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The Candidates – Vassily Ivanchuk, 2757, World #13

3/6/2013 – The Candidates Tournament for the 2013 World Championship starts in just over a week. It's an eight-player double round robin lasting from March 14 to April 1st. To prepare us for the event Michael von Keitz is providing portraits of each of the Candidates. Today he looks at Vassily Ivanchuk. Once again we are sure that the other seven candidates will give this report due attention.
 

Vassily Ivanchuk (2757 – World #13)

Consistently one of the Ukraine’s leading players since the late ‘80s, Vassily Ivanchuk stands as another contender ranked in the bottom half of this year’s field of candidates. Of course, as with all of these players, he possesses a CV to be envied. He broke out in 1987 as European Junior Champion, only missing out on the world title the following year by virtue of an inferior tiebreak to that of Joel Lautier. He ably redeemed himself, however, by quickly rising to Top-10 status later that same year.

Cast in a similar mold to that of Carlsen, he gained early notoriety as the 1991 Linares champion, at the age of 21. Eight of the world’s top ten players partook and, as an exclamation point on the feat, he vanquished Kasparov in their individual encounter. A number of additional ultra-strong tournament victories accrued in the years that followed, including that of European Champion in 2004.

Despite his successes and continual presence amongst the world’s elite, Ivanchuk has been the victim of weak nerves and rough luck when participating in world championship cycle events. Early on, he made it to the quarterfinals of the 1991-93 Candidates tournament, suffering elimination by a narrow defeat at the hands of Yusupov, 5½-4½. In the end, Short emerged as the Challenger and, as history painfully recalls, a rift in the chess world soon ensued. Ivanchuk subsequently put in a string of forgettable performances at the FIDE Knockout World Championships, with one exception. In 2002, he qualified to the final, dispatching of Anand to get there. Unfortunately, despite being the heavy favourite in that final match, he fell far too easily to his teenaged compatriot, Ruslan Ponomariov.

Since the chess world was glued back together, he has sat on the outside looking in, anything but patiently awaiting his next opportunity to fight for the ultimate crown. After a quickly recanted retirement announcement at the site of the 2009 World Cup, he has forged on ahead and, now, the fans have what they were waiting for – the return of the mercurial talent, here to cause his fellow candidates some serious headaches. One can only hope he does not melt under the microscope, as, otherwise, he is quite capable of winning this event.

Best of luck to Vassily, and, with that, let’s take a look at his historical results against the candidates in this field.

Ivanchuk's opponents at the Candidates

Boris Gelfand (2740 – World #18)

# Result Moves Year Event Opening
1 Draw (b) 19 1985 USSR Junior Ch C05 French, Tarrasch
2 Draw (b) 40 1986 Sochi Junior E04 Catalan, Open, 5.Nf3
3 Win (w) 26 1986 Sochi Junior E06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
4 Win (w) 39 1987 European Junior Ch E62 King's Indian, Fianchetto
5 Loss (b) 37 1989 USSR Junior Team Ch E94 King's Indian, Orthodox
6 Draw (w) 27 1990 Linares E15 Queen's Indian
7 Draw (b) 22 1990 Manila Interzonal D85 Grunfeld
8 Draw (w) 44 1990 Tilburg D76 Neo-Grunfeld
9 Loss (b) 62 1990 Tilburg D85 Grunfeld
10 Win (w) 18 1991 Linares D78 Neo-Grunfeld, 6.O-O c6
11 Draw (w) 24 1991 Reggio Emilia E81 King's Indian, Samisch
12 Win (w) 33 1992 Linares E97 King's Indian
13 Win (b) 38 1993 Linares D37 Queen's Gambit Declined
14 Draw (b) 20 1994 Linares E47 Nimzo-Indian
15 Draw (w) 47 1994 Munich B23 Sicilian, Closed
16 Loss (b) 93 1995 Belgrade D85 Grunfeld
17 Draw (b) 27 1996 Wijk aan Zee A04 Reti Opening
18 Loss (b) 33 1996 Dos Hermanas D85 Grunfeld
19 Draw (w) 80 1996 Novgorod E14 Queen's Indian
20 Draw (b) 32 1996 Novgorod D85 Grunfeld
21 Draw (b) 23 1997 Linares D19 Queen's Gambit Declined
22 Win (w) 49 1997 Dortmund D55 Queen's Gambit Declined
23 Draw (b) 63 1997 Belgrade A41 Queen's Pawn Game
24 Win (b) 46 1999 European Team Ch A15 English
25 Win (b) 60 2000 Leonid Stein Memorial A04 Reti Opening
26 Draw (w) 89 2000 Leonid Stein Memorial C42 Petrov Defense
27 Draw (b) 41 2000 Rubinstein Memorial A04 Reti Opening
28 Draw (b) 19 2000 Istanbul Olympiad E18 Queen's Indian
29 Draw (w) 44 2004 Calvia Olympiad C42 Petrov Defense
30 Loss (w) 49 2005 Russian Team Ch D17 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
31 Draw (w) 28 2005 World Team Ch B96 Sicilian, Najdorf
32 Draw (b) 61 2006 Wijk aan Zee E15 Queen's Indian
33 Draw (b) 40 2007 Russian Team Ch E15 Queen's Indian
34 Draw (b) 36 2007 Tal Memorial D11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
35 Draw (w) 22 2008 Corus A20 English
36 Draw (w) 58 2008 Russian Team Ch C42 Petrov Defense
37 Loss (b) 38 2008 Sochi Grand Prix A30 English, Symmetrical
38 Draw (b) 36 2008 Tal Memorial A30 English, Symmetrical
39 Draw (w) 31 2008 Dresden Olympiad D11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
40 Loss (b) 46 2009 Russian Team Ch A04 Reti Opening
41 Draw (w) 30 2009 Nalchik Grand Prix D12 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
42 Draw (w) 37 2009 Bazna C42 Petrov Defense
43 Draw (b) 20 2009 Bazna A04 Reti Opening
44 Draw (w) 30 2009 Biel A15 English
45 Draw (b) 32 2009 Biel E11 Bogo-Indian Defense
46 Win (w) 98 2009 Jermuk Grand Prix A20 English
47 Win (w) 43 2009 Tal Memorial D12 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
48 Draw (b) 12 2010 Russian Team Ch D11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
49 Draw (b) 26 2010 Astrakhan Grand Prix D85 Grunfeld
50 Draw (b) 19 2010 Khanty-Mansiysk Olym. D37 Queen's Gambit Declined
51 Draw (b) 23 2011 Russian Team Ch D16 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
52 Draw (w) 41 2011 Tal Memorial D45 Queen's Gambit Declined
53 Loss (w) 42 2012 Wijk aan Zee E10 Queen's Pawn Game
54 Draw (w) 31 2012 Istanbul Olympiad D85 Grunfeld
55 Draw (b) 25 2012 London Grand Prix E15 Queen's Indian

Overall: 10 Wins, 37 Draws, 8 Losses
White: 7 Wins, 16 Draws, 2 Loss
Black: 3 Wins, 21 Draws, 6 Losses

Gelfand and Ivanchuk have a relationship stretching back to their years as rising junior stars in the former Soviet Union. This provides plenty of material for each of them to draw on. Roughly half of their lifetime encounters occurred in the last decade, with Gelfand holding a 4-2 edge in the decisive games over the course of that stretch. Anticipate some fighting chess, but don’t be surprised by justifiable draws emerging, as the “old guys” slug it out for the umpteenth time. The English may be the Ukrainian’s weapon of choice, while Boris surely has some novelties to spring if facing the Grunfeld.

Peter Svidler (2747 – World #14)

# Result Moves Year Event Opening
1 Draw (w) 17 1997 World Team Ch B06 Robatsch
2 Loss (b) 49 1998 Linares B84 Sicilian, Scheveningen
3 Win (w) 58 1998 Linares D85 Grunfeld
4 Loss (b) 33 1998 Dortmund C92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
5 Draw (w) 46 1998 Elista Olympiad C69 Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation
6 Draw (w) 16 1999 Wijk aan Zee A29 English, Four Knights, Kingside Fianchetto
7 Win (b) 39 1999 Linares C18 French, Winawer
8 Draw (w) 69 1999 Linares C48 Four Knights
9 Draw (b) 22 2000 Rubinstein Memorial B33 Sicilian
10 Draw (w) 30 2001 World Team Ch C99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin, 12..cd
11 Draw (w) 26 2005 World Team Ch C53 Giuoco Piano
12 Win (w) 25 2006 Linares-Morelia D80 Grunfeld
13 Draw (b) 55 2006 Linares-Morelia C88 Ruy Lopez
14 Loss (b) 30 2006 Spanish Team Ch B07 Pirc
15 Draw (b) 53 2007 Linares-Morelia C42 Petrov Defense
16 Draw (w) 44 2007 Linares-Morelia C88 Ruy Lopez
17 Draw (w) 19 2007 Aerosvit D81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
18 Draw (w) 30 2007 European Club Cup D11 Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav
19 Draw (w) 15 2008 Russian Team Ch D16 Queen’s Gambit Declined Slav
20 Draw (w) 19 2008 Aerosvit C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
21 Win (b) 25 2008 Sochi Grand Prix C65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
22 Draw (b) 37 2008 European Club Cup B31 Sicilian, Rossolimo Variation
23 Draw (w) 37 2008 Pearl Spring C99 Ruy Lopez, Closed,Chigorin, 12..cd
24 Draw (b) 38 2008 Pearl Spring B30 Sicilian
25 Draw (w) 23 2009 Russian Team Ch C99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin, 12..cd
26 Loss (b) 29 2009 Nalchik Grand Prix C78 Ruy Lopez
27 Loss (w) 41 2009 European Club Cup A15 English
28 Draw (b) 27 2009 Tal Memorial C65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
29 Draw (b) 51 2010 Astrakhan Grand Prix C42 Petrov Defense
30 Draw (b) 36 2011 European Team Ch B35 Sicilian, Accelerated Fianchetto
31 Win (w) 56 2011 Tal Memorial D80 Grunfeld
32 Draw (w) 42 2012 European Club Cup A36 English

Overall: 5 Wins, 22 Draws, 5 Losses
White: 3 Wins, 14 Draws, 1 Losses
Black: 2 Wins, 8 Draws, 4 Losses

From the outset, Svidler and Ivanchuk have enjoyed a lifelong seesaw battle. Vassily may employ the Grunfeld against Peter in London, having used it to secure a favourable outcome in the most recent decision in their lifetime series, but be prepared for anything from both of these players. Whatever the outcome, you can expect their games to be sharp and interesting, aided by their familiarity with one another’s play.


Alexander Grischuk (2764 – World #10)

# Result Moves Year Event Opening
1 Draw (w) 18 2003 Wijk aan Zee E15 Queen's Indian
2 Draw (w) 24 2003 European Club Cup C82 Ruy Lopez, Open
3 Draw (w) 40 2006 Russian Club Cup C88 Ruy Lopez
4 Draw (w) 20 2006 Aerosvit C88 Ruy Lopez
5 Draw (b) 25 2008 Sochi Grand Prix E21 Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights
6 Draw (w) 65 2009 Linares E20 Nimzo-Indian
7 Draw (b) 41 2009 Linares C42 Petrov Defense
8 Draw (w) 17 2009 Russian Team Ch D16 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
9 Win (w) 37 2009 Nalchik Grand Prix E97 King's Indian
10 Win (w) 37 2010 Russian Team Ch B97 Sicilian, Najdorf
11 Draw (b) 22 2011 FIDE World Cup C10 French
12 Draw (w) 43 2011 FIDE World Cup D39 Queen's Gambit Declined, Ragozin/Vienna
13 Draw (w) 26 2012 London Grand Prix D86 Grunfeld, Exchange

Overall: 2 Wins, 11 Draws, 0 Losses
White: 2 Wins, 8 Draws, 0 Losses
Black: 0 Wins, 3 Draws, 0 Losses

Surprisingly, despite their long-time presence amongst the world’s elite, the two ‘chuks have rarely crossed swords in classical play. Ivanchuk has been spoiled by the number of whites he has received and has used them with effect by securing two back-to-back victories in 2009 and 2010. Grischuk, for his part, has never breached Vassily’s defences at these time controls, but that may soon change in London. They played relatively peacefully during the 2011 World Cup, adapting to the system, but the games will, necessarily, be much more bloody here. Expect anything from these two, as they further develop a feel for one another.


Teimour Radjabov (2793 – World #4)

# Result Moves Year Event Opening
1 Draw (w) 16 2001 European Team Ch C11 French
2 Draw (b) 22 2003 Wijk aan Zee D15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
3 Win (w) 32 2004 Calvia Chess Olympiad B32 Sicilian
4 Draw (w) 23 2005 European Team Ch E92 King's Indian
5 Draw (b) 23 2006 Linares-Morelia D84 Grunfeld, Grunfeld Gambit Accepted
6 Loss (w) 44 2006 Linares-Morelia E92 King's Indian
7 Draw (b) 20 2006 Russian Club Cup E11 Bogo-Indian Defense
8 Draw (b) 45 2006 Turin Olympiad B99 Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line
9 Draw (w) 23 2007 Russian Team Ch E92 King's Indian
10 Loss (w) 50 2007 European Club Cup A26 English
11 Draw (b) 28 2008 Wijk aan Zee B18 Caro-Kann, Classical
12 Draw (b) 38 2008 Linares-Morelia B46 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
13 Draw (w) 58 2008 Linares-Morelia B33 Sicilian
14 Win (b) 48 2008 M-Tel Masters E15 Queen's Indian
15 Draw (w) 41 2008 M-Tel Masters B33 Sicilian
16 Draw (w) 37 2008 Sochi Grand Prix E61 King's Indian
17 Draw (b) 35 2008 Bilbao D20 Queen's Gambit Accepted
18 Win (w) 49 2008 Bilbao B45 Sicilian, Taimanov
19 Loss (w) 41 2009 Wijk aan Zee E97 King's Indian
20 Draw (b) 42 2009 Linares-Morelia E94 King's Indian, Orthodox
21 Draw (w) 30 2009 Linares-Morelia C63 Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
22 Draw (w) 37 2009 Bazna B45 Sicilian, Taimanov
23 Draw (b) 28 2009 Bazna B94 Sicilian, Najdorf
24 Draw (w) 58 2010 Astrakhan Grand Prix A16 English
25 Win (w) 35 2011 Bazna E73 King's Indian
26 Draw (b) 45 2011 Bazna D41 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
27 Draw (b) 43 2011 World Team Ch A07 King's Indian Attack
28 Win (w) 41 2011 FIDE World Cup B31 Sicilian, Rossolimo Variation
29 Loss (b) 28 2011 FIDE World Cup A37 English, Symmetrical
30 Draw (b) 20 2012 Wijk aan Zee A57 Benko Gambit
31 Draw (b) 31 2012 Istanbul Olympiad A15 English
32 Draw (b) 65 2012 European Club Cup B00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening

Overall: 5 Wins, 23 Draws, 4 Losses
White: 4 Wins, 9 Draws, 3 Losses
Black: 1 Win, 14 Draws, 1 Loss

There is no shortage of encounters between Radjabov and Ivanchuk. By and large, they have been trying, hard-fought affairs. They even split their games at the World Cup, with Vassily going through in the tiebreak matches. With stinging memories of poor outings in the Sicilian when facing the Ukrainian, Radjabov may test the French against him, which is on standby as a reserve weapon in his repertoire. Ivanchuk can expect to face the English again as black. When the lights come up on these games, the word “dull” will not be on the commentators’ lips.


Vladimir Kramnik (2810 – World #2)

# Result Moves Year Event Opening
1 Loss (w) 33 1993 Linares B57 Sicilian
2 Draw (b) 19 1993 World Team Ch D52 Queen's Gambit Declined
3 Draw (b) 31 1994 Linares D17 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
4 Win (w) 40 1994 Novgorod B33 Sicilian
5 Draw (b) 65 1994 Novgorod D85 Grunfeld
6 Draw (b) 38 1995 Tal Memorial A30 English, Symmetrical
7 Draw (b) 20 1995 Novgorod D52 Queen's Gambit Declined
8 Loss (b) 50 1995 Dortmund D21 Queen's Gambit Accepted
9 Draw (w) 49 1995 Credit Suisse Masters B56 Sicilian
10 Draw (b) 46 1995 Belgrade Invest E91 King's Indian
11 Loss (w) 32 1996 Dos Hermanas B62 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
12 Win (w) 40 1996 Novgorod D43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
13 Loss (b) 25 1996 Novgorod D44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
14 Draw (b) 10 1996 Yerevan Olympiad D45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
15 Win (w) 34 1996 Las Palmas E81 King's Indian, Samisch
16 Loss (b) 50 1996 Las Palmas A15 English
17 Loss (w) 41 1997 Linares B65 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack
18 Loss (b) 19 1997 Dortmund D45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
19 Draw (b) 32 1997 Belgrade Invest A15 English
20 Draw (b) 58 1998 Linares D02 Queen's Pawn Game
21 Draw (w) 74 1998 Linares B57 Sicilian
22 Draw (w) 17 1998 Dortmund C42 Petrov Defense
23 Draw (w) 12 1999 Wijk aan Zee C42 Petrov Defense
24 Draw (b) 25 1999 Linares D45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
25 Draw (w) 22 1999 Linares D37 Queen's Gambit Declined
26 Loss (w) 38 2001 Wijk aan Zee C65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
27 Draw (b) 41 2003 Wijk aan Zee B67 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack
28 Draw (w) 16 2006 Turin Olympiad A29 English, Four Knights, Kingside Fianchetto
29 Draw (w) 59 2007 Tal Memorial C42 Petrov Defense
30 Draw (w) 37 2008 Wijk aan Zee C42 Petrov Defense
31 Win (w) 49 2008 Dortmund C42 Petrov Defense
32 Draw (w) 28 2008 Tal Memorial C42 Petrov Defense
33 Draw (b) 54 2008 Dresden Olympiad E32 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
34 Draw (w) 28 2009 Tal Memorial D37 Queen's Gambit Declined
35 Draw (b) 40 2010 Wijk aan Zee D37 Queen's Gambit Declined
36 Draw (b) 35 2010 Khanty-Mansiysk Olym D97 Grunfeld, Russian
37 Draw (b) 57 2011 Tal Memorial D15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
38 Draw (b) 78 2012 Istanbul Olympiad A46 Queen's Pawn Game

Overall: 4 Wins, 26 Draws, 8 Losses
White: 4 Wins, 10 Draws, 4 Losses
Black: 0 Wins, 16 Draws, 4 Losses

When the stakes have been highest, with teammates depending on the outcome, Kramnik and Ivanchuk have tended to sign peace accords: some hard-fought; some not so much. They have never tangoed with world championship contention on the line, however, so it will be interesting to see what happens when the gloves come off. Kramnik’s Petrov phase yielded no fruit against Vassily in 2008, while costing him a full point in Dortmund, so don’t count on it making a return between these two. Kramnik may take the Richter-Rauzer out of the closet and dust it off, but one of these two will certainly opt for 1.d4.

Levon Aronian (2809 – World #3)

# Result Moves Year Event Opening
1 Win (b) 81 2004 European Individual Championship D73 Neo-Grunfeld, 5.Nf3
2 Win (w) 40 2005 Karabakh International C77 Ruy Lopez
3 Loss (b) 55 2005 World Team Championship E67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
4 Win (b) 45 2006 Wijk aan Zee E60 King's Indian Defense
5 Win (w) 45 2006 Linares-Morelia A15 English
6 Draw (b) 35 2006 Linares-Morelia E15 Queen's Indian
7 Win (w) 37 2006 Russian Club Cup C88 Ruy Lopez
8 Draw (w) 45 2006 Turin Olympiad A29 English, Four Knights
9 Win (w) 42 2006 Bundesliga E55 Nimzo-Indian
10 Win (w) 49 2007 Linares-Morelia D38 Queen's Gambit Declined
11 Draw (b) 39 2007 Linares-Morelia E17 Queen's Indian
12 Draw (b) 62 2008 Wijk aan Zee D27 Queen's Gambit Accepted
13 Loss (w) 60 2008 Linares-Morealia C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
14 Draw (b) 22 2008 Linares-Morelia D37 Queen's Gambit Declined
15 Win (b) 44 2008 M-Tel Masters D12 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
16 Draw (w) 26 2008 M-Tel Masters D12 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
17 Win (w) 44 2008 Sochi Grand Prix D12 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
18 Loss (b) 70 2008 Bilbao D27 Queen's Gambit Accepted
19 Draw (w) 69 2008 Bilbao C69 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
20 Draw (w) 68 2008 Dresden Olympiad C77 Ruy Lopez
21 Loss (b) 33 2008 Pearl Spring A04 Reti Opening
22 Loss (w) 39 2008 Pearl Spring A20 English
23 Draw (b) 56 2009 Wijk aan Zee E16 Queen's Indian
24 Win (b) 44 2009 Linares E92 King's Indian
25 Win (w) 35 2009 Linares D45 Queen's Gambit Declined
26 Loss (b) 40 2009 Nalchik Grand Prix A31 English, Symmetrica
27 Draw (w) 46 2009 Jermuk Grand Prix C50 Giuoco Piano
28 Draw (b) 58 2009 Tal Memorial E06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
29 Loss (b) 50 2010 European Club Cup A62 Benoni, Fianchetto Variation
30 Draw (w) 31 2011 World Team Championship A07 King's Indian Attack
31 Win (b) 38 2011 Bilbao D37 Queen's Gambit Declined
32 Draw (w) 35 2011 Bilbao C67 Ruy Lopez
33 Loss (w) 57 2011 Tal Memorial C67 Ruy Lopez
34 Draw (w) 30 2012 Wijk aan Zee E06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
35 Loss (b) 42 2012 Istanbul Olympiad E15 Queen's Indian

Overall: 12 Wins, 14 Draws, 9 Losses
White: 7 Wins, 8 Draws, 3 Losses
Black: 5 Wins, 6 Draws, 6 Losses

When Aronian and Ivanchuk sit across from one another, they invariably go for the jugular. In fact, their games have delivered more decisive results than they have draws. They both perform well as white, but each also has a plurality of victories as black. Although Ivanchuk holds a reasonably wide margin in their lifetime score, he has served as a bit of a punching bag to Levon as of late, not to say that he is incapable of reversing his fortunes. Expect fireworks from these two and, quite possibly, two decisive outcomes. The Queen’s Gambit and Ruy Lopez may make a reappearance.

Magnus Carlsen (2872 – World #1)

# Result Moves Year Event Opening
1 Loss (w) 60 2007 Linares-Morelia A46 Queen's Pawn Game
2 Loss (b) 35 2007 Linares-Morelia D86 Grunfeld, Exchange
3 Draw (w) 93 2007 Tal Memorial B33 Sicilian
4 Draw (w) 19 2008 Corus C68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
5 Draw (b) 39 2008 Linares-Morelia B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
6 Loss (w) 40 2008 Linares-Morelia C67 Ruy Lopez
7 Loss (b) 46 2008 Aerosvit E97 King's Indian
8 Draw (w) 29 2008 Bilbao B78 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav
9 Win (b) 32 2008 Bilbao D37 Queen's Gambit Declined
10 Win (w) 39 2008 European Club Cup D94 Grunfeld
11 Draw (w) 24 2009 Corus C92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
12 Draw (b) 34 2009 Linares D81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
13 Draw (w) 22 2009 Linares D56 Queen's Gambit Declined
14 Draw (b) 54 2009 M-Tel Masters D11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
15 Draw (w) 41 2009 M-Tel Masters B30 Sicilian
16 Draw (w) 31 2009 Tal Memorial A48 King's Indian
17 Loss (b) 35 2010 Corus D10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
18 Draw (w) 33 2011 Bazna C65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
19 Loss (b) 72 2011 Bazna D38 Queen's Gambit Declined
20 Loss (w) 45 2011 Bilbao C11 French
21 Loss (b) 34 2011 Bilbao E21 Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights
22 Draw (w) 74 2011 Tal Memorial D82 Grunfeld, 4.Bf4
23 Draw (w) 57 2012 Wijk aan Zee D56 Queen's Gambit Declined

Overall: 2 Wins, 13 Draws, 8 Losses
White: 1 Win, 10 Draws, 3 Losses
Black: 1 Win, 3 Draws, 5 Losses

Ivanchuk has been burned one too many times by Carlsen, with his lone wins against the Norwegian both coming in 2008. Considering his abysmal fortunes to date, caution will be the order of the day against Magnus. Two nail-biting draws would be more than Vassily could ask for and would maintain his chances of taking overall tournament victory. As white, the Ruy Lopez has to be Ivanchuk’s preference here, but, after raiding Anand’s cupboard, expect Carlsen to arrive in London with some new sheet music.

Overall Stats Against Field

 
Wins
Draws
Losses
Draw %
Overall
40
146
42
64.04%
White
28
75
16
63.03%
Black
12
71
26
65.14%

Repertoire white

Line
score
Perf.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6
64%
2752
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6
66%
2764
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6
66%
2748
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3
65%
2749
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6
73%
2815
1.d4 d5 2.c4
66%
2762
1.c4
69%
2686
1.Nf3
70%
2742

Ivanchuk is simply a sublime player, so it comes as no surprise that he has an array of weapons to choose from as White. His weakness appears to be the English, so he may opt to leave it at home, but he can smote any one of these players in virtually any system.

Repertoire black

Line
score
Perf.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4
46%
2694
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6
49%
2718
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3
43%
2668
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3
43%
2658
1.d4 d5 2.c4
48%
2702
1.Nf3
46%
2688

With reasonably good success as black, Ivanchuk tends to score particularly well against the Ruy Lopez and Queen's Gambit. In the past, he has taken down giants with these choices and, given the chance, has no reason not to employ them here.


The Candidates Tournament in London

The London Candidates 2013 will be the strongest tournament of its kind in history. The Prize Fund to be shared by the players totals €510,000. The winner of the Candidates will become the Challenger to Viswanathan Anand who has reigned as World Champion since 2007. Schedule:

Thursday, 14 March Opening/Players meeting
Friday, 15 March Round 1
Saturday, 16 March Round 2
Sunday, 17 March Round 3
Monday, 18 March Rest day
Tuesday, 19 March Round 4
Wednesday, 20 March     Round 5
Thursday, 21 March Round 6
Friday, 22 March Rest day
Saturday, 23 March Round 7
Sunday, 24 March Round 8
Monday, 25 March Round 9
Tuesday, 26 March Rest day
Wednesday, 27 March Round 10
Thursday, 28 March Round 11
Friday, 29 March Round 12
Saturday, 30 March Rest day
Sunday, 31 March Round 13
Monday, 1 April Round 14
Tuesday, 2 April Tiebreaks/Closing ceremony

Players

Seed 
Rank 
 Name
Country
Rating
B-Year
1
1
 Carlsen, Magnus
NOR
 2872
 1990
2
2
 Kramnik, Vladimir
RUS
 2810
 1975
3
3
 Aronian, Levon
ARM
 2809
 1982
4
4
 Radjabov, Teimour
AZE
 2793
 1987
5
10
 Grischuk, Alexander
RUS
 2764
 1983
6
13
 Ivanchuk, Vassily
UKR
 2757
 1969
7
14
 Svidler, Peter
RUS
 2747
 1976
8
18
 Gelfand, Boris
ISR
 2740
 1968

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