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    Entries in Anish Giri (13)

    Sunday
    Oct192014

    Unive, Day 6: Giri and Jobava Both Win 4.5-1.5 over Shirov and Timman, Respectively

    It was a good week for the higher-rated youngsters against their "seasoned" opponents, as both Anish Giri and Baadur Jobava won their matches with undefeated +3 scores. When we left off after round 4, Giri was up two and Jobava up one, so it's clear that the last rounds didn't go well for the veterans.

    Both matches were decided in round five. For Shirov, it was decided in a surprisingly negative way: with White he went down a well-known theoretical path to a perpetual check - he just gave up! This uncharacteristic move on his part sealed match victory for Giri, who did not return the favor in round 6. But we'll get back to that later. Timman-Jobava was much more exciting, with Timman offering a rook and then a knight in pursuit of an attack. It was creative; unfortunately, his best opportunities had come earlier in the game, and by this point Jobava had the advantage. He defended well enough and eventually converted his extra exchange.

    In the final round, the youngsters won twice. Giri and Shirov engaged in a heavyweight theoretical battle in the Sveshnikov Sicilian. My surmise is that Giri had everything prepared until around move 30, by which point Shirov was simply lost. (That's not as implausible as you might think, considering that Shirov's novelty only came at move 25 in a very well-traveled line, and as that novelty was the computer's top choice there's little reason to think Giri hadn't examined it beforehand.) The youngster simply prepared better, and nowadays that can be enough. As for Timman, his 17...d5 was a dubious decision, inviting a strong exchange sacrifice. After that Timman could hope for no more than a draw if he could successfully grovel, and that was not to be.

    Event site here, games with comments here.

    Saturday
    Oct182014

    Garry Kasparov and Anish Giri?!

    Yesterday's mail brought the final installment of the helpfully titled Garry Kasparov's Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov* (Part III: 1993-2005). This will not be Dennis Monokroussos on Garry Kasparov's Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov, by Dennis Monokroussos, however. Instead, I want to report on an intriguing tidbit at the very end of the main section of the book and see if anyone can supply further details.

    On page 460, Kasparov (incidentally also the author of the Garry Kasparov on My Great Predecessors* series) offers a short summary of his activities since retiring from professional chess, and begins one paragraph thusly: "From time to time I have worked on chess with the young stars - Carlsen, Nakamura, Giri..."

    This gives rise to a double "Hmm". Everyone who has been around chess the past five years or so knows about his partnerships with Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura, but this is the first I recall hearing about his working with Anish Giri. Kasparov (surprisingly also the author of the series Garry Kasparov on Modern Chess*) has done lots of little camps for juniors in the United States and elsewhere, and while I'm sure they've proved valuable on many levels for the campers I would be surprised if Giri's inclusion in the very short list above was due to that very limited sort of collaboration. But does anyone have any further information?

    Second, I know that Russian language writers tend to overuse the ellipsis, but as he doesn't use them elsewhere on the page when detailing his activities, I wonder if he's hinting at anything. Is there someone else he's working with now whose identity is a secret? Is someone on his radar? Maybe he's just open to the possibility down the line of further proteges, or - going full circle - it's just a stylistic quirk.

    * While I'm mocking the titles of all three series, the 12 books they comprise are interesting and important. If you're a fan of chess history or an aspiring player, they're pretty close to must-haves.

    Thursday
    Oct162014

    Unive, Day 4: Two More Draws

    And so Anish Giri has a 3-1 lead over Alexei Shirov and Baadur Jobava a 2.5-1.5 lead against Jan Timman in their showcase six-game matches at the Unive chess tournament.

    Tuesday
    Oct142014

    Unive, Day 3: Draws in Both Matches

    Both Alexei Shirov and Jan Timman were pressing today against Anish Giri and Baadur Jobava, respectively, but in the end both games were drawn. Giri leads 2.5-.5 and Jobava leads 2-1 going into the rest day. Three rounds remain in these sub-events of the Unive chess tournament.

    Monday
    Oct132014

    Ongoing: Unive: Giri vs. Shirov and Jobava vs. Timman

    This fun event (the Unive chess tournament), comprising a pair of six-game classical matches, began Sunday in the Dutch city of Hoogeveen. The marquee match is between Dutch prodigy Anish Giri and Latvian superstar Alexei Shirov of "fire on board" fame. If Shirov were playing at his best the match would be a toss-up, but his results have been declining the last couple of years and in the last few months his results have been awful. Indeed, Giri leads 2-0 so far, and if this keeps up he might bridge the 14-15-point gap separating him from the top 6 in the world.

    The second match is between top Georgian grandmaster Baadur Jobava and Dutch legend Jan Timman. Their first game was drawn, but Timman lost the second game after a couple of blunders. (He had been under some pressure, but objectively the position was fine.)

    Friday
    Mar082013

    Anish Giri's Candidates' Predictions

    Excerpted here. (HT: Thomas Richter.) It's in German, but Google Translate does a passable enough job. His prediction (prepare to be shocked...): Magnus Carlsen! Despite the conventional answer, it's worth reading nonetheless.

    Tuesday
    Jul242012

    Biel 2012, Round 2: Carlsen, Bacrot Win; Carlsen, Giri Lead

    So far, so good for the 2012 edition of Biel: the games have been full of excitement and youthful energy. That's not surprising in a tournament where 24-year-old Hikaru Nakamura is in the graybeard half of the table.

    Speaking of Nakamura, he drew again today. He was pressing throughout against Anish Giri in a Catalan-turned-Bogo-Indian, but the youngster (youngerster?!) held and maintained a share of the lead.

    The battle between Etienne Bacrot and Alexander Morozevich was a bit mysterious at one moment, at least to me as an online spectator. Bacrot was White in a Marshall Gambit Slav, and in a well-known theoretical position after 9...Qxg2 he thought for about 45 minutes - at least if the relay on ICC was correct. (There weren't any delays with the transmission of the other games, so that shouldn't be the explanation.) His response after that deep think (or brief nap) was the conventional one. Ironically, Morozevich's reply to 10.Qd2 was the very unusual 10...e5; 10...Nf6 is standard. (In Ruslan Scherbakov's book The Triangle System, he spends 12 and a half pages on 10...Nf6, and says only this about Morozevich's move: "10...e5!? followed by ...Bf5 might be playable though.")

    Bacrot's natural reply 11.Bxe5 was already a new move, and the position grew incredible sharp. Seriously analysis of this game would take some time, but what is clear is that 21...Ba6 was a fatal error; Black needed to bravely play 21...bxc6 and hope that White had nothing better than 22.Qxa7 Rxd6 23.Qa8+ Kc7 24.Qa7+ Kc8 25.Qa8+ etc. He doesn't seem to. After 21...Ba6? Bacrot landed some nice blows: 22.Ng5! Nxg5(?) 23.Bd7+! Kxd7 24.Qe7+ Kc6 25.Qc7+ and Black preferred resignation over allowing 25...Kb5 26.Qc5+ Ka4 27.Qb4#.

    Magnus Carlsen vs. Wang Hao was a 4.Qc2 Nimzo-Indian with a quick e4. They were in new territory pretty quickly - 8.d5 was a new move in what was already a rare position - and it was soon clear that the battle would be between Black's structural advantages and White's initiative and attacking chances. After 16...h6 the spectators were looking with bloodlust at ideas like 17.Bxh6, but that appears to be inconclusive: 17...gxh6 18.Rhg1+ (18.Qd2 will transpose) Kh8 19.Qd2 Nh7 20.Qxh6 Rf7 leaves White with sufficient compensation after 21.Qxd6 or 21.Re6, but not more than that.

    So Carlsen kept squeezing, but maybe he could have played Bxh6 on move 21. Again, he preferred to keep up the pressure, and on move 22 he induced an error. Wang Hao should have played 22...Nh5, aiming to further activate one or both of his knights and maybe swapping off a White attacker or two. Instead, his 22...Nxd5? gave Carlsen what looks like a good opportunity, even if he chose not to play it: 23.Bxc5 bxc5 (23...Rxf5? 24.Bd6 or 24.Bd4 is crushing) 24.Be6 Nf4 25.Bxf7 Nd3+ 26.Kb1 Rb8+ 27.Ka1 Qxf7 28.Rxg7 Qxg7 29.Rxg7 Kxg7 30.Qa4 is not an ending Black should draw.

    But Carlsen chose 23.Bd4, which while probably not as good certainly maintained a pleasant advantage. (23.Bxh6 was also possible.) A few moves later he gave up his rooks for Black's queen and g-pawn, and with his very strong bishops Black's position was hard to play; indeed, he was soon in something pretty close to zugzwang. His last chance to keep the ship sailing, at least for a little while, was with 31...Rh7. After 31...Rfe7? the loss was guaranteed and speedy, and Black resigned after a forcing sequence culminating with 35.f4 because after 35...Rf5 36.Bxf6 Rxf6 Black's king and rook are parted by 37.f5+ Ke5 38.f4+.

    So Carlsen joins Giri in the lead, and pushes his unofficial rating to the verge of 2840. Here are tomorrow's pairings, with player scores given in parentheses. Note that the totals are based on 3-1-0 scoring:

    • Wang Hao (3) - Nakamura (2)
    • Morozevich (0) - Carlsen (4)
    • Giri (4) - Bacrot (3)

    Monday
    Jul232012

    Biel 2012, Round 1: Wang Hao, Giri Win

    The first showdown between the top two players in this year's big event in Biel was drawn, and if someone zipped through the game they might suspect that the Magnus Carlsen-Hikaru Nakamura contest was a non-event. Not so, though I confess to thinking that after 24.Rcc1 White's advantage was merely symbolic. Houdini 2 agrees (though I didn't look at any of the games with an engine while they were ongoing), but about three half-moves later "Faust" (Ian Nepomniachtchi) kibitzed on ICC that White had a very serious advantage.

    It's true that White's advantage had increased in the meantime, but even so, his point that Black's bishop was especially awful was an important one. It may seem that White's bishop's prospects weren't much better, but that's only in the short-term. There are ways for that to change, and for White to lever open Black's kingside, and in the meantime Black must sit and wait. Nakamura did this, and did it well, and held. One important line to note is that 35.Qh6+ Kg8 36.h5 Qxb2+ 37.Kh3 would be absolutely crushing for White, were it not for 37...Qa1!

    Wang Hao followed Vladimir Kramnik's recipe in the Bayonet Attack against the King's Indian with 10.g3 (Kramnik used this successfully against both Anish Giri and Alexander Grischuk, though in the former game Kramnik goofed and forgot his own preparation), and for that matter he followed his own game earlier in the year against Ding Liren. In the latter game, Black played 12...Rb8 and won a wild game, but Etienne Bacrot followed Kramnik's opponents and played 12...c6. Interestingly, Wang Hao followed Kramnik's "oops" game and played 13.Ba3 (rather than 13.Bg2, as in Kramnik-Grischuk). Bacrot's 15...h6 deviated from Giri's 15...Ne8, and then with 17...f4 he made the first new move of the game, varying from a game Grinev (2404) - Chircu (2190) from this past April.

    All was well for him at that point, but 20...Qxc4 looks like the wrong pawn. Instead, 20...Qxe6 21.Bxf3 Qxc4 gives Black an extra pawn and White the bishop pair. The chances would be roughly equal, though I'd expect White's position would be a little easier to handle. In the game, White won his pawn back quickly, while keeping an "extra" bishop and the monster pawn on e6. Black was doomed.

    Finally, there was the odd game between Alexander Morozevich and Giri. Through 32.Rxa5 the position had been more or less even throughout, but now the adventures began. If Giri had interpolated 32...Rb1+ and only after 33.Kh2 played Qd6, he would have been fine. Instead, 32...Qd6?? was a simple blunder: 33.Qh6+ won a pawn (33...Kxh6 34.Nxf7+ and 35.Nxd6; 33...Kg8 34.Qh8+ insists; 33...Kf6? 34.Qf4+ is even worse for Black). But Morozevich missed it (but let's not be too hard on him - Alekhine and Euwe both missed this same trick in one of their world championship matches!), and the game went on.

    A little later, 35.Qxe5+ would have been the safest way to continue: 35...Qxe5 36.fxe5 c4 37.Rc5 Re1 38.Rxc4 Rxe5 is drawn. Instead, 35.fxe5 kept some life in the position, but that favored Black. Yes, White would win the c-pawn, but his king was rather exposed, and chronically so. White was living on the precipice, and after 44.Kg4?! (better to take the pawn - one fewer attacking unit!) 44...Kh6 45.Ra4? (45.Ra8 was the last hope) 45...Rxe5, Giri was winning. Luckily for Morozevich, Giri's 46...f6? was an error - 46...f5+ kept the winning advantage. Still, the basic problem remained: White's king was terribly overexposed, and anything but perfect play would lead to disaster. That disaster happened after 49.Re4?; 49.Rg4 was absolutely forced, and White gave up after 50...Qg3+. (Not after 51.Kd4 - that's the incompetent arbiter doing his thing on the incompetently designed DGT board, episode 12584. Sigh.)

    Tomorrow's games:

    Nakamura (.5) - Giri (1)
    Bacrot (0) - Morozevich (0)
    Carlsen (.5) - Wang Hao (1)

    Thursday
    Mar222012

    Early Upsets at the European Championship

    The European Championship is a long event (11 rounds) with lots of players (348!), so early round upsets aren't the end of the world for the top seeds. It's a good thing for them, too, as the the first two rounds have seen even 2700s get upset. The biggest upset so far is Anish Giri's loss at the even younger hands of lllya Nyzhnyk, which you can replay here.

    Sunday
    Mar182012

    Bundesliga Weekend With Anand

    It's nice to see him the world champion in action again, as he has been keeping a low profile for a while now in anticipation of his title match with Boris Gelfand scheduled for May 10-31 of this year. This weekend he played two games in the famed Bundesliga; both draws. The first was a crazy battle against Pavel Eljanov in which Anand had good winning chances; the second a short draw with the black pieces against Anish Giri.

    About the Eljanov game, you can find short interviews with both Anand and Eljanov on this page, and if anything's clear it's that both players knew that Anand was better until he played 34.Bd1, and other than almost everything was unclear! Here is the bare game score:

    Anand,Viswanathan (2817) - Eljanov,Pavel (2683) [D31]

    Schachbundesliga 2011-12 Bremen GER (12.1), 17.03.2012

    1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 e6 6.e4 Bb4 7.e5 Nd5 8.Bd2 b5 9.axb5 Bxc3 10.bxc3 cxb5 11.Ng5 h6 12.Qh5 g6 13.Qh3 f5 14.exf6 e5 15.f7+ Kf8 16.Ne6+ Ke7 17.Nxd8 Bxh3 18.gxh3 Rxd8 19.dxe5 Kxf7 20.Bg2 Nc6 21.0-0 Nxe5 22.f4 Nd3 23.f5 gxf5 24.Rxf5+ Ke6 25.Rh5 a5 26.Rxh6+ Ke5 27.Be1 N5f4 28.Bg3 Kf5 29.Rf1 Kg5 30.Rb6 Rab8 31.Ra6 Rf8 32.h4+ Kg4 33.Bf3+ Kh3 34.Bd1 Rg8 35.Rf3 Rbd8 36.Kf1 Ne5 37.Rxf4 Rxd1+ 38.Ke2 Rgd8 39.Rxa5 R1d2+ 40.Ke3 Ng4+ 41.Ke4 Re8+ 42.Kf5 Ne3+ 43.Kg6 Nd5 44.Rxb5 Nxf4+ 45.Bxf4 Rd3 46.h5 Rxc3 47.h6 Rb3 ½-½