The blind leading the tournament

3/31/2004 – There are two rounds left in the Monaco Amber blindfold and rapid tournament and Alexander Morozevich is playing like a man possessed. He has won six games in a row and is tied for the overall lead with Vladimir Kramnik. Will it be a Russian sweep or can Peter Leko and Vasily Ivanchuk make a move? Results, games, and some great photos.

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Land of the Blind

13th Amber Blindfold and Rapid – Mar.20-Apr.1

Official site  •  Standings

Game download/replay: Rounds 1-34-56-9

Melody Amber 2003 and history of blindfold chess

With two rounds left to play, it looks (no pun intended) like the blindfold play will determine the title. The acknowledged sightless gurus, Morozevich and Kramnik, are tied for the lead in the overall competition a full point ahead of Ivanchuk and Leko. Those same four GMs head the blindfold table as well. Rapid leader Anand finds himself five places back on the overall table. None of the leaders meet in the final rounds.


Kramnik and Anand share a laugh after their drawn blindfold game. Kibitzer par excellence
GM Ljubomir Ljubojevic joins in the joke. Anand got the last laugh by winning the rapid game.

Alexander Morozevich stepped on the gas in round seven when he beat Anand in both games. That still stands as the Indian's only loss in the rapid. The only player to remain without a zero on one of the crosstables is Kramnik, who has yet to taste defeat in the blindfold.

Morozevich's unorthodox brand play is difficult enough to understand when you can see the board, in the blindfold it's just about impossible! His rapid play is heating up as well. All told he has won a remarkable six games in a row with sweeps of Anand, Vallejo, and Topalov. (Kramnik has won five of his last six.)

Things could be even better for the young Russian but he was outduelled in his favored complications by van Wely in the rapid in round six.

In the diagram Moro is with black and the move. He could have taken advantage of the queens opposing on the diagonal with 29...Nc2!, winning the exchange with a fork.

Instead he was left on the wrong side of the queen opposition after 29...Bxe4? 30.Rc4! Now Black still has good chances after 30...Bxg2 31.Ng6+ Rxg6 32.Rxe7 Nxf4!! with a strong attack despite the lack of a queen.

He seemed to have the right idea but played things in the wrong order with 30...Nxf4? and went down in flames after 31.Rxe4 d3 32.Ng6+! and van Wely soon stopped the d-pawn and won.
 


Vasily Ivanchuk is known for not looking at the board during regular games, so the blindfold is a snap.


van Wely and Topalov compete for worst golf swing on a rest day. Rest easy, Tiger.

Combined standings after round 9 (left number is blindfold result)

Blindfold standings after round 9

Rapid standings after round 9

Photos from the official site


Topics Amber 2004
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