Friday, June 29, 2007

Ivanchuk in Style

Two major topflight tournaments are in full swing internationally now. One, the Aerosvit open, has had little press, as it is a lower category event, while the other, Dortmund, with Kramnik, Anand and Carlsen playing, has been a total snoozer, draws, draws, and more draws.

Not so Aerosvit, with an engaging and interesting array of games and many tough fights. Going into the last round, through some wild and persistent play, Vassily Ivanchuk has stolen the show, an occurrence that always makes for spectacle.
Ivanchuk has been among the world's top players for over fifteen years now, and he has always retained his flare for eccentricity. Rarely looking at the board, instead staring blankly at the wall as he plays, Ivanchuk is notorious for his mercurial temperaments, outbursts, irregular wardrobe, and unpredictability. Top players jokingly relate that he lives on "Planet Ivanchuk", a world unto itself.
In round one, he essayed the Accelerated Dragon, an unusual choice. This then became a Yugoslav Dragon by transposition, making it yet more of an oddity, but it fizzled it out quickly, though not without color.
White: Karjakin,Sergey (2686)
Black: Ivanchuk,V (2729)
Event: Foros UKR: Aerosvit (1)
Date: 2007-06-18
(B78 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav A, 10.O-O-O)
1 e4 c5
2 Nf3 Nc6
3 d4 cxd4
4 Nxd4 g6
5 Nc3 Bg7
6 Be3 Nf6
7 Bc4 O-O
8 Bb3 d6
9 f3 Bd7
10 Qd2 Rc8
11 O-O-O Ne5
12 Kb1 Re8
13 Bh6
Instead, 13.h4 is the main line. Black has generally done well after Bh6.
13... Bxh6
14 Qxh6 Rxc3
15 bxc3 a5
16 a4 Karjakin's move here is a novelty it seems, varying from 16.a3, and I suppose that it is an improvement, but not much of one. The real teeth in white's approach to the Yugoslav still come after 9.0-0-0.
16... Qb6
17 h4 Bxa4
18 h5 Nc6
19 hxg6 Bxb3
20 gxh7+ Kh8
21 cxb3

21... Nxd4
22 cxd4 Qxb3+
23 Ka1 1/2
After a nice win over Nisipeanu in the second round, Ivanchuk then settled down to rattle off 22 moves of straight theory in a drawish line of the modern Benoni, following a 1996 Karpov-Topalov game. His opponent, Sasikiran, varied on move 23, but unimpressively, and the game ended in a draw five moves later.

Here, see Ivanchuk watching intently as Sasikiran struggles to center his knight on the square. Ivanchuk's chagrin that he did not wear a pink shirt to match his trousers is clearly in evidence.
After this rather uneventful encounter, Ivanchuk seemed to lose interest for a time, drawing his next three games in a row in 18, 23, and 17 moves. By that time, his countryman, Karjakin, had taken the lead, and Ivanchuk seemed to find motivation afresh.
In round 7, he distmantled Eljanov's Queen's Indian. Then in round 8, with the black pieces, he destroyed Rublevsky's Sozin attack, demonstrating rather convincingly once again, and sadly alas, that the Sozin is not very effective with opposite sides castling against Najdorf. In round 9, tied with Karjakin now for the lead, Ivanchuk strove his utmost to break Dominguez Perez down in an even endgame, fighting on for 77 moves without an appreciable change in predicament only to draw at the end. Whew!
In round 10, he had black against Alexei Shirov, and they played a Ruy Lopez. It proved to be one of the most interesting games of the tournament.
White: Shirov,Alexei (2699)
Black: Ivanchuk,Vassily (2729)
Event: Foros: Aerosvit-2007 (10)
Date: 2007-06-28
(C91 Ruy Lopez)
1 e4 e5
2 Nf3 Nc6
3 Bb5 a6
4 Ba4 Nf6
5 O-O b5
6 Bb3 Be7
7 d4 d6
Shirov's 7th move is unusual but probably not that strong. White suffers somewhat for allowing the pin on g4.
8 c3 O-O
9 Re1 Bg4
10 Be3 exd4
11 cxd4 d5
12 e5 Ne4
13 Nc3 Nxc3
14 bxc3 Qd7
15 h3 Bh5
16 g4 Bg6
17 Nd2 a5
18 f4 a4
19 Bc2 Bxc2
20 Qxc2 f5
21 exf6 Bxf6
22 Nf3 Rae8
23 Bf2 h5
24 Qg6 Re4
25 Rxe4 dxe4
26 Nh2?!

The position was rather balanced here, but after Shirov's inaccuracy - the knight ought to have gone forward to g5, Ivanchuk unleashed a monster of a move.
26... Nxd4!
After this, it was a walkover.
27 cxd4 Bxd4
28 Rb1 e3
29 Bg3 h4!
30 Bxh4 Rxf4
31 Qd3 Qd5
32 Nf1 Rf2
33 Nxe3 Rg2+
34 Kh1 Qf3 0-1
With a solid draw in the last round, Ivanchuk sealed the deal. Amazing what a spurt of inspiration can do.


Blogger transformation said...

yes, ivanchuk IS an autistic savant, did you know that? GM Seirawan told me so...

i have justed added you way up in my sidebar, and will start to come by more often, as relates to where you go from here please.

stop by any time. you might be surprised?!

warmly, david aks dk or transformation

4:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!

3:30 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home