Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Ivanchuk's heartwrenching moment

Clearly, this is absolutely the most heartwrenching image to emerge from the Chess World Cup in the Russian town of Khanty-Mansiysk. It shows the Ukrainian grandmaster, Vassily Ivanchuk, walking away from the chessboard with his face buried in his hands.

Ivanchuk had been greatly distressed by his two-move blunder in the third game of the tie-break play-off match with Russia's Alexander Grischuk.

It was the semi-finals of the Chess World Cup. Both Ivanchuk and Grischuk had already progressed far in the tournament, which started as a series of mini knock-out matches with 128 players and had been whittled down to only four players at this late stage of the event.

The first two games of the semi-finals between these two players had ended drawn; so the match went into extra time. Grischuk won the first play-off game and then Ivanchuk struck back in the second play-off game. Then came this third play-off game.

Grischuk, who was in his customary time trouble, had allowed his clock to run down to the last three seconds before he executed his move. Ivanchuk thought that he was almost on the verge of winning and walked right into the trap that his opponent had laid for him. His first blunder was to lose a knight and then the second blunder was to lose his rook. All in consecutive moves.

When Grisc6huk captured the rook, Ivanchuk was so shocked and distressed that he resigned the game immediately and left the table with his face hidden by his hands. No, he wasn't trying to shield his face from the cameras. This was clearly a man in great shock.

What a heartwrenching image. And by the way, Ivanchuk is one of the strongest players in the world. Yet, he can succumb to nerves. What about you? Would you succumb to nerves too? I know that I will.

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