Tag Archives: Melody Amber

Notable Moments from Team Topalov and Team Kamsky

The final Melody Amber tournament finished a few days ago, and Aronian ended up in clear first. Not a huge surprise, I guess, as Aronian is both extremely strong and extremely tricky, which makes him all the more difficult to bring down in rapid chess.

One interesting result was that only 3 players finished above 50% in the combined standings! They would happen to be the only 2800+ players at the moment, in opposite order of rating: Aronian, Carlsen, and then Anand in 3rd. That seems really surprising to me in a 12-player double-round robin.

One amazing opening idea was seen in the rapid game between GMs Topalov and Nakamura:

(FEN: r1b1kb1r/1p1nqppp/p3p3/1B1pP3/3B1P2/1RN5/P1PQ2PP/4K2R w Kkq – 0 14)

Topalov played 14.Ba4, as an improvement on a 2008 game between his regular second, GM Ivan Cheparinov, and his occasional second, GM Francisco Vallejo. In that game, Cheparinov gave up the bishop directly with 14.0-0, but in the line with 14…axb5 15.Nxb5 Qd8 16.Qc3 Qa5 17.Nc7+ Kd8 18.Nxa8 Qxa8 19.f5, Black has the amazing resource 19…b6!, preparing to put a bishop on c5 and defend.

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Blindfolded Brilliance and Other Views from the Peanut Gallery

The Melody Amber rapid/blindfold tournament is underway in Monaco, and it’s a pretty stacked field: 11 of the top 15 in the world, plus Anish Giri (no scrub himself), are playing. So far Aronian has proved to be the most slippery player, escaping from worse/lost positions in all 4 of his games to score 3.5 points!

As I tuned into the event yesterday, I saw Kramnik played 38…Bf5 to reach the position in the diagram below:

(FEN: 4rnk1/pp2r1p1/q4p1p/P2p1b2/2pPP3/2P2PB1/2B2QPP/RR5K w - - 0 39)

The move made some sense – Black has to do something about White’s slowly advancing center, and …Bf5 forces a decision with the e-pawn. I didn’t have much time to think about what was going on when Grischuk played 39.exf5!!.

But wait, didn’t Kramnik stop that with the threat of …Re2?

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