Recently I’ve been following the Amberchess 2010 tournament in Monaco which boasts a prize fund of around $300,000 (US) and which finished last night.   This event attracted many of the world’s top players and has an unusual format in that players are paired against each other for one blindfold game then one rapid game.  I guess this is the way to make chess faster and more appealing to the media.

Last night I was able to follow the games “live” for the first time (the last round started early) and was excited to listen to the comments of American Grandmaster Larry Christiansen on the games in progress.  I played Christiansen once back in 1976 so it’s good too see he is still involved with chess.

Of particular interest was the blindfold game Dominguez v Aronian where they reached the diagrammed position with Black to play.  White is struggling to find a good defence and Christiansen was analysing 1…Be6 2.Rc1 Bxa2 which looked very strong.  GM Jonathan Speelman passed by and suggested that 2.Rc2 Bxa2 3.Ba4 was better.  At that moment Aronian (blindfolded), the world number 5 player, made two quick moves and it was clear that he had seen what the sighted grandmasters had not.

Today’s puzzle is to find the winning line that Aronian played.  (If you want to make it tough then look at the position then blindfold yourself)!

[fen caption=”Black to Play and win”]1rr3k1/5p1p/2B2p2/p3pb2/1bR5/4BPP1/PP2P2P/3K3R b KQkq – 0 1[/fen]


1…Rd8+ Kc1 2.Ba3!! Be4 3.Rxb2 Rc3 4.Bxe4 fxe4 5.Rdb8! Rxa3 6.Rb1+ winning the exchange and the game.