Reports | November 01, 2010 9:45

Ivanchuk takes revenge, beats Nakamura in final Cap d'Agde

Ivanchuk takes revenge, beats Nakamura in Cap d'AgdeThis year's rapid tournament in Cap d'Agde was won by Vassily Ivanchuk, who beat Hikaru Nakamura in the final 1.5-0.5 yesterday. In doing so the Ukrainian grandmaster took revenge for his loss in the final last year against the same opponent.

Photo © | Europe-Echecs

General info

The 9th Chess encounters Nationales and Internationales of Cap d'Agde took place October 23-31. It started with 16 players in two separate groups (round-robins) from which the best four of each would qualify for the knockout phase. The time control was 25 minutes plus 10 seconds increment.

We left the tournament after the group phase. The knockout stage was played with matches consisting of two games, from Thursday, October 28 till Sunday, October 31, 2010:

Hikaru Nakamura-Jon Ludvig Hammer 2-0
Bu Xiangzhi-Yannick Pelletier 1.5-0.5

Nguyen Ngoc Truong-Le Quang Liem 2-4
Judit Polgar-Vasily Ivanchuk 0-2

Hikaru Nakamura-Le Quang Liem 3-1
Vassily Ivanchuk-Bu Xiangzhi 2-0

Vassily Ivanchuk-Hikaru Nakamura 1.5-0.5

The final on Sunday saw two King's Gambits. The first reached a symmetrical position after about ten moves, and became a strategical fight. In an endgame that was slightly better for White, Ivanchuk's 34.c4!! was a brilliant positional concept that you shouldn't miss below in the game viewer. Nakamura's 41...Nd6 was a blunder but the endgame was difficult already.

The second game saw a real, romantic, 19th century King's Gambit with both kings getting under fire. Nakamura's 9.Ne1 is a rare but interesting move and later perhaps the now St. Louis resident should have tried 16.Qe1!? as, after he probably missed 17...Bg4!, Ivanchuk could force a draw immediately to win the mini-match.

Games knockout phase

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Hikaru Nakamura, this time second...

Hikaru Nakamura, this time second...

...losing the final against Vassily Ivanchuk

...losing the final against Vassily Ivanchuk

Videos by Europe-Echecs


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Hortensius's picture

Love to see Chucky win!

EMCB's picture

Congratulations GM Ivanchuck; waiting for you in Mexico, D.F. at UNAM.

john's picture

what a crushing game by Ivanchuck! total posiitonal wipe-out of Nakamura!

good fight by both players overall tho

congrats chucky!

inoki's picture

King’s Gambit !!

sah's picture

what a great tournament, i dont know what you guys think but this rapid tournament with top gm are just great and interesting to watch. Maybe with more tournaments like this chess would become much more popular.

Serdal's picture

Hikaru twittered this a short time ago:
I played like an idiot and Ivanchuk won. However, I will not forget the actions of the spectators anytime soon.

Does anyone know what he meant?

Serdal's picture

Sorry, apparently some spectators rooted against him and even booed him. Not nice, indeed.

Zeblakob's picture

Nakamura: "Losing is not the end of the world. I do not appreciate the lack of open hostility and rudeness directed at me by the spectators though."

Realy?? Mayße ßecause you are arrogant?

Bob's picture

Brilliant with two KGs, loved it. Congrats Ivanchuk!

Thomas's picture

@Zeblakob/Serdal: Well, Nakamura provokes such hostile reactions and may actually thrive on them: "I do not appreciate _the lack of_ [sic!] hostile reactions ..." - nice Freudian mistake which he corrected later on!!??

About his arrogance and lack of any respect for opponents, see earlier twitter gems:
"6.5/7 in the [Cap d'Agde] prelim stage. Not great, but it'll do. Now onto the quarterfinals and time to crush Hammer."
Oct 20th: "Time to crush these Arizona clowns in the US Chess League tonight."
Maybe he tries to be humorous, but even then it remains a matter of taste ... .

Zeblakob's picture

Even in 2008 the spectators rooted for Ivanchuk more than anyone else, see

at 2:34.

But one can easily be a gentlemena when he wins.

jo's picture

Being the BAD BOY of chess may be the marketing niche Nakamura is looking for. - just as Topalov is the BAD MAN!!

Mcenroe and Ali were BAD BOYS who livened up, maybe even rescued their sports (yeah, i know they are old examples...but hey I'm old)

Even the occasional troll (very occasional) livens up the conversations here.

As long as it creates an interest I'm all for it

Mejnor's picture

Naka recolted what he seeded!

noone's picture

Hey I do not think the spectators have read nakamura's twitter. I think they just root for ivanchuk no matter who is playing.

Gens una sumus's picture

Naka is the only chess player I really don't like! What an arrogant man!
Chucky is the best!!! Such a nice and polite man, real chess genius! I think he is just too emotional for being the champ...
Love King's gambit games! Hope to see more rapid in the future.

unknown's picture

Congrats Chucky!

Vasily Ivanchuk, among the others, will play in European Blitz and Rapid Chess Championship, which will take place from 17 till 19 of December 2010 in Warsaw, Poland.

Thomas's picture

Yep, maybe the spectators (some of them, one can never generalize - others may have been neutal or didn't show their preference openly) rooted for Ivanchuk rather than against Nakamura. Chucky is a fan favorite and, to my knowledge, doesn't have any haters or detractors - do I really need to explain why? If that's enough to offend Nakamura ... . BTW, I guess Ivanchuk wouldn't have been undsiputed fan favorite if a French player had an (outsider) chance to win the event - but Bacrot and Vachier-Lagrave had other commitments in Nanjing and Hoogeveen.

If some fans rooted against Nakamura (no matter whom he plays), it may still be due to his long-standing reputation. Fans will know and have their opinions without checking his latest Twitter statements - he creates and cherishes his reputation for months to years already.

Daniel's picture

Congrats Chucky! Keep going!

steve's picture


Please leave such comments somewhere else, we'd like to keep this forum respectful.

Guillaume's picture

Antagonizing or holding grudges against the public is a pretty dumb idea. Nakamura should realize that he has nothing to gain with such an attitude.

Reading through his tweets, he does sound arrogant more often than not, but I suppose that's something he can afford if he can actually reach the top ten and stay there. The thing I didn't know that I find worth mentioning is that he says in his tweets that he will play this year the World Blitz championship (for the first time, as far as I know). I've never liked too much Nakamura's attitude, but I'm certainly glad he's finally decided to prove that he is the best blitz player around. It should be great fun to watch! I'll be rooting for Ivanchuk really, but still, go Naka!

decredico's picture

Nakamura is still a 13-year old, emotionally.

Morley's picture

Nakamura is very arrogant, but apparently can't take any arrogance back. He needs to learn some humility, or he is going to get crushed in these upcoming tournaments. Corus is significantly stronger than last year, and London is slightly stronger as well.

Thomas's picture

@Guillaume: Unfortunately, Ivanchuk declined the invitation for Tal Memorial and world blitz championship (hard to believe but true). Chessdom has the list of participants, among others there is defending champion Magnus Carlsen:

Peter Doggers's picture

Actually you might want to check it at the 'official site' (the RCF).

Thomas's picture

Is the information there? I tried (first) but could only find the participants of the Tal Memorial.

Gigi's picture

Chuky is going to play in Mexico together with Topalov, Judit Polgar and Leon Hoyos. You can find the information at

ChessGirl's picture

@ Guillaume:

It´s quite sad to see that some people like yourself think that it is OK to be arrogant if one is really good at something. I think arrogance is a bad quality that should be criticized no matter where it comes from. In fact I can tell you that the person I admire most in the world, I admire for many things, but first and foremost for teaching me the importance of humility.

Kudos to Vassily :)

ChessGirl's picture

I think it´s quite dangerous to go for the role of the BAD BOY in a game in which it´s so easy to get your ass kicked :P

Teplitz's picture

Nakamura acts like a petulant child whenever he loses, this is extremely bad form and therefore the negative crowd reaction is hardly very surprising. He always "plays like an idiot" when he loses, perhaps it may be the case that some of his opponents actually played rather well...?

Guillaume's picture

@ChessGirl: You're right, of course. I didn't mean it that way. I was thinking about the example of Miles Davis. I think he was quite arrogant, and even if it was not meant that way some of his general attitude was sometimes interpreted as arrogance, like the fact that he used to turn his back to the audience when he was playing. I once saw him in a concert when I was a teenager, he entered the scene, raised his arms and waited for a roar of applause. It was quite clear that if he had not been satisfied with the audience, he would have left on the spot. But, the thing is that this concert was arguably the best I've ever seen in my life, so the price to pay to accept his arrogance was little compared to what this genius had to offer. So, basically I meant that if Nakamura can become the Miles Davis of chess, I won't mind at all that he is arrogant. Right now of course, he's mostly arrogant. So, I'm really looking forward to the World Blitz Championship to see if he can become Miles Davis (or not).

Brecht's picture

Kasparov is probably the best blitzer on internet.....on playchess server....

Felix's picture

Well, apparently some don't get Hikaru's humor :) Of course those comments are totally ironic and in no way arrogant - if it's not your humor, so be it :)
The quote "6.5/7 in the prelim stage. Not great, but it’ll do. Now onto the quarterfinals and time to crush Hammer." is super funny, don't you realise that especially the first part clearly indicates that he's joking? I always thought chessplayers like that kind of ironic comments :)

I once talked with Hikaru in Mainz, he's a nice guy.

Morley's picture

I don't have a big problem with mild arrogance if it is warranted. Kasparov had an arrogant personality, but he deserved it ... he was on top of the chess world for 25 years, and had a fighting, competitive spirit anyways. Nakamura, on the other hand, beat up a bunch of 2600s and is now in the top 25, without having really been tested by the world's best. He has nothing to show for his arrogance, and unless he starts both a) winning and b) showing some respect to others, the invitations to top events (which aren't justified anyways) are going to stop.

Mejnor's picture

He is really funny to watch on the webcam, specially when he lose, his body language don't lie and show some suffisance and arrogance and like Morley said he is not in a position to behave like this.

Nima's picture

This idea of having the games on a platform surrounded by the audience is quite interesting - we should have more of it. It would be like tennis - people try to keep quite but the players have to expect some noise. Should be very fun to watch live.

BTW, I have noticed too that every time Nakamura looses, he claims he played like an idiot. I do not remember him ever having praised his opponent's play.

Surfdude's picture

About the final game Naka-Ivanchuk: I also thought about 16. Qe1+ Qe1: 17.Re1:+ but after 17.. Be6! 18. Be6: fe6: 19. Re6:+ Kf7 and Kxf6, Black seems OK.

FlshStar's picture

Nakamura never give credit or praised his opponents play everytime he loses because he is ---deleted---

Please insult people elsewhere but not here.

noone's picture

Btw has nakamura ever been arrogant in real life? Or is all his reputation from ICC? And nakamura really did play the final badly. The first game's Nd6 is just a beginner's mistake. Though I guess he calculated something. And in the second game he just blundered. And actually he has respect at least for Ivanchuk. That is what he has said many times.

Ryan's picture

Hypocrisy can take the face of modesty, while arrogance can show a glance of honesty.

catfishcore's picture

Its a bunch of anti American hog wash. I'll be listening for the next time someone from Europe calls out what they see bad behavior by an American. I'll have a prime example of my own of the pot calling the kettle black.

Victor's picture

Looking at the Live Ratings, i don´´t see Mr. Nakamura name in the first ten players ??..but i see Ivanchuk´s name there!
so behave ! maybe you are great player on internet, but you have a lot of work to do.
Saying you´d play like an idiot, means Ivanchuk won cause that?
What an arrogant guy!

adamcurrier's picture

Fantastic intro music "competetive part of CHESS!"
and really glad to see something sellable at chess. 2 King's Gambits in the final is simply a rare case nowadays. We should appreciate both finalists.
Totally deserved win for IvanCHUCK.
And I have to add that while ,honestly being out of that side,I beleive Naka should have the right to be arrogant if he is so. It is obviously better than those guys acting the absulute modesty while being in a state full of EGO.

Just that praise claims it all again : "competetive part of chess!"

Thomas's picture

As adamcurrier mentioned the videos, the one entitled "Quarter Finals (2)" has several goodies, somewhat related to he discussion about Nakamura:
- Kateryna Lahno cheerfully losing a bullet game against him [what would have been Naka's reaction to a (rather unlikely) loss?]
- Nakamura surrounded by kids asking for autographs, so he has French fans at least in that age group
- Judit Polgar's frank comments after her match against Ivanchuk, not forgetting to praise her opponent. Of course she has nothing left to prove, not quite the case for Nakamura?!
- Ivanchuk himself with a microphone is always a highlight!

@felix: I realized that Nakamura tries to be funny, indeed it's not my humor. What about "6.5/7 in the prelims - could have been better but I qualified for the next round. Now I should be favorite against Hammer."? Same message without hints of arrogance and disrespect for the opponents. And I don't like "I will crush my opponent ...." rhetoric, no matter whether an American or a (Northern) European says so.

Guillaume's picture

Last time in Amber Monaco, Nakamura had started the analysis of one of his games (against Shirov, unless I'm mistaken) by stating that his opponent's mistake had been to play 1. e4 against him. If you thought that sounded arrogant, he's actually managed to say something worse here. In the first video of the quarter final, Nakamura explains that Hammer's mistake was to pick up white against him in the first game. Next time, if he wants to keep up, he'll have to tell us that his opponent's mistake was to pick up chess instead of another sport.

I'm still ready to believe Nakamura is actually ok, and that he is just trying to be funny. But he should really try to improve his off-the-board play (unless he's fine with having the audience boo him for such tactless statements), because right now he's just really bad at it.

Also, it's probably the same for many publics, but French people are known to always root for the underdog. So, if you win against the underdog in France, just praise his play nonetheless, because the audience is going to be slightly disappointed. Just watch how Nadal and Federer do.

Wouter Otto Levenbach aka Dave's picture

Naka just needs love.......

Thomas's picture

@Guillaume: I was about to write the same, but I think you refer to Naka's game against Shirov at Corus 2010 where he criticized Shirov's (1.e4) c5 rather than 1.-e5. Maybe he actually had a point back then, but it was (IMO) still a tactless statement.

As I wrote before, I think Nakamura is fine with the audience booing him and - in response - his fans booing the audience.

Guillaume's picture

@Thomas: Yes indeed, thanks for correcting me. It was corus 2010, round 7, and Nakamura had criticized 1. .. c5. I got this one pretty mixed up. Here's the video:

GB's picture

Most of the chess players tend to give some kind of excuse for their defeats, but some of them are really arrogant and never praise theis opponents play. With Ivanchuk it is different: He never has a comment which might offend his rivals, on the contrary he always behaves so correct.(Remember the draw offer to Dominguez in Linares), and this is in spite of he being so emotianlly. Great for Vassily.

inoki's picture

just good to see a happy Ivanchuk

Alopecia's picture

Ivanchuk is losing his eyebrows due to nervous pulling.


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