Amber R06: Anand three points ahead

3/26/2005 – In round six he drew both games, but since his closest rival Peter Svidler lost one, Vishy Anand increased the distance to the rest of the field to three full points. Alexei Shirov won both his games to compensate somewhat for his disastrous start. We bring you highlights and pictures in our full updated report.

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The Fourteenth Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess Tournament will take place at the Monte Carlo Grand Hôtel in Monaco, from 19th to 31st March 2005. The Dutch billionaire J.J. van Oosterom is the exclusive sponsor of this event.

Please note that the selection of games discussed below can all be replayed on our JavaScript board. Clicking on the link behind each game opens a separate window which you can position next to the text (and keep open for the next game). To follow the moves and analysis you can use the navigation buttons below the board or simply click on the notation.

Round six

Topalov-Leko 1-0
Anand-Morozevich 1/2
Kramnik-Bareev 1-0
Ivanchuk-Gelfand 1/2
Shirov-Van Wely 1-0
Vallejo-Svidler 1-0
Leko-Topalov 1-0
Morozevich-Anand 1/2
Bareev-Kramnik 1/2
Gelfand-Ivanchuk 1/2
Van Wely-Shirov 0-1
Svidler-Vallejo 1/2

In this round the Anand rampage was stopped by Alexander Morozevich, who gave the leading player a rough time with a French defence in their blindfold game. At move 13 Anand mixed up two moves and almost lost the game.

Anand and Morozevich in their blindfold game, Kramnik suffering in the background

Morozevich managed to promote a pawn but Anand had a perpetual check waiting and the result was a draw. In their rapid game Anand forced a clear-cut draw with the black pieces to maintain his lead – actually increase it, since his closest rival dropped a game in this round.

Morozevich vs Anand, with Kramnik kibitzing

That was Peter Svidler, who faced rookie Paco Vallejo. In their blindfold game Svidler started badly but midway through the battle took the initiative. After that he was pushing hard for a win, and was close to success with four pawns for a bishop. But then disaster struck. On move 52 he moved his rook to a square (c4) where he thought his opponent had a bishop standing. Alas this bishop was on b5 and it simply knocked off the rook to win the game. The rapid chess encounter between the two was a 128 move affair, with Vallejo completely overwhelming his much higher-rated opponent.

Svidler,P (2735) - Vallejo Pons,F (2686) [B50]
Amber Rapid Monte Carlo MNC (6), 25.03.2005

White has just played 119.Rb3-c3 and given Black a forced mate. This is how the game should have ended: 119...Rg2+ 120.Kh3 Kf2 121.f4 Rg1 122.Kh2 Rxg4 123.Rh3 Nf3+ 124.Rxf3+ Kxf3 125.fxg5 Rxg5 126.Kh1 Kf2 127.Kh2 Rh5#. This is how it actually went: 119...Rf1 120.Ra3 Ng2 121.Ra5 Ne1 122.Rxg5 Rxf3+ 123.Kh4 Kg2 124.Rf5 Rh3+ 125.Kg5 Nf3+ 126.Kf6 Rh6+ 127.Kg7 Rh4 128.g5 Nxg5 ½-½

Veselin Topalov had good luck in his blindfold game against Peter Leko. After an uneven struggle Leko was winning in the endgame when one bad move ruined the game for him.

Topalov,V (2757) - Leko,P (2749) [E15]
Amber Blindfold Monte Carlo MNC (6), 25.03.2005
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Nc3 c6 8.e4 d5 9.Qc2 dxe4 10.Nxe4 Bb7 11.Bg2 c5 12.Neg5 Nc6 13.dxc5 bxc5 14.Bc3 Nd4 15.Bxd4 cxd4 16.0-0 0-0 17.Ne5 Bxg2 18.Kxg2 Bd6 19.Ng4 g6 20.Nh6+ Kg7 21.Nhxf7 Qe7 22.Nxd6 Qxd6 23.Rae1 e5 24.Qd3 a5 25.f4 Ng4 26.Qe4 Qd7 27.fxe5 Ne3+ 28.Kg1 Nxf1 29.e6 Qa7 30.e7 d3+ 31.Kh1.

Here the move 31...Rf2 with the deadly mate threat Rxh2 decides, but Leko played 31...Qf2??, which also threatens Qxh2# but unfortunately overlooks a counter-mate: 32.exf8Q+ Rxf8 33.Qe7+ Kh6 34.Qxh7+ Kxg5 35.Qh4+ Kf5 36.g4+ 1-0 with mate to follow. In their rapid game Leko won his game with white and equalised in this mini-match.

Veselin Topalov and Peter Leko analysing, Loek van Wely watching

Facing his two-time world championship second Vladimir Kramnik did not expect and did not get a peaceful game. In fact after 30 moves his friend and opponent was clearly winning.

Kramnik,V (2754) - Bareev,E (2709) [C10]
Amber Blindfold Monte Carlo MNC (6), 25.03.2005
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Bd3 c5 7.0-0 Nxe4 8.Bxe4 Nf6 9.Bg5 cxd4 10.Nxd4 Be7 11.Bf3 0-0 12.a4 a6 13.Re1 Qc7 14.c3 Re8 15.Qb3 Rb8 16.g3 Bd7 17.a5 Bc5 18.Rad1 Qxa5 19.Bf4 Bxd4 20.Bxb8 Bxf2+ 21.Kxf2 Rxb8 22.Rd4 Qf5 23.Red1 e5 24.g4 Nxg4+ 25.Rxg4 Bc6 26.Rd5 h5 27.Re4 Re8 28.c4 Qh3 29.Kg1 Re6 30.Qd1.

Bareev could have got the full point with 30...Bxd5 31.cxd5 Rg6+ 32.Kh1 Rg3 33.Re3 e4. But unfortunately for him he played the plausible 30...f5?? which turned out to be a blunder. Kramnik, an excellent blindfold player, did not waste the opportunity: 31.Bg2 Rg6 32.Re2 Qf3 33.Rf2 Qe4 34.Kh1 Qh4 35.Rxf5 Rxg2 36.Kxg2 Qxc4 37.Rfxe5 h4 38.Kh3 1-0.

Vladimir Kramnik and Evgeny Bareev analysing, Anand kibitzing

The rapid game between the two saw both players blundering and drawing in 36 moves. Kramnik took it humorously and said that this was one of the best games in the tournament so far, since instead of dropping pieces Bareev and he had only blundered a pawn each.

Shirov,A (2713) - Van Wely,L (2679) [B31]
Amber Blindfold Monte Carlo MNC (6), 25.03.2005
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Bg7 6.h3 Nf6 7.Nc3 Nd7 8.Be3 e5 9.Qd2 h6 10.0-0 Qe7 11.Nh2 Nf8 12.f4 exf4 13.Bxf4 Ne6 14.Bg3 Qg5 15.Qe1 Nd4 16.Qf2 0-0 17.Bd6 Bxh3 18.Bf4 Qxg2+ 19.Qxg2 Bxg2 20.Kxg2 Nxc2 21.Rad1 Rad8 22.Ng4 h5 23.Nf2 Rfe8 24.Ne2 Be5 25.Bc1 b6 26.a3 a5 27.a4 Rd7 28.b3 Na1 29.Be3 Nxb3 30.Rb1 c4 31.dxc4 Nd2 32.Rfd1 Red8 33.Rbc1 c5 34.Bf4 f6 35.Bxe5 fxe5 36.Nc3 Rd4 37.Nd5 Rf8 38.Rc2 Nf3 39.Rh1 Ng5 40.Re1 Rf3 41.Rb1 h4 42.Rxb6 Rg3+ 43.Kf1 Nf3 44.Rcb2 Nd2+ 45.Ke2? [45.Rxd2 Rxd2 46.Ng4 draws] 45...Nxc4 46.Rb8+ Kg7 47.Rc2 h3 48.Rb1 Nd6 49.Ne3 Nxe4 50.Nfg4 Rb4 51.Rd1

Black is winning, but van Wely spoils it and at the same time sets a new record by dropping two pieces in succession: 51...Nd6?? (he said he thought there was a pawn on d5) 52.Rxd6 Rbxg4 53.Nxg4 Rxg4 54.Kf3 Rxa4 55.Rxc5 Rh4 56.Rd1 a4 57.Kg3 Rc4 (simply giving the rook away for nothing) 58.Rxc4 1-0.

Loek van Wely in his erratic blindfold game

In their rapid chess game the Dutchman suffered a second tragedy.

Van Wely,L (2679) - Shirov,A (2713) [D44]
Amber Rapid Monte Carlo MNC (6), 25.03.2005
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 dxc4 6.e4 b5 7.e5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Nxg5 hxg5 10.Bxg5 Nbd7 11.exf6 Bb7 12.g3 c5 13.d5 Qb6 14.Bg2 0-0-0 15.0-0 b4 16.Rb1 Qa6 17.dxe6 Bxg2 18.e7 Bxf1 19.Kxf1 Qc6 20.exd8Q+ Kxd8 21.Nd5 Rxh2 22.Kg1 Rh8 23.Qf3 Ne5 24.Qe4 Bd6 25.Rd1 Nd3 26.b3 Nb2 27.Nc3 Kd7 28.Qf5+ Kc7 29.Nd5+ Kb7 30.Re1 c3 31.Bf4 Bxf4 32.Re7+ Ka8 33.Qe4 Rc8 34.gxf4 c2 35.Nc7+ Rxc7 36.Qxc2 Rc8 37.Qxb2 Rh8 38.f3 Qd5 39.Qe2 Qd4+ 40.Kg2 Rg8+ 41.Kh3 Rh8+

After being on the defensive for much of the game van Wely is not a pawn up and decides that he will play for a win (instead of going for 42.Kg2 and a draw). 42.Kg4?? Unfortunately this overlooks a forced mate: 42...Qg1+ 43.Kf5 Rh5+ 0-1 (because of 44.Ke4 Qd4#).

Alexei Shirov, 2:0 winner in the sixth round

Standings after six rounds


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