Kramnik wins by two points

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Not a surprise anymore: Kramnik has won the Melody Amber Tournament. The difference with runner-up Anand was two points. Kramnik's glorious victory in the blind tournament, with 9 out of 11, is the basis of his overall win. Anand won the rapid tournament with 8,5 out of 11. Ivanchuk is still a great player, ending third in the combined standings. Carlsen's shared second spot in the rapid is noteworthy too.

Only Kramnik and Anand took it easy in the last round; the other games were good fights. In Leko-Radjabov (blindfold) we saw the J?ɬ§nisch/Schliemann again, a regular guest in this tournament, and again Black's activity meant enough compensation for the pawn. Will we see this line more in the future? Why is it that the 2700 boys avoided the main line? With Black Van Wely could grab a pawn against Carlsen but White managed to exchange almost everything, when too little material was left. Just as in Linares, Svidler went down against Morozevich, and again after he was thrown the move ...g7-g5 in the French. A weak game by White. Vallejo was lucky this tournament to be paired against Kramnik in the last round because the Russian didn't really press. Gelfand-Anand wasn't very interesting either, except for the final position! Both players missed that Black wins material after 19?¢‚Ǩ¬¶Ne8 20.Rxd7 Nb8! Against Ivanchuk, Aronian again showed that he's fully mastered the Catalan. 23.dxe6 with the pointe 24.Qf4 is, especially in blindfold, a beatiful move. (on 24...Bxe5 comes 25.Qxf7+ Kh8 26.Rxd8 Qxd8 27.e7). 26...Re7 was not the best, when White's advantage became decisive.

Radjabov-Leko (rapid) was a model game which would have made Nimzowitsch himself proud. Blocking knights, a destroyed centre, everything. Svidler took revenge when Morozevich, who's opening was still okay, made a big mistake with 15.Ne6 (better 15.Be3). Black's compensation for the exchange was killing. Carlsen tricked Van Wely and won a pawn. The Dutchman could have been more tough with 42.Be6. In Anand-Gelfand not much happened. Ivanchuk-Aronian, surprisingly, repeated Radjabov-Aronian from round 10. The line is bad for Black (afterwards Aronian called himself a "stubborn donkey") but here the Armenian did manage to draw. Unjustified, because with 37.Ba6 Ivanchuk should have won (37...Ke7 38.Re5+ Kd7, which draws in the game, then fails to 39.Bb5+). Vallejo ended the tournament solidly in his Black game against Kramnik, and in doing so levelled his combined score with Van Wely's to share the last spot.

The blindfold games:

The rapid games:

Results round 11:


Leko       ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Radjabov   ?Ǭ??¢‚Ǩ‚Äú?Ǭ?
Carlsen    ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Van Wely   ?Ǭ??¢‚Ǩ‚Äú?Ǭ?
Svidler    ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Morozevich 0-1
Gelfand    ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Anand      ?Ǭ??¢‚Ǩ‚Äú?Ǭ?
Aronian    ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Ivanchuk   1-0
Vallejo    ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Kramnik    ?Ǭ??¢‚Ǩ‚Äú?Ǭ?


Radjabov   ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Leko       0-1
Van Wely   - Carlsen    0-1
Morozevich ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Svidler    0-1
Anand      ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Gelfand    ?Ǭ??¢‚Ǩ‚Äú?Ǭ?
Ivanchuk   ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Aronian    ?Ǭ??¢‚Ǩ‚Äú?Ǭ?
Kramnik    ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Vallejo    ?Ǭ??¢‚Ǩ‚Äú?Ǭ?

Final standings blindfold:

    1. Kramnik               9
  2-3. Gelfand, Morozevich   7
  4-5. Ivanchuk, Svidler    6?Ǭ?
    6. Aronian               5
  7-8. Radjabov, Anand       5
 9-10. Carlsen, Leko         4
   11. Van Wely             3?Ǭ?
   12. Vallejo              2?Ǭ?

Final standings rapid:

    1. Anand                8?Ǭ?
  2-5. Ivanchuk, Kramnik,
       Carlsen, Leko        6?Ǭ? 
    6. Aronian               6
    7. Svidler              5?Ǭ?
  8-9. Gelfand, Morozevich  4?Ǭ?
10-11. Radjabov, Vallejo     4
   12. Van Wely              3

Final standings combined:

    1. Kramnik             15?Ǭ?
    2. Anand               13?Ǭ?
    3. Ivanchuk             13
  4-5. Aronian, Svidler     12
  6-7. Gelfand, Morozevich 11?Ǭ?
  8-9. Carlsen, Leko       10?Ǭ?
   10. Radjabov              9
   11. Van Wely, Vallejo    6?Ǭ?

We've seen a wonderful tournament. Yes, the usual blunders were there, but on the other hand the big guys showed more fighting chess than in any other tournament. And almost every player experimented with their openings, which makes the games even more interesting. I think I'm a lifelong fan of the Amber.
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