Chessable Masters: Giri In Semis, Nakamura Forces 3rd Match
Anish Giri played great chess on his birthday. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Chessable Masters: Giri In Semis, Nakamura Forces 3rd Match

| 16 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Anish Giri celebrated his 26th birthday with a second victory against GM Alexander Grischuk and qualification to the Chessable Masters semifinals. In a thriller of a match, GM Hikaru Nakamura managed to level the score vs. GM Ding Liren.

How to watch?
The games of the Chessable Masters can be found here as part of our live events platform. GM Aryan Tari, IM Levy Rozman, WGM Qiyu Zhou, and IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy are providing daily commentary on Hikaru Nakamura's Twitch channel, embedded on

Chess players are used to working on Sundays and also on their birthdays. Giri might have had extra inspiration as he beat Grischuk very convincingly. No seven draws this time—just two—and with two excellent wins (both as Black!) the Dutchman secured for himself at least $15,000. Quarterfinalist Grischuk takes home $8,000.

It was tempting to accept the move repetition in game two, especially with the black pieces. But not on this day.

Was it because of his birthday? Was it the reintroduced Twitter rivalry with GM Magnus Carlsen? Whatever it was, Giri transcended to be a winner, a fighter who, like the world champion, decided that the tiniest of edges, which might consist of only a remote possibility for the opponent to go wrong, was enough to maintain the will to win this game.

Carlsen's response to it on Twitter: "And he duly converted it. Loved the game, wonderful technique! #happybirthday #nojinx."

Part of winning is not losing, and that's what Giri did in game three. Grischuk outplayed him somewhat as Black and got a four versus three rook endgame, but Giri defended firmly until a stalemate in a pawn ending (see below in the game viewer).

Having to go all-in, Grischuk castled queenside in a Giuoco Pianissimo in game four. Giri's 14...a4!? was interesting, but the followup was not great and Grischuk was better. 

Everything changed when the Russian player allowed the fantastic 22...Ncb4! knight sortie—the play of a master in great shape. Who needs birthday presents when you get to play games like these?

Giri Grischuk
Giri playing Grischuk at the 2020 Candidates. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

On what was the best day of the tournament so far, the other match did not disappoint either. On the contrary.

Nakamura, who had to win this match, started like Giri by drawing his two white games and winning one as Black. However, Ding then won the fourth game to force two blitz games—and also won the first of those.

In the second, must-win blitz game, Nakamura delivered. He also needed to win the armageddon with White—and delivered again!

First, in the fourth rapid game that was a must-win for Ding, he played the move 9.h4 in the Qc2 Nimzo-Indian, possibly inspired by GM Garry Kasparov himself, who played it three times at the 2017 Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz. 

In the armageddon, Nakamura had to win with five minutes on the clock versus four for Ding.  The Chinese player sacrificed a pawn in the opening but never regained it:

Hikaru Nakamura
A great comeback by Nakamura. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Ding and Nakamura will now play a third, decisive match on Monday. The winner will meet Carlsen in the semifinals that start on Tuesday. The other semifinal will be Giri vs. GM Ian Nepomniachtchi

Games QF Day 4

The Chessable Masters runs June 20-July 5 on chess24 as part of the Magnus Carlsen Tour. The prize fund is $150,000 with the first prize of $45,000. The time control is 15 minutes for all moves with a 10-second increment after each move. No draw offers are allowed before move 40.

Chessable Masters bracket

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