And the last Amber. The elite reassemble in Monaco to save us from this fallow stretch. This 20th edition is the final one for the Melody Amber rapid/blindfold tournament. It's been a remarkable series with the elite coming in to enjoy amazing conditions and play without risking rating points. Round 1 is the 12th and I hope by then I'll be done with first draft book edits and able to blog, sleep, and reacquaint myself with my family if they'll have me.
Tata Steel champion Hikaru Nakamura joins the event for the first time, and just in time. He's as fast as they come and has been critical of the qualify of the blindfold play in Amber in the past, so it should be interesting to see him in action. First-timers not named Kramnik or Morozevich usually have trouble in the blindfold. The field is incredible, as usual. World champ Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik, Aronian, Topalov, Grischuk, Ivanchuk, Karjakin, Gelfand, Gashimov, and Giri. Can't say much more than 'wow' to that line-up.
Ivanchuk has played in all 20 events and shared first last year with Carlsen. Games begin at 1430 local time, 8:30am NY.