The seventeenth Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess Tournament took place from March 15 to 27 in the Palais de la Mediterranée, Nice, France. Twelve leading grandmasters played blindfold and rapid chess games against each other. The prize fund was a massive 216,000 Euro (about US $336,000). The sponsor of this annual event is Dutch billionaire Joop Van Oosterom.
The sea-front in Nice, France
The venue: the Palais de la Mediterranée, where the players also stayed
|Round ten: Blindfold Chess||Round ten: Rapid Chess|
|Van Wely-Topalov||½-½||Topalov-Van Wely||1-0|
Computer glitch in the blindfold game van Wely vs Topalov
In the blindfold game between Loek van Wely and Veselin Topalov, at move 40 the Bulgarian GM wanted to play his king to e6, which he believed would have given him good winning chances. But the computer kept indicating that his choice was an ‘illegal move’. Puzzled by this refusal Topalov decided to play another move, 40...Be8, and the game petered out to a draw. After the game Topalov told the arbiter what had happened and the assistant arbiter confirmed that he had seen Topalov trying to play 40...Ke6. But instead of stepping in he had let the moment pass. In view of this evidence the chief arbiter offered Topalov the possibility to replay the game, but the Bulgarian preferred to leave the result as it was.
Gelfand,B (2737) - Anand,V (2799) [D47]
Amber Blindfold Nice FRA (10), 26.03.2008
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.a3 Bd6 10.0-0 0-0 11.Qc2 a6 12.b4 a5 13.Rb1 axb4 14.axb4 Qe7 15.e4 e5 16.dxe5 Nxe5 17.Nxe5 Bxe5 18.Ne2 Qe6 19.f4 Ra2 20.Qd1 Ba1 21.e5
The tournament bulletin writes: "[This] was another example of the extraordinary depth of preparation on the highest level. As he revealed after the game, Anand had prepared the amazing bishop manoeuvre to a1 on move 20 for last year’s Amber tournament. Funnily, he came to the right assessment of the position thanks to a mouse slip. When he looked at the position after 21.e5 he touched his mouse by mistake and inadvertently pushed his c-pawn to c5. And before he could correct his mistake the engine he was running indicated that this move was bull’s eye! The machine’s verdict was correct, as Gelfand had to discover in the remainder of the game." 21...c5 22.exf6 Bd4+ 23.Rf2 Bxf2+ 24.Kxf2 Qd5 25.Bb2 Qxg2+ 26.Ke1 c4 27.Bc2 Bf3 28.fxg7 Re8 29.Be5 f6 30.Bxh7+ Kxh7 31.g8Q+ Kxg8 0-1. Gelfand got his revenge in the rapid game, when Anand blundered on move 16.
With a round to spare Levon Aronian won the 17th Amber Blindfold and Rapid Tournament by drawing both the blindfold and the rapid game against Vladimir Kramnik. This result sufficed to keep a 2½ point lead over his closest pursuers, with only two games to go.
|Round eleven: Blindfold Chess||Round eleven: Rapid Chess|
|Anand-Van Wely||½-½||Van Wely-Anand||½-½|
Levon Aronian, who had already secured overall tournament victory in round ten, drew both his round eleven games against Peter Leko. In the final standings the Armenian grandmaster finished on 14½ points ahead of Kramnik, Leko, Topalov and Carlsen.
The winner: Levon Aronian, 25-year-old grandmaster from Armenia
1. Aronian 6
1. Aronian 7½
1. Aronian 13½
In the official table the tiebreak amongst players with equal scores appears to be the alphabet. We have applied traditional tiebreaks in our cross tables: