Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Vassily Ivanchuk (Васи́лий Ива́нчук), born March 18 1969 in Berejiany , Ukraine, is a Ukrainian chess grandmaster. Ivanchuk has an ELO rating of 2739 on the FIDE April 2005 ratings list, making him number six in the world and Ukraine's top player.
Ivanchuk first got fame in the chess world when he won the Linares tournament of 1991 at the age of 21. The annual Linares tournament is one of the strongest tournaments every year. First held in 1978, it was for several years sponsored by a local millionaire and chess fan Luis Rentero, who handed out great prizes and secured the participation of the leading chess players of the world.
In 1991 fourteen players participated. Eight were rated in the top-ten of the world, among them World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov, while the rest were none the less among top 50 players. It was a close call between Ivanchuk and Kasparov, but Ivanchuk won by half a point, and he also managed to defeat the world champion in their encounter. The game can be replayed here: Ivanchuk-Kasparov, 1991.
It was believed that Ivanchuk might become World Champion, but this has still not happened, although he came close in 2002 when he reached the finals of the FIDE World Championship Knockout. Even though he has been consistently among the top 10 since 1990, rated as high as number 3 on a few occasions, he has played poorly in matches which require a different approach than tournament play. In matches endurance and good nerves are especially important, and Ivanchuk's biggest flaw is bad nerves. He easily gets nervous and blunders in critical positions.
"Big Chucky", as Ivanchuk is called, has been described by Viswanathan Anand as the most eccentric player in the chess world. Anand, tounge-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.
- For a while he was trying to learn Turkish. Don’t ask me why ... Everyday is a surprise with him.
When he plays, Ivanchuk rarely looks at the board. Instead he stares at the ceiling and at the walls with a blank stare. His playing style is unpredictable which is why he is a threat to any chess player. However, it does sometimes lead to quick losses. Against the best player during the last 20 years, Kasparov, he has a -6 =27 +15 score, which might not look impressive, but is nonetheless better than Kasparov's result against several other top 10 players.
- Kasparov - Ivanchuk, 1995, 0-1 Ivanchuk plays provocatively in the opening. The game has annotation of GM Ray Keene.
- Ivanchuk - Karpov, Linares 1991, 1-0 Ivanchuk makes an unexpected h-pawn trust in the middle-game.
- Harikrishna vs Ivanchuk, 2004, rapid game (25/10), 0-1 Ivanchuk wins with an h-pawn thrust
- Ivanchuk - Timman, 2003 Ivanchuk invades his opponent's queen side early in the game.
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