Winning with the black pieces

3/26/2003 – The penultimate round of the 12th Amber tournament brought us some extremely volitile chess. Ljubojevich won his first game, with the black pieces against Leko (but lost their rapid game with white), while Topalov vs Morozevich ended in a win each for both players – with the black pieces. Anand coasted along in first place with two draws against Bareev. You will find highlights, games, results and pictures here.

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Results of round ten

Blindfold
Rapid
Shirov 1-0 Gelfand
Gelfand 1/2 Shirov
Kramnik 1-0 van Wely
van Wely 1/2 Kramnik
Leko 0-1 Ljubojevic
Ljubojevic 0-1 Leko
Bareev 1/2 Anand
Anand 1/2 Bareev
Almasi 1/2 Ivanchuk
Ivanchuk 1/2 Almasi
Topalov 0-1 Morozevich
Morozevich 0-1 Topalov

Anand and Bareev played two relatively uneventful draws, so Peter "no-draws" Leko, who faced the tail ender Ljubomir Ljubojevich, was ideally poised to catch the Indian champion. Ljubo had only managed a total of three draws in eighteen games and seemed ripe for the picking. But in a very erratic blindfold game Leko was a full piece up with mating threats when he started to falter, first dropping the piece and then allowing mate. In the rapid chess revenge Ljubojevich won a pawn and refused a draw offer, only to blunder himself and return the full point.

Ljubojevich – Leko, rapid game

Ljubojevich played 34.Rc6?? which allowed the thank-you combination 34...Rc8 35.Rxc8+ Bxc8 36.Be4 Bb7 0-1. The white bishop is pinned and cannot be used to stop the pawn. White has to play the hopeless 37.Kf2 Bxe4 38.Ke1 c2 39.Kd2 Kf8 after which he has a piece less and is completely paralised. Peter Leko remained half a point behind Anand.

The same applied to Veselin Topalov, whose mini-match against Alexander Morozevich ended in a win each for both players – with the black pieces. They were the most interesting games of the round. Morozevich won a beautiful blindfold game of mind-boggling complexity. Such games leaves one asking: how do they do it, without looking at the board. In the rapid game Morozevich sacrificed material for a devastating attack, but Topalov simply took the material, defended well and bagged the whole point.

Vladimir Kramnik beat Loek van Wely in their blindfold game and drew the rapid chess encounter. The classical chess world champion has still not won a single rapid game in this tournament but is leading in the blindfold standings. Shirov gave Gelfand a very tough time in their blindfold game, sacrificing an exchange and generating many complications. Just when it looked as though Gelfand had everything under control he was hit by a nasty combination that lost him the point.

Shirov – Gelfand, blindfold game

Gelfand has just played 29...Re8-f8?? and is hit by 30.Qh5 (threatening 31.Bxh7+ and mate) 30...g6 31.Bxg6 hxg6 32.Qxg6+ Kh8 33.Re4 (threatening 34.Qh5+ and mate to follow) 33...Rxf3 34.Qh6+ Kg8 35.Rg4+ 1-0 since Black must give up all his material to ward off mate.

Standings after round ten


Picture gallery


Vishy Anand keeping his cool against Evgeny Bareev


Firebrands Morozevich and Topalov, who each won their black games


Today they are a team, tomorrow they go to battle against each other: Boris Gelfand and Peter Leko, last-round opponents, watched by organiser Jeroen van den Berg.


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