Carlsen and Topalov win 1.5-0.5 in Nice

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Morozevich joins AronianScoring his first win ever with Black against Anand, Carlsen won his minimatch against the World Champ 1.5-0.5, and so did Topalov against Wang Yue today. All other minimatches ended in 1-1 and so Aronian and Morozevich still share the lead in the combined tournament. Video added!

The 18th Amber Blindfold and Rapid tournament, organized by the Association Max Euwe in Monaco, takes place from March 14 (first round) to March 26 (last round) at the five-star hotel Palais de la Mediterran?©e, splendidly located on the famous Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France. The total prize-fund is ‚Ǩ 216,000 and this year‚Äôs field is stronger than ever with all the world‚Äôs best players taking part.
Round 3


Blindfold games:Rapid games:


Wang Yue

Wang Yue, concentrating to do better in the rapid game

On the third, very sunny though a bit windy day in Nice, there were some huge oversights in the blindfold games. To start with, Wang Yue-Topalov saw arguably the biggest mistake so far in the tournament. After an interesting queen sac by the Bulgarian which yielded excellent compensation in the form of the bishop pair, the Chinese came up with an even more interesting queen sac: he suddenly put her majesty on a square where it was under attack. Karjakin, Kramnik, Morozevich and Radjabov have (much) more experience with blindfold chess and drew their games.

Then, Carlsen defeated Anand nicely, using several pins along files and diagonals directed to White's king. It was the first victory with Black over the world champion and the Norwegian was clearly happy with it. Aronian-Kamsky was very entertaining though not very good. 41.Rxh7?? and 42...Qf7?? were examples of mutual "blindness" and Kamsky was the last to blunder with 44...Qe6?.

Leko wasn't sure whether his opening play against Ivanchuk was correct, but after analysing it for long with Ljubojevic, the Hungarian started to appreciate his position more and more. 29.a4 was a strong move after which White was clearly better. He nicely made use of the newly created weakness on a5 combined with Black's back rank problems.

The first three rapid games all ended in a draw. Again Kramnik versus Karjakin was quite interesting and they analysed it for quite a while; the former world champion had a slight edge but 25...d4! was well-timed and an immediate draw.

Topalov

Topalov climbed a bit in the standings

Even better was Morozevich-Radjabov; Black was constantly threatening to mate the white king on g2, and it was instructive to see White defending by keeping the f3 under fire. After the smoke had cleared, Radjabov declined a draw offer at first, but a few moves later he gave up his attempts. A quick computer check gives the alternatives 32.Re5! as better for White and 32...Rf7! as winning for Black.

Topalov-Wang Yue followed the highly topical Slav with 5...Bg5, which appeared in the Topalov-Kramnik, Elista 2006 match and in many recent games as well. 18...Qb6 was an improvement over Stellwagen-Beliavsky, Paks 2008 - too bad it was only played today, now that Daniel has left again (he and Jan Smeets were visiting the tournament this weekend) because we could have asked him for some details. The ending seemed about equal but it was Topalov who had to be careful.

Ivanchuk-Leko

Ivanchuk-Leko

In his rapid game Anand chose the Caro-Kann against Carlsen, and after Black had equalized the players soon called it a day, but "not without a fight". After 27...a4 Anand offered a draw, but Carlsen declined. After 33.g4 Carlsen offered a draw on his turn, to which a clear "no" by Anand could be heard in the playing hall. Then the players went for a threefold repetition, Anand clearly disgruntled. More attention should go to Ivanchuk-Leko which was a fine, positional show by the Ukrainian, slowly but surely breaking the Hungarian's defence. He wasn't sure where Black made the decisive mistake, but he suggested 23...Qd5 24.c4 Qd4 and Qe5 on moves 30 and 33 as possible impovements for Black.


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