Anish Giri Loses 1 Game, But Wins Big Support In Nepal Fundraiser Simul

Anish Giri Loses 1 Game, But Wins Big Support In Nepal Fundraiser Simul

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
May 12, 2015, 3:39 AM |
9 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Anish Giri beat Chess.com members 9-1 in his Nepal fundraiser simul on Sunday. More important, over $5,000 of donations were collected.

On Sunday top grandmaster Anish Giri played a simul on the Chess.com server against ten opponents. These Chess.com members had to bid to earn their seats, thereby donating to Nepal.

That was the reason behind the simul: helping the country that was struck by a devastating earthquake on April 25 that killed over 8,000. (At the time of writing, another strong earthquake struck near the town of Namche Bazar, near Mount Everest.)

Ten simul slots were available by highest bid, while bids started at $100. At the end of the day, the bids totaled $3,158, and Chess.com added $1,000. One hundred percent of money raised will be donated to the UNICEF relief fund.

In the live show on Chess.com/TV, Giri announced that New in Chess, the magazine he works for, also donated $1,000 for the occasion, meaning that the fundraiser simul had collected over $5,000 of donations, all going to Nepal.

“I'm very glad they did and I'm surprised that there are so many generous people among chess players!” said Giri.

The simul started on Sunday at 11 am Pacific, 2 pm New York and 8 pm in Amsterdam, where GM David Smerdon and yours truly had the honor to host a show for such a good cause.

It was “a nice opportunity for us chess players to show some humanity for once,” as Giri put it!

Here's a few minutes from the show:


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In a brief interview before the simul he explained his close relation with Nepal: his father is Nepalese, but moved to Russia to study, where he met Anish's mother.

“He has a lot of ties with the country and he's tried to help it at various moments. Right now it's of course the toughest moment the country is going through,” said Giri.

It wasn't the first time that the Dutch top GM supported his father's native country:

I've contributed to Nepal a couple of times before the disaster happened. My school has actually done a great deal; they built a school in a village there, which means you have the building blocks for the building, you have the teachers, you have the books...They have really done a lot. There was a lot of support needed before the earthquake happened, and after especially.”

Giri said he has been to Nepal two times.

“It is a very poor country but it's also a very beautiful country. There are famous national parks, national heritage, a lot of culture. And maybe what is quite unique is the people. All of them, whether they're wealthy or on the streets, they're all extremely friendly and very kind,” Giri said. 

He also has an anonymous account on Chess.com, but Giri played under his official one. It was his first online simul: “The only experience I have with ‘online simul’ I have is that I would play and listen to music and chat and eat at the same time, but a simul in the definition of the word simul is the first time!”

Most games were quite non-theoretical, but there was one Grünfeld that started with lots of known moves, and there was even a Mar del Plata King's Indian.

“I was thinking what would be the right approach in the simul, whether you should go for something obscure or something theoretical,” said GM Smerdon. “I think theoretical... I would be a bit hesitant because Anish knows his theory so well.”

Giri played Black in three games, and one of those was that very theoretical King's Indian.

I was really worried. I studied this position as white in detail, I played it against Nakamura but in such a stressful, I was scared I wasn't going to remember anything. Fortunately it worked out,” said Giri.

“The game started popping up, I started making moves absolutely randomly and once it calmed down and I got this position I thought: hang on, this is a theoretical position. It wasn't the plan!”


The other game that saw quite a bit of theory was in fact the only game Giri lost. It was a Fianchetto Grünfeld well played by chessmaniac3298, who won a pawn in the middlegame and just held on to it.

At some point Giri saw he could reach a rook ending that was holdable, but didn't go for it.

I probably would have managed to hold it but I decided to give it a shot [with 25...Bd4] because, first, I thought at some point he should make a mistake after all, and secondly I missed 29.Kf1 and the king is in the square," said Giri.

“He played really well and I should have gone for the draw at some point. I didn't want to do it and I got punished for it.”


Having White in seven games, Giri chose fairly non-theoretical setups such as the King's Indian Attack or a reversed Philidor. For example, in two games his first move was 1.d3! “Quite a cowardly move to be honest but I think it's a very nice idea by Anish to take the game out of theory,” said GM Smerdon.

“I read some comments on Chess.com on my 1.d4 repertoire so I thought I'd avoid 1.d4 at any cost!” said Giri afterward. “When I moved my d-pawn, I thought I'd put it on d3 at least.”

One of the quickest games to finish was the following. As GM Smerdon pointed out, it was a Hanham Philidor with colors reversed where an early tactic from Black backfired. “With a tempo up it doesn't work, and here it doesn't work either,” was Giri's comment.


You can find all other games of the simul here.

The time control was 45 minutes plus 10 seconds increment, but the whole simul took less than 90 minutes as Giri used less than 20 minutes on all boards.

“It went fast, because you're sort of afraid you'll end up in time trouble in all of the games at the same time. So you're kind of moving a little faster than you're supposed to,” said Giri.

“Eventually I probably should have spent a bit more time here and there. Overall I think everyone had fun.”

Giri played his simul while preparing for a tough schedule. On Tuesday he'll fly to Khanty-Mansyisk for the final FIDE Grand Prix; the first round is on Thursday.

A day after the tournament ends he'll play the French league, then Norway Chess, then the Dutch Championship, St Louis, the World Cup and more.


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