Ivanchuk robbed in São Paulo!

Vassily Ivanchuk is leading the Bilbao Masters tournament with a strong performance and was in good spirits after the first half of the tournament. However, his experience in Brazil took a turn for the worse when assailants robbed them at gunpoint 20 meters from the hotel while they waited for a taxi to go to the airport.

In the process, his wife lost her passport. Fortunately, an incident in São Paulo did not result in an injury or tragedy, but of course what occurred may have damaging effect on Ivanchuk’s play. Ivanchuk has stated that he will not continue unless his wife is able to attend on Thursday. According to reports, the situation may have been resolved.

The tournament was scheduled to resume on October 6th, but with Ivanchuk passport status, he will be delayed at least one business day. The tournament organizers in Bilbao may have to consider postponing the event until Ivanchuk’s wife can get a new passport issued.

Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2011/09/23/2011-bilbao-chess-grand-slam/


  1. Having traveled many times to São Paulo on business, I know that extreme security measures are required if you have a profile that would make you a target. While such a tragic incident does not accurately represent the graciousness of the Brazilian people, there is a criminal element that is very skilled in these types of bold snatch and grab thefts. Hopefully Chucky can compose himself for Part II of the tournament.

  2. Thankfully he didn’t get killed. And yes, maybe he will get composed for Part 2 and do well in the tournament.

  3. When I traveled there back in 2007, they told us not to venture out at night. I went for walks on Paulista Road at night anyway. I figured they would not know that I was not a Brazilian unless I opened my mouth! There is an element of risk whenever you travel, but I’m not sure how much of it had to do with whether the assailants thought he won a tournament and had the winnings on him.

  4. When a competitor of such strength has his center of focus shaken, it is a lesson for us (all who observe and root for him/her) to see how that focus is reacquired. Good wishes to Ivanchuk and his family — both for the great chess and for their personal peace of mind.

  5. I agree with Farris about focus. This event may serve as a mental stimulant and evaluate his play. Perhaps only serving as a a relief from his intense competitive preparation. I do believe chess prepare individual to deal with extreme threats in a calm collective manner. On the other hand I really feel bad for Nak. If he wins he may still question his ability wondering if Ivanchuk gave him his best game.

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