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Ivanchuk: Test THIS

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Vassily Ivanchuk has done some eloquent speaking over the board this week in Benidorm, where's he's only given up one draw from eight games with two rounds to play. With Shirov trailing with 5.5/8, Ivanchuk only needs one draw to seal victory. It's a bizarrely unbalanced field, with Ivanchuk, Shirov, and Tiviakov on one side and Lahno and local players Gutierrez and Gazquez rated hundreds of points lower. But Lahno spiced things up a bit with a spectacular win over Shirov, who also endeared himself to the fans by losing to Gazquez. The live game page has sporadic moments of success but the official viewer and PGN are usually busted. There are a few in the viewer now, so check out Ivanchuk-Tiviakov while you can. As usual, we'll hope the scores end up in Mark's capable hands at TWIC.


That's Chucky, the only thing he cares about is playing chess. Banning him would be terrible for the game.

Nanjing tournament is starting from Dec 10, and he is effectively playing in Benidorm till Dec 8, so only one day in between and traveling across almost two continents. He is beast! I love him and am sure he enjoys his chess.

Was Benidorm a FIDE rated tournament? (Reports seem to be coming in at a rate of greater than one round/day.)

According to TWIC, Ivanchuk won the tournament with 8/10 (0.5/2 against Shirov), but slightly underperformed his rating. Shirov was second with 7.5, almost exactly what his rating would have predicted.

Ivanchuk is definitely a beast. Plays all rounds in the Olympiad tournaments.

Shirov-Ivanchuk 1/2 is a fantastic game.

this double round robin was played at rapid time controls, so no fide rating.

Could Chucky's outrageous success in this tournament not be further proof that he needs to be tested for drugs? Does Chucky have something to hide?...

Theorist, hard to say if your comment is meant to be ironic or not ... . In any case, as pointed out by Malachy, Ivanchuk's success is not as outrageous as it looks at first sight.

Let's ignore Chucky's last-round loss against Shirov because he had already won the tournament (maybe the organizers had scheduled their game for the last round, hoping it would be the decisive one?). 1.5/2 against a solid sub-top player as Tiviakov twice is an achievement, but "nothing really special". And against the three far lower-rated players, anything but 6/6 may be considered a surprise ??

BTW: The field may be considered 'bizarrely unbalanced', but I would rather say it was an interesting experiment. When do 2400 players as IM Gazquez get the opportunity to play world toppers?? Maybe in team competitions, very rarely in opens (because 2700+ players rarely participate), possibly at the Olympiad ... but then you have to be from a country lacking stronger players or, incidentally, your country has to organize the Olympiad and is allowed to send a second or even third team.

So even if you lose your games (as expected), it may well be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I think the organizers deserve praise to invite local heroes [local ones, not national ones].

Is anyone aware of similar events? Corus A next year may be somewhat comparable, the three Dutch participants are more than 100 points lower rated than the rest and actually lower rated than half of the B-field. Van Wely may have been invited due to tradition (inertia?), for Stellwagen and Smeets it is certainly a learning experience.

I was basically being ironic. But I was also trying to point out a double standard in our approach to these sorts of things. We take to mean one thing evidence that, in other cases, could mean completely the opposite.

Theorist, actually I thought (or hoped) that you were ironic - just couldn't be sure, a smiley at the end of your 1:25PM post may have clarified the issue ,:).
And in your last post, I do not understand the second sentence at all .... and I guess it has little to do with the fact that I am not a native English speaker ,:).

The chessvibes site refers to a commentary in Nature (indeed one of the top scientific journals) which basically states that certain drugs should be legalized. Some brief quotes:
" 'Cognitive enhancement' should be allowed in modern society"
"Mentally competent adults should be able to engage in cognitive enhancement using drugs"
"They [the authors of the Nature comment] are aware to possible dangers ... and ... make an exception for children"
[by Chessvibe editors:] "why is some chemical substation more of a ‘drug’ than a private tutor or wealthy parents who can afford to buy lots of chess books?" (substation is probably a non-existing word, but they are not native English speakers).

Of course, with respect to tournament chess, even if you agree with everything else, the third quote will cause problems. With so many teenagers competing at (near-)top level, specifying an age limit of 18 or 21 for drugs to be(come) legal will prevent equal chances to everybody.

On the lighter side, Chessvibes also links to an earlier satire on the same site:
(sorry the link is that long and probably broken, their choice not mine ....).
The following discussion (half of it in Dutch, it's a Dutch site after all) shows that not everybody recognized it as a satire .... .

Hi Thomas,

Sorry the irony wasn't clear. Sometimes it's less ironic if you do the smiley-face thing.

As for the second sentence: I meant that to suggest that Ivanchuk's great performance can be evidence for two things: either he's making excellent use of drugs; or, he's so good that he doesn't need drugs at all. Everyone's assuming the latter (which, for the record, so do I) -- but in other situations (with other players, e.g., Topalov?) we'd all use the same great performance as evidence that something bad was going on.

I don't think Ivanchuk needs to be tested about drugs that somehow might help him to "play better chess", but given the impressive number of tournaments and games that he is playing without rest in the last couple of years, one might wonder if he is using some substances in order to keep such endurance. Probably not, but the rate of games he is playing at consistently high level is beyond what could be considered "normal" (even for him, compared to previous years).

Are there other examples of top players in the past with such an impressive number of high level games played during a year?

Fischer 1970

March-April USSR v World 3/4 match win
April Herceg Novi World Blitz 19/22 1st
April-May Rovinj-Zagreb 13/17 1st
July-August Buenos Aires 15/17 1st
September Siegen Olympiad 10/13 Board 1
November Palma 18.5/23 1st

What a tweaker. Probably hookers and goof balls, just like Ivanchuk.


But this is not even one half of the amount of games Ivanchuk has played this year... so, I don't know who else might had such a calendar full of games with good results.

Well from what I have read the man sleeps eats and dreams chess, and seems to be much more fanatical than any of the others; that might explain some of it..

Amphetamines and certain"smart drugs" can help you play better chess giving greater energy focus and a boost to memory for a tournment. It comes at a price of course... and do some top players take them? You betcha! Ivanchuks refusal to take the test should lead to some kind of ban - he knew the rules before entering the tournament and he is subject to the rules like anyone else. There is simply no reasonable excuse for not submitting to a urine test.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on December 8, 2008 2:13 AM.

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