Ivanchuk beats them all

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
The story isn't really changing but nonetheless getting more exceptional by the day: in the fifth round Vassily Ivanchuk also beat Levon Aronian and this way he already made history by winning the first leg of the M-Tel Masters with a 100% score.

But making history isn't yet the same as setting new records, of course. And clearly it's about time to have a look at chess history when it comes to winning streaks.

The first that comes to mind is Karpov's finest victory of his career: Linares '94, which he won 11/13. In this tournament the great Anatoly won his first six games, before being halted by Kasparov (who else), who "managed" to draw.

Five years later, Garry Kasparov himself won the Wijk aan Zee tournament (the last one that was called "Hoogovens") 8/11, where he won 7 games in a row in rounds 2-8, after which he couldn't remember a line in the Nimzo-Indian and was defeated by Ivan Sokolov in round 9.

We have to mention Bobby Fischer of course, who scored a winning streak of 20 games in different events 1970-1971, including his famous match victories against Larsen and Taimanov. But there was also the 1963-64 US Championship where he won all his 11 games, a record Ivanchuk can't break in Sofia (where they play just 10 rounds...).

But the most impressive result ever scored in a single chess tournament, has to be Alexander Beliavsky's outer-space victory at a tournament in Alicante (Spain) in 1978. There he won all of his 13 games, the only 100% win in a GM tournament ever.

A nice shot from round 5...

So what happened today? Well, Ivanchuk was Black against Aronian, and because his 4/4 also included bits of luck, who would have thought he'd also win that one? In the 4...Bf5 Slav the players followed the game Wang Yue-Bobras, Cappelle la Grande 2007, in which Black's queen got to b2 where it is being annoying as well as potentially in danger. Levons pawn sac 15.d5!? (a novelty) prevented Black from castling but after 18...e4! White had to look hard for compensation.

...with Levon Aronian's turn...

He managed to trap the Black queen but the price was high: two rooks and a bishop. His only hope was his queenside majority but just in time Black could castle artificially and simultaneuously put a hold to White's passed b-pawn. In the end he didn't fall for the Armenian's stalemate trick and thus Vassily the Great beat 'em all! get beaten by Vassily Ivanchuk

In the second leg Ivanchuk even has three White games and two with Black, so who knows...

Thanks to Topalov's win against Bu the tournament isn't over yet. With his manoeuvre Nc1-d3 the Bulgarian proved that White has a slight edge in this classical Slav line. It seems Bu's 20...e5 was a mistake - he might have missed 22...exf4? 23.e5! - as White got a deadly attack.

The draw in Cheparinov-Radjabov wasn't bad either: another King's Indian that involved a follow-up to the theoretical debate Radjabov had with Van Wely and Shirov at the 2007 Corus Chess Tournament. Cheparinov's 16.exf5!? was a novelty (in the two mentioned games 16.c5 was played) and the players kept on following Rybka's recommendations until move 23.b5, which included an exchange sacrifice by White. Radjabov reacted well to White's activity and even seems to have missed a chance for an advantage with 34...Re3! 35.Bg2 (35.Rf3? Ne4!) 35...Qxc4. Black's last chance to play for a win was 41...Rg8.


Pairings round 6 (Wednesday):

Topalov, V - Aronian, L Xiangzhi, Bu - Cheparinov, I Ivanchuk, V- Radjabov, T

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