Bludgeoning and Bromancing - Giri on the go!

by Satanick Mukhuty
3/15/2021 – Anish Giri has been in tremendous form at the Magnus Carlsen Invitational event. In the first 10 rounds, he has scored 6 wins and 4 draws. It was not just about the fact that he won his games, he did so by showing very interesting chess. Although he has beaten strong players like Aronian, Wesley So and others, Anish's win against Magnus Carlsen stands out. After beating the World Champion, the Dutch no.1 joined the ChessBase India livestream commentary and broke down the game for us.| Photo: Lennart Ootes

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"I am not going to desert Magnus so easily!" — that is exactly how the conversation with the Dutch no. 1 began. It took part immediately after Anish had scored back-to-back victories against three top players, among whom one was the World Champion himself. How did Anish manage to stun the mighty Magnus, and along with him both Wesley So and Alan Pichot? Here's his answer:

Magnus Carlsen Invitational Day 1 | Live commentary Sagar and Amruta


Anish had the white pieces against Magnus in the fourth round of day one of the event. He chose the Maroczy set-up of the Sicilian and went for an early exchange of his light-squared bishop. In the position above 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 was played, and although this leaves White with a bad bishop, it is his space advantage here that plays a more concrete role — this, according to Anish, is one of the modern ways of playing this line.


The critical moment arrived on move 29 when White played 29.Rh4. Black's best chance here would have been to go 29...Ng6 followed by something like 30.Bc6 Nxh4 31.Bxe8 Nf3+ 32.Kf2 Rf5 etc, but both players felt this was better for White, because in such asymmetric endings a bishop generally proves to be the better piece. In order to avoid this Magnus gave up a pawn with 29...Rb4 — this, however, was an inaccuracy.

You can replay the annotated game here. Click the fan icon below the board to start an engine. With it you can further analyse the moves. 


Wins with black pieces against Wesley So and Alan Pichot

These games were also very instructive. The latter especially was a sublime masterclass in the Najdorf. Here, for instance, is an important moment from the encounter.


20...Rb4 was a mysteriously beautiful move that Anish played in this position. "You realize that it's a relatively slow position," he said, "in the sense that White doesn't have any real threats on the kingside, nor can Black do much on the kingside." A move like 20...Rf8 completely turns the tables after 21.Qh5+ followed by Qxh7 etc, and similarly 20...Kd8 too falls victim to 21.e5. Thus, Anish realized Rb4 was the only way to at least create some threats by keeping the provisions of tactics like ...Rxd4 ...Nb3 ...Qa5 etc open.


The So - Giri, on the other hand, was heading towards an uneventful draw. White only had to play 28.Rbd4 above to force a complete equality, but the American-Filipino grandmaster hastily pushed 28.c3-c4 here, allowing Anish to deliver the quick 28...d5 29.Rxd5 Rxe3 blow! Replay both fully annotated games with computer analysis below. 


Standings after the second day of the Magnus Carlsen Invitational 2021


You can follow all the action live on the ChessBase Live coverage page.


Satanick Mukhuty has a background in Mathematics. He is an avid enthusiast of composition chess and is sincerely committed to promoting it around the world. He works for ChessBase India.


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