Saturday, March 12, 2011

2011 Amber Tournament begins

The 20th Amber Blindfold and Rapid Tournament will take place at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort in Monaco, from March 11 to 24, 2011. The organizers have assembled a very strong and interesting field, Anand , Carlsen, Kramnik, Ivancuk , Aronian are the top five seeds.

Nakamura, winner of the recent Tata Steel super tournament as well as a host of other super GMs rounded up by the up-and-coming Anish Giri.

 No.   Name    Title   FED   Elo  
 1  Anand, Viswanathan  GM  IND  2817 
 2  Carlsen, Magnus  GM  NOR  2815 
 3  Aronian, Levon  GM  ARM  2808 
 4  Kramnik, Vladimir  GM  RUS  2785 
 5  Ivanchuk, Vassily  GM  UKR  2779 
 6  Karjakin, Sergey  GM  RUS  2776 
 7  Topalov, Veselin  GM  BUL  2775 
 8  Nakamura, Hikaru  GM  USA  2774 
 9  Grischuk, Alexander  GM  RUS  2747 
 10  Gashimov, Vugar  GM  AZE  2746 
 11  Gelfand, Boris  GM  ISR  2733 
 12  Giri, Anish  GM  NED  2690 

Amber is different from other tournaments in that it consists of both a blindfold and a rapid event. The twelve players play one blindfold and one rapid game with each other participant. Those not used to playing this format might be at a disadvantage and this includes Nakamura and Giri. Anand, Kramnik, Ivancuk and Aronian are all veterans at this event and I expect one of them to win it.

Round 1 games starts today. One unusual thing I noticed is that the games are staggered. Nakamura, Carlsen, Aronian , Giri, Ivancuk and Gashimov starts their first blindfold games at 2:30 PM but the rest starts at 4:00 PM. I guess this gives spectators a better chance to follow all the games. Nice touch and I like this.

There are two games per day. The blindfold will be followed rapidly by the rapids :) Not much rest for the players but they are well paid for it, so they cannot complain. The total prize-fund is a cool € 227,000 (around RM958,000). That's Euros, ladies and gentleman. Now who says chess is not a rewarding game monetary wise?


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