Comedies, Tragedies, And Masterpieces: Anand vs Ivanchuk II
Vassily Ivanchuk in 2017. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Comedies, Tragedies, And Masterpieces: Anand vs Ivanchuk II

| 34 | Fun & Trivia

In the first part of this article, we talked about a clash of chess titans that started over 30 years ago between GMs Viswanathan Anand and Vassily Ivanchuk. 

In this unusual match, we can find everything we love about chess: beautiful combinations, elegant technique, opening novelties, etc. But nothing excites chess fans more than the human element of the game. Who would forget the following episode where a super-GM missed a basic checkmate in one move! You can proceed straight to 7:35.

While missing a checkmate in one move is indeed a very rare occurrence in grandmasters' games, it still pales compared to a truly unique situation that happened in the following game.

Yes, it is a very beautiful attack by Anand, but there is something else unique to know about this game. Here is what Anand writes:

"Gurevich and I had the final position on the board during our work in 1991—an unusual experience for me! I consider myself reasonably well-prepared, but to have worked out the whole game in advance is rare."

Vassily Ivanchuk
Chess players have all been there. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Of course, these funny games are exceptions since most of the games played by Anand and Ivanchuk are textbook examples of chess. Those of you who want to improve your positional play should not miss the next strategical masterpiece. In the following position, White has a spatial advantage typical for the Maroczy bind, but it is very difficult to make a progress since Black has no clear weaknesses. What should White play?

It looks like it is Ivanchuk's pet idea to push the kingside pawns in this kind of pawn structure. I witnessed him playing a similar idea in the World Junior Championship where the first Anand vs. Ivanchuk encounter occurred.

This game was played on the board next to my own game, so I could see Ivanchuk's masterpiece live. I was truly impressed by his strategy.  In the above-mentioned game vs. Anand, he executed the same plan. Can you find Ivanchuk's key moves?

Now try to find how Ivanchuk finished this excellent game.

If you are not a very experienced player and therefore found this game too complicated, don't be upset, I have something you'll enjoy. Find why Anand resigned in the following position. What's Black's winning plan?

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In conclusion, let me present one of the most remarkable moves made in the games between Anand and Ivanchuk. Can you spot White's idea in the following position?

This is a very impressive positional concept. Ivanchuk was never been able to get out of the bind. Here is how the game ended:

Naturally, we cannot go over all the games played by these two chess geniuses; I tried to highlight the most memorable moments from their many battles. I encourage you to find the rest of the games in a database, and check them out. Trust me, you won't regret it!

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