, Karjakin, Kramnik and Giri. There was a lot of luck – both good and very bad – in play, which is hardly surprising in a blindfold and rapid tournament like the 20th Melody Amber. This is incidentally the last edition. Round one 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. It is organized by the Association Max Euwe of chess maecenas Joop van Oosterom, which is based in Monaco.


The Café Paris in the heart of Monaco, where the opening dinner was held

The first Amber tournament was held in Roquebrune, France, in 1992 to celebrate the birth of Mr and Mrs Van Oosterom's daughter Melody Amber. The 20th Amber tournament will be the final edition of an event unparalleled in the history of chess. In this final jubilee edition the following grandmasters will take part: World Champion Viswanathan Anand (India), Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Levon Aronian (Armenia), Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Vasily Ivanchuk (Ukraine), Sergey Karjakin (Russia), Boris Gelfand (Israel), Hikaru Nakamura (United States), Vugar Gashimov (Azerbaijan) and Anish Giri (The Netherlands). The total prize-fund is € 227,000.


Men in shades: organiser ten Geuzendam, arbiter Geurt Gijssen, players Gashimov, Topalov,
Giri, Nakamura, Carlsen, Anand, Kramnik, Karjakin, Ivanchuk, Grischuk, Aronian, Gelfand

Every day four sessions will be played, two blindfold sessions and two rapid sessions. The first session starts at 14.30 hrs. The fourth session finishes around 20.00 hrs. Note: the final round on March 24 starts at 12.30 hrs. March 17 and 22 are rest days. 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.

Report after round one

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

Nakamura,Hi (2774) - Carlsen,M (2815) [E47]
20th Amber Blindfold Monaco MNC (1), 12.03.2011
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.Bd3 c5 6.Nge2 d5 7.cxd5 cxd4 8.exd4 Nxd5 9.0-0 Nc6 10.Bc2 Nf6 11.Bg5 Be7 12.a3 Qa5 13.Qd2 h6 14.Bh4 Rd8 15.Rfd1 Bd7 16.b4 Qh5 17.Bxf6 Bxf6 18.Ne4 Be7 19.Nf4 Qb5 20.d5 Ne5 21.Bb3 Rac8 22.Qe1 Qb6 23.dxe6 Bxe6 24.Nxe6 fxe6 25.Ng5 Bxg5 26.Qxe5 Kh8 27.Rxd8+ Rxd8 28.Rf1 a5 29.Qe4 axb4 30.Bc2 Kg8 31.axb4 Bf6 32.Bb3 Rd4 33.Qg6 Kf8 34.b5 Rd6 35.Qh5 Rd3 36.Bc4 Rd4 37.Qe2 Qc5 38.Bxe6 Qe5 39.Qxe5 Bxe5 40.g3 Rb4 41.Rd1 Rxb5 42.Rd7 Rb6 43.Bf5 Ke8

44.Rc7. Huh? 44...Kd8 He didn't take it?? 45.Rd7+ Ke8 46.Rc7 Kd8 47.Rf7 Ke8 48.Bg6. Now White puts his bishop en prise... 48...Kd8 and Black doesn't take it?! The solution to this mystery: as Magnus confirmed in the press conference afterwards, both players thought that the black bishop was on f6, which would render all the previous moves sensible and sound. 49.Be4 Ke8 50.Rxb7 Rxb7 51.Bxb7. No there can no longer be any misconceptions about the position, until perhaps Black tries to move his bishop from the f6 square, which the notebook software would not allow. The game ended in a draw. 51...Kf8 52.Kg2 g5 53.Kf3 Kg7 54.Kg4 Bc7 55.h4 Bb6 56.f3 Bf2 57.hxg5 hxg5 58.Kxg5 Bxg3 59.f4 Bxf4+ 60.Kxf4 ½-½.


Karjakin,Sergey (2776) - Gelfand,B (2733) [C42]
20th Amber Blindfold Monaco MNC (1), 12.03.2011
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3 Be7 7.Be3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nd7 9.0-0-0 Ne5 10.h4 c6 11.c4 Be6 12.Ng5 Bf5 13.f3 f6 14.Nh3 Be6 15.b3 a6 16.Nf4 Bf7 17.Qf2 b5 18.c5 Qc7 19.Nd3 a5 20.cxd6 Bxd6 21.Bb6 Qb8 22.Bc5 Rd8 23.Nxe5 Bxe5 24.Rxd8+ Qxd8 25.f4 Bd6 26.Bd3 a4 27.Rd1 axb3 28.cxb3 Bxc5 29.Qxc5 Qc7 30.Kb1 Rd8 31.Qc2 Kh8 32.g3 Qd7 33.f5 Qd6 34.Qf2 Bd5 35.Qf4 Qa3

The game comes to a typical blindfold conclusion: 36.Be4?? Bxe4+ 37.Qxe4 Rxd1+ 0-1.


Ivanchuk,V (2779) - Gashimov,V (2746) [C42]
20th Amber Blindfold Monaco MNC (1), 12.03.2011
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3 Be7 7.Be3 Nc6 8.Qd2 Be6 9.0-0-0 Qd7 10.Kb1 Bf6 11.Bg5 Qe7 12.Bb5 a6 13.Ba4 b5 14.Bb3 Ne5 15.Bxf6 Nxf3 16.Qe3 Qxf6 17.Bd5 Rb8 18.Bc6+ Ke7 19.Qa7 Rhc8 20.Bxf3 Rb6 21.Bb7 Re8 22.Rhe1 Kf8 23.Bxa6 Qd8 24.a4 bxa4 25.Ka1 Qb8 26.Qxb8 Rexb8 27.Bd3 Rxb2

Ivanchuk, who hadn't conceded a single loss in last year's Amber tournament, started drifting into trouble around move 23 and now suffered the ultimate humiliation: 28.Re4 Ra2 mate 0-1.



0-2 instead of 2-0: Anish Giri could theoretically have won both games on the first day

Aronian,L (2808) - Giri,A (2690) [A29]
20th Amber Blindfold Monaco MNC (1), 12.03.2011
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 Nd4 5.Bg2 Nxf3+ 6.Bxf3 Bb4 7.Qb3 Bc5 8.0-0 0-0 9.Na4 Be7 10.d4 exd4 11.Rd1 c5 12.e3 dxe3 13.Bxe3 Qc7 14.Nc3 a6 15.g4 h6 16.h4 d6 17.g5 hxg5 18.hxg5 Nh7 19.Nd5 Qd8 20.Nb6 Rb8 21.Bxc5 Nxg5 22.Bg2 Bg4 23.Rd2 Ne6 24.Ba3 Nf4 25.c5 Bh4 26.Nd5 Be6 27.Qe3

27...Bxd5. Here young Anish missed a first opportunity to win outright: 27...Nxg2! 28.Kxg2 Re8. 28.Qxf4 Bg5 29.Qxg5 Qxg5 30.Rxd5 Qg4 31.cxd6 Rfd8 32.Re1 Rbc8 33.Re4 Rc1+ 34.Kh2 Qg6 35.d7 Qh6+ 36.Kg3 Rg1? 37.Re8+ Kh7 38.Rxd8 Qg6+ 39.Kf4 Qf6+ 40.Ke3

After blowing his advantage the young Dutch grandmaster receives another clear chance: after 40...Re1+ 41.Kd3 Rd1+ Black is once again winning. 40...Qxd8 41.Be4+ g6 42.f3 Rg5 43.Be7 Qb6+? 44.Rd4 Qa5 45.Bxg5? 45...d8Q would have decided the game much more quickly. 45...Qxg5+ 46.Kf2 Qd8 47.Bxb7 a5 48.a3 Kg7 49.b4 axb4 50.axb4 f5 51.b5 f4 52.Be4 g5 53.Ke2 Kf6 54.Rd5 Ke6 55.b6 g4 56.fxg4 Kf6 57.b7 1-0. A highly complicated game which must indeed be daunting to play if you aren't allowed to look at the board.



Lev Aronian explaining the 'que sera sera' concept to the kid (photo: John Nunn)

Giri,A (2690) - Aronian,L (2808) [A89]
20th Amber Rapid Monaco MNC (1), 12.03.2011
1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.0-0 0-0 6.c4 d6 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.d5 Ne5 9.Nxe5 dxe5 10.c5 Kh8 11.Qb3 h6 12.Rd1 g5 13.Bd2 a6 14.Be1 Qe8 15.d6 exd6 16.cxd6 c6 17.Na4 e4 18.Nc5 f4 19.Bc3 e3 20.Bxf6 Rxf6 21.d7 exf2+ 22.Kf1 Bxd7 23.Nxd7 Re6 24.Nb6 Re3 25.Qc4 Rb8 26.Rd7 fxg3 27.hxg3 Qh5 28.Kxf2 Rbe8 29.Re1 Qh2 30.Qg4 R3e6

Anish Giri, who must have been winning around move 20, has been walking the edge. Now he falls in: 31.Rd3? h5 32.Qxg5 Rf6+ 33.Rf3 Rxf3+ 34.Kxf3 Rf8+ 35.Ke3 Qxg2 36.Kd3 Qf2 37.Rh1 Qd4+ 38.Kc2 Qxb2+ 39.Kd1 Qb1+ 40.Kd2 Qxh1 0-1.


Carlsen,M (2815) - Nakamura,Hi (2774) [D10]
20th Amber Rapid Monaco MNC (1), 12.03.2011
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 a6 5.Qc2 e6 6.Nf3 Nbd7 7.Bd2 dxc4 8.a4 c5 9.Bxc4 cxd4 10.exd4 Nb6 11.Bd3 Nbd5 12.Nxd5 Nxd5 13.0-0 Nb4 14.Bxb4 Bxb4 15.Bxh7 g6 16.Bxg6 fxg6 17.Qxg6+ Kf8 18.Ne5 Qe7 19.Rac1 Qh7 20.Qg3 Ke8 21.d5 Bd6 22.Rfe1 Bd7 23.h3 Bxe5 24.Rxe5 Rg8 25.Qe3 Rg6 26.dxe6 Bc6

Carlsen, who has four pawns for a bishop, plays 27.Rxc6 bxc6 28.Qe4 Qg7 29.Qxc6+ to make it five pawns for a rook, with a compelling attack to boot. 29...Ke7 30.Qc5+ Ke8 31.Qc6+ Ke7 32.Re3 Ra7 33.Qc5+ [33.Qb6 Rxg2+ 34.Kf1 Rg1+ 35.Ke2 Ra8] 33...Ke8 34.Qc6+ Ke7 35.Qb6 Rxg2+ 36.Kf1 Rg1+ 37.Ke2 Ra8 38.Qb7+ Kd6 39.Rd3+ Kxe6 40.Qc6+ 1-0.


Gashimov,V (2746) - Ivanchuk,V (2779) [B84]
20th Amber Rapid Monaco MNC (1), 12.03.2011
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e6 7.a4 Nc6 8.Be3 Be7 9.0-0 0-0 10.f4 Qc7 11.Kh1 Re8 12.Qd2 Bd7 13.Nb3 Na5 14.Nxa5 Qxa5 15.Bd3 Qh5 16.Rf3 Qa5 17.Rg3 Rac8 18.Rf1 Kh8 19.Qf2 Bc6 20.e5 dxe5 21.Bb6 Qb4 22.fxe5 Nh5 23.Rh3 Qg4 24.Kg1 Nf4 25.Rg3 Nxd3 26.cxd3 Qb4 27.Na2 Qxa4 28.Qxf7 Bf8 29.d4 Be4 30.Nc3 Qc2 31.Nxe4 Qxe4 32.Bc5

Ivanchuk – the man, you will remember, who did not lose a single game in last year's event, now stumbled into a second mate: 32...Rxc5 33.Qxf8+ 1-0 (33...Rxf8 34.Rxf8#).


Gelfand,B (2733) - Karjakin,Sergey (2776) [E54]
20th Amber Rapid Monaco MNC (1), 12.03.2011
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.Bd3 c5 6.Nf3 d5 7.0-0 dxc4 8.Bxc4 cxd4 9.exd4 a6 10.a4 Nc6 11.Bg5 h6 12.Bh4 Be7 13.Re1 Nd5 14.Bxd5 Bxh4 15.Bxc6 bxc6 16.Nxh4 Qxh4 17.Ne4 Rb8 18.Qd2 Rd8 19.Qc3 Qe7 20.Nc5 Qd6 21.Re4 Qc7 22.Rae1 Rd5 23.a5 Rb5 24.b4 Qb8 25.Nd3 Qd6 26.h3 Bd7 27.Nc5 Bc8 28.Kh1 Qb8 29.Nd3 Bd7 30.Re5 Qd6 31.R5e4 f5 32.R4e2 Rxd4 33.Nc5 Rbxb4 34.Nxe6 Rbc4 35.Qb2 Bxe6 36.Rxe6 Qf4 37.Qb7 Re4 38.R6xe4 fxe4 39.Qxa6

39...Qxf2?? 1-0 (the black rook can be taken with check).

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Topics Amber 2011
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