Ivanchuk in 2006
|Full name||Vasyl Mykhaylovych Ivanchuk|
March 18, 1969 |
Kopychyntsi, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
|FIDE rating||2722 (September 2016)
(No. 35 in the April 2016 FIDE World Rankings)
|Peak rating||2787 (October 2007)|
A leading player since 1988, Ivanchuk was ranked No. 2 three-times (July 1991, July 1992, October 2007). His erratic results has seen him drop as low as 30th in July 2009 before returning to the top ten in the next list.
Ivanchuk has won Linares, Wijk aan Zee, Tal Memorial, Gibraltar Masters and M-Tel Masters titles. Ivanchuk was the 2007 World Blitz Chess champion, won the Melody Amber rapid in 1992 and shared the combined event in 2010.
Ivanchuk was born in Kopychyntsi, Ukraine. He won the 1987 European Junior Chess Championship in Groningen and first achieved international notice by winning the 1988 New York Open with 7½/9, ahead of a field of Grandmasters. He tied for first place in the 1988 World Junior Chess Championship at Adelaide, but lost the title on tiebreak to Joël Lautier. He was awarded the Grandmaster title in 1988, and entered the world top 10 the same year.
Reaches world elite
Ivanchuk attained chess world fame at the age of 21 when he won the Linares tournament in 1991. Fourteen players participated, eight of them rated top-ten of the world, including World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov, while the rest were all among the world's top 50 players. Ivanchuk narrowly edged Kasparov by a half-point, defeating Kasparov in their individual game.
It was widely believed that Ivanchuk might become World Champion, although he came close in 2002 when he reached the final of the FIDE World Chess Championship 2002. While being consistently among the top 10 from 1988, Mark Crowther's The Week in Chess said that his erratic play was due to "poor temperament." His inability to become World Champion despite his immense talent and longevity among the chess elite has been attributed to his admittedly poor nerves, demonstrated by astonishing blunders such as in the 1994 London Grand Prix blitz, failing to complete a strong attack on Viswanathan Anand in blitz with a basic and obvious mate in one, all despite having 1:14 left on the clock. Ivanchuk's nerves were notably exposed during the high-tension atmosphere of World Championship match-format tournaments, such as in 2002 where he was heavily favored in the FIDE championship final after having defeated defending champion Viswanathan Anand in the semifinals, only to lose to countryman Ruslan Ponomariov in a significant upset, denying him the World Championship. Subsequent match-play tournaments in World Championship cycles saw Ivanchuk consistently underperform; in the FIDE World Chess Championship 2004, Chess World Cup 2005, Chess World Cup 2007, and Chess World Cup 2009, he failed to advance past the third round despite being seeded No. 5, No. 1, No. 1 and No. 6 respectively in those events.
Ivanchuk's world championship aspirations were also dampened by the unfortunate title split 1993 to 2006. Due to obligations with FIDE, Ivanchuk and Anand did not participate in the 2002 Dortmund Candidates tournament for the Classical World Chess Championship 2004. He was then narrowly excluded, on the basis of rating, from the rival FIDE World Chess Championship 2005. While he won one of the events of the FIDE Grand Prix 2008–2010, his overall performance was not enough to qualify him for the World Chess Championship 2012 candidates tournament.
Assessment and personality
In 2013, Gawain Jones described Ivanchuk as "possibly the most talented [player] ever". Judit Polgár, when asked in 2012 to name chess players whom she considers geniuses, named only Ivanchuk, Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand.
"Chucky", as Ivanchuk is called, has been described by Anand as the most eccentric player in the chess world. Anand, tongue-in-cheek, gave his view on Ivanchuk like this:
He's someone who is very intelligent ... but you never know which mood he is going to be in. Some days he will treat you like his long-lost brother. The next day he ignores you completely.
The players have a word for him. They say he lives on "Planet Ivanchuk". (Laughs) ... I have seen him totally drunk and singing Ukrainian poetry and then the next day I have seen him give an impressive talk.His playing style is unpredictable and highly original, making him more dangerous but sometimes leading to quick losses as well.
After a string of unsuccessful performances culminated in his elimination at the early stages of the 2009 World Cup, Ivanchuk announced, in a highly emotional interview, his retirement from professional chess. However, he soon recanted on this decision.
Notable tournament victories
Team chess performances
|Representing Soviet Union|
|Novi Sad 1990||Open|
Ivanchuk has often been at his best in international team competitions. He has played in 14 Chess Olympiads, twice for the Soviet Union (1988 and 1990), and twelve times for Ukraine, after the Soviet Union split up in 1991. He has won a total of thirteen medals, and has been on four gold-medal winning teams (USSR in 1988 and 1990, Ukraine in 2004 and 2010). In 162 games, Ivanchuk has scored (+63 =87 -12), for 65.7 per cent. His detailed Olympiad records are as follows:
- Thessaloniki 1988, USSR 2nd reserve, 6½/9 (+4 −0 =5), team gold
- Novi Sad 1990, USSR board 1, 7/10 (+5 −1 =4), team gold, board bronze
- Manila 1992, Ukraine board 1, 8½/13 (+6 −1 =5)
- Moscow 1994, Ukraine board 1, 9½/14 (+5 −0 =9)
- Yerevan 1996, Ukraine board 1, 8½/11 (+6 −0 =5), team silver, board silver, perf. bronze
- Elista 1998, Ukraine board 1, 7/11 (+3 −0 =8), team bronze
- Istanbul 2000, Ukraine board 1, 9/14 (+4 −0 =10), team bronze
- Bled 2002, Ukraine board 2, 9/14 (+4 −0 =10)
- Calvià 2004, Ukraine board 1, 9½/13 (+6 −0 =7), team gold, board bronze
- Turin 2006, Ukraine board 1, 8/13 (+4 −1 =8)
- Dresden 2008, Ukraine board 1, 6/11 (+3 −2 =6)
- Khanty-Mansiysk 2010, Ukraine board 1, 8/10 (+7 −1 =2), team gold, board gold
- Istanbul 2012, Ukraine board 1, 6/10 (+4 -2 =4), team bronze
- Tromso 2014, Ukraine board 1, 4/9 (+2 -3 =4)
- Ivanchuk vs Kasparov, Linares 1991
In 2011, Ivanchuk and his second wife were mugged the day they were set to leave from São Paulo, Brazil on a plane bound for Spain to finish the second half of the Bilbao Grand Slam Masters. Ivanchuk threatened to withdraw from the tournament altogether, but his wife convinced him to continue. He had been leading in the tournament before this event, but did not play as well in the second half of the tournament.
Doping test controversy
Ivanchuk was playing on board 1 for Ukraine in the 2008 Chess Olympiad held in Dresden. Going into the last round Ukraine was second with decent chances of placing 1st, and only a strong loss against a 10th-seeded USA would leave them without a medal. Ivanchuk was chosen to be tested for illegal substances in his system immediately after the last round.
In a major upset, the USA defeated Ukraine 3½ to ½ with Ivanchuk losing his game against GM Gata Kamsky, causing Ukraine to fall to fourth and miss out on a medal. Ivanchuk was in such a distraught state after the game that he was seen "kicking a large concrete pillar". Ivanchuk refused to take a doping test and stormed out, risking punishment under FIDE rules and forfeiting his games in the event as had happened in the 2004 Chess Olympiad in Majorca. Ivanchuk was cleared when it emerged that he had not been warned of the test, and that in his distraught frame of mind, he had not fully understood the arbiter's request.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vassily Ivanchuk.|
- Vassily Ivanchuk player profile and games at Chessgames.com
- Elo rating with world rankings and historical development since 1990 (benoni.de/schach/elo) for Vassily Ivanchuk
- Interview with Vassily Ivanchuk (2000)
- Interview of Vassily Ivanchuk: I can still become World Champion" (2011)
|World Blitz Chess Champion