Independent Pursuits: Chess

THE EIGHT Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess Tournament started on Tuesday at the Metropole Palace Hotel in the casino square in Monaco, Sponsored as always by the Dutch multimillionaire Joop van Oosterom, it will run until 28 March; those with an Internet connection can find daily coverage at http://www.tasc.nl/amber8.

As the name implies, this is no ordinary event but rather follows its own unique format. Each day consists of two games against the same opponent. The first is a normal rapid game at the time limit of 25 minutes plus 10 seconds extra per move; but the second, with 25 minutes and 20 seconds extra, is played "blindfold" with the players mousing in their moves on a blank computer screen - a somewhat traumatic variant which can take a lot of getting used to and last year was extremely tough on Matthew Sadler, who scored badly. Sadly he has not been invited this time.

Not that anybody would be totally blithe about jumping into such a bear pit. The next fortnight should see some splendidly bloodcurdling combat as these heavyweights get stuck into each other. Indeed, there was already plenty of action and and some big surprises in the first round as Karpov beat Gelfand 2-0 and Predrag Nikoloc made the same score against Ivanchuk; while the score was 1.5-0.5 in Lautier vs Piket, Kramnik vs Topalov and Ljubojevic vs Anand, and the only drawn match was between Shirov and Van Wely.

Anand would not normally be your favoured choice of first-round opponent but this time Ljubojevic rose to the occasion. By transposition they reached a Sicilian Maroczy bind in which Anand initially seemed to get some advantage with 13 c5 which can't be met by 13 ...dxc5 in view of 14 f4 Neg4 15 e5 Nxe3 16 Nxe3 winning a piece for not quite enough compensation.

Anand with 22 Ne2 initiated an operation whereby with 25 Rd7 he was first to penetrate to the seventh rank but then the bishops started to count.

The very sharp position after 29 b4 would be hard enough at a slow time limit, let alone rapidplay. Anand's idea was that if 29 ...Rxe2? 30 Bc5! but after 29 ...Kg7 30 Nxf4 looks better when one line goes Bd6 31 Ra8! exf4 32 Bd4+ Kg6 33 Rxa6 Rc1+ 34 Kf2 Rf1+ 35 Kxf1 Bc4+ 36 Kf2 Bxa6 37 a3 and White has quite reasonable drawing chances. White was in trouble after 31 ...Bxb4 and at the end fell into a snap mate.

White: Viswanathan Anand

Black: Ljubomir Ljubojevic

Sicilian Maroczy Bind

1 d4 Nf6

2 c4 g6

3 Nc3 Bg7

4 e4 d6

5 Nf3 0-0

6 Be2 c5

7 0-0 cxd4

8 Nxd4 Nc6

9 Be3 Bd7

10 Nc2 Qa5

11 Qd2 Rfc8

12 f3 Ne5

13 c5 Ne8

14 Rfd1 Be6

15 Nd4 Nc4

16 Bxc4 Bxc4

17 cxd6 Nxd6

18 Rac1 f5

19 b3 Bf7

20 exf5 Nxf5

21 Nxf5 gxf5

22 Ne2 Qxd2

23 Rxc8+ Rxc8

24 Rxd2 a6

25 Rd7 e5

26 Rxb7 f4

27 Bb6 Rc2

28 Rb8+ Bf8

29 b4 Kg7

30 Nd4 Rc1+

31 Kf2 Bxb4

32 Nf5+ Kg6

33 Nh4+ Kh5

34 Nf5? Be1+! 0-1

Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

    Marian Keyes

    The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick