Chess24 Sopiko Scotch

20th Amber Tournament 2011 (2)

Carlsen, Grischuk and Aronian lead Amber Chess Tournament after two rounds

Kramnik in play against Anand in their blindfold game. Photo © Fred Lucas.

Kramnik in play against Anand in their blindfold game. Photo © Fred Lucas. | http://www.fredlucas.eu/

Magnus Carlsen, Alexander Grischuk and Levon Aronian have taken the early lead in the 20th and final Amber tournament with 3½/4 in the combined standings. Carlsen beat Vugar Gashimov twice in two endgames. Alexander Grischuk was on the worse side of both his games against Boris Gelfand but won the blindfold and drew the rapid. Levon Aronian profited from yet another Nakamura blunder in the blindfold in a lost position and drew the rapid when he was also worse but both games were full blooded struggles that were probably the highlight of the round. Anand and Kramnik drew both their games with the rapid seeing some very strange chess. Unlike the first round only four of the twelve games finished decisively.

Vugar Gashimov against Magnus Carlsen. Photo © Association Max Euwe. http://www.amberchess20.com.

Magnus Carlsen moved into a share of the lead with a 2-0 win against Vugar Gashimov. In the blindfold game Carlsen played quietly on the white side of a Slav. He turned a minimal edge into a winning King and Pawn ending but then didn't play the most accurate way (it turns out that he should munch all the kingside pawns and queen second rather than directly queen with g4 and f5) and had to queen a single rook pawn to win which he did eventually as such endings must be completely miserable to defend blindfold.

Carlsen got into a tie for the lead when he won on the black side of a complex French Defence eventually obtaining this ending where the bishop is much better than the knight.

Magnus Carlsen

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_k_____p
p_______
_p_____R
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__bN_KP_
r______P
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Vugar Gashimov

Position after 40.Bxc3

41. Rxh7+ Kc6 42. g4 b4 43. g5 b3 44. g6 Rd2 45. Ke3 Rg2 46. Rh6 Bd2+ 47. Kf3 Bxh6 48. Kxg2 a5 49. Nb2 Kb5 0-1

Hiraku Nakamura against Levon Aronian in their blindfold game. Photo © Association Max Euwe. http://www.amberchess20.com.

Hikaru Nakamura has talked about the serious nature of his opening preparation these days but that obviously doesn't apply to blindfold games, he sacrificed a pawn for nebulous compensation against Levon Aronian (there must have been shock value however). Eventually that compensation did arrive and Nakmura reached a position a pawn up rather than a pawn down. The whole game was bewilderingly complicated but again Nakamura lost track of the exact square of a bishop (a strange one in a way as the bishop was never on that square but spookily in commentary on ICC Yasser Seirawan said that imagine the bishop was on c4 and that Nakamura thought it on b5 exactly predicting this kind of error) and executed the winning plan (which was there) against black's bishop on the wrong square so instead of capturing it his rook was captured instead. Still an amazing effort from both players.

Levon Aronian

___r__k_
R______R
____p_p_
_b__P___
_P______
P____KPP
____r___
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Hikaru Nakamura

Position after 68...Kg8

69. Rag7+ Kf8 70. Rc7??

Nakamura thinks the bishop is on c4 but the same idea as he intended wins after 70. Rb7 followed by Rxb5

70...Kg8 71. Rc4 Bxc4 0-1

and only now Nakamura found out the worst.

Nakamura had the best of King's Indian but in the following position he allowed an easy way out.

Hikaru Nakamura

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_______p
___p____
_____k__
r_______
bR___K__
P____B__
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Levon Aronian

Position after 43.Bf2

43. Bf2 Bc5?

Here 43...Bb4 or Bc1 could make Aronian suffer some more but now its an easy draw.

44. Bxc5 dxc5 45. Rb5 Rc4 46. a4 Rc3+ 47. Ke2 Ke4 48. a5 c4 49. Rh5 Rc2+ 50. Kd1 Ra2 51. Rxh7 Rxa5 52. Kc2 c3 53. Rh4+ Kf3 1/2-1/2

Alexander Grischuk. Photo © Association Max Euwe. http://www.amberchess20.com.

Boris Gelfand blundered in a complicated blindfold game against Alexander Grischuk, he had actually lost track of one of Grischuk's pieces (he thought the bishop was on f8 so when the move Bg7xf6 occured it must have been a shock!) and was probably a bit upset but he still found the interesting Nxh5 (maybe he thought it was forced but it wasn't as Ne4 stopped Grischuk's mate threat too) which was enough for equality and with 50.Kh3 interesting play would have continued (Grischuk thought he was losing here in the video below but he didn't have the advantage of the engines). But instead he played 50.Kf3? presumably missing the significance of Nd2+.

Alexander Grischuk

_____k__
____R___
p____Pp_
_p__p_PN
__n_r_K_
________
P______P
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Boris Gelfand

Position after 49.Re4+

50. Kf3?

50. Kh3 gxh5 51. g6 Rg4 52. g7+ Kg8 53. Re8+ Kf7 54. Rf8+ Ke6 55. g8=Q+ Rxg8 56. Rxg8 Kxf6 57. Rc8 Kf5 58. Kg3 a5 59. a4 Nd6 60. Rf8+ Ke4 61. axb5 Nxb5 is equal.

50... Nd2+ 51. Kf2 gxh5 52. g6 Rf4+ 53. Ke2 Rxf6 54. g7+ Kg8 55. Kxd2 Rf2+ 56. Ke3 Rxa2 57. Ke4 Rxh2 58. Kf5 Kh7 59. Ra7 Ra2 60. g8=Q+ Kxg8 61. Kg6 Kf8 62. Kf6 Rf2+ 63. Kxe5 b4 64. Rxa6 b3 65. Rb6 b2 66. Ke4 Ke7 67. Ke3 Rh2 68. Kf4 Kd7 69. Kg3 Rd2 0-1

Listen to Alexander Grischuk's 10 minute interview with Macauley Peterson produced for the Association Max Euwe which discusses his fine win in the blindfold game against Vladimir Kramnik in Round 1 and the game above.

The rapid game should have been won by Gelfand after Grischuk's all out kingside attack failed. Gelfand traded into a winning Rook and Pawn ending of which he is a specialist and then broke the cardinal rule and went passive after grabbing a pawn. Instead with Grischuk all tied up he should have just brought up his e-pawn and king.

Boris Gelfand

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________
p___pkp_
________
_______P
_P____p_
___r__P_
____R_K_

Alexander Grischuk

Position after 43.b3

With just a few minutes more on the clock Gelfand would undoubtably would have played 43... e5 44. Ra1 e4 45. Kf1 Rf2+ 46. Kg1 e3 47. Rxa6+ Ke5 48. Ra1. Instead Grischuk holds relatively comfortably.

44. Kf1 Rxb3

Here is the real error, again taking the pawn is wrong and activating the e-pawn and king and keeping Grischuk's king bottled up is winning.

45. Ra1 Rb6 46. Ke2 Kf5 47. Kf3 e5 48. Kxg3 Ke4 49. Kf2 Kd3 50. Ra3+ Kc4 51. Ke3 Re6 52. Ra1 e4 53. g4 Kb4 54. Rb1+ Kc5 55. Rc1+ Kd5 56. Rd1+ Ke5 57. Rd4 1/2-1/2

Viswanathan Anand against Vladimir Kramnik. Photo © Association Max Euwe. http://www.amberchess20.com.

Viswanathan Anand headed straight from the opening to an ending in his round 2 blindfold clash against Vladimir Kramnik, accepting a shattered queenside in return for easy development. His judgement seemed right as he held pretty comfortably. The Rapid game was very weird. Anand chose a very quiet Queen's Gambit Accepted like position with the idea of exploiting a small advantage, instead in just a few moves he was forced to give up a pawn for no compensation. Just as Kramnik was thinking how to exploit this he played a really casual move that just lost the pawn back and a draw was agreed straight away.

Vladimir Kramnik

______k_
_N___ppp
____p___
_p_nb___
________
_P__P__P
___BK_P_
________

Viswanathan Anand

Position after 36.h3

36...f5?? 37. Nd8 1/2-1/2

The e6 pawn falls. 36...Kf8 was the way to go instead.

Veselin Topalov. Photo © Association Max Euwe. http://www.amberchess20.com.

Topalov and Karjakin drew their blindfold and rapid games without a great deal of excitement.

Anish Giri. Photo © Fred Lucas. http://www.fredlucas.eu.

Early complications in the Anish Giri vs Vassily Ivanchuk blindfold game saw the Dutchman having 4 vs 3 on the Kingside in a Rook and Pawn ending but Ivanchuk held comfortably. In the rapid Ivanchuk chose a well known idea on the white side of a Panov Attack and Giri held the position easily.

20th Amber Blindfold Monaco (MNC), 12-24 iii 2011 cat. XXI (2770)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2
1. Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2747 * . . . 1 . 1 . . . . . 2
2. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2808 . * . . . . . 1 . . . 1 2
3. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2815 . . * . . 1 . ½ . . . . 2953
4. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2817 . . . * . . ½ . 1 . . . 2973
5. Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2733 0 . . . * . . . . . 1 . 1 2761
6. Gashimov, Vugar g AZE 2746 . . 0 . . * . . . 1 . . 1 2797
7. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2785 0 . . ½ . . * . . . . . ½ 2589
8. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2774 . 0 ½ . . . . * . . . . ½ 2618
9. Topalov, Veselin g BUL 2775 . . . 0 . . . . * . ½ . ½ 2603
10. Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2779 . . . . . 0 . . . * . ½ ½ 2525
11. Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2776 . . . . 0 . . . ½ . * . ½ 2561
12. Giri, Anish g NED 2690 . 0 . . . . . . . ½ . * ½ 2600
Round 2 (March 13, 2011)
Carlsen, Magnus - Gashimov, Vugar 1-0 85 D11 Slav Defence
Gelfand, Boris - Grischuk, Alexander 0-1 69 E94 King's Indian Classical
Kramnik, Vladimir - Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ 41 A35 English Symmetrical
Nakamura, Hikaru - Aronian, Levon 0-1 71 E60 King's Indian without Nc3
Topalov, Veselin - Karjakin, Sergey ½-½ 52 E54 Nimzo Indian
Giri, Anish - Ivanchuk, Vassily ½-½ 62 E15 Queens Indian
20th Amber Rapid Monaco (MNC), 12-24 iii 2011 cat. XXI (2770)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2
1. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2815 * . . . . . 1 1 . . . . 2
2. Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2747 . * ½ . . . . . 1 . . . 2952
3. Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2733 . ½ * . . . . . . 1 . . 2954
4. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2808 . . . * . . . ½ . . . 1 2925
5. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2817 . . . . * ½ . . ½ . . . 1 2780
6. Topalov, Veselin g BUL 2775 . . . . ½ * . . . ½ . . 1 2796
7. Gashimov, Vugar g AZE 2746 0 . . . . . * . . . 1 . 1 2797
8. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2774 0 . . ½ . . . * . . . . ½ 2618
9. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2785 . 0 . . ½ . . . * . . . ½ 2589
10. Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2776 . . 0 . . ½ . . . * . . ½ 2561
11. Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2779 . . . . . . 0 . . . * ½ ½ 2525
12. Giri, Anish g NED 2690 . . . 0 . . . . . . ½ * ½ 2600
Round 2 (March 13, 2011)
Grischuk, Alexander - Gelfand, Boris ½-½ 57 D37 QGD 5.Bf4
Aronian, Levon - Nakamura, Hikaru ½-½ 53 E70 King's Indian Fianchetto
Anand, Viswanathan - Kramnik, Vladimir ½-½ 37 D02 Queen's Pawn Game
Gashimov, Vugar - Carlsen, Magnus 0-1 49 C11 French Defence
Karjakin, Sergey - Topalov, Veselin ½-½ 26 B12 Caro Kann Advanced
Ivanchuk, Vassily - Giri, Anish ½-½ 38 B13 Caro Kann Exchange
20th Amber Combined Monaco (MNC), 12-24 iii 2011 cat. XXI (2770)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
1. Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2747 * * . . . . 1 ½ . . . . . . . . 1 1 . . . . . . 3095
2. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2815 . . * * . . . . . . 1 1 . . ½ 1 . . . . . . . . 3096
3. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2808 . . . . * * . . . . . . . . 1 ½ . . . . . . 1 1 3068
4. Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2733 0 ½ . . . . * * . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 . . . . 2856
5. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2817 . . . . . . . . * * . . 1 ½ . . ½ ½ . . . . . . 2875
6. Gashimov, Vugar g AZE 2746 . . 0 0 . . . . . . * * . . . . . . . . 1 1 . . 2 2797
7. Topalov, Veselin g BUL 2775 . . . . . . . . 0 ½ . . * * . . . . ½ ½ . . . . 2709
8. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2774 . . ½ 0 0 ½ . . . . . . . . * * . . . . . . . . 1 2618
9. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2785 0 0 . . . . . . ½ ½ . . . . . . * * . . . . . . 1 2589
10. Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2776 . . . . . . 0 0 . . . . ½ ½ . . . . * * . . . . 1 2561
11. Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2779 . . . . . . . . . . 0 0 . . . . . . . . * * ½ ½ 1 2525
12. Giri, Anish g NED 2690 . . . . 0 0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ½ ½ * * 1 2600

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