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Vasyl Ivanchuk vs Viswanathan Anand
Linares (1998), Linares ESP, rd 12, Mar-07
Sicilian Defense: Richter-Rauzer. Classical Variation (B63)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-01-07  notyetagm: Wow. What a tactical shot that is!
Jan-04-08  Udit Narayan: This game is one of my favourite Anand gems. The Maestro plays flawlessly in this one. Interestingly, this is the first game of Vishy that I had seen on the internet, sometime around 2001. I was immediately mesmerized by the clarity and beauty of Anand's play.

Perhaps this is what Josh Waitzkin refers to as the "fluid artistry" of Anand's style.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Played in the twelth round. This win plus his win in the next round against Topalov allowed Anand to pass Shirov and win the tournament. Anand had played the Caro Kann with his first three Blacks but switched to the Sicilian the second half of the tournament. 9 f4 and Alekhine's 9 Nb3 are the two standard lines; Ivanchuk had never played 9 f3 before. 12..Qc7 was new; 12..Qa5 had been played previously. Kavalek prior to 15 Ne2: "Sometimes Ivanchuk takes his talent on an obscure voyage. It is hard to imagine that this and the next two moves are played by one of the best players in the world". 17 Re1?! was criticized by several commentators as too slow although 17 g4?..Nxe4! is bad for Black. 17 Nd4 was recommended with still a solid advantage for Black. 17..e5! prevented White from playing e5; 17..d5? would have been answered by 18 e5..Qxe5 19 Bg3..Qf5 20 Nd4..Qh7 21 Bd3 with good compensation for the pawn. Anand gave 20 Qd1..d5 21 Nxd5..Bxd5 22 exd..Rxd5
23 Qb3..Rd2 24 Bd3..Rxg2 25 Be4 as White's only defense with reasonable drawing chances.
Mar-04-09  anandrulez: Only such a few kibitz for this brilliant game ? It was amazing sacrifice!
Sep-29-12  vikram2791: White's pieces are piled uselessly on the first rank!
Apr-13-17  Toribio3: Masterpiece! Anand Vintage!
Feb-21-21  Gaito: The first critical position of the game was possibly the one depicted in this diagram:

click for larger view

It appears that Ivanchuk was unsure about what plan to follow from this position. He played the dubious 15.Ne2? which turned out to be a pointless move and a waste of two tempi, as that knight was later moved back to c3. A waste of two tempi in such positions might be too costly, especially if your opponent's name is Anand. Stockfish 13 suggests that White play 15.g4 at once, with a view to carrying out his natural K-side attack. LcZero shares the same opinion. A possible line of play might have been something like this: 15.g4 b4 16.Na4 Bc6 17.Nb6 Rab8 18.Nc4 d5 19.Qe5! Rb7 20.Qxc7 Rxc7 21.Na5 dxe4 22.Nxc6 Rxc6 23.fxe4 Rfc8 24.e5 Nd5 25.Bxe7 Nxe7 with equality (see diagram below):

click for larger view

(This variation was played by SF13 vs. SF13 at 30 seconds per move, hardware: 20 CPU core Dual Xeon E5-2680 v2.)

Feb-21-21  Gaito: Many a grandmaster has repeatedly said that Ivanchuk is a unique chess genius, and he would have become world champion, were it not for the suspicion that his delicate nervous system sometimes betrays him. Bronstein used to say that a chess game is above all a battle of nerves. Anyhow, it seems that during moves 15 to 20 Ivanchuk's nervous system betrayed him. Maybe he lost the concentration during those few minutes, or perhaps he was worried about something else (like the need to pay the rent, or maybe he suddenly remembered that he had forgotten to feed his cat?). Be what it may, Ivanchuk seemed to have lost the thread of the game, and his position crumbled quickly. Take a look at the following diagram:

click for larger view

The natural and logical move is 16.Qc3. A likely continuation would have been 16.Qc3 Qd8 17.Qd3 (17.Qe1 is also good), and White has nothing to fear. But maybe Ivanchuk suddenly recalled an unfinished game of checkers, and so played 16.Qd2 (Trying to understand the purpose of that move beats me). There followed 16...Rfd8 17.Re1? (Qc3 was mandatory). Chucky probably thought that he would be allowed to play e5. But Ivanchuk is a chess genius and I am a patzer, so who am I to criticize his moves? After 17.Re1? Anand quickly seized the upper hand with 17...e5! But more mistakes by White were to follow: 18.Bxf6 Bxf6 19.Nc3 Bg5, reaching the following diagram:

click for larger view

Chucky played 20.Qd1? (20. Qd3 was the right move according to the engine), and after 20...Qa5! White was completely lost. Further, there followed 21.Nd5 Bxd5 (Black might have played 21...Rxc2! at once) 22.exd5 Rxc2! 23.Kxc2 Qxa2. Computer evaluation by SF13 is -8.64) (Diagram below):

click for larger view

The final moves were: 24.f4 (despair) Rc8+ 25.Kd2 Bxf4+ 26.Ke2 Qxb2+ 27. Kf3 Rc1 (the engine prefers 27...Rc2! with an evaluation of -9.60), and Chucky resigned.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <plang.....Kavalek prior to 15 Ne2: "Sometimes Ivanchuk takes his talent on an obscure voyage. It is hard to imagine that this and the next two moves are played by one of the best players in the world"....>


'Obscure voyage', indeed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: Exciting game. 22...Rxc2!! is a fantastic shot.
Oct-14-21  Brenin: 22 ... Rxc2 23 Kxc2 (Qxc2 Qxd1, or Bd3 Rd2) Qxa2 and the threat of Rc8+ is deadly, e.g. 24 f4 (as in the game -- but what else works?) Rc8+ 24 Kd2 (Kd3 Qc4+) Bxf4+ 25 Ke2 Qxa2+ 26 Kf3 Rc2 or Rc1 and White cannot survive long.
Oct-14-21  mel gibson: I didn't see that even after looking for 5 minutes. The white Queen can't take the Rook
after 22... Rxc2 or it's mate in 2.

Stockfish 14 says:

22... Rxc2

(22. .. Rxc2 (♖c8xc2 ♗f1-d3 ♖c2-c1+ ♕d1xc1
♗g5xc1 ♖e1xc1 ♕a5-d2 ♗d3-f1 f7-f5 ♖h1-h3 e5-e4 f3xe4 f5xe4 ♖h3-c3 e4-e3 ♖c3-c2 ♕d2xd5 a2-a4 ♕d5xh5 a4xb5 a6xb5 g2-g4 ♕h5-g6 ♗f1xb5 ♖d8-c8 ♗b5-a4 ♖c8-c5 b2-b4 ♖c5-e5 g4-g5 ♕g6-e4 ♗a4-b3+ ♔g8-h7 g5xh6 e3-e2 h6xg7 ♔h7xg7 ♗b3-c4 e2-e1♕ ♖c1xe1 ♕e4xe1+ ♔b1-a2 ♕e1xb4) +6.00/36 199)

Score for Black +6.00 depth 36.

Premium Chessgames Member
  raymondhow: Darn, I haven't missed a Thursday in a while. Wanted to play 24...Bxf4 right away, but didn't count on the corner rook becoming active (as the engine pointed out to me).
Oct-14-21  drollere: i had 22. .. Rxc2, 23. Kxc2 (if Qxc2, Qxe1+) Qxa2, and what follows depends on white. i could find no way to get the K to safety before Rc8+ and the R comes down.
Oct-14-21  saturn2: I found the first three moves (without f4 which is nonsense),, Black can sacrifice a rook because white's pieces are passive on the back rank and in the corner.
Oct-14-21  saturn2: 18.Bxf6 seems an strategic error considering the dominant role the black bishop got soon into.
Oct-14-21  stacase: Took a few seconds to find 22...Rxc2
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Tockus i keys Rxc2 fondle about it lol keys at a flush plush keys tockus i keys cogs prognosis view it ban quandary i jam joke by hello it z u oxford blues it use in old crappy vat z its mad dog its vivacious keys concubine cabs cobs c beef it scarab choose amalgamate aquakong i keys nag highlight abracadabra mobs a keys cads acrid mind acid mink keys c oma blind lerk me it frog keys cad u keys referral chubb it v ok crab vixen cb radio x dean its church keys date i keys dart it whoosh again fane it hi keys destinies vagabond hikey flighty candy hug it kid v keys cavorts hi it jank daydream vortex it sac cabs keys i charters bucks lent i keys christ column bus pure f4 on science x it special effects keys i door dr foster pick band keys its choose mans bicep curl it sly vial Rxc2 dug
Oct-14-21  Dionysius1: Off form. If I'd bothered to see 23. Qxc2 Qxe1 I'd probably have worked enough out.
Oct-14-21  awfulhangover: I didnĀ“t see f4, but that move did not help black.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I really liked 23...Qxa2 for a couple of reasons.

click for larger view

If 23...Rc8+, instead, white's king could escape to b1.

If 24 Qa1, then 24...Rc8+ 25 Bc4 (as an example) 25...Rxc4+, etc. wins.

click for larger view

Oct-14-21  Dionysius1: Next time I let myself down, I'm going to say I was taking my talent on an obscure voyage. What a terrific expression!
Oct-14-21  drollere: <I really liked 23...Qxa2 for a couple of reasons.>

yes, i tried out 23. .. Rc8+ (most inviting next move) and 24. Qa1/b1 first before i decided 23. .. Qxa2 was necessary.

Oct-14-21  agb2002: The white queen protects e1 and c2. This suggests 22... Rxc2:

A) 23.Qxc2 Qxe1+ and mate next.

B) 23.Kxc2 Qxa2

B.1) 24.Qa1 Rc8+ 25.Bc4 (25.Kd3 Qc4#; 25.Kd1 Qb3+ 26.Ke2 Qc2#) 25... Rxc4+ 26.Kd3 (26.Kd1 Qxa1+ wins) 26... Rd4+ 27.Ke2 (27.Kc3 Qc4#; 27.Kc2 Rd2+ and mate next) 27... Rd2+ 28.Kf1 Qc4+ 29.Kg1 Qd4+ 30.Kh2 (30.Kf1 Qf2#) 30... Qh4+ 31.Kg1 Qf2+ 32.Kh2 Qxg2#.

B.2) 24.Qb1 Rc8+ as in B.1.

B.3) 24.Re4 Rc8+

B.3.a) 25.Kd3 Qxb2 (threatens Rc3#)

B.3.a.i) 26.Rg4 e4+ 27.Kxe4 (else 27... Rc3#) 27... Qe5+ 28.Kd2 Rc3#.

B.3.a.ii) 26.Qe1 Qc2#.

B.3.a.iii) 26.Rxe5 Qxe5 and mate soon.

B.3.b) 25.Bc4 bxc4, with two pawns and attack for the exchange, looks very good for Black. For example, 26.g3 c3 27.f4 cxb2+ 28.Kd3 Qxd5+ 29.Ke3 Rc3+ is winning.

B.4) 24.Qd3 Rc8+ 25.Kd1 Rc1+ 26.Ke2 Qxb2+ and mate next.

B.5) 24.Kd3 Qc4#.

B.6) 24.Qe2 Rc8+ 25.Qc4 (25.Kd3 Qc4#) 25... bxc4 wins.

C) 23.Qd3 Qxe1+ 24.Kxc2 Rc8+ 25.Kb3 a5 26.a4 (26.a3 a4+ 27.Kh2 Rc1 wins) 26... bxa4+ 27.Ka2 (27.Ka3 Qa1#; 27.Kxa4 Qb4#) 27... Rc1 wins.

Premium Chessgames Member
  raymondhow: < awfulhangover: I didn?t see f4, but that move did not help black > f4 helps white if black answers with Bxf4 (like I did). White can answer 25.Rh3 and get that rook active, which equalizes according to the engine.
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