Portrait of a dog

3/23/2004 – The 13th Amber Blindfold and Rapid Tournament had an unorthodox method for the drawing of lots. All participants had to make felt pen drawings of the two black Labradors belonging to the sponsor's family. Vassily Ivanchuk's ultra-modern rendering only brought him an honorable penultimate place. We bring you a photo-realistic pictorial report from Monaco.

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The thirteenth edition of the Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess Tournament is taking place at the Monte Carlo Grand Hotel in Monaco . It lasts from March 20 till April 1, 2004. There is live coverage on Playchess.com, and we are bringing you periodic reports on our news page. Here is a first picture gallery from Monaco.

The participating grandmasters are:
Viswanathan Anand (India) Alexander Morozevich (Russia)
Evgeny Bareev (Russia) Alexey Shirov (Spain)
Boris Gelfand (Israel) Peter Svidler (Russia)
Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine) Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria)
Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) Francisco Vallejo (Spain)
Peter Leko (Hungary) Loek Van Wely (The Netherlands)

Picture Gallery


The Mediterranean beach front of Monte Carlo (Monaco)


The world famous gambling casino

During the opening ceremony quite an unorthodox drawing of lots took place. All twelve participants were asked to draw (with a felt pen) either Onyx or Whoopy, the two black Labradors of the Van Oosterom family. Next, their efforts were judged by a local artist and their ranking in this ‘salon extraordinaire’ was their number in the playing schedule.


The models, Onyx and Whoopy


Vassily Ivanchuk, felt pen artist from Ukraine


Ivanchuk's incredibly realistic portrait of Onyx – or is it Whoopy? This masterpiece only brought Ivanchuk the penultimate place, ahead of Alexey Shirov, who rounded off his interpretation of the dogs by finally crossing out his drawing in a superb Dadaesque gesture!

First place was taken by Paco Vallejo, whose specimen of Spanish naïve naturalism earned great acclaim. Sorry, that is not Paco's drawing shown above, but one done by a non-playing local artist. The press officer informed us that unfortunately all drawings were lost for posterity. "In some way this may be connected to the amounts of money that several players were willing to pay to see them disappear!" The official web site has the following additional comment: "Let it be said that the fruits of the grandmasters’ work were ample evidence that the organisers had been wise to drop their original plan that the players draw one of their colleagues! Indeed, ruined friendships and lifelong feuds were carefully avoided."



A rapid chess game between Boris Gelfand (Israel) and Peter Leko (Hungary)


The blindfold setup: The players use notebook computers to exchange moves


Of course the chessboard is empty, just the opponent's move is transmitted (here in the game Loek van Wely vs Evgeny Bareev)


"King Loek" concentrating on the empty board


Peter Svidler of St. Petersburg vs Veselin Topalov, Sophia


Caught between computers: Vishy Anand from Chennai, India


Wait, you tell me that is a legal move? Vassily Ivanchuk in a blindfold game


Remind me again, why am I playing without pieces? Alexei Shirov from Latvia


So am I winning? Vishy in the second round


Peter Svidler and Evgeny Bareev strolling around the hotel lobby


Anand (left) telling Kramnik and Leko a funny story – milliseconds before Vlady gets the punch line

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