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    Entries in Vassily Ivanchuk (45)

    Friday
    Mar292013

    Candidates' Tournament, Round 12: Kramnik Beats Aronian, Ivanchuk Beats Carlsen; Kramnik Leads!

    What a round! Magnus Carlsen had been in first place at the Candidates', either shared or alone, from round 4, and he entered today's round with a half point lead over Vladimir Kramnik and a full point ahead of Levon Aronian. With White against the erratic, self-destructive Vassily Ivanchuk he seemed well situated to increase his lead, especially with Kramnik having the black pieces against Aronian.

    Instead, another "miracle" happened - or two. Kramnik came up with a fascinating plan with 10...f5 in a typical IQP position, and it looked good enough to equalize. Practically, it was even better. Aronian's best choice at a certain moment early on was to force a draw by repetition (starting with 15.Bxb5 f4, as I recall), but in his tournament situation that would have been hard to do. So he played on and was worse, but soon the board exploded with tactics. Kramnik made an error that could have allowed Aronian to escape with a draw, but missed it. Instead of finding that move - 21.Ne5 - Aronian played 21.e4?, and Kramnik was very ready for that one. A very nice tactical sequence left Kramnik with a probably winning technical endgame...but again Kramnik slipped. Aronian had several ways to draw the resulting piece-down ending (all based on the wrong-colored bishop + rook pawn combination), but when he played 50.g6?? his last chance was gone. It's hard to know what was going on in Aronian's mind, but it looks as if he was trying to win. It's tough to balance fighting spirit and self-preservation, and in this case Aronian chose wrongly - especially as it was clear by this point that Carlsen would have to struggle to draw.

    Turning to that game, Carlsen played the opening poorly with White and was slightly worse. After Ivanchuk's odd 18...a5, however, Carlsen equalized, but then by the end of the first time control Chuky, with Black, was again somewhat better. Still, it wasn't clear for a long time what the result should be, and not only due to the ever-present concern that Ivanchuk would do something completely insane. This time around, he didn't, and when Carlsen failed to maintain his usual insanely high level of technical prowess the Ukranian great managed to convert his material advantage. Overall, Ivanchuk played very well, while Carlsen immediately labeled his play "absolutely disgraceful."

    Thanks to that loss, and Kramnik's remarkable run in the second cycle (4.5/5; three in a row) it is now Kramnik who leads by half a point, with Carlsen in second and Aronian a point and a half behind with two rounds to go. Tomorrow is the rest day, and then they finish up on Easter Sunday and Monday. Before giving the full standings and pairings for the last two rounds, a quick note about the other two games, games which could in fact prove very important.

    Boris Gelfand and Peter Svidler drew a game without fireworks, but that looked like a model squeeze by Gelfand before the inaccurate 32.Qa7. According to Svidler, 32.Qb3, maintaining the squeeze, would have kept an enduring advantage based on the bishop pair and the possibility of b4-b5. Teimour Radjabov-Alexander Grischuk was also drawn, and as in the Gelfand-Svidler game White may have missed an opportunity for more. Nothing much happened until 40...h5, but that was a serious error allowing White to target Black's f-pawn after 41.h4. Maybe 43.Rxf5+ would have given Radjabov better winning chances than 43.Bxf5; as it was, Grischuk had to wriggle before reaching the theoretically drawn ending with a rook against a rook and f- and h-pawns.

    Why were these games important? The answer is that the tournament regulations have a very unfortunate provision for settling a first-place tie: tiebreaks! This is the second-most important event in the chess calendar, behind only the world championship itself, and the geniuses at FIDE are going to allow the challenger's identity to be decided by which player won more games, or how the tailender does in the last round against the next-to-last placed finisher. This is just insane, especially as plenty of far less prestigious events run playoffs in case of a tie.

    About the games: I managed to goof my back up (for the second straight year; let's hope this doesn't become a tradition!), so for now I can't sit long enough to work up an in-depth analysis of the games. If things improve I may try to make up for it tomorrow, during the rest day; otherwise, my apologies.

    Standings After Round 12:

    1. Kramnik 8
    2. Carlsen 7.5
    3. Aronian 6.5
    4. Svidler 6
    5-6. Grischuk, Gelfand 5.5
    7. Ivanchuk 5
    8. Radjabov 4

    Round 13 Pairings (Sunday):

    • Radjabov - Carlsen (Clearly a big opportunity for Carlsen to bounce right back.)
    • Grischuk - Aronian (Will Aronian burn his bridges trying to stay alive, or just play "correct" chess?)
    • Kramnik - Gelfand (Gelfand has traditionally matched up well with Kramnik, and rarely loses games to him at a classical time control.)
    • Svidler - Ivanchuk

    Round 14 Pairings (Monday):

    • Carlsen - Svidler
    • Ivanchuk - Kramnik (Will Ivanchuk rise to the occasion again, or (indirectly) harm Carlsen a second time?)
    • Gelfand - Grischuk
    • Aronian - Radjabov
    Friday
    Mar082013

    Candidates Previews: Svidler, Ivanchuk, Grischuk

    ChessBase is doing a sort of countdown, profiling the eight Candidates going from lowest-rated to highest. So far they've done three: Peter Svidler, Vassily Ivanchuk and Alexander Grischuk. The articles present the full record of how each player has done against all his rivals in Classical games, which is quite nice; I wouldn't put much (any) stock in the author's conclusions about what openings each player will or ought to play, however. Anyway, it's fun to skim this information, and as I run across other interesting previews I'll pass them along.

    Friday
    Feb012013

    Vitiugov Wins Gibraltar

    (But where will he put it? It's an awfully big rock.)

    Russian GM Nikita Vitiugov won the 11th Tradewise Gibraltar Festival after tying for first with 8/10 and then winning a four-man blitz(ish) playoff. Vitiugov, who never trailed the field for even one round, wound up tied with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Nigel Short and Chanda Sandipan. It was an extremely strong field, as evidenced by some of the luminaries who finished with 7.5 points - Vassily "Quick Draw" Ivanchuk, Gata Kamsky, Michael Adams and David Navara - and some major figures were part of the tie at 7 points - Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Alexei Shirov and Chuky's partner in crime, Le Quang Liem.

    Rather than go to tiebreaks, the organizers used a knockout playoff of 10' + 5" games. Vitiugov dispatched of Sandipan without much trouble. Sandipan tried to "Zuke" Vitiugov in game 1, and failed, losing, and in round 2 it seemed near-miraculous that Sandipan got off the hook with a draw. In the second match a mild upset occurred. Short won game 1 with Black in a Delayed Steinitz. Vachier-Lagrave had more space, but seemed to get a bit careless. Short broke open White's kingside, and eventually took advantage. In game 2 Vachier-Lagrave managed to keep the game interesting, but Short's bishops kept enough control for the game to end in a draw.

    In game 1 of the final, Vitiugov, with White, won a pawn, and after 43 moves the players reached an ending where White had a queen, knight and four pawns against a queen, bishop and three pawns; all the pawns were on the kingside. Vitiugov took his sweet time, using lots of repetitions to accumulate precious seconds for thought, and finally converted his advantage after 104 moves. Short tried to grind out an endgame in the rematch, but the best he could do was to reach an opposite-colored bishop ending that was easily drawn.

    The tournament coverage was very good, with GM Simon Williams and IM Irina Krush providing live commentary (still available) and other videos as well. This includes a number of "master classes", including one by Vassily Ivanchuk that may have been his "punishment" for the quick draw with Le Quang Liem:

    Thursday
    Jan312013

    A Non-Cheating Scandal

    The Sophia/Corsica Suggestions, nee Rules, were violated by Vassily Ivanchuk and Le Quang Liem in round 7 of the 2013 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival. According to those "rules", or at least the modified version in use in Gibraltar, players could not agree to a draw before move 30.* Ivanchuk and Le Quang apparently weren't terribly impressed by this, and uncorked the following:

    1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. Bf4 Nc6 6. e3 a6 7. Rc1 Bf5 8. Nf3 e6 9. Qb3 Ra7 10. Ne5 Nxe5 11. Bxe5 Nd7 12. Bg3 Be7 13. Qd1 O-O 14. Bd3 Bxd3 1/2-1/2

    The position is level (and dull), but it's by no means a forced or otherwise dead draw. Clearly the players wanted or were very willing to draw, but even so they could have made eye contact and tacitly gone on to move 30. (A series of exchanges, harmless moves or a long series of repetitions could have done the trick.) Instead, they decided to provoke the arbiters,** who faced a decision. The penalty given in the tournament "regulations" was that the players would have a choice: replay the game from scratch, or suffer a double forfeit. This "rule" was apparently carried out on lower boards.

    Our heroes (especially Ivanchuk) being super-GMs, however, it was decided that such fundamental skills as the ability to read the "rules" did not apply to them, and apparently they weren't interested in submitting to them after the fact either. And so an expedient was worked out - here's GM Stuart Conquest on the matter:

    We had a long talk with them and they stated that even though the rule is mentioned in the regulations, it was never announced before the rounds. And they are right about that, so tomorrow we will make the reminder to all players at the start of the round.

    Indeed. Perhaps they should also mention the touch-move rule (Garry and Zurab might appreciate that), and for that matter they might want to explain how the horsie moves.

    Of course, I'm being naive. There is one set of policies for GMs and especially super-GMs, and another one altogether for the rest of us. Therefore, even though no one outside the circle of their friends probably cared at all about the games on the lower boards that prematurely finished in draws and plenty of spectators were interested in the high-rating, high-board fight between Vassily Ivanchuk and Le Quang Liem, the latter was allowed to stand and the former wasn't. (Not to mention that the latter two surely received conditions while the amateurs surely did not.) No matter.

    It would be better to end the hypocrisy one way or another. Either turn the "rules" back into rules and apply them to everyone, or eliminate the sham altogether. (I'm still a fan of my old suggestion: when a player who's getting paid to play makes a habit of quick draws, disinvite him and encourage other organizers to do the same.) The Solomonic solution here (ironically, splitting the point!) is slightly absurd.

    [HT: Hylen]

    * I suppose that means that followers of Sax-Seirawan and Kovchan-Peralta must repeat the sequence ...Be3+ Ke1 Bf2+ Kf2 ten times so the arbiters can be happy.

    ** A strange species of human being characterized by a talent for getting in the way of the webcams and an inconquerable inability to master the DGT technology at the end of a game.

    Wednesday
    Nov142012

    Ivanchuk Wins Kings Tournament In Rapid Tiebreak

    But oddly, though. First, round 6 of the tournament: Vassily Ivanchuk had the white pieces against Veselin Topalov, and their short, sharp game finished in a perpetual check. Fabiano Caruana could have caught them in first had he managed to defeat Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, but that proved too difficult with the black pieces, and he finished half a point behind.

    So then it was on to rapid tiebreaks. FIDE uses incremental time controls here too, as in both blitz and (most) classical chess games; in this case 15 minutes for the game plus three seconds added per move. And yet...despite an extra pawn in a fairly simple ending, Topalov lost on time. It was a real pity for him, as he had played well (both sides seemed to, but that's based on a quick look without using an engine) and could have made safe, do-nothing moves without any real risk. That was Topalov's white game, so Ivanchuk needed only a draw with the white pieces in the second game to win the crown, and he did it without much difficulty. Congratulations to Ivanchuk, who continues to play at a fantastic level and with enthusiasm well into his 40s!

    Friday
    Nov022012

    Cap d'Agde Semi-Finals: Ivanchuk, Karpov Advance to Saturday's Final

    The Trophee Anatoly Karpov (in Cap d'Agde) may yet wind up with the trophy going to Anatoly Karpov! Karpov and Vassily Ivanchuk tied for first in the preliminaries, with Ju Wenjun and Romain Edouard taking third and fourth, respectively, and also qualifying. In the semis, Ivanchuk was paired with the lower-rated Ju Wenjun, and swept her 2-0, while Karpov faced Edouard (2664, higher-rated than Karpov at the moment, though well below Karpov's career peak) and won 1.5-.5.

    Could the "miracle" happen? As long as Karpov can get playable positions from the opening, why not!?

    Thursday
    Nov012012

    Karpov in Action, And Doing Well

    Anatoly Karpov has been at least semi-retired for around a decade, but every now and then he has the time, gets the bug and plays. Especially when facing the absolute elite, his results naturally aren't up to their former standard, but he can still perform pretty well against just about everyone else - especially in rapid. Case in point: the ongoing rapid event in Cap d'Agde, the Trophee Anatoly Karpov. The preliminary round is near the end, and after 12 of 14 rounds, Vassily Ivanchuk leads with 10 points while Karpov is just half a point behind and (like Ivanchuk) undefeated! Ju Wenjun (2498) is third with 8.5, but in case you hastily conclude that the rest of the field is comparatively weak you're mistaken: Romain Edouard (2664) is in fourth-fifth (tied with Marie Sebag [2521]) with 6 points, and Christian Bauer (also 2664) is in sixth with 5.5. The other two players (Sophie Milliet [2421, 1.5 points] and Aleksandra Goryachkina [2384, 1 point]) are out of the picture for qualification to the second stage; that's a two round knockout competition for the top four qualifiers.

    Sunday
    Jul222012

    Ivanchuk Wins ACP Golden Classic

    Vassily Ivanchuk put a nice exclamation point on a very successful outing in Amsterdam, defeating Anna Muzychuk (impressively, with Black) to win the ACP Golden Classic. His score of 5/6 was good for a 2967 TPR - alas, the tournament wasn't rated. Still, it was a nice performance for the "old" guy, and hopefully he can continue fighting the good fight for the 40+ set.

    Gata Kamsky also played well, scoring 4.5 points and, like Ivanchuk, he went undefeated. The result may not be a particularly memorable one, given a career as prestigious as his, but his last round win over Baadur Jobava will be. This game will probably give your computers a migraine:

     

    Jobava (2730) - Kamsky (2744)
    1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. e5 d5 7. Be2 Ne4 8. cxd4
    Bb6 9. O-O Bg4 10. Be3 f5 11. exf6 Qxf6 12. Nc3 O-O-O 13. Na4 Kb8 14. Nxb6 axb6
    15. a4 Bxf3 16. Bxf3 Rhe8 17. b4 Nd6 18. a5 b5 19. Qc1 Nc4 20. Bg5 Qxd4 21.
    Bxd8 Rxd8 22. a6 Nxb4 23. axb7 Kxb7 24. Rb1 c5 25. Rd1 Qe5 26. Re1 Qf6 27. Rb3
    Kb6 28. Bd1 Rd6 29. Bc2 h6 30. Re8 Re6 31. Rf3 Rxe8 32. Rxf6+ gxf6 33. Bg6 Rd8
    34. Qxh6 Ne5 35. Bf5 d4 36. Qxf6+ Nec6 37. h4 c4 38. h5 d3 39. h6 d2 40. Bg4
    d1=Q+ 41. Bxd1 Rxd1+ 42. Kh2 Rd7 43. g4 Nd3 44. g5 Nde5 45. Qf4 b4 46. Qe3+ Kb7
    47. Qc5 c3 48. f4 Rd2+ 49. Kg3 c2 50. h7 Rd3+ 51. Kg2 Rc3 52. Qb5+ Kc7 53. Qf1
    c1=Q 54. Qxc1 Rxc1 55. h8=Q b3 56. Qh7+ Nd7 57. g6 b2 58. g7 Ne7 0-1
    The third game, between Le Quang Liem and Emil Sutovsky, ended in a hard-fought draw, so the final standings look like this:
    1. Ivanchuk 5 (of 6)
    2. Kamsky 4.5
    3. Sutovsky 3.5
    4-5. Muzychuk, Le Quang Liem 3
    6. Sasikiran 1.5
    7. Jobava .5 (Oof. There's at least one player who's glad this wasn't rated!)

     

     

    Saturday
    Jul212012

    An Ivanchuk Lecture

    On his bye day at the ACP Golden Classic, Vassily Ivanchuk gave a lecture in which he presented a game and a game fragment for the gathered spectators. It's a bit awkward at times watching him drop the pieces on the demo board or generate feedback squawks on the mic, but the chess is so good and interesting that it's all more than made up for. It's definitely worth a look!

    P.S. I'm not sure who Ivanchuk's opponent was in that first game, and can't find the game in the database. If someone else has more information about it, please fill us in with a comment.

    Tuesday
    May152012

    Ivanchuk Wins in Havana, Plus a Sigeman & Co. Update

    We've already reported on the World Championship, and the U.S. Championship (both versions) had a rest day. So that left two major events to report: the 47th Capablanca Memorial, which finished today (now yesterday) and Sigeman & Co.

    Vassily Ivanchuk had a half point lead over Ian Nepomniachtchi in the Capablanca Memorial, and drew with White against Viktor Laznicka in 11 rounds. He practically dared Nepomniachtchi to try to catch him, but while he may have tried, he didn't succeed. Leinier Dominguez defeated him and caught him in second place. Ivanchuk finished with 6.5/10 while Nepomniachtchi and Dominguez had 5.5 points apiece. In minus territory, Vladimir Potkin wound up with 4.5 while Yuniesky Quesada and Laznicka totaled 4 points.

    While in Havana the standings finished more or less according to ratings, the story's a bit different in Malmo, Sweden, where the Sigeman & Co. tournament has finished five rounds of seven. Top seed Fabiano Caruana won his first two games and, three draws later, remains in first. But he has been caught by Nils Grandelius, who is the lowest-rated player in the tournament. Caruana drew a crazy Gruenfeld against Li Chao, while Grandelius won with White against Jonny Hector in a Slav. The leaders have 3.5 points, good for a half point edge over Li Chao and Peter Leko and a full point advantage over Anish Giri.