Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Ivanchuk’s Nerves

Vasyl Ivanchuk (1969) is a talented Ukrainian GM who attracted the attention of the chess world in 1991 after winning the Linares tournament. He won ahead of Gary Kasparov who was the World Champion at that time. From July 1988 to October 2002 Ivanchuk was among the top 10 players and participated in the World Championship cycles. However, despite his immense talent, he has never reached the title. Chess circles attribute his inability to become World Champion to his erratic play and poor nerves. One of his famous blunders 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.

Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa (2005) is an Indian chess prodigy and GM who won the World Youth Chess Championship Under-8 in 2013 and and Under-10 in 2015. He has taken part in top international tournaments with great success representing the new generation of Indian chess masters.

Ivanchuk faced Praggnanandhaa in the Julius Baer Generation Cup 2022. As the name suggests, players from several generations took part in the event, with Boris Gelfand and Vasyl Ivanchuk counting among the veterans.

In preliminary rounds, Ivanchuk, playing White against Praggnanandhaa, created the following position after move 29. Ivanchuk makes pressure on his opponent’s position but the game reached a critical moment because both players were short of time.

Again, another Ivanchuk’s blunder in a winning game. Apparently, critical moments with time pressure, reduce Ivanchuk’s ability to properly find the strongest moves.

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