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    1948 World Chess Championship 1959 Candidates 1962 Candidates 2.c3 Sicilian 2.f4 Sicilian 2011 European Team Championship 2011 Russian Championship 2012 Capablanca Memorial 2012 Chess Olympiad 2012 European Women's Championship 2012 London Chess Classic 2012 U.S. Junior Championship 2012 U.S. Women's Championship 2012 US Championship 2012 Women's World Chess Championship 2012 World Rapid and Blitz Championships 2013 Alekhine Memorial 2013 Beijing Grand Prix 2013 European Club Cup 2013 European Team Championship 2013 FIDE World Cup 2013 Kings Tournament 2013 London Chess Classic 2013 Russian Championship 2013 Tal Memorial 2013 U.S. Championship 2013 Women's World Championship 2013 World Blitz Championship 2013 World Championship 2013 World Rapid Championship 2013 World Team Championship 2014 Capablanca Memorial 2014 Chess Olympiad 2014 London Chess Classic 2014 Petrosian Memorial 2014 Rapid & Blitz World Championship 2014 Russian Team Championship 2014 Sinquefield Cup 2014 Tigran Petrosian Memorial 2014 U.S. Championship 2014 U.S. Open 2014 Women's World Championship 2014 World Championship 2014 World Junior Championships 2014 World Rapid Championship 2015 Capablanca Memorial 2015 Chinese Championship 2015 European Club Cup 2015 European Team Championship 2015 London Chess Classic 2015 Millionaire Open 2015 Poikovsky 2015 Russian Team Championship 2015 Sinquefield Cup 2015 U.S. Championship 2015 Women's World Championship KO 2015 World Blitz Championship 2015 World Cup 2015 World Junior Championship 2015 World Open 2015 World Rapid & Blitz Championship 2015 World Team Championships 2016 2016 Candidates 2016 Capablanca Memorial 2016 Champions Showdown 2016 Chess Olympiad 2016 Chinese Championship 2016 European Club Cup 2016 Isle of Man 2016 London Chess Classic 2016 Russian Championship 2016 Sinquefield Cup 2016 Tal Memorial 2016 U.S. Championship 2016 U.S. Junior Championship 2016 U.S. Women's Championship 2016 Women's World Championship 2016 World Blitz Championship 2016 World Championship 2016 World Junior Championship 2016 World Open 2016 World Rapid Championship 2017 British Championship 2017 British Knockout Championship 2017 Champions Showdown 2017 Chinese Championship 2017 European Team Championship 2017 Geneva Grand Prix 2017 Grand Prix 2017 Isle of Man 2017 London Chess Classic 2017 PRO Chess League 2017 Russian Championship 2017 Sharjah Masters 2017 Sinquefield Cup 2017 Speed Chess Championship 2017 U..S. 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    Entries in Vassily Ivanchuk (42)

    Thursday
    Nov302017

    Ivanchuk and A. Muzychuk Win King's Tournament Events in Rapid & Blitz

    Stories, games, and videos here.

    Sunday
    Oct292017

    Ivanchuk-Wei Yi Match: Ivanchuk Wins in a Playoff

    A few days back I reported on the match at its halfway point, when Vassily Ivanchuk led Wei Yi 2-1, winning game three after a couple of draws. Games 4 and 5 were also drawn, and then Wei Yi, to his credit, tied the match by winning the final "regular" game of the match. To rapid play they went, and Ivanchuk showed his resilience by winning both of those games to secure overall match victory.

    The classical finale and the two rapid games can be replayed here.

    Tuesday
    Oct242017

    Ivanchuk - Wei Yi Match; Ivanchuk Leads 2-1 at the Halfway Point

    The perennial road warrior Vassily Ivanchuk has found a new challenge in the form of Chinese super-talent Wei Yi, as they face off in a six-game match in Hoogeveen in the Netherlands. The first two games were drawn, and then Ivanchuk won game when Wei Yi got too attack-happy with 17...g5 followed by 18...Rxe3?? The youngster is a brilliant attacker, but although he drew Ivanchuk's king to d4 it was soon clear that, as Gertrude Stein would say, there was no there there, and Wei Yi resigned on move 25.

    More on the match, and two other associated events, here.

    Saturday
    Sep232017

    Ivanchuk Interview

    Worth your time, if you're a fan of Vasil Ivanchuk.

    Wednesday
    Sep132017

    World Cup, Round 4, Day 2: Aronian, Ding Liren, and Ivanchuk Advance

    There were three decisive games today, and there are three players advancing to round 5, but there isn't a one-to-one correlation between the two "threes". Ding Liren defeated Wang Hao in a good game with White in a Catalan, but if Wang Hao had known about an earlier game - or simply found the right idea on move 22 - the game probably would have finished in a draw, and they'd be off to tomorrow's tiebreaks.

    Levon Aronian also won, defeating Daniil Dubov in a long game. Aronian reached a theoretically won ending, and while he had time at the start to figure out how to win it, he didn't hit on the right plan. Over the course of the next many moves, he even allowed Dubov numerous chances to draw, but Dubov - who had the time and ability to work out his drawing opportunities - thought it was the better strategy to keep blitzing Aronian. It backfired. It took Aronian seemingly forever, but around 40 moves later than he could have won, he finally hit on the right strategy - though he still managed to give Dubov one more (missed) drawing chance after that. Should Dubov have taken his time? The problem is that if he did, at a moment when he didn't have a draw, it could very well have given Aronian the chance to work out the winning plan. So I think Dubov was generally right to blitz - given his correct assumption that the ending was generally lost. But there were several positions where it looked like he could have an escape, and that's where it would have made sense to slow down and look. It's a risk, but there I think it's worth taking. Anyway, he's out, and Aronian advances.

    The day's third winner was Maxim Rodshtein, who leveled his match with Vladimir Fedoseev. The game was an odd echo of the previous day's game: both won with Black after creating complications starting with a dubious ...g5 pawn sac. Fedoseev seemed too intent on playing for a draw - certainly in the opening - and it allowed Rodshtein to make lots of trouble for him. His reward: tiebreaks tomorrow.

    The third player to advance is Vassily Ivanchuk, who was beating Anish Giri today, too, but he made Giri an offer he couldn't refuse: allow an immediate repetition or be dead lost. Giri chose to keep most of his rating points, and called it a tournament. Ivanchuk, meanwhile, will play Aronian in the quarter-finals in the only match that's set so far.

    The other four games finished in draws and will result in tiebreaks. Alexander Grischuk vs. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was a 13-move draw; apparently Grischuk is reverting to his gruesome but effective strategy from Kazan Candidates matches a few years ago, where he would draw all his classical games with White without a fight and then hang on desperately with Black, aiming to reach the rapid and blitz tiebreaks.

    Bu Xiangzhi vs. Peter Svidler was also a short draw, but this doesn't seem to have been by design. Bu was outplayed in the opening, and was pulling on the emergency brake before things got out of hand.

    Baadur Jobava outplayed Wesley So and had him on the ropes, but So saved the game by creating a fortress in the ending.

    Finally, Evgeny Najer and Richard Rapport had a hard-fought draw. It looks like Najer generally had the better chances, but Rapport was never at death's door.

    Games, with mostly brief comments, here.

    Tuesday
    Sep122017

    World Cup, Round 4, Day 1: Ivanchuk and Fedoseev Start with Wins

    The last couple of rounds have seen lots of draws in the classical games, with players preferring to try their luck in the rapid and blitz tiebreaks. In today's action, at least, this was not the case: everyone playing White tried to make something of it, though only one player succeeded.

    That player was Vassily Ivanchuk, who defeated Anish Giri, though the connection of his win to his possession of the white pieces was tenuous. He did obtain an advantage against Giri's Petroff, but his weird 15th and 17th moves flipped the evaluation, and he was in serious trouble. But then Giri started doing strange things, and frankly both players made lots of errors, possibly due to time trouble. The last serious error was 34...Qf4+, allowing Ivanchuk to trade queens and reach an easily won rook endgame. After Ivanchuk's 41st move, the players had time to take stock, and Giri gave up.

    The day's other winner was Vladimir Fedoseev, who defeated Maxim Rodshtein (who may have been a little rusty and emotionally out of sorts after receiving a de facto walkover thanks to "Shortsgate". As with Ivanchuk-Giri, there was no logical line between the opening and the first player to achieve an advantage and the game's result. After Fedoseev's dubious pawn sac on move 22 Rodshtein was better, but White's repeated decision not to initiate the exchange of rooks eventually let his advantage slip away. Even after that the game remained in a precarious balance until Rodshtein's 35.Nc4? missed a nice tactic that had been looming for a while. Fedoseev spotted it, and that clinched it. Again as in Ivanchuk-Giri, once the winner had made his 41st move and time trouble was no longer a factor, it was time to resign.

    The other six games were drawn, but all were interesting. Peter Svidler played the Bishop's Opening against Bu Xiangzhi (to avoid the Petroff), but couldn't achieve an advantage and the game was eventually drawn; if anything, Black was a little better through a fair chunk of the middlegame.

    Wesley So vs. Baadur Jobava was a Petroff, and Jobava was well-prepared. So's 11.h4 was a rare move, and it was well-met by Jobava's new move, 11...Bc5. It's not clear if there's any advantage to be had for White; if so, it's not with 12.Bd3. Jobava had no problems, and while both players fought well and tried to make something happen, the game never got out of balance.

    Richard Rapport and Evgeniy Najer played the longest game of the round. When there were chances, Najer had them, and after Rapport's 44.Nf1 Najer's winning chances were very good. Perhaps 45...Bd3 would have led to a win, and 46...Kf6 would also have given him good chances for the full point. By White's 49th move, however, the draw was an inevitability, provided Rapport stayed alert - and he did.

    In all the draws thus far, Black has done very well, and that was also the case in Daniil Dubov - Levon Aronian. Dubov's 20.d5 was too optimistic, and had Aronian played 22....Bd5, or later 30...Qd7, or especially 34...Rxb2, it's quite likely that he would have won. Luckily for Dubov, Aronian played 34...Qf6??, and two moves later the game was drawn.

    Wang Hao and Ding Liren played a "correct" draw. Ding was well-prepared on the black side of a Meran, and made a comfortable draw.

    Finally, the draw between Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Alexander Grischuk was anything but comfortable. Vachier-Lagrave went all-out for the attack, sacrificing a rook. The idea was sound, but his 28th move was objectively an error, though not one that was easy to refute. Grischuk very understandably looked for a way to achieve safety, and he found it. He returned the material, with a little interest thrown in, to achieve an easily drawn rook and two pawns vs. rook and three pawns ending, with all the pawns on the same side of the board.

    Here are the games, with my comments.

    Sunday
    Sep102017

    World Cup, Round 3, Day 2: Carlsen, Kramnik, and Nakamura Out

    If you're not a fan of Magnus Carlsen or Vladimir Kramnik, Vassily Ivanchuk is your man. While it has never been safe to root for him directly - his nerves have killed him at some crucial points in his career, most especially at the end of his 1991 Candidates match with Artur Yusupov and in the finals of the 2002 FIDE Knockout World Championship against Ruslan Ponomariov - but when it comes to ruining other people's events he's got a special knack. Since 2013, he has practically become Carlsen's and Kramnik's personal angel of death. First he beat both players at the end of the 2013 Candidates, and he has beaten Carlsen at least three more times in rapid and blitz tournaments since then. (His draw with Kramnik at the end of the 2015 World Blitz Championship prevented Kramnik from taking second or maybe even first - I forget how the tiebreaks stood.)

    Today, it was Kramnik's turn to get punished by Ivanchuk. Kramnik had White and got a bit too ambitious. He overextended on the queenside and lost a pawn, and Ivanchuk ground out the victory in 71 moves. Having done his duty, Ivanchuk can now lose in the next round, probably to Anish Giri, who was dead lost against S.P. Sethuraman but eked out a draw to make it to tomorrow's tiebreaks.

    Carlsen is also out. The damage was done yesterday, but if he could win with Black against Bu Xiangzhi he could push the match to tiebreaks. It didn't happen: Bu played well and kept Carlsen safely at bay.

    Another big gun heading for the exits is Hikaru Nakamura. The Spanish Four Knights is probably underappreciated, at least as an occasional weapon, and with a very few exceptions its theory is largely unexplored. Nakamura played an unusual line on move 6 and a novelty on move 7. Was it intentional, and if it was, could he have possibly remembered his preparation? Whatever the case, he was lost or at least much worse after a mistake on move 10. It wasn't a straight line win after that, but White was always better, and eventually Fedoseev broke his opponent's resistance.

    Yet another big name that took it on the chin today was Levon Aronian. He was crushed by Maxim Matlakov in a Semi-Tarrasch, but as he had won the day before they're headed for tiebreaks.

    Other decisive games: Wang Hao beat Yuriy Kuzubov with Black, Daniil Dubov beat Vladislav Artemiev with White, and Peter Svidler ground down Alexander Onischuk on the white side of an Anti-Marshall.

    Americans: Wesley So is through, drawing with Francisco Vallejo Pons today after beating him yesterday. Nakamura and Onischuk are out, and Fabiano Caruana and Aleks Lenderman will play tiebreaks tomorrow after drawing both their games against Evgeny Najer and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, respectively.

    Headed for round 4: Bu Xiangzhi and Peter Svidler (who will play each other), Vassily Ivanchuk, Daniil Dubov, Wesley So, Vladimir Fedoseev and Maxim Rodshtein (they'll play in round 4; Rodshtein, recall, was the recipient of a couple of points due to Shortsgate), and Wang Hao.

    Tomorrow's tiebreaks: MVL-Lenderman, Grischuk-Navara, Giri-Sethuraman, Aronian-Matlakov, Nepomniachtchi-Jobava, Caruana-Najer, Rapport-Li Chao, Ding Liren-Vidit Gujrathi

    Finally, here are a few of today's games, with comments.

    Monday
    Apr102017

    Ivanchuk Defeats Hou Yifan, 3-1

    Vassily Ivanchuk and Hou Yifan played a four-game match in China from April 5-8, and the favorite - Ivanchuk - won in unusual style, drawing games 1 and 3 with White and winning games 2 and 4 with Black. Here are the last two games from the match, both of which were short and entertaining.

    Wednesday
    Dec282016

    Vassily Ivanchuk: World Rapid Champion!

    It may not be the world championship title Vassily Ivanchuk really wanted in his career, but it's a very nice feather in his cap all the same.* Scoring 11 out of 15, as did Alexander Grischuk and Magnus Carlsen but having the better tiebreak scores, Ivanchuk won the 2016 World Rapid Championship, defeating Carlsen, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Viswanathan Anand and other great players along the way. He drew with Grischuk, among others, and lost to Levon Aronian and Ian Nepomniachtchi along the way. But he won most of the big games, including victories in the last two rounds, and was the deserved winner. Among other accomplishments, he's now #2 in the world in rapid, behind only Carlsen himself.

    Grischuk also lost twice, to Anton Korobov (the leader after the first day with 5/5) and to Carlsen on day 2, but finished very strongly with an undefeated 5/6 in the day two finale and on day 3. He won his last three games, with the last two victims the notable Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Nepomniachtchi. He came in second on tiebreak. Had he won, he'd have been the reigning champion in rapid and in blitz, heading into that championship which starts tomorrow (or today, depending on where you are) - Thursday.

    Carlsen was third on tiebreaks, and given his so-called Swiss gambit (early losses and/or draws resulting in easier opponents in subsequent rounds) that was pretty much a guarantee early on if he finished tied for a top place. He was lucky to draw in round 1 against Surya Ganguly, especially when Ganguly missed a simple mate in three, and in round 2 he was crushed by Levan Pantsulaia. After that he won four in a row, mostly against non-elite opponents, and then lost to Ivanchuk in round 7. After a couple of good wins and a draw with Levon Aronian, he lost one ore time, to Korobov, but then reeled off four in a row to finish equal first. The last two wins were especially big, especially his win in the penultimate round over Nepomniachtchi. Nepo had the white pieces and was a full point ahead of what would be the winning trio. He had been undefeated up to that point, but he lost to Carlsen and then to Grischuk, as noted above.

    The winning trio finished a point clear of their closest pursuers: Mamedyarov, Yu Yangyi, Nepomniachtchi, and the surprising David Anton Guijarro. The next score group saw six players with 9.5, including Aronian, while Anand and Sergey Karjakin were among those with 9 points. How difficult was the tournament? The group with 8.5 points included Vachier-Lagrave and Hikaru Nakamura. So the event was plenty strong, though it's still a slight pity that the world's #2-4 players, Fabiano Caruana, Vladimir Kramnik, and Wesley So, didn't participate. (To be fair, those are their classical rankings; their rapid rankings are 19, 11, and 17, respectively.)

    On to the blitz!

    * Ivanchuk also won the World Blitz Championship in 2007, so this isn't his first world championship title.

    Monday
    Jun202016

    Ivanchuk Wins Capablanca Memorial (Elite Group); Xiong Wins Premier

    Vassily Ivanchuk cooled off a bit in the second half of the Capablanca Memorial, but even finishing with a +1 =4 score in the second round robin was good enough for him to finish with an undefeated 7-3 score, a point ahead of his countryman Yuriy Kryvoruchko. Ivan Cheparinov and Zoltan Almasi both finished on 50%, while the native players Lenier Dominguez and Lazaro Bruzon took the bottom places with 4.5 and 2.5 points, respectively.

    That was the Elite Group; in the "Premier" tournament the very young American GM Jeffery Xiong took first with 6.5/9. He won his first three games in the tournament, then drew five in a row before winning in the last round, and in so doing finished half a point clear of Cuban GM Isan Ortiz Suarez and Polish GM Kamil Dragun.