no7. Vasily Ivanchuk from Ukraine
Date of birth: March 18, 1969
Amber highlights: Overall winner in 1992, 2nd in 1996, 1997, 2000 (shared) and 2002
What would the Amber tournament be without Vasily Ivanchuk? In any case something quite different, as the Ukrainian grandmaster is the only player who has taken part in all Amber tournaments. In 1992 he was the overall winner and on various occasions he was the runner-up. Ivanchuk is one of the greatest players of modern time, both adored by chess lovers and admired by his colleagues, who have been regularly heard whispering: ‘Chuky, you’re a genius’. They also speak of ‘Planet Chuky’, to indicate that sometimes he is moving in different spheres.
When he came to Monaco last year, Ivanchuk was determined to avenge his poor showing in the Morelia-Linares tournament. His result had been such that he even feared he might not be invited to super-tournaments again. After a third place in Amber he embarked on an impressive tour that earned him lots of Elo-points and brought him the desired invitations. Playing almost incessantly he won one tournament after the other: the Capablanca Memorial in Havana with a record performance rating of 2877, the Aerosvit tournament in Foros with a TPR of 2823, the Montreal International with a TPR of 2857 and the traditional tournament in Merida, Mexico, where he beat Pentala Harikrishna in the final. In the first super-tournament he was invited to, the Tal Memorial in Moscow, he fared less, but he did win the ensuing World Blitz Championship. Things went better in Wijk aan Zee and Morelia-Linares, but nevertheless he lost 11 Elo points in these events.