Ivanchuk beats Anand in León Rapid final 2.5:1.5

6/2/2008 – Ukrainian GM Vassily Ivanchuk overcame World Champion Vishy Anand in the final of the XXI Magistral Ciudad de León. Both players won their first games, with black, the third was drawn, and then Anand blundered a move transposition and resigned after 16 moves. It was the first time ever that he did not win this tournament. Illustrated report by GM Zenón Franco Ocampos.

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XXI Magistral Ciudad de León

This rapid chess event took place in the Edificio de la Junta de Castilla y León, in the Spanish town of León. There were four players, who played two semi-final matches of four games each, with the winners meeting in the final. The rate of play was 20 minutes for the entire game plus ten seconds increment for each move.

Final (Sunday, June 1, 2008)

Ukrainian grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk defeated world champion Viswanathan Anand in the final of the XXI Ciudad de León chess tournament by 2½-1½ .



In the first game Ivanchuk got a nice position after the opening, with his king in a safe place. He took the initiative on the queenside, and some inaccuracies by Anand led to a difficult position.

Anand,V (2803) - Ivanchuk,V (2740) [B85]
XXI Magistral Rapid Final Leon ESP (1), 01.06.2008
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be2 a6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Be3 Be7 9.f4 d6 10.Qe1 0-0 11.Qg3 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5 13.a3 Bb7 14.Kh1 Rad8 15.Rae1 Rd7 16.Bd3 Re8 17.f5 e5 18.Be3 Kh8 19.Bg5 Nh5 20.Qh4 Bxg5 21.Qxg5 Nf6 22.Rf3 Qc5 23.Rg3 Rg8 24.Rh3 b4 25.axb4 Qxb4 26.Rb1 Rc7 27.Rh6 d5 28.exd5 Qb6 29.Na4 Qd6 30.Rh4 Bxd5 31.Nc3 Rb8 32.Qc1 e4 33.Bxe4 Nxe4 34.Nxe4 Qc6 35.Qe3 Qxc2 36.Rg1 f6 37.Qd4 Rd7

In a difficult position White plays the wrong sacrifice 38.Nxf6? gxf6 39.Qxf6+ Rg7 40.Rg4 Qxb2! (the refutation) 0-1. [Click to replay]

In the second game it was the turn of Anand to obtain a good position after the opening. 13.f4 looked risky, and after a few moves Anand obtained a promising advantage, and soon gained material.

Ivanchuk,V (2740) - Anand,V (2803) [B90]
XXI Magistral Rapid Final Leon ESP (2), 01.06.2008
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3 Be7 8.Bc4 0-0 9.0-0 Qc7 10.Bb3 Be6 11.Qd2 Rc8 12.Ng5 Bc4 13.f4 Nbd7 14.fxe5 dxe5 15.Rf5 Bb4 16.Rd1 Rd8 17.Qe1 h6 18.Nf3 Be6 19.Qg3 Bxf5 20.exf5 Bc5 21.Bxc5 Nxc5 22.Re1 Nxb3 23.axb3 b5 24.h3 Rac8 25.Nxe5 Re8 26.b4 Qd6 0-1. [Click to replay]

In the third game both players repeated the variation from the first game, until Anand varied with 17.Nd1. After a complex middle game they arrived at a complicated rook ending which finished in a draw. Ivanchuk called it (always in fluent Spanish), “a comedy of errors”, but added that the several mistakes committed by both players enriched the game.

In the last game there was an abrupt finish when world champion Vishy Anand made a transposition of moves which led him to a lost position, Ivanchuk remarked that a similar mistake was made by Petrosian against Polugaevsky.

Ivanchuk,V (2740) - Anand,V (2803) [E55]
XXI Magistral Rapid Final Leon ESP (4), 01.06.2008
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.Bd3 d5 6.Nf3 c5 7.0-0 dxc4 8.Bxc4 Nbd7 9.Qe2 cxd4 10.exd4 b6 11.d5 Nc5 12.Rd1 Qe8 13.Nb5 exd5 14.Nc7

14...Qe4?? Strangely, this move was played in Conquest,S (2490)-Zaichik,G (2510), Tbilisi 1988, where White played 15.Nxd5 Qxe2 16.Nxf6+ gxf6 17.Bxe2 Ba6 18.Bxa6 Nxa6 and drew after 42 moves. Ivanchuk had a refutation: 15.Rd4 Qg6 16.Nh4 1-0. [Click to replay]


Vassily Ivanchuk, Zenón Franco Ocampos, Vishy Anand in the press conference

In the press conference Ivanchuk commented on the games, giving many interesting variations, and Anand said that he had not played at the same level as Ivanchuk. This was the first time that Anand did not win in this knockout rapid chess system in León.


GM Zenón Franco Ocampos interviews Vishy Anand in the press conference


Polyglot Ivanchuk speaks to the audience in fluent Spanish


He explains his ideas and variations in typically animated style

By GM Zenón Franco Ocampos, Press Chief + ChessBase

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