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    Friday
    Feb112011

    Girimania?

    Apparently so, in the Netherlands. In the general U.S. media, you can hear crickets when it comes to "Nakamania", but maybe someday that will change.... Meanwhile, back to Anish Giri: he also has a website, and in no fewer than five languages! I don't know how often he'll annotate his games for it, but he has at least presented notes to a couple of very recent Bundesliga battles.

    Speaking of those battles, I found an interesting surprise there. He presents his game with Heberla (White), which started 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.d3 Bb4 5.Bd2 0-0 6.g3 Re8 7.Bg2 Bxc3 8.Bxc3 and now Giri played 8...e4 (rather than 8...d5 9.cxd5 Nxd5), and it's apparently a novelty as far as the database is concerned.  It's a surprise to me, because I've played this in blitz and especially bullet chess a few dozen times. (Maybe even a few hundred times, counting very similar positions and likely tranpositions. It's not part of my "serious" repertoire though.) It's not clear that it's good, but it's nice to see it receive such a high-level test!

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    Reader Comments (4)

    Some comments from the Netherlands: While Giri made it into mainstream media and newspaper frontpages rather than sports pages (and BTW it isn't the first time he appeared in a talkshow on TV), the long-term impact is probably limited to the chess scene. At least for the time being, it may change if he actually becomes world champion. If I ask my friends who don't play chess "have you heard of Anish Giri?", they may if they read newspapers or watched TV, but they will have forgotten about it next week ... . The same people will know what I am talking about when I say "I go to Wijk aan Zee to watch a chess tournament", but might consider Kasparov the favorite to win the event ,:) .

    I see two reasons why there is apparently more Dutch Girimania than US-American Nakamania:
    - While media attention for the Tata event multiplied after Giri's win against Carlsen, there was already a baseline to start from.
    - Chess seems more popular overall in the Netherlands. The Netherlands have 24 GMs, 59 IMs and 1565 active rated players, vs. 42 GMs, 61 IMs and 1190 rated players for the USA (many American GMs are "imports", and of course these numbers have to be normalized against total population size). Conversely, American media are more likely to have stories on a young rising star in basketball - a sport that also exists around here, but isn't very popular.
    And ever since Jan Timman (and, longer ago, Max Euwe) the Dutch are waiting for a new prospective world-top chess player. There were some hopes regarding Daniel Stellwagen, which didn't quite materialize.

    February 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThomas

    Frankly, I think we are better off if American media keeps its mindlessness away from our beloved sport. Rather than showing respect and admiration for Naka's achievements, our "idiocracy" media would play up the "nerd" aspects of chess and make fun of of it, presenting Naka as some sort of out-of-the-mainstream clown to be laughed at. There is no way he would be treated the same as Giri on Dutch TV.

    February 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRuralRob

    I can give a nifty reason why there's more Girimania in the Netherlands than here. In 1978 I went to visit my college roommate's family in Wassenaar on my way back from the Tungsram event in Budapest. I was with 5 English school rugby players and 5 trainee SAS stewardesses in a train compartment (or two), and we all didn't understand that the train was halting before 2am in Rotterdam, not going through to Amsterdam. The Rotterdam station also had a policy of closing for 2--5am, so all eleven of us had to go on the sidewalk. Along came a tipsy middle-aged man, and he started to bother the girls. So I took out my chess set and board, and praise be, he wanted to play! I conducted a strategic masterpiece, keeping it interesting for 150 moves or so, finally giving mate just as the station doors opened again. He thanked me for the game. Any nation that can produce people like that is far more cultured than we, and has its priorities in good order! :-)

    February 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKenneth W. Regan

    I must say, too, Giri's website is an incredibly impressive production. I like what he wrote about the Women's World Championship very much---very proper to include Judit the way he did. It looks to me like he wrote the Dutch and English versions both himself, getting help from his editor only on the latter. The Dutch and English prefaces also phrase things differently---meaning to me that each part is getting good individual attention. His People/Thanks page does not mention a Russian per-se, so I bet he's writing his own Russian as well as Nepalese. The Japanese part is sparser as of now.

    I like the 8...e4! move---I used to try to play an odd Nimzo with 4...Nc6 and ...e5 say after castling and ...Re8, but this is a much better position for Black. The OpeningMaster 2.03 disk does have 17 games with it, of which the most significant strikes me as a game from 1990. I guess giving one game is OK as "fair use" and some advertisement, especially since it has the 9.Ng5 line.

    [Event "URS-ch qual"]
    [Site "Ashkhabad"]
    [Date "1990.??.??"]
    [Round "?"]
    [White "Magai, Vladimir"]
    [Black "Solozhenkin, Evgeniy"]
    [Result "1-0"]
    [ECO "A28"]
    [BlackElo "2420"]
    [PlyCount "81"]
    [EventDate "1990.??.??"]
    [EventType "swiss"]
    [EventRounds "9"]
    [EventCountry "URS"]
    [Source "Opening Master"]
    [SourceDate "2010.12.02"]

    1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Bb4 3. d3 Nc6 4. Bd2 Nf6 5. g3 O-O 6. Bg2 Re8 7. Nf3 Bxc3 8.
    Bxc3 e4 9. Ng5 exd3 10. Qxd3 h6 11. Ne4 Nxe4 12. Bxe4 Qe7 13. Bf3 Ne5 14. Bxe5
    Qxe5 15. Qd2 d6 16. O-O Bf5 17. Rac1 Be4 18. Bxe4 Qxe4 19. e3 Re5 20. Rfd1 b6
    21. Qc2 Qc6 22. Rd4 Rae8 23. Rcd1 Re4 24. Rxe4 Rxe4 25. b3 Re5 26. Qe2 Qe4 27.
    Rd3 Ra5 28. a4 Qg6 29. Kg2 Rh5 30. Rd4 Qf5 31. h4 Qc5 32. Qf3 Rf5 33. Qb7 a5
    34. Re4 Kh7 35. Re7 Qa3 36. Qe4 g6 37. h5 Qb2 38. Rxf7+ Rxf7 39. Qxg6+ Kh8 40.
    Qxf7 Qxb3 41. Qe8+ 1-0

    February 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKenneth W. Regan

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