Ivanchuk threatens to quit professional chess

11/26/2009 – He lost in round two of the World Cup against 16-year-old Wesley So of the Philippines. Vassily Ivanchuk, one of the all-time greats of chess has taken it to heart and announced that he no longer considers himself a professional player. "Chess will become hobby for me from now on – I will just be a chess fan," said the heart-broken Ivanchuk. FIDE interview.

The FIDE World Chess Cup is taking place in Khanty-Mansiysk from November 20th to December 15th 2009. It is a seven-round knockout event with six rounds of matches comprising two games per round, with the winners progressing to the next round. The final seventh round consists of four games. The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an addition of 30 seconds per move from move one. Games start at 15:00h local time, which is GMT +5 hours = 11:00 a.m. European time = 5 a.m. New York. The World Chess Cup is an integral part of the World Championship Cycle 2009-2011.

Vassily Ivanchuk: "I was thrown out of a saddle"

After the loss in the Round two, Vassily Ivanchuk looked like a heart-broken man. It was obvious: he is genius; it is just difficult to stand up the loss to the young and unknown So Wesley from the Philippines. Undoubtedly these were emotions when he declared that he would stop the professional chess player career.

I committed chess suicide, starts Ivanchuk. In the first game all went okay, I was about to win. I was almost sure that I am winning! And then… then I just went crazy. At one point I could make a perpetual, but my position seemed to me to have perspective, and I decided to continue playing. Perhaps the decision was right, if it were not for time trouble. Having two minutes against ten you are doomed to failure. So the result is obvious: an inadequate estimation of the situation which led to a tragedy. In the second game I was trying to keep a balance, but I missed something. My opponent, by the way, played very badly.

Have you every followed the games of So Wesley? How can you define him?

Of course I have seen some games. I could give him characteristics, but I see no sense in it. I am not objective now.

You previous visits to Khanty Mansiysk could not be called successful as well. They think that the main reason is that you play a lot during a year.

It has nothing to do with the number of games! My unlucky days started when I did not beat Vladimir Kramnik in the finals of the Tal Memorial. But I could. The real tragedy started then. I was so unlucky at the Moscow blitz, more than ever before in my life. I blundered all possible pieces: queen, rooks, and pawns. At that blitz tournament it was as if I was thrown out of a saddle. And plus, I was losing.

To my mind I should leave professional chess now. Chess will become hobby for me from now on. As for the signed contracts, yes, I will play in all tournaments which I have to. Perhaps I will even participate in a tournament before the new year. I should win something! And that will be the end. No serious plans, no professional goals.

It was just one mini match. You should not lose hope.

It was not just a match, it was a crucial match. I am sure that from now on I should forget about any serious aims in chess. I don't need anything from chess anymore. I will start new life with new goals. Chess… I will become just a chess fan now. I will follow chess, will follow the games of my ex-colleagues.

It is well known – chess and Ivanchuk cannot exist separately.

This is right, but only in the past. And now chess is killing me. Chess is playing against me! Chess is destroying me! I would take it easy if my opponent would be much stronger than me, or he were better prepared. But my loss was so stupid, it is a sign of destiny, which screams: “Vasya, leave it, it is not your business”.

There is an impression that you put all stakes on this tournament?

Maybe. But now I only feel that the world has crashed down around me. Everyone is against me, and I don't see the way out…


Vassily Ivanchuk (right) with his second Manuel León Hoyos

Source: FIDE


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