I found out this curiosity only yesterday, but it is a quite old story. About two years ago a company was formed to market a real expensive creation: a 5 million pound chess set. No, you can't buy it at the shop around the corner. The name of the company was "Jewel Royal": the precious chess set was constructed of gold and platinum and decorated with 73 rubies, 146 sapphires and no less than 748 diamonds. Each piece was made from 18 carat yellow gold and encrusted with precious stones. The king alone was worth more than £100,000. This company had and has an official web-site, too (http://www.jewelroyale.com), on which you can read that "a limited number of £20,000 replica sets will be available for product competition prizes, national news paper promotions and special publicity events". The last news, dated 6th April 2006, was really interesting: "Award winning writer, Clifford Thurlow, has been commissioned to write a thriller entitled Checkmate. Work started in February on the book. The central plot is based around the Jewel Royale Chess Set. With a series of sub plots and nail biting suspense, the book is set to be a best seller". And then? Silence. We hope to hear soon about the chess set and the announced best seller, or we'll have to think the creation has been stolen (or the whole thing is a joke...)!
And now let's speak about something serious. Vladimir Kramnik has almost secured first place at "Amber" tourney, beating Carlsen 1.5-0.5 in the ninth round. The world champion drew the blindfold game and convincingly won the rapid with a piece sacrifice. Quoting the official site (www.amberchess.com), "in a Botvinnik Slav Kramnik introduced a strong novelty, 14.axb5, after which the black position is hard to play. Kramnik wasn’t too happy to introduce such an important theoretical improvement in a rapid game, but there was a good excuse: ‘I’m fighting for first place. I don’t think I would have played it if I were on 50 per cent’. Carlsen failed to find a remedy against Kramnik’s new plan and after 20…Qb7 21.Qh5 he was totally lost".
Vlad now has a two points lead over Vishy Anand (1-1 with Aronian) and Vassily Ivanchuk (1.5-0.5 with Leko).
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). And now here is the win by Kramnik.
Kramnik,V (2766)-Carlsen,M (2690) [D37], Melody Amber (rapid) 27.03.2007
1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. d4 dxc4 5. e4 Bb4 6. Bg5 b5 7. a4 c6 8. e5 h6 9. exf6 hxg5 10. fxg7 Rg8 11. g3 Bb7 12. Bg2 c5 13. O-O g4 14. axb5 gxf3 15. Bxf3 Bxf3 16. Qxf3 Nd7 17. dxc5 Bxc3 18. bxc3 Nxc5 19. Rfd1 Qc8 20. Rd6 Qb7 21. Qh5 Rc8 22. Rc6 Nd3 23. Rxc8+ Qxc8 24. Rxa7 1-0