After four rounds of the Amber rapid/blindfold event in Nice, Vladimir Kramnik is leading with 5.5/8 in what is shaping up to be another balanced event. His usual dominance in the blindfold, now 3.5/4, is the difference. He is pursued by Morozevich and Aronian at a half-point distance and then Radjabov, Carlsen, and Topalov on 4.5. Anand still isn't looking good and is on an even score. There have been the usual blind blunders, dropped queens, etc, as well as a few nice games that wouldn't have looked out of place in the 2500 section of Aeroflot. (Those who think the blindfold games are exciting should watch more games between IMs and the under-2600 crowd in general. They aren't as worried about Elo, are more speculative, and also make more mistakes, therefore leading to more tactical action. This is also why some people say elite women's chess is more exciting than elite "men's" chess. It may well be, but it's not because they are women. It's just that fans don't pay attention to 2500-rated men but the women are stars at that level. High stakes + more mistakes = exciting games.)
Instead of having them play each other, I really would like to know what the average Elo decrease is and have them play blindfold against sighted players. One thing you notice after looking at a lot of these blindfold games is the tendency toward long sequences of direct threat-and-react moves, which makes sense. It's hard to focus on full-board dynamics and planning when you are concerned about not hanging a piece.
I've enjoyed quite a few of the rapid games, which are like potato chips after the heavy meals of Corus and Linares. They are many worth a look. Aronian-Leko saw White win with a very nice rook sacrifice on g6. The quiet move 26.Rd1 is cool stuff. Wang Yue has been horrible so far, with or without his eyes. Ubiquity has its drawbacks and he's got to be exhausted after so many brutal events in a row. Apart from the blunders, his loss with white to Morozevich was truly a rare work of domination by Moro. Aronian was busted right out of the opening against Kamsky but battled along into a bad knight endgame. Kamsky sealed the deal with the non-obvious 43.Ne4 when both Nxg4 and e6 allow Black excellent drawing chances with the a-pawn.
Rapid play is unkind toward endgames in general, of course. Leko missed a chance to beat Carlsen by waiting too long to play f5, which lost its sting after 47..Bc8. A miracle save by Carlsen, with ..Bxf5 on tap if Bxf7. Even with White's dominating king position he can't make progress. Both 44.f5 and 47.f5 look good. Topalov, fresh from playing the Zaitsev and Caro-Kann against Kamsky, essayed the Petroff against Karjakin and was duly punished by the vengeful jilted gods of the Najdorf. Karjakin had something to do with it, I suppose. Petroff, hah! 20.f5 was nice and 31.e6! even nicer. The queen check ladder to pick off the black pawns is also cool, and not just for show. The immediate 39.Rf7 is only a draw because the white queen doesn't control a2, so it's a perpetual. Great stuff. Topalov got some of his own back against Morozevich today. The unexpected 21.g5! led to a brutal direct kingside attack. If 22..Qxg5? 23.Qxf7+ Kh7 24.Re3 is curtains.