L'ami Gambit Guide Vol1 and 2

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Books, boards, sets: Chess Niggemann

An historical picture

3/24/2003 – Do you know why the tournament in Monaco is called "Melody Amber"? When the first blindfold-and-rapid event was held there? Who won it and who won the subsequent tournament? We give you the results, games and pictures of round eight of this year's edition (Kramnik lost both games!), and then answer the above questions. Check it out here...
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Results of round eight

Almasi 1-0 Ljubojevic
Ljubojevic 1/2 Almasi
Topalov 1/2 Gelfand
Gelfand 1/2 Topalov
Bareev 0-1 van Wely
van Wely 0-1 Bareev
Kramnik 0-1 Morozevich
Morozevich 1-0 Kramnik
Leko 1/2 Anand
Anand 1/2 Leko
Shirov 1/2 Ivanchuk
Ivanchuk 0-1 Shirov

On the official Amber web site Jeroen van den Berg reports: "Viswanathan Anand remains the sole leader in the Amber tournament, with the second free day to come. On the second place are following Boris Gelfand and Alexander Morozevich. The winner of 2002 impressively beat Kramnik 2-0, although the classical world champion played a good blindfold game that was abruptly finished by a terrible blunder."

Kramnik,V (2807) – Morozevich,A (2678) [C11]
Amber Blindfold Monte Carlo MNC (8), 23.03.2003

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 Be7 8.dxc5 0-0 9.Qd2 Nxc5 10.a3 b6 11.Bb5 Bb7 12.0-0 Rc8 13.Rad1 Qc7 14.Qe1 Rfd8 15.Bxc6 Bxc6 16.Nd4 g6 17.Bf2 Bf8 18.Bh4 Re8 19.Kh1 a6 20.Bf6 Nd7 21.Qh4 Nxf6 22.exf6 Qd8 23.f5 exf5 24.Nxf5 Re6 25.Nd4 Rd6 26.Qf4 b5 27.Rde1 Bb7 28.Re3 Qb6 29.Nce2 a5 30.Ng3 b4 31.axb4 axb4

Without view of the board, purely in his head, Vladimir Kramnik goes for explosive tactical complications: 32.Nh5 Qd8 33.Nf5 d4 34.Re7 Rb6 35.Rfe1 Qd5.

Now Kramnik overlooks a double attack: 36.R1e2?? Fritz tells us that White should go for the line 36.Rxb7 Qxb7 37.Ne7+ Kh8 38.Nxc8 Qxc8 39.Ng3 Re6 40.Rxe6 Qxe6 41.Qxd4 Qe1+ 42.Qg1 Qe5 43.b3 and Black has only a slight edge. 36...Qxf5 37.Qxf5 gxf5 0-1.

Jeroen van den Berg continues: "Vishy Anand is scientifically consolidating the first place. Against Leko he did not take any risks, also not when he had reached a pleasant position with black in the blindfold game. Both player agreed to a draw after 23 moves. The rapid game lasted three moves longer, but the result was the same: draw.

In the rapid game Ivanchuk played very creatively, but Shirov proved that the white exchange sacrifice did not work well. After 47 moves Ivanchuk resigned. Loek van Wely beat Bareev with black in the blindfold game, after the world's number 8 had blundered a piece in a balanced position. In the rapid game it was just the other way around when Van Wely, in serious time pressure, blundered terribly."

Standings after round eight

Picture gallery

Deep concentration in the rapid game Ivanchuk vs Shirov, which the latter won

...and in Loek van Wely vs Evgeny Bareev, which again was won by Black.

The "scientific" Vishy Anand holding his lead against Peter Leko

Analysing and watching the action in the spectators' area (in the foreground Ljubojevich and Almasi)

Popular visitors at the tournament: GM Vlastimil Hort...

... and GM Jeroen Piket, who now works for the sponsors

The correspondent of the Indian newspaper The Hindu, Arvind Aaron. Arvind is making his eighth visit to this tournament. His reports are read by more people that those of all the other correspondents together.

How about a game of table football between rounds?

Silvio Danailov, Veselin Topalov, Loek van Wely and Peter Leko play, while Peter's wife Sofia Petrosian watches. Danailov is Topalov's second.

Loek van Wely relaxing with his girlfriend

Finally an historical picture, taken in 1992, of the first Melody Amber tournament, at the same Vista Palace Hotel. We recognise standing from left to right: Susan Polgar (?), Jon Speelman, Judit Polgar, Bent Larsen (!), J.J. van Oosterom, Viktor Korchnoi, Lev Polugaevsky, Larry Christiansen, Vishy Anand, Vassily Ivanchuk; squatting: Yasser Seirawan, Mrs van Oosterom, their daughter Melody Amber (now you know where the name of the tournament comes from!), Anatoly Karpov, Ljubomir Ljubojevich, Jeroen Piket. Click on the picture to get a larger-sized version.

The winners of the previous tournaments were:

1992: Vassili Ivanchuk
1993: Ljubomir Ljubojevic
1994: Viswanathan Anand
1995: Anatoly Karpov
1996: Vladimir Kramnik
1997: Viswanathan Anand
1998: Alexei Shirov and Vladimir Kramnik
1999: Vladimir Kramnik
2000: Alexei Shirov
2001: Veselin Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik
2002: Alexander Morozevich

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