Reports | January 03, 2012 17:54

Reggio R7: Two quick draws and a blunder by Ivanchuk (UPDATE)

Reggio R7: Two quick draws and a blunder by Ivanchuk

Nikita Vitiugov scored his first win in Reggio Emilia as Vassily Ivanchuk committed a big blunder in round 7. Hikaru Nakamura drew quickly with Fabiano Caruana and maintained his 4-point lead, as Alexander Morozevich and Anish Giri split the point even quicker.

Event 54th Torneo di Capodannno |  PGN via TWIC
Dates December 27th-January 6th, 2011
Location Reggio Emilia, Italy
System 6-player double round robin
Players Ivanchuk, Nakamura, Morozevich, Vitiugov, Caruana, Giri
Rate of play 100 minutes for the first moves followed by 50 minutes to finish the game with 30 seconds increment from move 1

The tournament in Reggio Emilia has become stronger and stronger in recent years, and with the current field of participants it looks a lot like a super tournament such as Bazna or Dortmund. Therefore, we decided that this 54th edition 'deserved' daily round reports here at ChessVibes. However, we also feel that in certain areas the tournament still lacks the professionalism (experience?) that can be found at other events.

For example, this year the organizers decided to copy the most popular format at elite events these days: the 6-player, double round robin. However, they forgot to carefully check how the pairings are usually done. Instead of switching rounds 4 and 5, the schedule of the first half was kept as simply mirroring the second half. If you do this, there will always be one player having the same colour three rounds in a row.

In this tournament, Vassily Ivanchuk was the unlucky one, who had to play three games with Black consecutively. We won't go as far as saying this was the main reason, but it certainly didn't help either - the Ukrainian lost all three games.

UPDATE: We were informed by the organizers that they didn't 'forget' to change rounds 4 and 5, as they believe with a rest day this is not necessary, and that Ivanchuk has stated that his results have nothing to do with the 3 blacks but only to his form. We therefore regret to have written this part of the report without contacting the organizers first. 

Especially the third, in round 7, was a dramatic affair. In an equal position, Ivanchuk bundered a piece and immediately resigned.

PGN string

Unfortunately the round report on the official website doesn't provide an explanation either. This website is another aspect that should be improved. It lacks an English version, and almost all basic info, including the games and even videos, are hidden under the 'live games' link. The round reports are only available in PDF (why?) and the English versions are not written or checked by a native English speaker, which leads to sentences like:

Vitiugov – Ivanchuk seems to go towards a draw, but suddenly he unusefully looses a pawn.

That's all, no further comment. And it wasn't a pawn...

In other areas the organizers are doing a fine job; e.g. they're sending press releases, they connect with the fans via Facebook and they seem to be taking care of the players very well.

The New Year's Eve dinner in Reggio Emilia

Back to the chess, which involved two quick draws in the other games. After so many decisive results, it had to happen at some point! Alexander Morozevich was much more cautious than in the previous round, and allowed a move repetition as soon as he felt White had no advantage anymore. For Anish Giri a draw with Black was fine, of course. The young Dutchman even climbed to third place.

PGN string

Giri and Morozevich just before the start of their game 

What is almost becoming a tradition here is to mention Hikaru Nakamura's post-game tweet:

As the saying goes...if you can't beat Svidler, you might as well play like him!

The American referred to Svidler's pet line, the Kan Sicilian, but also the recent, spectacular draw between Karjakin and Svidler at the Tal Memorial last month. Of course Caruana had seen it too, and by deviating at move 11 he kept a tiny edge, but a few moves later they players agreed to a draw.

PGN string

Caruana and Nakamura's post-mortem, with Giri kibitzing

In Wednesday's 8th round Nakamura faces Morozevich with White. A win would virtually secure tournament victory with two rounds to spare.

Reggio Emilia 2011 | Round 7 Standings

No. Name Rtg Score/game Tiebreak Perf
1 Nakamura,H 2758 15.0/7   2963
2 Morozevich,A 2762 11.0/7   2785
3 Giri,A 2714 9.0/7   2755
4 Ivanchuk,V 2775 8.0/7   2683
5 Caruana,F 2727 8.0/7   2701
6 Vitiugov,N 2729 5.0/7   2594

Reggio Emilia 2011 | Round 7 Standings (classical)


Reggio Emilia 2011 | Schedule & results

Round 1 27.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 6 02.01.12 15:00 CET
Ivanchuk ½-½ Giri   Giri 1-0 Ivanchuk
Vitiugov 0-1 Nakamura   Nakamura 1-0 Vitiugov
Caruana 0-1 Morozevich   Morozevich 0-1 Caruana
Round 2 28.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 7 03.01.12 15:00 CET
Giri 0-1 Morozevich   Morozevich ½-½ Giri
Nakamura ½-½ Caruana   Caruana ½-½ Nakamura
Ivanchuk ½-½ Vitiugov   Vitiugov 1-0 Ivanchuk
Round 3 29.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 8 04.01.12 15:00 CET
Vitiugov ½-½ Giri   Giri - Vitiugov
Caruana 0-1 Ivanchuk   Ivanchuk - Caruana
Morozevich ½-½ Nakamura   Nakamura - Morozevich
Round 4 30.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 9 05.01.12 15:00 CET
Giri 0-1 Nakamura   Nakamura - Giri
Ivanchuk 1-0 Morozevich   Morozevich - Ivanchuk
Vitiugov 0-1 Caruana   Caruana - Vitiugov
Round 5 31.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 10 06.01.12 13:00 CET
Caruana 0-1 Giri   Giri - Caruana
Morozevich 1-0 Vitiugov   Vitiugov - Morozevich
Nakamura 1-0 Ivanchuk   Ivanchuk - Nakamura


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.


FBardamu's picture


FBardamu's picture


Achwas's picture

My guess is, that Nd2 was "concealed" (or "hidden", don't know the exact word for it) by the white Queen and Rook and black simply wasn't aware of it. This actually happens sometimes.

Frits Fritschy's picture

Some blunders are imagineable, but here I haven't got a clue what went on in Ivanchuk's mind. But I never really understand what is happening in his games, so this just fits in the picture.

misja's picture

Of course I do not know what goes on in Ivanchuk's mind. But perhaps he saw 31.Qxc4 Qb8 -+ and just did not see 31.Nxc4.

columbo's picture

Champagne ! That's what happened in Ivantchuk mind ... CHAMPAGNE !

guest's picture

One day Ivanchuck beats Anand and the other day he gets beaten by Vitiugov. Life is crazy

Jhoravi's picture

At one early point Nc4 was a good move but chucky didn't take it. Several moves later Nc4 became a blunder so Chucky finally took it!

Nigel Short's picture

The blunder is perfectly explicable, if a little surprising for one of Ivanchuk's class. If white would have played 31.Qxc4 then Qb8 wins. Obviously he had simply forgotten that after 31.Nxc4 White's queen is defended TWICE and therefore 31...b5 is no good.

misja's picture

Thank you for enlightening us.
Except for that one grammatical error ("If...would...") you do sound like Nigel Short.

Frits Fritschy's picture

The terms and conditions of Chessvibes state: "Therefore, we ask you not to post comments which [...] are made to appear as if they have been posted by someone else (impersonation)". Peter Doggers would surely check whether someone tries to impersonate a former world championship contender.

notyetagm's picture

Yes, that was my thought exactly: Ivanchuk simply overlooked that the White d3-rook also protected the White c3-queen, in addition to the protection from the White c1-rook.

So after Ivanchuk's blunder 30 ... Nd6xc4?? 31 Nd2xNc4 the pinning idea 31 ... b6-b5 does *not* recover the piece as the White c3-queen is protected *twice*, by both of the White rooks; thus White can just move the White c4-knight to safety.

darkergreen's picture

yep, that is obvious even after 5 beers! sad thing is, chucky is great, but this type of blunders will keep him away from the world champ. title!

Magnus's picture

And then Qb6+ does not work because white just goes Qe3.

misja's picture

@Peter: There seems to be an error in the standings (football): Giri should have 9 points, Ivanchuk 8.

Peter Doggers's picture

Aha yes, thx, corrected.

Hughbertie's picture

Its 100% clear Chuky hasnt recovered from letting the Yank away with it before new year in a game he was winning. Up till then his play was excellent. I feel for him cos he knows the tourney was his for the taking and he doesnt rate the american at all.

Nigel Short's picture

I would be very grateful, misja, if you would explain what exactly you believe to be my grammatical error (except perhaps the omission of a comma). I wouldn't wish to offend the readers chessvibes (or New in Chess for that matter) with further "mistakes".

Nigel Short's picture

* readers "of" chessvibes

Misja Schreuder Peters's picture

According to
"When talking about something that didn’t happen in the past, many English speakers use the conditional perfect (if I would have done) when they should be using the past perfect (if I had done)."
Apparently the mistake is a common one.

Misja Schreuder Peters's picture

Dear GM Short,
I was taught that the following is grammatically incorrect: "If white would have played..."
Correct would be: "If white had played..."
And I was told only non-native speakers of English like myself make that kind of mistake as it "just sounds wrong" to native speakers.
Apparently I was misinformed in one way or the other.

vhomas topalov's picture

in italian language there is the same grammatical rule about sentences with "if - would", yet some native Italians (when speaking italian)do the same mistake, and of course when someone does it, it is likely that someone who is listening point this out, of course it may sound wrong but i can believe that some english native-spekers could make the same mistake (sorry if in my comment there are some mistoke :D )

KK's picture

Nice explanation Misja!

DMiA's picture

Something like "Sorry", "excuses" or "pardon" would have fit perfectly here ...

JP's picture

@Misja: this discussion reminds me of the Max Planck variation of the Einstein-Gambit we played in Nijmegen. Drop me a line!

Coco Loco's picture

Growing up in dreary Bucharest, I also learned that "would" belongs in the other half of the conditional clause, e.g. "had he played x, y would have won." There's also an annoying convention of placing punctuation inside parentheses, quotes, etc. rather than outside them. So, please, no further "mistakes."

notyetagm's picture

TWIC is suggesting something much more likely:

Ivanchuk inteneded to meet 30 ... Nd6xc4?? 31 Nd2xNc4 with 31 ... Be7-f6, creating a pin down the c-file by making the White c3-queen move, and thus regaining the piece with ... b6-b5.

What Ivanchuk realized too late is that 31 ... Be7-f6 is met by the INTERPOSING move 32 Nc4-e5! and he can resign, which he promptly did.

I like to think that Chucky overlooked the interposing 32 Nc4-e5! rather than simply not being able to count to two. :-)

misja's picture

Thank you!

Frits Fritschy's picture

This sounds like something, but still hard to believe.
By the way, there would still be some work to be done for white after 31... b5 32 Ne3 Qxc3 33 Rxc3 Rxc3 34 Rxc3 Bxb4, I would say. Put the pawns on b4 and d5 and then what? On some grandmasters blunders have a greater effect than on others.

Nigel Short's picture

Entering inside Ivanchuk's mind is a very perilous business, but I agree that missing 32.Ne5 is a more plausible explanation of the oversight...

Kenneth W. Regan's picture

Hi, Nigel:
Here's a grammar example from a Yank IM who has a D.Phil. from Oxford, and hence is bi-lingual in English: If you had written "If white had played...", then "misja" would not have reacted. But if you would have written "If white had played...", then you would not be as colourful a writer. Your way puts some spin (which we call "English" in pool, i.e. billiards) on the psychological aspect, and is equally fine grammatically. Clear as mud?

---Ken Regan

Arne Moll's picture

As a linguist in Slavonic languages with an interest in social linguistics, here's my two cents: grammar is best seen as a way to describe, rather than to prescribe, how people use language.

Grammar can tell us something about how people (usually native speakers) used language in the past and how they use it in the present by comparing and analysing texts, recordings and even text and twitter messages. But if a native speaker's language instinct tells him that a certain grammatical form can be used, no grammar textbook has in fact the 'authority' to 'correct' this in any way. On the contrary, people who study grammar should (and usually do) take such cases seriously and study it as an interesting challenge to existing knowledge.

Kenneth Regan's suggestion that Mr. Short's usage expresses a special nuance sounds very plausible. At any rate it is a much more fruitful way of looking at the matter than to just 'correct' it by pointing to some authority that really does not have the authority to correct anyone.

misja's picture

You are right Arne. As a linguist myself I agree that descriptive grammar is much more interesting. I just brought up the subject because I thought the "If I would" sentence showed that the post could not be by GM Short. Apparently I was wrong.

Richard's picture

Misja, you were correct regarding Nigel's use of English grammar. It was wrong. He used the conditional perfect when he should have used the past perfect.

The correct way to express this is with the past perfect in the "if" clause, and the conditional perfect in the "then" clause:

If white had played 31.Qxc4 then Qb8 would have won.

The conditional perfect can only go in the "then" clause - it is grammatically incorrect to use the conditional perfect in the "if" clause.

I disagree with Arne’s suggestion that a native speaker’s instinctive use of grammar cannot be corrected. That idea has untoward implications.

With respect to Ken’s comments, you might consider poor grammar colorful but it certainly isn’t as “equally fine grammatically” as correct grammar.

Arne Moll's picture

And, please tell me Richard, who would have the authority to 'correct' this usage?

Kenneth W. Regan's picture

Richard, what do you think of my example addressing Nigel himself: "If you had written..." versus "If you would have written..."? It shows a case where the conditional perfect can follow "if", with a different meaning. This is because "would" plays a double role: it is both the grammatical conditional and the subjunctive of "will" expressing volition. An example of the latter meaning, though not in past tense, is this maxim by Pascal quoted at : "If you would have people speak well of you, then do not speak well of yourself." Maybe Nigel didn't think this deeply and was making the error you indicate, as shown here, but in chess one is subconsciously always thinking in terms of the opponent's tendencies as well as facts.

Kenneth W. Regan's picture

Meant to say here (for relevance here) that I agree with TWIC's explanation. The closest similar blunder in my own games had my opponent's White Queen on b3 pinning and preventing by Rook on e6 from giving back-rank mate on e1. So---as the climax of a 7-move combination that had otherwise wrecked my better position but maybe still grovelable for a draw---I actually played ...Rxc3"!" unpinning the Rook. Alas White's capturing Queen covered e1, so 1-0.

Misja Schreuder Peters's picture

Yes, back to the topic, sorry.
After 31...Bf6 not only the interposing 32.Ne5 but also 32.Qc2 b5 33.Ne3 win for white. Did Ivanchuk really plan 31...Bf6 and miss both refutations? Anyway, I hope he recovers from three losses in a row.

jmason's picture

Back in 1999 he made a similar blunder against Nisipeanu in Las Vegas in the decisive knock-out game, he sacrificed a piece in f2 , i think, and the next move he resigned. Nobody understood what he might have seen there because there was abolutely nothing. Maybe,from time to time, he has this kind of halucinations, i'm very sorry for him, he's an ouststanding player,too bad sometimes he lacks mental strenght,he has the material to beat any player in the world.

notyetagm's picture

And in the blitz tiebreak against Grischuk from the last FIDE World Cup, he played the enormous oversight thinking he had a brilliant forced mate 34 ... Rc7-c1+?? 35 Bg5xRc1 1-0.

VK's picture


vhomas topalov's picture

I remember that game, in a chess magazine there was in fact a possible explaination,
a possible tactic that would have worked with a transposition, or maybe a move before, of course something very similar to what has happend today...

rob's picture

"When you play Kasparov, the pieces move differently."

christos's picture

Three losses in a row dropped him from number 5 in the world to out of the top ten. It is sad.

chesschamp's picture

Chucky might have missed that after 31.Nxc4 b5, 32.Ne3! covers Qb6+.

Nigel Short's picture

Of course I am not as strong as Ivanchuk, but I once made a faulty combination against Nogueiras in which I imagined my bishop was a rook. By strange coincidence (or not) Nogueiras had exactly the same idea at the same time. I believe I picked up his sudden panic and that influenced my blunder. Anyway, the point of the story is that players have all sorts of strange hallucinations.

Rudi Matai's picture

It says that Morozevich and Giri "split" the point even quicker. However, in the football score keeping, you never have a point to split !! Either you draw, leaving each player with one point, or the game ends in a victory, leaving the victor with 3 points and the loser with..(well, I'll leave it up to the math experts among you to work that out...)

Septimus's picture

Check out Ivanchuk's game today...funny entertainment! Chucky blundered and then simply decided to sacrifice all his pieces for a laugh. It is not turning out the way he imagined (after a strong start). Poor guy may finish in last place.

Anthony's picture

Maybe little overhasty to suggest he lost because of it, but it sure is strange to have 3 three blacks in a row.

rdecredico's picture

syntax is more telling than grammar

and unique


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