Well, I am a chess player, a poor one, of the kind who are only able to beat, the ones who don’t play actively in a club or something. However, those people I am able to beat, even though they know the rules.
With my poor knowledge and great enthusiasm, I try to follow the big tournaments around the world. I have signed on the ICC with the handle Esalen, and I use to login when there is a tournament going on, as it usually is. Now it was the Tal memorial, and my hero and all time favourite, the Ukrainian marvel, Vassily Ivanchuk won both the memorial and the blitz tournement. The latter considered to be the unofficial world championship in Blitz chess. Good old Chuky won last year also. He has been more marvellous than ever this year, and has climbed almost to the top on the world rankings in a time when the competition is severe.
Oh, yes, and he plays more games than the rest of the top 10 combined (with the exception of our own little marvel, Mr. Magnus Carlsen), and it is particular impressive when old Chuky returns from an unknown tournament in inner Siberia with top class Russian grandmasters, and 8 out of 9, or something, he just outplays anyone, when he is in the mood.
But most of the world class grandmasters can outplay anyone when they are in the mood, they are all great talents, of course. It takes more to be Mr. Chuky, a real favourite you don’t need to know anything of chess, to love and celebrate. Vassily Ivanchuk is a true marvel, he is something else in any sense of the word, he is made up of a personality you just have to love and to admire and to sympathize.
Already in the 90’ies, another chess star, Evgeny Bareev, said there are only three great players in the world, Kasparov, Anand and Kramnik, they are in a class of their own, the other playes – like me, Bareev said – don’t understand what’s going own when they play. Or Ivanchuk does, he said, he is among them. And the other grand masters agree, Ivanchuk is among the ones with greates talent, he understands chess in a way no one else does. A commentary on the ICC once said, “I never am able to predict Ivanchuk’s moves, and even when I see them, I need to time to understand them.”
Add that he is one of the most passionate players in the world. One thing he participates in each and every tournament where he is invited, and shame to say, he is often omitted at the very bests, Linares and Wijk an Zee, not to mention the world Championship, he doesn’t play there, but has to collect his rating points in tournaments where he is top seeded, and has to win by great margins, not to lose points. Well, he plays those tournaments, more than any other player on the top 10, and in addition, he studies a lot while at home. Just check his opening repertoire, even us who try to follow him closely (but poorly), never can predict what kind of opening to excpect. He can play anything.
So why is he not and has never been the World Champion, except for in Blitz (and unofficial)? He has a problem which is so human, and so charming when on Ivanchuk, it is his nerves. So many times, he has cracked down in critical positions. So many times, he has outplayed his oponent, just to outplay himself afterwards. He is the only chess grand master, or maybe chess player, who has lost on time on a different color bishop ending – with 30 seconds increment. I have searched the net for the position, but was not able to find it, it was in a tournament a few years ago, and I think it was in Russia. When I saw the position, I thought even I could hold this position against anyone.
This year, brave Chuky has been better and charming than ever. Suddenly, he just plays and smiles, and in this ways controls his nerves, and when his nerves are under control, no one can control him. Watch the Sofia tournament, where Ivanchuk started out with 5 out of 5 against – hold your breath – Radjabov, Aronian, Cheparinov, Bu Xizngzhi,Topalov and Aronian, wow. It was this tournament, that catapulted him back to top five, where he has stayed since. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it that well in Sochi, in the Grand prix and qualifier for the World championship, but now in Moscow, in the Tal memorial, he was back on track.
I was so glad, I was so happy to see him interview, so happy for his incredible games, I just thought I had to join the fan club or start one if it doesn’t excist. The name of it should be “We who celebrates Vassily Ivanchuk”. I hope he would be happy for it, we are very happy for him!
Do yourself the favour and watch his game against Movesian in the blitz tournament, or the final combination in the desiding game against Kramnik. Chuky does all this in 4 minutes, and two seconds increment. Check of course the ordinary tournament also, the time scramble against Morozevich, for instance, another remarkable player in his top form, and at the time playing Ivanchuk, was number 1 on the live rankings. Watch how Ivanchuk handels him. Speaking about those two (Morozevich is another favourite of mine), check out the blindfolded game they played in Amber, Monaco, some years ago. Even decent players won’t even be able to remember the moves, in this crazy game those most crazy of players made blindfolded.
Nowadays you can also watch Ivanchuk on films on the net. Priceless.
A few of them you have here on this link from Echess. Watch the first one, or the one from the first day of the blitz tournement, Ivanchuk is the one and the only one, who holds his shirt with his number in the poll upside down, that’s him. Watch the interview with him, you cannot help being happy when seeing it, he is so charming and animated, explaining how he keeps in form between tournaments “I stay at home, try not to be nervous, okay”, and the way he says “okay”, that should be our slogan in the fanclub.
Oh, yes, we should go to follow him in the tournaments around the world. My dream now is to see him live, showing his magic on and off board, he is the one, the legend, the Chuky! Life is happier, with people like him walking around in the world! Thank you!