In the second half of March, the Hotel "Le Metropole Palace" in Monaco was again the venue for the Amber Tournament, now in its seventh year, where the world's best chessplayers enjoyed the usual excellent conditions.
Since the drawing of lots took place in the form of a car race, the authors of this book, Dagobert Kohlmeyer and John Nunn, named it "chess Rallye in Monte Carlo". For the first time there were two winners, Vladimir Kramnik and Alexej Shirov. By a small margin they pushed Vasily Ivanchuk into third place.
In this book the events of the tournament in Monte Carlo are documented from A to Z. As usual the reader will find all the games, informed comments of the grandmasters, round reports and photographs.
In March 1998 the world's best chessplayers met again in Monte Carlo for the annual Amber tournament; this was already the seventh such event. In front of the casino a huge "7" was displayed - in honour of the tournament, perhaps? Muriel van Oosterom, wife of the sponsor Joop van Oosterom, was the first to spot it and recommended that the authors of this book use it for the cover. (What is said is done.)
Monaco is a name which tells of affluence and luck; there is hardly another tourist area which sells itself better than the luxury country on the Cote d'Azur. The principality was founded more than 700 years ago and today the one and a half square kilometres form the most expensive area on the Mediterranean coast. The country is a tax paradise. Prince Rainer (Rainier) makes the 5000 inhabitants and foreigners who have lived at least five years in his "promised country" happy by not charging any income tax.
The city of Monte Carlo could be the setting for a fairy tale, although the chess players didn't get the chance to see very much of it during the tournament. The sights of Monaco include the castle of the Grimaldis, the casino, the oceanography museum, the botanical garden, the yacht harbour and of course the luxury hotels, bars and restaurants. Everything is surrounded by wonderful scenery, the azure-blue Mediterranean and high mountains. On the mountainsides the towers of Monaco are packed closely together, since building sites are rare.
The venue of the tournament was again the fine hotel "Metropole Palace", where world champion Anatoly Karpov, his colleagues and their partners were very comfortable. The already hefty prize money of US$ 107.350 was increased to US$ 137.250. The list of previous winners runs as follows:
1992: Vasily Ivanchuk
1993: Ljubomir Ljubojevic
1994: Vishy Anand
1995: Anatoly Karpov
1996: Vladimir Kramnik
1997: Vishy Anand
Who would win in 1998? Thanks to his outstanding abilities in rapid and blindfold chess, Anand has already twice won the Amber tournament, the most original chess event in the world.
The tournament is not easy to play. What makes it so special? The Dutch player Loek van Wely, who in 1998 participated for the second time, gave the following explanation in the German magazine Schach: "Most people have no real idea about this event. One rapid and one blindfold game sounds like a sweet life, let alone the dollars which are on offer. However, the main problem in Monaco is to kill the time after the chess games! In March the real life, as we know it in big cities, is missing. The tournament itself is very hard. Although no rating points are at stake, all the games are fought to the bitter end. Even the blindfold games don't give you any peace. Halluc inations, frustrations and other cruelties almost kill you. By the end of the day you are down."
The organisers of the Association Max Euwe did everything to make the players comfortable. Three rest days with excursions and sport contributed to the recovery and pleasure of the participants and guests.
John Nunn and I thank the Association Max Euwe and everyone who has supported our work. Petra Nunn again made an excellent translation of my German text into English. We wish the readers pleasure while reading this book. Please note that unless otherwise stated, all the annotation to the games were written by John Nunn.
1st August 1998
006 Who is who?
007 Opening ceremony
009 Round 1 With a little help from Albert
027 Round 2 Ljubo beats Vishy
038 Rounds Six Black wins
051 Round 4 Karpov's First Win
062 Round5 Matthew's Premiere
072 RoundG Loek and Joel
081 Saint Paul
083 Round 7 Vasja beats Vladimir
094 Vienna Game
095 Rounds Karpov stops Kramnik
105 Round 9 Where is Tolya's Queen?
115 Nice Memories
117 Round 10 Loek, look in the book!
125 Round 11 Two Winners
133 Closing Ceremony