What's going on in Monte Carlo? Top seed Vishy Anand, who will be number one in the next Fide list, and armenian star Levon Aronian, winner of Corus supertournament in January, resigned after only 23 moves against their respective opponents (Ivanchuk and Gelfand) in the third blindfold game. A negative record for both of them and, incidentally, in the same day. Most curious, they both took prompt revenge in rapid games, so that Vishy is now fourth in combined standings with 3.5 points out of 6, Levon is second with 4.5. Sole leader is world champion Vladimir Kramnik, the only player who hasn't lost a game so far.
Let's see the above mentioned games lost by the two superGMs. In Gelfand-Aronian White completely dominated: 14.exd5! (a strong reply to 13...f6?) and then 15.Ac7! are brilliant moves and Black has no defence against them. After 20...Re8 Aronian loses immediately, but the better 20...Rf7 was also hopeless; after 23.Nd6 he resigned because in case of 23...Qb8 White mates: 24.Nf7+ Kg8 25.Nh6++ Kh8 26.Qg8+ Rxg8 27.Nf7#. The only move, 23...Nc5, loses a Rook: 24.dxc5 Qd7 25.Nxe8. Simple.
And what's about the Ivanchuk-Anand game? The Ukrainian grandmaster executed his moves with determination and at high speed and Vishy soon ended up in a precarious position. 17...Be4? and particularly 18...Ne5? were the last mistakes and 22.f4! is a killer move; after 23...Qg5 or 23...Qf6, 24.Rae1 wins a piece. Wow!
As usual, you can find full results, pairings and all games on my italian site, www.messaggeroscacchi.it (the page of "Amber" tourney is www.messaggeroscacchi.it/mondo/amber07.html).
Gelfand,B (2733) - Aronian,L (2744) [E06], Melody Amber (Blindfold) 2007
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 6. Nf3 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. Bf4 b6 9. Nc3 Bb7 10. Rc1 Nh5 11. Be5 Nd7 12. cxd5 exd5 13. e4 f6 14. exd5 cxd5 15. Bc7 Qxc7 16. Nh4 Nf4 17. gxf4 Rf7 18. Nxd5 Qb8 19. Nxe7+ Rxe7 20. Nf5 Re8 21. Qb3+ Kh8 22. Bxb7 Qxb7 23. Nd6 1-0
Ivanchuk,V (2750) - Anand,V (2779) [E37], Melody Amber (Blindfold) 2007
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 Ne4 7. Qc2 c5 8. dxc5 Nc6 9. cxd5 exd5 10. Nf3 Bf5 11. b4 d4 12. g4 Bg6 13. Qb2 O-O 14. Bg2 Re8 15. O-O Nc3 16. Re1 h5 17. g5 Be4 18. Bd2 Ne5 19. Bxc3 Bxf3 20. exf3 dxc3 21. Qxc3 Qxg5 22. f4 Qxf4 23. Re4 1-0