Ivanchuk leads in rapid chess match in Mukachevo

10/26/2007 – Vassily Ivanchuk, 38 years old, is on a career high. After occupying second place in the October world rankings the Ukrainian GM is now dominating the rapid chess match against Peter Leko. In the first four games he won one and came close to winning two further points. The match lasts three days and is played over twelve games. Will it be the first of a long series?

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October 2007
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Exhibition Rapid Match
Peter Leko vs Vassily Ivanchuk
in Mukachevo

This match over twelve games will take place from October 25 - 28, in Mukachevo, a small town located in the western Ukraine. It pits the top players of the two neighbouring countries Hungary and Ukraine and was originated by the initiative of Josef Resch of Universal Event Promotion, which is in the business of staging chess events world-wide. Resch celebrated his 50th birthday this year – and on the occasion of this anniversary the idea of an extraordinary chess event was implemented.


Chess organiser and promoter Josef Resh at the opening ceremony

The schedule of the competition in Mukachevo: four rapid games will be played every day (October 26, 27 and 28). Starting times are 15:00h, 16:00h, 17:00h and 18:00h. The time control for each game is ten minutes plus ten seconds per move.


The players Peter Leko and Vassily Ivanchuk at the opening press conference


The drawing of colours: Peter Leko gets white in game one

Day one – rounds one to four

In the first game, an 84-move marathon, Vassily Ivanchuk, playing with the black pieces, had two extra pawns. But with opposite colour bishops Peter Leko managed to set up a fortress which prevented Black from winning. In the second game Ivanchuk played the Scotch, got a better position and again won two pawns, which this time he was able to convert into a full point. The third game was a relatively uneventful draw, and in the fourth Ivanchuk was again on the attack.

Ivanchuk,Vassily - Leko,Peter
Ivanchuk-Leko Mukachewo (4), 2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Bc4 d6 5.d3 Be7 6.Nd2 Bg5 7.Nf1 Bxc1 8.Rxc1 Nge7 9.Ne3 0-0 10.0-0 Ng6 11.Ncd5 Nce7 12.c3 Be6 13.Nxe7+ Qxe7 14.g3 Rab8 15.a4 Qd7 16.Qb3 Ne7 17.f4 exf4 18.gxf4 Bxc4 19.Qxc4 Kh8 20.f5 f6 21.Qe6 Qc7 22.Rc2 Rbe8 23.Rg2 Nc6 24.Qd5 Rd8 25.Rf3 Qd7 26.Rfg3 Ne7 27.Qb3 g6 28.Qd1 Rg8 29.fxg6 Rxg6 30.Qf3 Rf8 31.Qf4 Rxg3 32.Rxg3 Qe6 33.Qh6 Rg8 34.Kf2 b6 35.Rf3 Rg6 36.Qf8+ Ng8 37.Nd5 Qg4 38.Rg3 Qh4 39.Kg2 Rxg3+ 40.hxg3 Qg5 41.Ne7 Qg4 42.Kf2 Qg5

White has a mate-in-one attack, which Black must parry with his queen, either by guarding g8 or with perpetual check. Here Ivanchuk missed the bold continuation: 43.Nxg8! after which 43...Qxg8 44.Qxf6+ Qg7 45.Qxd6 leaves White two pawns up and a winning position. But what about perpetual check? Doesn't work, since the white king can escape on the square a8! Here's a possible line: 43...Qd2+ 44.Kf3 Qxd3+ 45.Kf4 Qf1+ 46.Kg4 Qe2+ 47.Kf5 Qf3+ 48.Ke6 Qxe4+ 49.Kxd6 Qd3+ 50.Kc6 Qf3+ 51.Kb5 Qd3+ 52.c4 Qb3+ 53.Ka6 Qxa4+ (53...Qxc4+ 54.Kxa7+-) 54.Kb7 Qd7+ 55.Ka8 and no more checks, so: 55...Qg7 (55...Qc6+ 56.Kb8 loses immediately) 56.Qxg7+ Kxg7 57.Nxf6 Kxf6 58.Kxa7 Kf5 59.Kxb6 Kg4 60.Kxc5 Kxg3 61.b4 and White wins. It a long line to calculate in rapid chess, and Ivanchuk played 43.Ke2? Now Black can defend: 43...Qxg3 44.Nxg8 Qg2+ 45.Kd1 Qg1+ 46.Kc2 Qg2+ [not 46...Qxg8? 47.Qxf6+ Qg7 48.Qxd6 and White has good winning chances.] 47.Kc1 [not 47.Kb3 Qxg8+ 48.Qxg8+ Kxg8 and Black is winning] 47...Qg1+ 48.Kd2 Qf2+ 49.Kd1 Qf1+ ½-½. A close call for Peter Leko.

All results:

Friday, October 26th 2007
Peter Leko 
½-½
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Vassily Ivanchuk 
1-0
 Peter Leko
Peter Leko 
½-½
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Peter Leko

Standing

Pictures from Mukachevo


The venue of the match: Cinema Theatre "Peremoha", Mira Square, Mukachevo


The central street of the Ukrainian city


Catholic church in Mukachevo


Peter Leko and Vassily Ivanchuk, in a monument built in 2047 to commemorate their 40th rapid chess match in Mukachevo. Actually this is the well-known "Saints Cyril and Methodius" statue in contemporary Mukachevo. The Byzantine Greek brothers are credited with the creation of the Slavic Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets.

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