São Paulo Masters – Highway robbery in São Paulo!

10/4/2011 – In a tragic end to the São Paulo leg of the Grand Slam Masters, Vassily Ivanchuk and his wife were robbed at gunpoint in the hotel driveway, before boarding the taxi that was to take them to the airport. To make things worse, his wife's passports were taken, and she could no longer accompany him to Bilbao, instead forced to return to Ukraine. Ivanchuk has threatened to abandon the tournament.

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The first leg of the Grand Slam was staged in São Paulo, Ibirapuera Park, from September 25th to October 1st, the second leg is in Bilbao, Alhóndiga, from 5th to 11th October. Tournament system: double round robin with six players over ten rounds. Time control: 90 minutes/40 moves + 30 minutes + 10 seconds/move starting with the 1st move. Game start: 15:00h local São Paulo time (2 p.m. New York, 20:00 h Europe).

Highway robbery in São Paulo

Just when he was about to embark to Bilbao, and after having had such a magnficent result, Ivanchuk and his wife were robbed at gunpoint in the hotel driveway, before getting into the taxi that was to take them to the airport. As reported by Leontxo García in his daily column in El País:

"What had been a great success for the Masters Final in São Paulo on Sunday was marred by an unfortunate event, Ivanchuk and his wife were robbed at gunpoint when, twenty meters from the hotel, they were to board the taxi that was to take them to the airport."

It is possible this was not a random act, as the event and the prize money had been publicized in local media, and the assailants may have thought he was in possession of the money.

After hearing of the episode, Hikaru Nakamura wrote on Twitter: "Quite disappointed to hear the news from São Paulo about Ivanchuk being robbed. Hopefully we can postpone the game till the 9th."

Unfortunately, the issue did not end there as García explained.

"It includes a passport stolen from her, and Ivanchuk refuses to continue the tournament in Bilbao on Thursday, if he is not with his wife."

The organizers were frantic to try and find an emergency solution, since without a passport, Ivanchuk's wife could not embark to Spain or any country other than her home, Ukraine. Sadly there was no way around the issue, and while some countries do have emergency procedures to replace a passport in a 24-hour period, it seems Ukraine is not one. So she will be unable to reach Bilbao in time. As a result, the couple will fly to Munich, Germany, where she will continue to Ukraine, while he heads to Bilbao after all. Our heart goes out to them, and we hope Ivanchuk is able to overcome this and continue his great tournament run.

Schedule and results

Round 1: Monday, September 26, 15:00h
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Hikaru Nakamura 
½-½
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Levon Aronian 
1-0
 Francisco Vallejo
Round 2: Tuesday, September 27, 15:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
1-0
 Francisco Vallejo
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Hikaru Nakamura 
½-½
 Viswanathan Anand
Round 3: Wednesday, September 28, 15:00h
Viswanathan Anand 
0-1
 Vassily Ivanchuk 
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Hikaru Nakamura
Francisco Vallejo 
1-0
 Magnus Carlsen
Round 4: Friday, September 30, 15:00h
Levon Aronian 
0-1
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Francisco Vallejo 
0-1
 Viswanathan Anand
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Hikaru Nakamura
Games Report
Round 5: Saturday, October 1, 15:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
0-1
 Magnus Carlsen
Hikaru Nakamura 
1-0
 Francisco Vallejo
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Games Report
Round 6: Thursday, October 6, 17:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Hikaru Nakamura
Magnus Carlsen 
   Viswanathan Anand
Francisco Vallejo 
   Levon Aronian
GamesReport
Round 7: Friday, October 7, 17:00h
Francisco Vallejo 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
Levon Aronian 
   Magnus Carlsen 
Viswanathan Anand 
   Hikaru Nakamura
GamesReport
Round 8: Saturday, October 8, 17:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Viswanathan Anand
Hikaru Nakamura 
   Levon Aronian
Magnus Carlsen 
   Francisco Vallejo
GamesReport
Round 9: Monday, October 10, 17:00h
Magnus Carlsen 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
Francisco Vallejo 
   Hikaru Nakamura
Levon Aronian 
   Viswanathan Anand
GamesReport
Round 10: Tuesday, October 11, 16:00h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Levon Aronian
Viswanathan Anand 
   Francisco Vallejo
Hikaru Nakamura 
   Magnus Carlsen 
GamesReport

Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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