Goodbye Monaco and thanks for the lesson!
Anish on Amber tournament


Casino Square
This March, just few days ago, I was lucky enough to be a part of a remarkable chess event in Monaco. The tournament that contains the blindfold and rapid events, established itself as unarguably the best chess tournament in the world. With the strongest possible line-up and the best environment and conditions one can imagine, the Melody Amber tournament was being held for the 20th and the last time. The venue of the tournament was a luxury Monte-Carlo Bay hotel in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.

Melody Amber
Such event obviously didn't appear from nowhere, or fell from the sky on the lucky heads of us, chess players. The tournament was given its birth twenty years ago by Mr. and Mrs. Van Oosterom, as a celebration of the birthday of their first daughter Melody Amber. During the last twenty years the world kept on turning and during this annual edition of the tournament, the players and the visitors had an opportunity to enjoy the art exhibition "Leap of faith" by Melody Amber, who in the meantime turned into a talented artist.

Obviously, I would like to thank the Van Oosterom family for organizing such tremendous and wonderful event and I hope that there will be some other new great chess events that will substitute the Monaco Tournament.

Heaven
The non-chess part of my event was more than great. The closest word that comes to describing the place would probably be "heaven" and the evening
Round 1
(traditional) table football battles, were as much exciting as those on the chess board, with the main difference being the noise that was produced by the 27(8)00+ GMs. The tournament was also a great opportunity for me to learn the world's best chess players much better, not only as chess players, but also as people!

Last place
The chess part of the tournament was a bit less one sided, with as the usual ups and downs (though somehow, this time there were in my opinion much more downs than ups…). The last place that I finished in wasn't a big surprise and in general I wasn't too dissatisfied, apart from the first and the last match I played against Aronian and Anand respectively. Both finished 0-2 for me… But anyway, step by step.
The first round I had to play Levon and I immediately got affected by his "lucky aura"… Or well, my bad calculation…

Aronian - Giri   



Giri - Aronian   




After that, I almost recovered, but then my ambitious and risky opening (together with a natural seeming, but bad move…) was punished spectacularly by Vugar Gashimov.

Gashimov - Giri   




 
Somehow I was unable to win a game before the rest day (not even against Carlsen :), which is not so surprising, considering the field of players. Fortunately the rest day gave me some boost and even though I failed to win anything in the casino, I did shoot quite a few guys at the laser game, so I was fully optimistic when playing Hikaru. Perhaps the game wasn't that sparkling as I wanted it to be, but at least I did win it!
In the second game I was very focused on killing all my opponent's attacking chances, just to secure at least one match-win in the tournament… fortunately it wasn't the only one.

Giri - Nakamura   





Perhaps another upset for me was my horrible match versus Kramnik. In first game he did everything to lose an "unlosable" ending and I didn't use this chance and in the second one I managed to end up under pressure with white, due to some memory problems (must have gotten that disease from my second, Loek…) and then when I finally equalized and the draw seemed to be reached, I made another lapsus… Yet the endgame was drawn till almost the very end, but in heavy time trouble I gave the game away. Was a very disappointing result of a mini-match for me, especially because Vladimir Kramnik wasn't himself in the tournament.

I finally had my lucky day, when in our rapid game Sergei Karjakin suddenly gave away the game in one horrible move. The punishment was pretty nice though!

Giri - Karjakin   




Thanks and bye!
It was a great way to enter the rest day, but unfortunately after the rest day I kept on losing my games right from the opening, like that against, Grischuk, against Gelfand, both games against Vishy… Was a little pity, to finish the tournament in this unconvincing way, especially since I felt that I could do much better, but alright, there will surely be a lot of new opportunities!
Goodbye Monaco and thanks for the lesson!