Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Ivanchuk’s Famous Blunder

Vasyl Ivanchuk (1969) is a talented Ukrainian GM. He attracted the attention of chess world in 1991 after winning the Linares tournament ahead of Gary Kasparov.

According to chess sources, Ivanchuk has an extraordinary photographic memory. That helped him to play many different openings at a high level. Because of his wide opening repertoire, it is difficult for his opponents to prepare against him.

However, together with his immense talent, Ivanchuk is also famous in chess circles for his poor nerves. That is the reason commonly accepted to explain his irregular play and his unexpected blunders. One of them occurred at the 1994 London Grand Prix blitz. In that event, Ivanchuk failed to complete a strong attack in his game against Anand, not finding a mate in 1 despite having 1:14 of his time left.

In the following diagram, you will see the critical position after Anand’s 24th move. Anand is threatening checkmate on h8 but Ivanchuk found an unexpected counterplay that allowed him to start a strong attack on Anand’s king. However, Ivanchuk failed to play the decisive move.

You can follow in the video below all moves and the drama with live comments from that time.

Why Ivanchuk didn’t play 29…Qxh1++? It’s hard to explain. Only he has the answer. Anyway, it’s incredible that a GM of Ivanchuk’s caliber missed that move, even in time pressure!

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