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Chess Classic

Ukrainian Superstar Goes for the Record Against 40
Vassily Ivanchuk plays a 40-board simul at the Chess Classic Mainz

14.08.2007 - After Monday’s opening press conference of the Chess Classic Mainz and the drawing of lots, Vassily Ivanchuk, currently number four on the world’s ranking list, gave a 40-board simul. Right from the start of the world’s greatest rapid chess festival such simuls have been part of the program. (Harry Schaack / English version: Johannes Fischer)

Vassily Ivanchuk against Börries Wendling, the internet expert of the Chess Tigers

Usually, simultaneous events are played on 20 boards. However, when organizer Hans-Walter Schmitt in 1994 initiated such a show for the first time, more than 150 people registered, who all wanted to play against shooting star Vishy Anand. Today the Indian, the world’s number one, is a regular guest at the Chess Classic Mainz. And he also was the one, who in the very first simul of the Chess Classic with only four draws against 40 opponents still can boast of the best result of all simuls.

Monday evening, when the charismatic Vassily Ivanchuk started to play against his 40 opponents, one quickly realized that he was keen to break the record of the Indian. For 20 years the Ukrainian has been part of the world’s elite. During his career he has been able to win all prestigious tournaments at least once, and it is only the title of World Champion that eludes him. This is partly due to weak nerves. In his play genius and inexplicable gross blunders take turns. However, in recent months his opponents have been waiting in vain for such blackouts. With an impressive series of tournament wins he climbed to fourth place on the world’s ranking list.

Ivanchuk, who likes to ponder his moves without looking at the board, had to think more than five hours in the “Goldsaal” of the Hilton hotel in Mainz before his last game was finished. In the end only four players managed to draw against him and only one player could win against the master. Visibly exhausted after the simul Ivanchuk was still upset about his unnecessary loss caused by a blunder. But on Thursday, when the FiNet Chess960 Open will start, the outstanding player will have an opportunity to make his loss forgotten. However, it won’t be easy to live up to his role of favorite because he will have to face a large number of tremendous opponents.

Meanwhile, the spectators can look forward to one week, in which each day one the many events will come to a decision. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the FiNet Chess960 and the Ordix Rapid Chess Mini-Open for children under 14 will take place. And beginning on Tuesday Anand, Aronian, Bacrot and Kasimdzhanov will every evening at 18:30 start to fight in the “Rheingoldhalle” in Mainz for the Rapid Chess World Championship. And if you cannot make it to Mainz, you can follow the games live on the internet under http://www.chesstigers.de/live/ccm7/live.htm.

Harry Schaack

Published by Harry Schaack

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