Amber R2: Morozevich joins Aronian in the overall lead

3/16/2009 – Chinese GM Wang Yue has in the past week travelled from Linares to Beijing to Nice – not such a good idea when you are facing 2700+ opposition in your events. Russian GM Alexander Morozevich beat him with white in the blind chess game and completely outplayed him in the rapid. Morozevich joins Levon Aronian who today made Peter Leko an unexpected present. Photos by John Nunn.

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The 18th Amber Blindfold and Rapid tournament, organized by the Association Max Euwe in Monaco, is taking place from March 14 (first round) to March 26 (last round) at the Palais de la Mediterranée, splendidly located on the famous Promenade des Anglais in Nice. The total prize fund is € 216,000.

The rate of play is 25 minutes per game per player. With every move made in the blindfold games 20 seconds is added to the clock, with every move made in the rapid games 10 seconds is added. Every day four sessions are played: two blindfold and two rapid games. The first session starts at 14.30h. The fourth session finishes around 20.00h. (Note: the final round on March 26 starts at 12.30h. March 18 and 23 are rest days).

Report after round two

Round two: Blindfold Chess   Round two: Rapid Chess
Ivanchuk-Carlsen ½-½   Carlsen-Ivanchuk ½-½
Leko-Aronian 1-0   Aronian-Leko 1-0
Kamsky-Anand ½-½   Anand-Kamsky 1-0
Morozevich-Wang Yue 1-0   Wang Yue-Morozevich 0-1
Topalov-Karjakin 1-0   Karjakin-Topalov 1-0
Kramnik-Radjabov 1-0   Radjabov-Kramnik ½-½


The blindfold games are played on notebooks displaying a board but not the pieces


Peter Leko won the blindfold encounter, but Levon Aronian struck back in the rapid


Old rivals: Anand defeated Kamsky in the rapid chess game

Standings after two rounds

Blindfold
 
Rapid
 
Combined
1.  Kramnik    2    
2. Anand 1½
Carlsen 1½
Topalov 1½
5. Aronian 1
Leko 1
Morozevich 1
8. Ivanchuk ½
Kamsky ½
Karjakin ½
Radjabov ½
Wang Yue ½
 
1.  Aronian    2    
Morozevich 2
3. Karjakin 1½
4. Anand 1
Kamsky 1
Leko 1
Radjabov 1
8. Carlsen ½
Ivanchuk ½
Kramnik ½
Topalov ½
Wang Yue ½
 
1.  Aronian    3    
Morozevich 3
3. Anand 2½
Kramnik 2½
5. Carlsen 2
Karjakin 2
Leko 2
Topalov 2
9. Kamsky 1½
Radjabov 1½
11. Ivanchuk 1
Wang Yue 1

Pictorial impressions from Nice by John Nunn

After his successful pictorial reports in this year's Wijk aan Zee tournament our friend and colleague, Dr John Nunn, is back in action, this time at the Amber tournament in Nice. For the uninitiated: John is a grandmaster, mathematician, scientist who runs a successful chess publishing house. Currently one of his prime hobbies is photography, which he practises with an advanced Canon SLR camera. The following pictures were all sent to us by John from Nice.


Levon Aronian, not exactly pleased after his "present" to Peter Leko in the blindfold game

Leko,P (2751) - Aronian,L (2750) [C63]
18th Amber Blindfold Nice FRA (2), 15.03.2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 f5 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 Nf6 6.Nxf6+ Qxf6 7.Qe2 Be7 8.Bxc6 dxc6 9.Nxe5 Bf5 10.0-0 0-0-0 11.d3 Rhe8 12.f4 Kb8 13.Qf2 Bc8 14.Bd2 b6 15.Rae1 Qe6 16.f5 Qd5 17.c4

17...Qxe5?? 18.Rxe5 1-0. What? The tournament bulletin tells us that Aronian walked into the VIP-room and noted with a wry smile ‘I made Peter a present’. The present consisted of Aronian playing a good part of the game under the impression that his black-squared bishop was on f8 instead of e7, a strange mistake to make so early on in the game. If he had had sufficient compensation for the pawn with the bishop on f8 remained a moot point, but as it was Leko could unwrap his present on move 18.


Peter Leko, not exactly disappointed after the unexpected gift


With a double win over Wang Yue Alexander Morozevich joins Lev Aronian in the overall lead


Magnus Carlsen has not yet got into gear in this Amber tournament


Vassily Ivanchuk with two losses and two draws so far


Vladimir Kramnik concentrating in his blindfold game against Teimour Radjabov...


...and in a really good mood after winning it

The bulletin says that due to a computer crash after 16 moves the spectators were left guessing about what was happening in the blindfold game between Kramnik and Radjabov. Fortunately Kramnik kindly explained the course of the game after he’d won in a mere 24 moves. His take on the game: ‘It was unexpectedly easy.’


Another top GM in a good mood: Gata Kamsky from the US


World Champion Anand satisfied after beating his old rival Gata Kamsky 1½:½


Peter Leko and his charming Armenian wife Sofi


Sergey Karjakin with his father Alexander Ivanovich


Sergey, who won Wijk aan Zee, reading about himself in a chess magazine


A cycle race in the French costal city

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