The beautiful world of Anish Giri and Sopiko Guramishvili

by Sagar Shah
2/24/2024 – After an intense tournament at Weissenhaus, Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal had a free week before their trip to the Prague Masters. They decided to use this time to visit the residence of Anish Giri and Sopiko Guramishvili in The Hague. The plan was to record an opening video course for ChessBase. This was done quite efficiently in three days, and the course is a 7-hour masterclass covering opening play. Moreover, the trip turned out to be much more than just recordings. For the author, experiencing the life of a beautiful family, which combines ambition, love and respect, was extremely enjoyable!

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Three days with Anish and Sopiko

They call him the family man in the chess world, and I got to experience it up close. After the Weissenhaus Freestyle tournament ended, Amruta and I had a week before the start of the Prague Masters. We decided to spend that time in The Hague, Netherlands, where Anish Giri lives. The idea was to record a video series on openings with Anish. It was an ambitious project as we had to cover all the openings and get Anish’s viewpoint on each one of them — this included the Sicilian, the French, the Nimzo-Indian, the London and many more.

Sagar Shah, Amruta Mokal

Amruta and Sagar on their way from Hamburg in Germany to The Hague in the Netherlands

Sagar Shah

Editing a video at the Hengelo railway station waiting for our connection

Sagar Shah

Sleeping is very important

Anish Giri

Finally meeting the man — the family man!

Just in case you are wondering why we call Anish the family man

On day 1 we sat down to structure the material. I asked Anish if we could have one of his favourite games in each of the openings that we were going to discuss. And with that, at the end of each opening discussion, he could tell a story about the game. Anish liked the idea and I thought he would think about it in the night and then when we would sit down to record it the next day he would have it ready. Well, it turns out that that wasn’t the case. Anish began instantly. He opened his database of games from both colours, put in the moves of the Ruy Lopez — and then exclaimed, “Ah yes, this one against Magnus! From Norway Blitz. I went on an attack and that was a big surprise for him. Let’s add this one”.

I started noting down the games on a pad, and he moved to the next opening. Before you knew it, in around an hour he had gone through hundreds of his games, and had found a special one in each opening!

Sgar Shah, Anish Giri

Recording the video course with Anish was an absolute joy

Anish Giri

Enjoying a game of chess with Danny, who more than a player is a fan of the game

Anish Giri

Our first tester — Danny listening to Anish’s take on the openings!

Sagar Shah

If she starts playing the Caro-Kann when she grows up, you will know why!

I learnt from Anish that in order to be a family man and the world number 5, you are required to have the ability to focus and make use of the best of your time. That is the only way you can take your eldest son for the skiing class in the morning, then record for two and a half hours for a video course, babysit the kids, be there on the stream for playing as a pair with Danny Rensch, or commentating on their community Najdorf event or winning Titled Tuesday. And amidst all of this, you can see him active on all platforms: Twitter, Instagram and, of course, Wildr.

The secret to all of this is the intensity. The ability to zone in to the task on hand and do it with 100% focus. And when the time is over, to zone out from that task and focus on the next one at hand. Truly an amazing skill he has managed to develop.

Anish Giri

After our recordings, Anish would be busy babysitting the kids and making sure that Danny did his homework

Anish Giri

Playing with Michael and his toys!

Anish Giri

Anish Giri just before his Titled Tuesday stream. It was the first-ever title for him. He scored 10/11 points

Anish Giri

Little Danny enjoyed the stream on the big TV, watching his dad play and rooting for him

Sagar Shah, Amruta Mokal, Sopiko Guramishvili

When Anish is busy playing Titled Tuesday, how do we get a group selfie? This is how!

This 1-minute video covers Anish’s Titled Tuesday victory

While Anish’s abilities are extraordinary, the person who inspired me tremendously in the house was Sopiko Guramishvili. An IM and one of Georgia’s finest players, Sopiko had a career peak rating of 2430. At some point, she was one of the best commentators in the world of chess, being part of the official commentary team for the World Championship 2014 between Carlsen and Anand. Known for being Miss Tactics along with Anna Rudolph (who was miss strategy) for chess24, recording courses, playing in tournaments, commentating, Sopiko was an extremely well-recognized face in the chess world.

But then she stopped everything. Being a mother to three kids — Daniel (7 years old), Michael (2 years old) and Rianna (6 months old) — is a full-time job. And not just a mother, but a mother who is 100% present for her little ones. This is where Sopiko found her peace. This is what she loves doing. This is what brings a smile to her face every morning she wakes up — if she manages to get some sleep!

Sopiko Guramishvili

A multitasker like no other — Sopiko Guramishvili

Sopiko’s culinary skills are absolutely amazing. Try her ramen and you will be in heaven! She manages to cut the vegetables, boil the noodles, make the broth, and all of this, she manages to do in less than 20 minutes and having one eye on the kids all the time. And keep in mind that the television in the living room is all the time running with some chess show where Anish is taking part.

Miss Efficiency is a fitting name for her. But this is not the lifeless efficiency that we so often see in this modern world. This efficiency is filled with warmth and love. This efficiency is very human — or more super human, I would say.

Sopiko Guramishvili

Sopiko making her world-famous ramen!

Sopiko Guramishvili

Absolutely delicious Sopiko ramen

What Sopiko and Anish are building together is just amazing. Their home is a place filled with love. The kids are full of energy, ideas and enthusiasm. They have all the freedom in the world, and yet one stare from Sopiko and they know they are in trouble. While Anish is busy being one of the best players in the world and maintains his place at the top, Sopiko is the backbone of the family. They both make me believe that if you respect each other in a relationship, beautiful things can happen.

While I did record 7 hours of video course with Anish, and this will be enjoyed by chess enthusiasts all across the world in due course, for me this trip was mostly about experiencing the dynamics of a family life filled with love, respect and understanding.

Sgar Shah, Amruta Mokal

This selfie accurately describes our mood at the Anish-Sopiko residence

Vidit Gujrathi

We end this article with one of the most beautiful pictures — Vidit giving Rianna the nickname of Rasagulla!

A short interview with Anish Giri


Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.