Ivanchuk defeats Leko in Mukachevo

1/7/2009 – For a second time in a year and a half Ukraine's top GM Vassily Ivanchuk has defeated Hungary's top GM Peter Leko in the south western Ukrainian town of Mukachevo. Their six-game match ended in a 3.5:2.5 win for Ivanchuk, with five draws and a single victory in round five. It was, however, deserved, as GM Mikhail Golubev tells us in his big illustrated report.

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Ivanchuk defeats Leko in Mukachevo

A report by GM Mikhail Golubev

The second rapid chess match between Vassily Ivanchuk and Peter Leko was held in Mukachevo, Mukachevo is a small town located in the western Ukraine, from 3 – 5 January 2009. Both matches were organised by Josef Resch of Universal Event Promotion. The first one took place in Mukachevo in 2007 and was won by the Ukrainian in the blitz tiebreak.

Mukachevo is the second largest city in Zakarpattia Oblast or Transcarpathia, a very special province of Ukraine. Zakarpattia is the only Ukrainian administrative division which borders on four countries: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania! Arguably, Mukachevo nowadays is about as important economically as the administrative capital of Zakarpattia, Uzhhorod – though Uzhhorod has a bit more than 100,000 inhabitants and Mukachevo has a bit less than 100,000.


One of the many beautiful churches in Mukachevo

The history of Mukachevo, which belonged to many different countries throughout its history, is so complex that it is easier not to enter this topic here. Ukrainian is the main language (though it is a bit different to the Ukrainian spoken in Lviv, where Ivanchuk lives, or in Kiev). Most of people can speak or understand Russian, and among the significant minorities are Hungarians, Germans, and Slovaks. And in Zakarpattia there are known controversies around the ethnic group of Rusyns, which is sometimes recognized as a distinct nationality. I was not able to find any Rusyn newspaper in Mukachevo, though I was once told that such newspaper exists.


The street in Mukachevo where the Chess Club 32x64 is located

The Match

Strangely enough, it quite easy to describe a course of events in the 2009 math. Ivanchuk was obviously more motivated and better prepared. Vassily, as he confessed, even did some preparations around the New Year celebrations. While Peter, whose Elista event ended later than Ivanchuk’s Nanjing, mainly tried to relax before the Mukachevo meeting. This strategy did not work well for the Hungarian. Ivanchuk had certain winning chances in four games out of six. He achieved a victory in the game five, though it would have been much more logical if Ivanchuk would have won the game four instead.

Leko,P (2751) - Ivanchuk,V (2779) [B90]
Rapid Rematch Mukachevo UKR (4), 04.01.2009
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 h5 9.Qd2 Nbd7 10.Nd5 Bxd5 11.exd5 g6 12.0-0-0 Nb6 13.Qa5 Bh6 14.Bxh6 Rxh6 15.h4 Kf8 16.g3 Kg7 17.Kb1 Rh8 18.c4 Re8 19.Be2 Rc8 20.Rc1 e4 21.f4 e3 22.Rhg1 Ne4 23.Ka1 Nd7 24.Qxd8 Rcxd8 25.Na5 Ndc5 26.Rc2 Rc8 27.b3 Rc7 28.Kb2 Rec8 29.Rcc1 Nd7 30.Bd3 Nf2 31.Be2 Nf6 32.Rge1 N6e4 33.Rg1 f5 34.Rc2 Kf6 35.Rcc1 Re7 36.Rc2 Rcc7 37.a3 Re8

38.Rg2 Nh1! Leko has lost a track in the middlegame and now overlooked this move, which lead to the loss of a pawn. 39.Bf3 Nhxg3 40.Rg1 Nd2 41.Rxg3 Nxf3 42.Re2 Nxh4 43.b4 Re4 44.c5 dxc5 45.d6 Rd7 46.bxc5 Rxf4 47.Rgxe3 Re4 48.Rxe4 fxe4 49.Rxe4 Nf5 50.Rb4 Nxd6 51.cxd6 Rxd6 52.Nxb7 Rd5 53.Kc3 Rb5 54.Kd3 Rxb4 55.axb4 h4 56.Ke3 h3 57.Kf2 Ke5 58.Nc5 Kd4 59.Nxa6 Kc4 60.Kg3 Kb5 61.Nc7+ Kxb4 62.Kxh3 ½-½.

Ivanchuk,V (2779) - Leko,P (2751) [A32]
Rapid Rematch Mukachevo UKR (5), 05.01.2009
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e6 5.g3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Bc5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Bg2 Nc6 9.Nc3 0-0 10.Rc1 b6 11.Nd5 exd5 12.cxd5 Bb7 13.dxc6 dxc6 14.0-0 Qc8 15.Nd4 c5 16.Bxb7 Qxb7 17.Nf5 Rfe8 18.Bc3 Qe4 19.Qc2 Qe6 20.b3 Bf8 21.Bxf6 Qxf6 22.Ne3 Rad8 23.Rfd1 Qe6 24.Qc4 Qe5 25.Qa6 Qb8 26.Nd5 h5 27.e3 Rd6 28.Nc3 Red8 29.Rxd6 Rxd6 30.h4 g6 31.Ne4 Rd8 32.a4 Qa8 33.Qc4 Bg7 34.b4 cxb4 35.Qxb4 Qd5 36.Qe7 Qd7 37.Rc7 Qxe7 38.Rxe7 a5 39.Kg2 Rd1 40.Re8+ Bf8 41.Rb8 Ra1 42.Rxb6 Rxa4 43.Nf6+ Kg7 44.Ra6 Ra1 45.Ne8+ Kg8 46.Ra7 a4 47.Nf6+ Kg7 48.Ne4 Kg8

Ivanchuk, rather amazingly managed to win this position – almost no one, including Leko, expected such an outcome. 49.Ng5 f6 50.Ne6 Bh6 51.Nd4 Bf8 52.Ne2 Bh6 53.Nc3 a3 54.Nd5 Bg7 55.Nf4 Bf8 56.Nxg6 Bc5 57.Ra8+ Kf7 58.Nf4 Rb1 59.Kf3 Rb3 60.Ra5 Bb6 61.Ra6 Bc5 62.Nd5 f5 63.Ra5 Bd6 64.Nf4 Rb2 65.Rxf5+ Ke8 66.Rxh5 Kd7 67.Ra5 Kc6 68.Ne2 Kb6 69.Ra4 Bb4 70.h5 Kb5 71.Ra8 a2 72.h6 Rxe2 73.Kxe2 Ba5 74.Rb8+ Bb6 75.h7 a1Q 76.h8Q Qa2+ 77.Kf1 1-0. Undoubtedly, Leko tried his best in Mukachevo, but Ivanchuk was overall a bit stronger this time and won the contest deservedly.

Final standing

Name
Rating
R1
R2
R3
R4
R5
R6
Total
Vassily Ivanchuk
2779
1/2
1/2
1/2
1/2
1
1/2
3.5
Peter Leko
2751
1/2
1/2
1/2
1/2
0
1/2
2.5

Pictures from Mukachevo


There certainly was a Transcarpathian flavour at the opening ceremony


Vassily Ivanchuk, main organizer Josef Resch, Peter Leka at the opening ceremony


Chief arbiter Oleg Tovchyga officiating the drawing of colours


The spectators, with Leko manager Carsten Hensel and Leko's wife Sofia in the front row


The match started!


Motivated and well prepared: Vassily Ivanchuk


Under pressure: Peter Leko


After the first day Peter gives autographs to young fans


There were always quite a few spectators, even though the tickets were not free. The daily price was ten Hryvnias (approx. two US Dollars before the financial crisis, now at best $1.5).


Special guests: WGM Anna Muzychuk, rated 2540, from Stryi (Lviv Region), who is now playing for Slovenia, and her father Oleg


Transcarpathia players: IM Juri Dovzik from Uzhhorod and Mukachevo champion Robert Oros


The Children’s Open, with 49 participants, including a team from Slovakia


Special guest Ruslan Ponomariov, the match commentator Zahar Efimenko (who grew up in Uzhhorod, lived for many years in Kramatorsk on the other side of of Ukraine, and now lives in Mukachevo) and Anna Muzychuk hand out prizes for the participants of the children’s tournament – under the Christmas tree.


Young players of Mukachevo. More that 100 children are learning chess in the town’s Chess Club 32x64 (the President of the club is Josef Resch), but only strongest boys and girls were allowed to competed in the open.


Ponomariov and Alexandr Fediv, the Vice President of the 32x64 club


All pictures except, obviously, this one are by Mikhail Golubev

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