9th Amber Tournament 

Official site: http://chess.lostcity.nl/amber/
Jeroen van den Berg reports

 Alexey Shirov has won the ninth Amber Tournament in Monaco.
Shirov drew the rapid game with Ivanchuk within 24 moves, while Topalov lost to Ljubomir Ljubojevic. With the blindfold games still to follow, it meant that nobody could catch up anymore with the Spanish grandmaster.

Rapid games

Shirov did not take any risk in his game against Ivanchuk. In the Ruy Lopez the light pieces were exchanged in the centre, after which a double rook ending was left. This gave no winning chances to both players. Both Shirov and Ivanchuk stayed undefeated in the rapid competition.
 Shirov then started to watch the game Ljubojevic-Topalov, where the position was more or less equal when Topalov blundered. The Bulgarian grandmaster played on for a long time and finaly resigning on move 48. It was Ljubo's first win in the rapid competition.
Karpov-Kramnik was drawn in 20 moves and Kramnik had to play accurately to achieve this result.
Also Lautier-Piket was drawn, but here the players needed 121 moves. Piket clearly escaped in this game.

In Anand-Gelfand there was another theoretical battle in the Sicilian Najdorf. Gelfand had a new idea (14. ... Rc8) and after the game Anand admitted that he was actually happy with the final result in this very sharp game (-).
Van Wely beat Nikolic in a sharp middle game of the Nimzo-Indian. He sacrificed the exchange but had good compensation with a dangerous b-pawn and a pair of bishops. This later proved to be enough for a win.

Blindfold games

Shirov did not succeed in creating a new record, by being the first player who won the Amber Tournament undefeated in all games. In the last game of his impressive tournament, he lost to Ivanchuk. It was actually a nice game by Ivanchuk, full of tactical moments by both players. After 26 moves Shirov had to resign.

As in the rapid game, Topalov again blundered against Ljubojevic. In a winning rook ending he simply gave away his most import pawn on the board. Now the game was drawn.
Kramnik was pressing Karpov for a long time, but the game was drawn. Kramnik became the 'traditional' winner of the blindfold tournament. Karpov obviously became tired at the end of the tournament. He finished 9th in the combined standings.
Viswanathan Anand complicated his game against Gelfand at the 18th move, when he sacrificed a piece. He got two pawns and some active play, but still it was unclear whether this was sufficient compensation. However, after 37 moves the game was drawn.
Jeroen Piket had some slight pressure over the d-file in his game against Lautier. When the queens were exchanged, it was clear that the remaining rook ending was totally equal.
The other Dutchman, Loek van Wely, catched up with Piket by beating Nikolic two times. Playing white Nikolic had a slight advantage, but the game changed when Nikolic lost a pawn. The Dutch GM did not loose control of the game and Nikolic resigned when he lost a second pawn.

Combined Standings

1. Shirov 15
2. Ivanchuk 13
2. Kramnik 13
2. Toplaov 13
5. Anand 12
6. Gelfand 12
7. Piket 10
7. Van Wely 10
9. Karpov 10
10. Lautier 7
11. Ljubojevic 7
12. Nikolic 6

Rapid Standings

  Name FED ELO 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Score TPR
1. Shirov ESP 274 X 1 1 1 1 1 1 8,5 291
2. Ivanchuk UKR 267 X 1 1 1 1 1 8 288
3. Topalov BUL 269 0 X 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 6,5 276
4. Van Wely NED 268 0 0 1 X 1 1 1 6,5 277
5. Gelfand ISR 272 0 0 X 1 1 1 6 273
6. Kramnik RUS 276 0 0 0 X 1 1 1 1 6 273
7. Anand IND 282 0 0 0 X 1 1 1 5,5 269
8. Karpov RUS 284 0 0 0 X 1 1 5 265
9. Piket NED 263 0 0 X 0 1 4,5 264
10. Nikolic BIH 258 0 0 0 0 0 1 X 3,5 258
11. Lautier FRA 262 0 0 0 0 0 X 3 253
12. Ljubojevic YUG 263 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 X 3 253

Blindfold Standings

  Name FED 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Score
1. Kramnik RUS X 1 0 1 1 1 1 7,5
2. Anand IND 0 X 1 1 1 1 7
3. Topalov BUL 0 X 1 1 1 1 7
4. Shirov ESP X 1 0 1 1 6,5
5. Gelfand ISR 1 0 X 0 1 1 6
6. Piket NED 0 0 1 X 1 1 6
7. Ivanchuk UKR 0 0 1 X 1 0 1 5,5
8. Karpov RUS 0 0 0 X 1 1 5
9. Lautier FRA 0 0 0 X 1 0 1 4,5
10. Ljubojevic YUG 0 0 0 1 0 X 4
11. Van Wely NED 0 0 0 0 0 1 X 1 4
12. Nikolic BIH 0 0 0 0 0 X 3
The Games
Rapidplay
Round 1 (March 16, 2000)

Ivanchuk, Vassily     -  Topalov, Veselin      1/2   23  E11  Bogo indian
Gelfand, Boris        -  Nikolic, Predrag      1-0   34  E32  Nimzo indian
Van Wely, Loek        -  Karpov, Anatoly       1/2   56  A30  English; 1.c4 c5
Lautier, Joel         -  Shirov, Alexei        1/2   32  D47  Semi-Slav
Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  -  Anand, Viswanathan    1/2   26  D75  1.d4 d5 2.c4 g6
Piket, Jeroen         -  Kramnik, Vladimir     0-1   41  D37  Queen's gambit

Round 2 (March 17, 2000)

Shirov, Alexei        -  Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  1-0   23  B46  Sicilian
Topalov, Veselin      -  Piket, Jeroen         1/2   62  C91  Ruy Lopez
Van Wely, Loek        -  Lautier, Joel         1/2   24  D43  Semi-Slav
Karpov, Anatoly       -  Anand, Viswanathan    1/2   40  D12  Slav defence
Kramnik, Vladimir     -  Gelfand, Boris        1/2   60  A33  English; 1.c4 c5
Nikolic, Predrag      -  Ivanchuk, Vassily     1/2   33  D18  Slav defence

Round 3 (March 18, 2000)

Ivanchuk, Vassily     -  Kramnik, Vladimir     1-0   52  D85  Gruenfeld indian
Gelfand, Boris        -  Piket, Jeroen         1/2   30  D85  Gruenfeld indian
Lautier, Joel         -  Karpov, Anatoly       0-1   34  E15  Nimzo indian
Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  -  Van Wely, Loek        1/2   43  D23  QGA;
Nikolic, Predrag      -  Topalov, Veselin      0-1   44  A62  Modern Benoni
Anand, Viswanathan    -  Shirov, Alexei        0-1   39  C11  French; Classical

Round 4 (March 19, 2000)

Gelfand, Boris        -  Ivanchuk, Vassily     1/2   54  D27  QGA;
Van Wely, Loek        -  Anand, Viswanathan    1-0  113  E12  Nimzo indian
Karpov, Anatoly       -  Shirov, Alexei        0-1   51  D30  Queen's gambit
Lautier, Joel         -  Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  1/2   29  B80  Sicilian
Kramnik, Vladimir     -  Topalov, Veselin      0-1   33  A43  Queen's pawn
Piket, Jeroen         -  Nikolic, Predrag      0-1   59  D58  QGD;

Round 5 (March 21, 2000)

Shirov, Alexei        -  Van Wely, Loek        1-0   26  B81  Sicilian
Ivanchuk, Vassily     -  Piket, Jeroen         1/2   16  D39  Queen's gambit
Topalov, Veselin      -  Gelfand, Boris        1-0   28  B80  Sicilian
Anand, Viswanathan    -  Lautier, Joel         1-0   34  B80  Sicilian
Nikolic, Predrag      -  Kramnik, Vladimir     0-1   29  D43  Semi-Slav
Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  -  Karpov, Anatoly       0-1   57  A30  English; 1.c4 c5

Round 6 (March 22, 2000)

Ivanchuk, Vassily     -  Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  1-0   36  C10  French
Topalov, Veselin      -  Anand, Viswanathan    1/2   32  C11  French; Classical
Gelfand, Boris        -  Lautier, Joel         1/2  111  D47  Semi-Slav
Kramnik, Vladimir     -  Van Wely, Loek        0-1   46  D39  Queen's gambit
Piket, Jeroen         -  Karpov, Anatoly       1/2   35  E12  Nimzo indian
Nikolic, Predrag      -  Shirov, Alexei        1/2   21  D10  Slav defence

Round 7 (March 23, 2000)

Shirov, Alexei        -  Topalov, Veselin      1-0   75  B90  Sicilian; Najdorf
Van Wely, Loek        -  Ivanchuk, Vassily     0-1   49  D20  QGA;
Anand, Viswanathan    -  Piket, Jeroen         1-0   46  C95  Ruy Lopez
Karpov, Anatoly       -  Nikolic, Predrag      1/2  111  D12  Slav defence
Lautier, Joel         -  Kramnik, Vladimir     0-1   28  A30  English; 1.c4 c5
Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  -  Gelfand, Boris        0-1   39  A12  English; 1.c4

Round 8 (March 24, 2000)

Ivanchuk, Vassily     -  Lautier, Joel         1-0   41  B49  Sicilian
Topalov, Veselin      -  Karpov, Anatoly       1-0   74  D37  Queen's gambit
Gelfand, Boris        -  Van Wely, Loek        1/2   77  D94  Gruenfeld indian
Kramnik, Vladimir     -  Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  1-0   39  E70  Kings indian
Piket, Jeroen         -  Shirov, Alexei        1/2   44  D19  Slav defence
Nikolic, Predrag      -  Anand, Viswanathan    0-1   35  D12  Slav defence

Round 9 (March 26, 2000)

Shirov, Alexei        -  Gelfand, Boris        1-0   40  B90  Sicilian; Najdorf
Van Wely, Loek        -  Topalov, Veselin      1-0   47  E97  Kings indian; Main line
Anand, Viswanathan    -  Kramnik, Vladimir     1/2   38  B33  Sicilian; Sveshnikov
Karpov, Anatoly       -  Ivanchuk, Vassily     1/2   29  E32  Nimzo indian
Lautier, Joel         -  Nikolic, Predrag      1/2   39  B07  Pirc
Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  -  Piket, Jeroen         0-1   34  D45  Semi-Slav

Round 10 (March 27, 2000)

Ivanchuk, Vassily     -  Anand, Viswanathan    1-0   50  B17  Caro-Kann
Topalov, Veselin      -  Lautier, Joel         1-0   25  D30  Queen's gambit
Gelfand, Boris        -  Karpov, Anatoly       1-0   51  B12  Caro-Kann
Kramnik, Vladimir     -  Shirov, Alexei        1/2   31  D17  Slav defence
Piket, Jeroen         -  Van Wely, Loek        1/2   53  A34  English; 1.c4 c5
Nikolic, Predrag      -  Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  1/2   34  D77  1.d4 d5 2.c4 g6

Round 11 (March 28, 2000)                         

Karpov                -  Kramnik               1/2    
Anand                 -  Gelfand               1/2   
Shirov                -  Ivanchuk              1/2    
Ljubojevic            -  Topalov               1-0    
Van Wely              -  Nikolic               1-0   
Lautier               -  Piket                 1/2    


Blindfold 

Round 1 (March 16, 2000)

Karpov, Anatoly       -  Van Wely, Loek        1-0   52  E32  Nimzo indian
Anand, Viswanathan    -  Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  1-0   29  B80  Sicilian
Topalov, Veselin      -  Ivanchuk, Vassily     1-0   33  B90  Sicilian; Najdorf
Kramnik, Vladimir     -  Piket, Jeroen         1-0   30  D18  Slav defence
Shirov, Alexei        -  Lautier, Joel         1-0   26  B33  Sicilian; Sveshnikov
Nikolic, Predrag      -  Gelfand, Boris        1/2   25  D39  Queen's gambit

Round 2 (March 17, 2000)

Anand, Viswanathan    -  Karpov, Anatoly       1/2   45  B12  Caro-Kann
Piket, Jeroen         -  Topalov, Veselin      1/2   46  A70  Modern Benoni
Gelfand, Boris        -  Kramnik, Vladimir     1-0   60  A31  English; 1.c4 c5
Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  -  Shirov, Alexei        1/2   25  D75  1.d4 d5 2.c4 g6
Ivanchuk, Vassily     -  Nikolic, Predrag      1/2   14  E32  Nimzo indian
Lautier, Joel         -  Van Wely, Loek        0-1   46  D19  Slav defence

Round 3 (March 18, 2000)

Karpov, Anatoly       -  Lautier, Joel         1-0   93  D32  Queen's gambit
Topalov, Veselin      -  Nikolic, Predrag      1-0   58  E15  Nimzo indian
Kramnik, Vladimir     -  Ivanchuk, Vassily     1-0   23  E97  Kings indian; Main line
Shirov, Alexei        -  Anand, Viswanathan    1/2   50  B12  Caro-Kann
Piket, Jeroen         -  Gelfand, Boris        1-0   41  D43  Semi-Slav
Van Wely, Loek        -  Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  1/2   62  E32  Nimzo indian

Round 4 (March 19, 2000)

Anand, Viswanathan    -  Van Wely, Loek        1-0   32  B80  Sicilian
Topalov, Veselin      -  Kramnik, Vladimir     1/2   39  B63  Sicilian
Shirov, Alexei        -  Karpov, Anatoly       1/2   26  B12  Caro-Kann
Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  -  Lautier, Joel         0-1   30  D44  QGD; Botwinnik
Nikolic, Predrag      -  Piket, Jeroen         0-1   72  D02  Queen's pawn
Ivanchuk, Vassily     -  Gelfand, Boris        1/2   25  B70  Sicilian; Dragon

Round 5 (March 21, 2000)

Kramnik, Vladimir     -  Nikolic, Predrag      1/2   44  E12  Nimzo indian
Gelfand, Boris        -  Topalov, Veselin      0-1   42  D58  QGD;
Piket, Jeroen         -  Ivanchuk, Vassily     1/2   27  D27  QGA;
Karpov, Anatoly       -  Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  1/2   39  E32  Nimzo indian
Lautier, Joel         -  Anand, Viswanathan    0-1   72  D46  Semi-Slav
Van Wely, Loek        -  Shirov, Alexei        1/2  112  D19  Slav defence

Round 6 (March 22, 2000)

Shirov, Alexei        -  Nikolic, Predrag      1-0   54  B08  Pirc; Classical
Anand, Viswanathan    -  Topalov, Veselin      1-0   47  A37  English; 1.c4 c5
Karpov, Anatoly       -  Piket, Jeroen         1/2   57  D07  Chigorin
Lautier, Joel         -  Gelfand, Boris        1/2   38  B42  Sicilian
Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  -  Ivanchuk, Vassily     1-0   49  D76  1.d4 d5 2.c4 g6
Van Wely, Loek        -  Kramnik, Vladimir     0-1   59  A35  English; 1.c4 c5

Round 7 (March 23, 2000)

Kramnik, Vladimir     -  Lautier, Joel         1/2   36  D47  Semi-Slav
Topalov, Veselin      -  Shirov, Alexei        1/2   35  C42  Petroff defence
Gelfand, Boris        -  Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  1-0   54  D58  QGD;
Piket, Jeroen         -  Anand, Viswanathan    1/2   26  D19  Slav defence
Ivanchuk, Vassily     -  Van Wely, Loek        1-0   57  E25  Nimzo indian
Nikolic, Predrag      -  Karpov, Anatoly       1/2   63  E15  Nimzo indian

Round 8 (March 24, 2000)

Shirov, Alexei        -  Piket, Jeroen         1-0   32  C83  Ruy Lopez
Anand, Viswanathan    -  Nikolic, Predrag      1/2   18  E12  Nimzo indian
Karpov, Anatoly       -  Topalov, Veselin      0-1   39  E69  Kings indian
Lautier, Joel         -  Ivanchuk, Vassily     1/2   26  D39  Queen's gambit
Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  -  Kramnik, Vladimir     0-1   26  E32  Nimzo indian
Van Wely, Loek        -  Gelfand, Boris        1/2   79  A21  English; 1.c4 e5

Round 9 (March 26, 2000)

Kramnik, Vladimir     -  Anand, Viswanathan    1-0   32  D43  Semi-Slav
Topalov, Veselin      -  Van Wely, Loek        1/2   56  B80  Sicilian
Gelfand, Boris        -  Shirov, Alexei        1/2   35  D45  Semi-Slav
Piket, Jeroen         -  Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  1/2   31  D27  QGA;
Ivanchuk, Vassily     -  Karpov, Anatoly       1-0   44  E04  Nimzo indian
Nikolic, Predrag      -  Lautier, Joel         0-1   50  D47  Semi-Slav

Round 10 (March 27, 2000)

Shirov, Alexei        -  Kramnik, Vladimir     1/2   49  C42  Petroff defence
Anand, Viswanathan    -  Ivanchuk, Vassily     1/2   19  D21  QGA;
Karpov, Anatoly       -  Gelfand, Boris        0-1   53  E39  Nimzo indian
Lautier, Joel         -  Topalov, Veselin      1/2   65  A43  Queen's pawn
Ljubojevic, Ljubomir  -  Nikolic, Predrag      1/2   63  D45  Semi-Slav
Van Wely, Loek        -  Piket, Jeroen         0-1   49  A34  English; 1.c4 c5
Round 11 (March 28, 2000)

Kramnik               -  Karpov                1/2
Gelfand               -  Anand                 1/2
Ivanchuk              -  Shirov                1-0
Topalov               -  Ljubojevic            1/2
Nikolic               -  Van Wely              0-1
Piket                 -  Lautier               1/2