Ivanchuk Beats Wei Yi In Fascinating Hoogeveen Match
Ivanchuk beats Wei Yi in Hoogeveen. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Hoogeveen Chess.

Ivanchuk Beats Wei Yi In Fascinating Hoogeveen Match

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Oct 26, 2017, 11:01 AM |
15 | Chess Event Coverage

A fascinating match in Hoogeveen between the highly experienced grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk and the Chinese rising star Wei Yi finished in a 3-3 tie, after which Ivanchuk won the blitz tiebreak. Baskaran Adhiban vs Jorden van Foreest saw the same scenario, with Van Foreest winning the blitz.

A long chess tradition is kept alive in Hoogeveen, the Netherlands. For the 21st time, the Hoogeveen town hall is hosting national and international chess players for an open tournament, and also four strong grandmasters playing two six-game matches. These matches finished today.

Ivanchuk-Wei Yi

The main fight was between two players whose age difference is exactly three decades: 48-year-old Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and 18-year-old Wei Yi of China. Both are known to be brilliant players in their own way, and it showed in this match.

When asked at the opening ceremony what would happen if nobody ever played the Sicilian against him anymore, Wei said: "Then I would have 100 Elo points less!" But, while having a super broad opening repertoire, Ivanchuk played the Sicilian in all three black games!

The Ukrainian legend is such a lover of the game, that he probably simply went for what he felt was the most interesting option against this opponent, whether it involved more danger or not.

After a rather balanced draw in game one, the first Sicilian was game two. Wei had some experience in this particular line and got one of his favorite "Sicilian moves" (Nf5) on the board, but Ivanchuk had a sharp vision and avoided all the pitfalls.

Wei seemed pretty inspired, and even more so the next day. Like a modern-day Mikhail Tal the Chinese youngster sacrificed a whole rook. However, there must have been a huge hole in his calculations somewhere because Ivanchuk, unlike most of Tal's opponents, refuted it in just a few moves.

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That rook sac was a bit too frivolous, even for Wei Yi! | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Hoogeveen Chess.

After two interesting draws (see the PGN file) Wei managed to level the score on the very last day, thus forcing a blitz playoff. It was the third Sicilian, and for the second time a Taimanov.

With so many forcing moves in a row, White seemed much in control although Ivanchuk did miss a chance for obtaining an unclear position at some point.

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Powerful chess by Wei Yi in the last classical game. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Hoogeveen Chess.

In classical chess the players were only eight Elo points apart, but in blitz the "paper difference" was a bit more. Ivanchuk was the mathematical favorite, and in fact won both games played at three minutes and two seconds increment.

After a nice positional grind in the first, he won a very quick game as Black to decide the match:

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When in good shape the reigning world rapid champion is a fine blitz player too. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Hoogeveen Chess.

Games from TWIC.

Adhiban-Van Foreest

The second match, held alongside in the same playing hall, was very interesting as well. 25-year-old Baskaran Adhiban of India and 18-year-old Jorden van Foreest of the Netherlands played four decisive games in the classical part. That reminded of last year, when only the last game in the Van Foreest vs Ivan Sokolov match ended in a draw.

Adhiban won two technical endings in games two and five. Here's the latter, which levelled the score:

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Baskaran Adhiban. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Hoogeveen Chess.

Van Foreest won games three and four. First, he profited from a blunder:

In the next game the young Dutch GM refuted his opponent's overly aggressive opening play. "I probably mixed up something in my preparation," said Adhiban. "I'm not sure now if 15...g4 is the move."

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An excellent match victory for Jorden van Foreest. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Hoogeveen Chess.

After Van Foreest won convincingly in the first playoff blitz game, Adhiban got a chance in the second but blew it:

Games from TWIC.

The two matches once again confirmed that this format is quite a successful change from the original setup, which was a four-player, double round robin. That wasn't bad either, but somehow had lost its charm.

In its early years, the tournament would invite the best female player (a.k.a. Judit Polgar), the World Junior champion, a strong Dutch player and a former top GM from the past. Among the famous names who made the trip to Hoogeveen were Vassily Smyslov and Anatoly Karpov.

Besides keeping good traditions, it's good to see that the tournament also tries to innovate—something you can expect from tournament director Loek van Wely. There were two big changes.

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Tournament director Loek van Wely. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Hoogeveen Chess.

For starters, everyone played with brand new, wireless DGT boards. This worked perfectly, which will be music to the ears of arbiters all over the world who struggle to set up dozens of boards, all connected with LAN cables, for open tournaments.

Secondly, the open tournament changed its format somewhat—a bit similar to the now defunct Millionare Chess tournament. After seven of the nine rounds, the top four moves to a playoff system, in an attempt to make the final rounds more interesting. That playoff starts tomorrow; the other players simply play rounds eight and nine.

Speaking of the open tournament, it's worth mentioning that three siblings of Jorden van Foreest are playing in Hoogeveen as well. In one of the amateur groups his 10-year-old brother Nanne plays, and in the open tournament there's his 16-year-old brother Lucas (an IM) and his 10-year-old sister Machteld (Nanne's twin sister). The latter is currently rated 1829 but has so far defeated several 2000+ players and is winning tons of Elo points. What a family!

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Machteld van Foreest, a likely future Dutch women's champion or more than that! | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Hoogeveen Chess.

Lucas was involved in the following puzzle, as Black. He survived a lost position as his opponent, a grandmaster who has been away from chess for about a decade but now plays again, went for a repetition with 46.Qf5 Re8 47.Qd5+ R8e6 48.Qd7+ draw. Can you see the win for White?

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GM Harmen Jonkman, who was a very active player in the 1990s and early 2000s, when he ran one of the earliest chess tournament calendars on the internet (now defunct). | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Hoogeveen Chess.

Another remarkable fragment was the following. Black made the Ultimate Blunder (courtesy Tim Krabbé) by resigning in a winning position!

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IM Xu Xiangyu probably showed his opponent how he could have won, as the electronic board had registered the winning line which wasn't on the score sheets. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Hoogeveen Chess.

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