Kavalek at Huffington: Ivanchuk Dominates Chess Olympiad

by ChessBase
9/28/2010 – At the Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk one player, Vasyl Ivanchuk, stands head and shoulders above all other players. The 41-year old Ukrainian grandmaster has smashed everything coming his way so far, amassing a giant performance rating. In his latest Huffington Post column GM Lubomir Kavalek provides indepth analysis of a remarkable Ivanchuk game.

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Ivanchuk Dominates Chess Olympiad

By GM Lubomir Kavalek

The chess olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia is in full swing, moving into the second half. The Open section has 149 teams listed, nearly 750 players. The women section has 115 teams, roughly 575 players. Head and shoulders above all players stands Vasyl Ivanchuk. The 41-year old Ukrainian grandmaster smashed everything coming his way so far, winning five straight games and amassing a giant 3357 performance rating. On Tuesday, Ivanchuk added his sixth victory against the Georgian GM Baadur Jobava. His team leads the olympiad after seven rounds, having won six matches and drawing one. The 11-round olympiad concludes Sunday, October 3.

Ivanchuk was born in the same year as the world champion Vishy Anand and they are good friends. But unlike the Indian grandmaster, he sticks his neck out in an event considered to favor young players. Playing the top board is always a challenge. The American Hikaru Nakamura, 22, is doing well with a 4.5 - 0.5 score, but the world's top-rated grandmaster Magnus Carlsen of Norway, 19, is struggling at 50 percent with two wins and two losses. How come Ivanchuk doesn't even blink and collects his points with a solid, steady performance? He does it with his incredible opening knowledge, sharp and unusual tactics and subtle positional play.

Ivanchuk's win against one of the best defenders, Peter Leko of Hungary, is a positional masterpiece. William Steinitz, the first official world champion, loved to have his pawns on the original squares, since any pawn move weakens the position. It was a sound idea, not overlooked by world-class players such as Bobby Fischer, Ulf Andersson or Michael Adams. Ivanchuk's wonderful illustration would have made Steinitz happy. In the Semi-Slav Meran defense, using tactical themes and a delicate queen maneuver, the Ukrainian GM created many pawn weaknesses that Leko was unable to cover.

Note that in the replay windows below you can click on the notation to follow the game.

Original column hereCopyright Huffington Post

Chess Puzzles: A Vodka Escape

Richard Reti

White draws

While the black king is in the (green) square and can snap up the white c-pawn anytime, the white king is out of the (red) square, unable to catch the black h-pawn. Reti makes the study work, blending both green and red squares into a beautiful solution. Can you find how white draws?

1.Kg7! (The king has to climb up diagonally to reach one of the two squares.) 1...h4 2.Kf6! Kb6 3.Ke5! (The diagonal journey is successful. The white king can either help his own pawn or catch the black one.) 3...h3 (After 3...Kxc6 4.Kf4 draws.) 4.Kd6 h2 5.c7 h1Q 6.c8Q draw.

Other composers tried to expand on Reti's maneuver. Ladislav Prokes juggles the squares differently. The black pawn is far out of reach, but the white king, momentarily pinned to the edge of the board, finds a miraculous way to stop it.

Ladislav Prokes

White draws

Henri Rinck composed his version in 1922 and published it in the Revue Suisse d'Echecs in Basel. He also worked with squares, but added a line-geometry, the skewer, into the solution.

(With the first three moves, white threatens to advance his a-pawn, forcing black to react.) 1.Kc8! (After 1.a6? Kc6 2.Ke7 h5 black wins.) 1...Kc6 2.Kb8! (After 2.a6? Kb6 3.Kd7 h5 black wins.) 2...Kb5 3.Kb7! Kxa5 4.Kc6 (As in Reti's study, the diagonal walk saves the game.) 4...h5 5.Kd5 the white king is in the square and catches the black pawn. Draw.

Henri Rinck

White wins

1.a4 Kb3 2.a5 Kc3 (2...Kc4 after this move, white uses the skewer to win: 3.a6 Kd3 4.a7 f2 5.a8Q f1Q 6.Qa6+ winning the black queen.) 3.Kg1! (The only move. After either 3.Kg3? Kd4 4.a6 Ke3 5.a7 f2 6.Kg2 Ke2; or 3.a6? Kd2 4.a7 f2 5.Kg2 Ke2 black draws.) 3...Kd4 4.a6 Ke3 5.Kf1! (The black pawn is stopped and the white pawn queens.) 1-0

Note that in the replay windows below you can click on the notation to follow the game.

The Huffington Post is an American news website and aggregated blog founded by Arianna Huffington and others, featuring various news sources and columnists. The site was launched on May 9, 2005, as a commentary outlet and liberal/progressive alternative to conservative news websites. It offers coverage of politics, media, business, entertainment, living, style, the green movement, world news, and comedy. It is a top destination for news, blogs, and original content. The Huffington Post has an active community, with over one million comments made on the site each month. According to Nielsen NetRatings, the site has around 13 million unique visitors per month (number for March 2010); according to Google Analytics the number is 22 million uniques per month.

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