Reviewed by P.P.O. Kane
Vassily Ivanchuk: 100 Selected Games
By Nikolay Kalinichenko
New in Chess, 2013
The book in fact contains slightly more than one hundred games, played by the Ukrainian grandmaster between 1985 and 2012. It is quite a thought that Ivanchuk has been going strong in the top flight for about 30 years now, having grown up when the Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union. The last game here is the brilliant mating attack, involving the sacrifice of a knight and later a rook, that brought Ivanchuk victory over Wang Hao at the Istanbul Olympiad.
These games sparkle with spectacular moves, with 14.Qxe6+ in the game against Karjakin at Nice 2008 being perhaps the most striking example. That wholly unexpected move, sacrificing the queen for just two pawns and no immediate mating attack, is punctuated by Kalinichenko with ‘!!?’ – so he’s not quite sitting on the fence here. Yet Ivanchuk can also play games in the Botvinnik mould, that is by applying concerted positional pressure and making minimal use of tactics. The fine victory over Akopian at Jermuk 2009 being a prime example. Another noteworthy feature of Ivanchuk’s approach is his diverse range of openings – much wider than most elite players – and he will often play the same opening as White and Black.
Kalinichenko presents a vivid portrait of this brilliant player, still active and creative in his mid-‘40s, and does a good job of making his inspirational games accessible to a wide audience.
A fount of fine chess.