FIDE World Cup 2017: Ivanchuk is Ivanchuk!

by Sagar Shah
9/13/2017 – The pre-quarter finals of the World Cup 2017 began with a bang. Vassily Ivanchuk managed to beat super solid Anish Giri and Vladimir Fedoseev showed some fine calcuation to sacrifice two pieces before mating his opponent's king. The other six games ended in draws. The playing hall was now changed to much smaller place. But players didn't really seem to have any issues with it. We have the round four, game one report with anecdotes, and more importantly pictures and videos by Amruta Mokal.

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Ivanchuk and Fedoseev win

World Cup

Many of the players of his generation have retired from the game. Those who were brave enought to continue playing have been knocked out from the World Cup. But 48-year-old Vassily Ivanchuk shows no signs of stopping. In fact today he beat Anish Giri, a player rated higher than him and less than half his age. How is Ivanchuk able to play so well? I think the following anecdote will make things clear.

Ivanchuk won his second round against Jan-Krzysztof Duda and was going back to his room. I caught him near the elevator and asked him if he could spare two minutes for a short interview.

"OK, two minutes", he said.

I escorted him to the VIP room where there was no noise and an ideal place for doing an interview. In the room was a projector screen showing the games of the round in progress. Ivanchuk stood there looking at the screen and started calculating the various possibilities in one of the games.

I asked 'Chucky' to come and stand in front of the sponsors banner. But he was in his own world — as they say, planet Ivanchuk! And yes, on that planet the only thing that people do is play chess! The moment Ivanchuk sees a chess position, his mind starts to calculate. This constant involvement in the game of chess keeps him sharp all the time. It comes to me as no surprise that he managed to beat Vladimir Kramnik in round three and is now well on his way to eliminating Anish Giri.

Anish played the Petroff Defence. Here he is trying to remember his analysis after 8.Qh5!?

'Something's wrong with my position' look by Anish Giri

It was not one of those flawless Ivanchuk games. There were errors from both sides but Giri made the last one.


Anish now has the tough task of making a comeback from a one point deficit. He has the white pieces. Erwin l'Ami (Giri's second) is going to have his work cut out for him. Guessing Ivanchuk's opening is not going to be an easy task.

Nothing like having a nice dinner with your wife after a hard fought victory! Vassily with his wife Oksana Krynytska, who is the director of the Vassily Ivanchuk chess academy in Lviv.

Maxim Rodshtein vs Vladimir Fedoseev

The World Juniors 2014 were held in Pune, India. Two youngsters were clear favourites to win the title: one was the top seed Vladimir Fedoseev and the other was the Chinese phenom Wei Yi. In the end it was Lu Shanglei who won the title, Wei Yi finished second and Fedoseev had to settle for the bronze. This was three years ago, but we (Amruta and I) had predicted that Fedoseev would really become a strong player in the years to come. It was partly because of strength of play, but more so because of his attitude and confidence levels. In the next two years Wei Yi climbed the rating ladder and reached 2740 on the Elo list, while Fedoseev was stuck somewhere around the 2650-80 mark. Something was definitely going wrong in this Russian grandmaster's preparation or play over the board.

Subsequently, Fedoseev was able to fix these small holes in his play and the result is there for everyone to see. Vladimir has gained nearly 85 Elo points in last six months and now has a live rating of 2742 and is currently world number 17! In the fourth round of the World Cup 2017 he beat Maxim Rodshtein with the black pieces. Towards the end there were some beautiful fireworks!


If you prefer video analysis, IM Lawrence Trent took a look at this game on our nightly World Cup round-up show (requires a ChessBase Premium account):

A lot is at stake here and the players are giving everything that they have got!

When I spoke to Fedoseev after the game and asked him if tactics was his biggest strength, he said, "Yes, tactically I am strong, but I am also positionally strong!" His confidence is definitely something to learn from.

Who was Fedoseev's positional guru? Check out the video to know which ex- FIDE World Champion trained him!

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs Alexander Grischuk

Yes, there were two decisive games for the day, but if I had to choose a game of the day, it would be this one. Maxime played imaginative chess, not 100% correct, but put his opponent on the backfoot and Grischuk in spite of being short on time did not blunder. He made some practical choices and steered the game towards a draw.

It seemed from Alexander's expressions that he didn't know that the playing hall had been shifted from the first floor to the second. He arrived roughly around two minutes late to the game.

A video of Grischuk arriving late to the game and his puzzled expressions

In spite of the complications on his board, Grischuk found the time to kibitz the post-game analysis between Jobava and So

Meanwhile, Aronian finds the position on MVL-Grischuk's board to be quite amusing


The two GMs analyzing the game blindfold in the lobby of the hotel

Alexander Grischuk talks about this crazy game with MVL

Daniil Dubov vs. Levon Aronian

Daniil Dubov continued his strategy of gambling, as he said after his win over Artemiev in round three. Aronian was offered an exchange which he gladly accepted. In return Dubov got some attack on the black king and a strong knight on d6. But it was not really sufficient. In the end Levon went wrong and the players agreed to a draw.

The wild game between Daniil Dubov and Levon Aronian ended in a draw


There was a time when Baadur Jobava during the games would not be fully concentrated, he would speak with people, and in general enjoy his time. However, in Tbilisi he is a picture of focus. During the game he gives his 100% and even off the board he is leading a very disciplined life. He even brings his laptop for the dinner!

Instead of carrying a bottle of wine, Baadur chooses a secluded corner in the dinner room with his laptop and prepares for the next game

Baadur played all the best moves with the black pieces in the Petroff against Wesley's 1.e4 and effortlessly drew the game

As soon as Baadur drew his game and came out of the tournament hall people were waiting for him. Being the local boy, he is a big favourite of the people.

Svidler settles himself at the start of the round

Peter Svidler could not breakthrough Bu Xiangzhi's defences, while Richard Rapport against Evgeniy Najer was the longest game of the day; both the players fought until bare kings.

The new playing hall, now on the second floor of the hotel

A video tour of the venue

All results


Replay all games of round 4:



Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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