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The best thing about fast time limits is that they remove players' inhibitions. The Melody Amber tournament in Monte Carlo, which combines quickplay games with quickplay blindfold games, has proved the point with a good harvest of excitement.

In our first game, Shirov's 10.g5 and 12.g6 is not a particularly unusual idea, but such play can easily rebound on White. Black's king looks secure on f7 and a fine square on e5 beckons his knight. White's 15.Nxe6! put an abrupt end to Black's dreams. With 17...Bxf1 demolished by 18.Qd5+, and 17...Bb7 losing to 18.Qg4+, Black was always struggling.

White: Alexei Shirov

Black: Loek van Wely

1 e4 c5 15 Nxe6 Kxe6

2 Nf3 d6 16 e5 Bxg2

3 d4 cxd4 17 exf6 Nxf6

4 Nxd4 Nf6 18 Kxg2 Rc8

5 Nc3 a6 19 Qf3 Be7

6 Be3 e6 20 Rae1 Kf7

7 g4 h6 21 Qd5+ Kf8

8 f4 b5 22 Qf5 Qc7

9 Bg2 Bb7 23 Bd4 Qb7+

10 g5 hxg5 24 Kg1 Rc4

11 fxg5 Nh5 25 Rf4 Qc8

12 g6 Nf6 26 Re6 Rxd4

13 gxf7+ Kxf7 27 Rxf6+ resigns

14 0-0 Nd7

The next game is of higher quality. After 33...Bxh2+, it looked as though Black was doing well since 34.Kxh2 Qxf2 gives a winning position. Anand, however, calmly walked away with his king, leaving the bishop entombed on h2. At the end 45...Rxe6 46.Rc8+ leads to mate, while 45...fxe6 46.Rxh7 Kxh7 47.Rh1 is also fatal.

White: Viswanathan Anand

Black: Vladimir Kramnik

1 d4 Nf6 24 a5 Ng4

2 c4 e6 25 axb6 Bxb6

3 Nf3 d5 26 Bxg4 hxg4

4 Nc3 Bb4 27 Nfe2 Ba8

5 cxd5 exd5 28 Ng3 Rb8

6 Bg5 Nbd7 29 Qa3 Bb7

7 Qc2 c5 30 Nxe4 Rxe4

8 dxc5 h6 31 Bc3 Bc7

9 Bd2 0-0 32 Ne2 d4

10 e3 bxc5 33 Bxd4 Bxh2+

11 Be2 b6 34 Kf1 Qh4

12 0-0 Bb7 35 g3 Qh3+

13 Rfd1 Qe7 36 Ke1 Rbe8

14 a3 a6 37 Qd6 Re6

15 Be1 Rfe8 38 Qd7 R6e7

16 Nd4 g6 39 Qd6 Re6

17 Rac1 Bd6 40 Qf4 Bf3

18 Bf3 Ne5 41 Rc7 Qh7

19 Nce2 Ne4 42 Bc3 Re4

20 Qb3 Bc5 43 Qd6 Bxe2

21 Nf4 Rad8 44 Kxe2 R4e6

22 Be2 Qf6 45 Qxe6 resigns

23 a4 h5