The king of blindfold chess

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Might he have a natural talent for it? Or did he spent lots of hours in trains, in his childhood, where he was bored and played games against himself for hours? Whatever the reason, Vladimir Kramnik is not only world champion but also the king of blindfold chess. In a super strong field he now has the monster score of 7,5 out of 8. Anand leads the rapid with 6,5 out of 8 and is now clear second in the combined standings.

Boris Gelfand, who played Kramnik in round 8, is a good sportsman and after the games he had nothing but respect for his opponent. About the blindfold game he said: "Incredible how he played this. I can only think of Fischer or Karpov who could do this. Most grandmasters wouldn't even manage this with sight of the board." For a moment Van Wely was mistaken during the blindfold game, and so he missed/forgot about 14.e4. That wasn't a big problem until the blunder 29.Bf1?? though 31...Bxc1 was inaccurate because of a new possibility 32.f5!? missed by White. Morozevich played the Trompovsky against Leko (I love all those different openings!) and the weak playing Hungarian went down slowly but surely. Ivanchuk got a totally winning position against Carlsen (15...c5 was too frivolous and 34...Rd4 a blunder) but the Ukrainian gave away the whole game with 55.Qg7+? where 55.Qe3 wins. Svidler also deviated from his regular repertoire against Radjabov and played a classical Scheveninger. 33...Be7 can probably also called a blunder but the fact that Radjabov, on move 38, forgot the presence of a pawn on a6 is quite incomprehensible. Anand played a solid but strong game against Vallejo's Berlin Defence and like Kramnik, the Indian did it in Karpov style. (Opposite-coloured bishops endings were Anatoly's favourite, according to Mihail Marin.)

In the rapid game Gelfand didn't have trouble to draw a rook ending against Kramnik because he already studied this endgame when he was ten! Leko took revenge for his bad play with a good treatment of Moro's McCutcheon. Leko really likes to play against this line, it seems. With his exchange sac, Aronian reacted very well to Van Wely's interesting opening idea and the ending was and stayed more or less balanced. Carlsen was the next one to take revenge in his second game (meaning Magnus's first win in Monaco!) because Ivanchuk was outplayed completely. Especially 16...Bf6 was bad. It wasn't Radjabov's day, Svidler said after game 2, when again he had won without much trouble. Not his tournament, is another way to put it. Vallejo got a great position in the rapid game but still things went wrong somewhere. My proposal is 36.Qe2.

The blindfold games:

The rapid games:

Results round 8:


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


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

Blindfold standings:

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

Rapid standings:

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

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

Today is a restday. Tomorrow is round 9:


Carlsen       - Kramnik
Svidler       - Van Wely
Vallejo       - Morozevich
Aronian       - Anand
Leko          - Ivanchuk
Gelfand       - Radjabov


Kramnik       - Carlsen
Van Wely      - Svidler
Morozevich    - Vallejo Pons
Anand         - Aronian
Ivanchuk      - Leko
Radjabov      - Gelfand
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