Death Match: Anish defeated Vidit

by Hannes Langrock
8/19/2022 – High-stakes 1v1 competition is pretty rare in the chess world. But just before the Olympiad in Chennai top Dutch grandmaster Anish Giri faced off against India's Number Three Vidit Gujrathi in the first ChessBase India Original Death Match: Blindfold, Blitz and Bullet. You can follow all the action in a six-hour Death Match video – which so far has had over 350,000 views. | Report by Himank Ghosh.

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It was a very close and tense match. In the end GM Anish Giri beat GM Vidit Gujrathi by the narrow margin of 9:8. The match consisted with a Blindfold match, one hour of Blitz, and one hour of  Bullet. You can watch all the action in this video broadcast, which so far has had over 350,000 views:

The event started with four well-known comedians, Samay Raina, Vaibhav Sethia, Biswa Kalyan Rath, and Joel D'Souza playing a hand-and-brain match against each other.

A huge crowd, over 1000 spectators, watched the death match show.

Deathmatch Segment 1: Originals

The match started off with a 7+10 game, where the players were blindfolded. Vidit had the white pieces, and Anish went for a very solid anti-Meran Semi-Slav. It was a relatively simple position without any significant difficulties for Black. Here's the game (click or tap on the notation to follow the moves on a graphic chessboard):

 

Games 2 + Game 3: Rapid Chess, No Castling Chess

The second rapid game was a rather uneventful draw in the Italian main line Guioco Piano. The minor pieces were traded off fairly quickly, and the position was equal throughout the game. The players agreed to draw on move 50 in a rook ending with three pawns each, on the same side.

In the No castling game, Anish was better for a brief moment of time but didn't find the best continuation.

 

Game 4: Chess 960

Vidit had the Black pieces, and got a decisive advantage early in the game but failed to capitalize on it. He got a chance again late in the game, and he didn't let it go.

 

Deathmatch Segment 2: Blitz

The players had one hour of Blitz scheduled in this segment. The games were of 4+2 time control, and a total of 6 games were played. The first two games ended in a draw, giving Vidit a nice lead of 4-2.  However, Anish drew blood in the third game, reducing the lead to 4-3.

Deathmatch Segment 3: Bullet

The grandmasters played 30 minutes of 1+2 bullet in the final section of the Deathmatch. There was a 1-minute break after each game. In the first Vidit had a decisive edge in the position due to his huge space advantage but suddenly had a breakdown, after which Anish went on to win the game comfortably. In the next 3 games, Anish scored two victories and 1 draw, giving him the lead for the first time in the match. The score was 8-6 in Giri's favor at this point.

In bullet games 4 and 5: Vidit made a comeback with two consecutive victories, levelling score 8-8. His victory in Round 6 with the Black pieces was especially smooth, getting an advantage early in the game and converting it without any hiccups.

 

Reminder: you can click on the notation to follow the moves on a (resizable) chessboard.

Bullet Game 7 was the deciding game of the match. In an extremely high-stakes battle, both players had the advantage at multiple moments of the game. But in chess, what matters the most is who makes the last mistake. In this encounter, it was Vidit, who in severe time pressure hung his bishop in the two bishops vs rook endgame. 

You can watch the drama of the final game from close up in this video. Do not miss it!

And here are all the games of the Death Match for you to replay and analyse.

 

You probably know the functions of the buttons below the replay board:

The fan button switches on an enging, which has numerous options (number of lines, threat, hint, visual evaluation), there are seven buttons you can use to replay the game, the round arrow button switches the board, the next icon maximizes it. After that there is a download button to switch the sides, an alternate replay view, and settings for the piece design. These functions are also available when you click on the notation of the previous games and get a separate graphic replay board – one that can be resized and moved around on the screen.

And the winner is... Anish Giri!

This event was a tremendous success: Vidit, initiator Sagar Shah, Anish and the public


Hannes is an International Master and plays for ESV Nickelhütte Aue in the 2nd Bundesliga. He lives with his family in Leipzig and works as a lecturer at a fiction publishing house.
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