Grandmaster Chef: Anish Giri

by Alexey Root
6/13/2020 – Anish Giri is the best chess player in the Netherlands and is currently ranked number 10 in the world. To show appreciation for Giri, this article has a recipe for a dish that he might like to eat. And, also, an analysis of one of his wins. WIM Alexey Root tells why Giri is the first Grandmaster Chef honoree. | Photo: Alina l'Ami

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What would Giri eat?

The “Grandmaster Chef” title is from this Instagram post by Anish Giri. The photo showed Giri’s four-year-old son rinsing a yellow bell pepper in the kitchen sink. Giri titled the post “(Grand)MasterChef” with tags of #stayhome #chess #cooking. His Instagram post, and an interview he gave, made this article possible.

Giri shared his food preferences starting at one hour and 20 minutes into an interview for FIDE’s Checkmate Coronavirus initiative. Giri said, “I want my food slightly spicy….If someone listens who will ever cook for me, then you should know that I don’t like sweet in my food. No pineapple pizza.” 

After mentioning that his wife does the cooking at their home, Giri said that he has sampled many cuisines while traveling for chess. Giri continued, “[Nearby] the London Chess Classic, [there was an Asian restaurant which was] pretty much a Japanese restaurant [where I ate] every day, for over two weeks, two times a day. And I never had enough of it. Like I can eat Asian food forever.” Giri also lived in Sapporo, Japan from 2002-2008.

[Pictured: The pineapple in a pizza saying ‘No Giri’ — click image to enlarge] 

Preparing food, studying chess

My co-author, Mike Walder (previously featured in this article), prepared a simple Japanese dish, Black Cod with Miso, in Giri’s honor. Likewise, the Giri game that Walder annotated is simple, direct, and strong. Mike wrote:

I was happy to learn that Anish Giri likes Japanese food but does not care for it being sweet. That fits our diet here, so I was off to the fishmonger to see what was available. I went in with an open mind looking for some uni, hamachi kama, or a small fish I could shioyaki. Then I saw the sablefish, labeled as “Butterfish” at my local market, and traditionally known as Black Cod. I love frying Black Cod in butter with miso. Most recipes have you marinate the fish over a couple of days in a mixture of miso, mirin, sake, and sugar. I really do not like sugaring my food, so I decided to use a recipe given to me years ago. This feeds three.

Although the recipe and game in this article are for Giri, other chess players may appreciate this article too. It contains an annotated game to study and an easy recipe to cook. After preparing the dish, readers could eat their meal while playing over the annotated game.

The recipe

Walder favors recipes that are low fat, low sugar, use healthy fats, and are either vegetarian or pescatarian, as he and his roommates, all over age 60, are careful with their diets. Walder is also limited by the ingredients available in his freezer, refrigerator, and spice rack, as his shopping outings are infrequent during the coronavirus lockdown in San Francisco. However, Walder orders from Imperfect Foods and ventures to local markets occasionally.

When Walder cooked for his two roommates and himself on June 3, the side dishes were steamed white rice and chuka wakame (seaweed) salad with pickled scallions and sesame seeds. The main dish, for which Walder provides a recipe, is Black Cod with Miso. “Black Cod” is not the same as “cod.” “Black Cod” is also known as sablefish. Chilean sea bass is a close substitute for Black Cod.


  • Black Cod 1 pound
  • European Style Unsalted Butter 4 Tablespoons
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 Tablespoons
  • Miso Paste 3 Tablespoons
  • Juice from 1 Lemon


  1. Pat the fish dry with a towel, letting it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before you start frying.
  2. Cut your fish into smaller filets if it is too long to fit in your frying pan.
  3. Put the butter and olive oil in a cast iron or a thick stainless-steel frying pan over high heat.
  4. Let the butter and oil get extremely hot before adding the fish skin side down.
  5. Immediately add miso to the oil, spreading it around the oil.
  6. Let the fish cook for three minutes skin side down, basting with the oil in the pan.
  7. Turn fish over skin side up and add the lemon juice to the oil.
  8. Continue to cook and baste for two minutes.
  9. Serve.

[Pictured: Miso Paste (a rather uncommon ingredient) / The final product — with a position from Giri's game on the board!]

The game

Like many games by world-class grandmasters, Grandelius versus Giri (2015) has been annotated previously, for example by IM Sagar Shah in this ChessBase article. For this Grandmaster Chef article, Walder takes a fresh look at the game and includes some cooking references in his annotations.


Readers’ choices

In the comments, recommend wins by the next three Grandmaster Chef honorees: Viswanathan Anand, Levon Aronian, and Boris Gelfand. Give the honoree’s opponent and the year that the game was played, and your recommended game might be annotated in an upcoming article. Please also suggest world-class, living grandmasters for future Grandmaster Chef articles.

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Alexey was the 1989 U.S. Women's Chess Champion and is a Woman International Master. She earned her bachelor’s degree in History at the University of Puget Sound and her doctoral degree in Education at The University of California, Los Angeles. She has been a Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies at UT Dallas since 1999 and is a prolific author.


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