Kramnik beats Wang Yue 2-0, takes over lead at Amber

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Vladimir KramnikThanks to a 2-0 victory over Wang Yue, Kramnik is the new leader of the combined tournament in Nice, with a score of 5.5/8. Radjabov also won twice, against Karjakin. Wednesday is the first rest day. 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 4

Blindfold games:Rapid games:

Again, the round started quietly with three draws in the first blindfold session. Although they played most moves, Anand and Aronian finished first; in a topical line of the declined Marshall Gambit, Black was more than OK after the opening. White had to sacrifice a pawn to avoid bigger danger, and after playing the last thirty moves or so at blitz speed (accumulating more and more time on the clock), they finally agreed to a draw.

After yesterday’s loss against Ivanchuk in the Ruy Lopez, Leko switched to the Caro-Kann and held the draw comfortably against Carlsen and in a quiet Dragon that had started as a Najdorf, Ivanchuk did the same against Kamsky.

Kramnik-Wang YueIn the second session, the two blindfold specialists Kramnik and Morozevich had White, and both won. Kramnik, who said that he’s probably playing better blindfold games than rapid games, easily defeated Wang Yue. The Russian was quite serious and gave several reasons: “Blindfold really forces you to concentrate. And besides, the rapid game is always the second game. I’m an old man already!”

Morozevich outplayed Topalov in an ending that looked very drawish from the start. But, as Nunn pointed out, “Ulf Andersson used to win such positions” and so did Morozevich. The Russian didn’t like 34…e5 for Black: “After that it’s perhaps still a draw, but Black has to be very careful. He obviously missed my e5-e6 idea and then it was lost.”

Radjabov defeated Karjakin who seemed to be doing OK after the opening but then suddenly lost a pawn, and on top of that he was positionally worse as well. “A pawn up with compensation”, Radjabov had no trouble converting.

Like with the blindfold ones, the first three rapid games ended in a draw. Professional kibitzer Ljubojevic wondered what happens after 11…Rd8 in Leko-Carlsen, and Aronian even said that he vaguely remembered it to be winning for Black. After the game Leko agreed that it looked dangerous. Aronian-Anand was not too interesting but Ivanchuk-Kamsky certainly was, thanks to the star move 30.e6!? which forced the American to defend accuratly, which he did.

The day then ended with three decisive games. Topalov took revenge against Morozevich, who followed Kamsky and others by chosing the Breyer Defence of the Ruy Lopez – highly topical and probably discussed in the next ChessVibes Openings! Black couldn’t play 22…Qxg5 because of 23.Qxf7+ Kh7 24.Re3 Bd7 25.Rg3+- and Topalov considered the position after 27.Bc1 to be critical, because this is what he started looking at, together with Ljubojevic and also Ivanchuk. And indeed, Black went down quickly after 27…Kg7.

Radjabov-KarjakinWang Yue was doing fine for a while against Kramnik but the natural 22.Rc1?! and 23.Nxe6?! were wrong. Like Radjabov, Kramnik was a pawn up with compensation and easily won the subsequent rook ending. Radjabov then also won his rapid game against Karjakin to become the second player scoring a 2-0 today. White’s exchange sac didn’t really work out well and despite tough defence in the ending, the Ukrainian had to throw in the towel at move 74.

Wednesday is the first rest day in Nice. In the morning the traditional laser game excursion is scheduled, and in the evening there will be a special casino dinner party. There's enough time for Topalov and Kramnik to warm up for round 5, when they will meet.

The Amber videos are now also available as an iTunes video podcast! (Link launches iTunes, if installed) You can share the Amber videos on your own web site or blog too. Just click the “Email and embed this video” button next to the volume control in the player.

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