20th Amber Tournament 2011 (1)
Amber chess day 1 sees only 2 draws and match wins for Anand and Carlsen
Mark Crowther - Saturday 12th March 2011
Carlsen and Nakamura clearly regard each other as rivals and their games are always special occasions. Photo © Fred Lucas. | http://www.fredlucas.eu
The first day of the 20th and final Amber tournament in Monaco saw some extrodinary oversights and just two draws. Magnus Carlsen beat Hikaru Nakamura 1.5-0.5 winning the rapid game but he also should have won the blindfold game when both players lost track of the position. Viswanathan Anand beat his world title challenger Veselin Topalov in the blindfold game and comfortably held him in the rapid with black. There are four players on 2/2. Alexander Grischuk found a really nice concept in the blindfold game which would have been hard enough with sight of the board to beat Vladimir Kramnik in the game of the day, Kramnik went badly astray in game 2 also. Anish Giri could have beaten Levon Aronian 2-0 but instead lost by that score, the Armenian is really creative at these time controls and this was shown today. Sergey Karjakin not only dropped a rook in the blindfold game but then repeated the trick in the rapid against Boris Gelfand. Amber legend (the only to play all 20) Vassily Ivanchuk just played horribly against Vugar Gashimov when two draws could reasonably have been expected in the positions they had.
Hikaru Nakamura in his blindfold game against Magnus Carlsen. The players only see a blank board and the last move played. Photo © Association Max Euwe. http://www.amberchess20.com.
The most anticipated match was that between the young stars Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura. The blindfold game finished in a draw but ended comically when both players suffered the same misapprehension as to where black's bishop was. Nakamura earlier had a really nice plus on the white side of a Nimzo-Indian with his 25.Ng5 being flashy but probably not good. Then both sides were convinced the black bishop was on f6 rather than e5 where it had taken a queen (f6 is a nicer square for the bishop according to Carlsen in his video for the official site where he talks through his win in the rapid game). This led to Nakamura leaving a rook (twice) and a bishop (once) en-prise yet untaken.
44.Rc7? Kd8 45.Rd7+ Ke8 46.Rc7? Kd8 47.Rf7 Ke8 48.Bg6? Kd8 49.Be4 Ke8 50.Rxb7 Rxb7 51.Bxb7 Kf8 52.Kg2 g5 53.Kf3 Kg7 54.Kg4 Bc7 55.h4 Bb6 56.f3 Bf2 57.hxg5 hxg5 58.Kxg5 Bxg3 59.f4 Bxf4+ 60.Kxf4 1/2
In the rapid game Carlsen got a an advantage out of the opening and then opened up Nakamura's king for a winning but difficult position for both sides. Carlsen was a rook down at one stage and admitted that although he thought he had everything worked out he didn't, but his feeling about the position was right and eventually he converted.
Magnus Carlsen can obviously explain this game better than I can. See the official video interview where he explains the game to Macauley Peterson.
Video © Association Max Euwe
Alexander Grischuk showed just how much a player can "see" in blindfold chess in beating Vladimir Kramnik, no slouch himself in this format. Photo © Association Max Euwe. http://www.amberchess20.com.
Alexander Grischuk was better against Vladimir Kramnik but couldn't bring himself to take any action towards realising his advantage as his clock ticked down. Here however he found an amazing queen sacrifice and followed it with the amazing 42.h4 three moves later to win a fine game.
38....Bf5 39.exf5! Re2 40.Ba4 Rxf2 41.Bxe8 Rd2 42.h4!! g6 43.fxg6 Re2 44.Bf7+ Kg7 45.h5 Qc6 46.Re1 Rxe1+ 47.Rxe1 Qd7 48.Kg1 b5 49.axb6 axb6 50.Re8 b5 51.Rb8 Qe7 52.Bxd5 1-0
Peter Svidler on ICC and computers do not like at all Kramnik's 18.Nc6 in this position and soon he was in desperate trouble and Grischuk finished him off for a second time.
Anand ground down Veselin Topalov in the blindfold game. Topalov has recently married and has taken a well earned break from serious chess. This probably marks his return to professional chess in preparation for the candidates in May. Photo © Association Max Euwe. http://www.amberchess20.com.
Viswanathan Anand put pressure on Veselin Topalov for a long time in a minor piece ending in their blindfold game and although Topalov could have held at the end it was always very difficult. Anand followed this by playing the Lasker Variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined as black in the rapids that he had already won twice with against Topalov with. This time the game was a fairly quick draw.
Dutch star Anish Giri made his debut at the Amber tournament against Levon Aronian but blew two winning positions. Photo © Association Max Euwe. http://www.amberchess20.com.
Anish Giri obtained a winning position against Levon Aronian but the Armenian managed to generate complications that confused Giri and eventually turned the position down to a win. The second game followed a similar course where Aronian played creatively in a position that was objectively lost but also a bit of a mess, which suited him more.
Here 27...Nxg2 would have led to inevitable victory for Giri, instead although white is still considerably worse it is very difficult for black to make progress, especially blindfold, and Aronian turned things round to a win.
27...Bxd5 28.Qxf4 Bg5 29.Qxg5 Qxg5 30.Rxd5 Qg4 31.cxd6 Rfd8 32.Re1 Rbc8 33.Re4 Rc1+ 34.Kh2 Qg6 35.d7 Qh6+ 36.Kg3 Rg1 37.Re8+ Kh7 38.Rxd8 Qg6+ 39.Kf4 Qf6+ 40.Ke3 Qxd8 41.Be4+ g6 42.f3 Rg5 43.Be7 Qb6+ 44.Rd4 Qa5 45.Bxg5 Qxg5+ 46.Kf2 Qd8 47.Bxb7 a5 48.a3 Kg7 49.b4 axb4 50.axb4 f5 51.b5 f4 52.Be4 g5 53.Ke2 Kf6 54.Rd5 Ke6 55.b6 g4 56.fxg4 Kf6 57.b7 1-0
Vassily Ivanchuk blundered into mate in a lost position after being too greedy in capturing queenside pawns on the white side of a Petroff. He also was doing fine as black in the rapid game before just losing his way at the end..
Gelfand had a small edge on the black side of the Petroff Defence when Karjakin made the first of two tactical oversights that dropped a rook in one move, both involved captures being check. The second game Gelfand had already blown a very nice advantage when Karjakin played 39.Qxf2 hitting white's rook, he didn't wait for Qxc4 CHECK to be played before resigning according to the live coverage.
|20th Amber Blindfold Monaco (MNC), 12-24 iii 2011||cat. XXI (2770)|
|Round 1 (March 12, 2011)|
|Anand, Viswanathan||- Topalov, Veselin||1-0||67||C67||Ruy Lopez Berlin|
|Aronian, Levon||- Giri, Anish||1-0||57||A29||English Four Knights|
|Grischuk, Alexander||- Kramnik, Vladimir||1-0||52||D38||QGD Ragozin|
|Nakamura, Hikaru||- Carlsen, Magnus||½-½||60||E47||Nimzo Indian|
|Ivanchuk, Vassily||- Gashimov, Vugar||0-1||28||C42||Petroff's Defence|
|Karjakin, Sergey||- Gelfand, Boris||0-1||37||C42||Petroff's Defence|
|20th Amber Rapid Monaco (MNC), 12-24 iii 2011||cat. XXI (2770)|
|Round 1 (March 12, 2011)|
|Carlsen, Magnus||- Nakamura, Hikaru||1-0||40||D10||Slav Defence|
|Gelfand, Boris||- Karjakin, Sergey||1-0||39||E54||Nimzo Indian|
|Gashimov, Vugar||- Ivanchuk, Vassily||1-0||33||B84||Sicilian Scheveningen|
|Topalov, Veselin||- Anand, Viswanathan||½-½||36||D57||Queens Gambit Lasker's Defence|
|Kramnik, Vladimir||- Grischuk, Alexander||0-1||33||E71||King's Indian 5.h3|
|Giri, Anish||- Aronian, Levon||0-1||40||A89||Dutch Leningrad|
|20th Amber Combined Monaco (MNC), 12-24 iii 2011||cat. XXI (2770)|
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