Chessable Masters: How To Win Without Winning?
Anish Giri won a match without winning a game. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Chessable Masters: How To Win Without Winning?

| 34 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Anish Giri took the lead in his best-of-three with GM Alexander Grischuk at the Chessable Masters in a match where all seven games ended in draws; he drew as Black in the armageddon. GM Ding Liren won his first match with GM Hikaru Nakamura.

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

The jokes about Giri being a drawish player had nearly gone away, but on Friday, they suddenly reappeared on Twitter. The Dutchman, who had drawn his first six games with Grischuk, made the logical choice and picked the black pieces in the armageddon. He drew that game as well to claim match victory.

The kibitzers forgot that it takes two to tango. Grischuk had also drawn those seven games!

The first game was nothing special, but Giri should definitely have won the second. Playing bishop versus knight with an extra pawn on the queenside is a technical win, but Grischuk managed to hold it, rather incredibly.

It was here where the online banter started. GM Magnus Carlsen tweeted "My boy @anishgiri snatching a draw from the jaws of victory," and after the fourth draw, just before the players move to two 5-3 games, Giri responded.

Later Giri said in the tournament's broadcast: "I found it not really very nice what Magnus said. It could have been a bad day for me for all we know, and it’s not very nice, but it was a good day, so it’s fine!"

The armageddon game was the wildest—obviously because of the limited time control: five minutes for White vs four for Black, who had draw odds. Giri quickly got a stable advantage while also narrowing the downtime on his clock, but the second half of the game was less convincing. He went from an endgame with a (very) healthy pawn up to what was eventually a rook ending a pawn down, but Giri probably went for that deliberately because it was such a textbook draw. 

Nakamura's match loss was somewhat unfortunate. Only one game ended decisively, and losing that game was unnecessary.

In the first game, the American GM seemed close to a win but two passed pawns on the kingside were not enough to win in an opposite-colored bishop ending.

The second was slightly unpleasant for Nakamura but also within the margins of a draw, but Ding kept on pressing and, with seconds on the clock, he found the winning idea when his opponent erred:

With two more draws in this match, the overall drawing percentage on this day of chess was as high as 91 percent.

On Saturday, we'll see the other half of the bracket playing their second match in the quarterfinals. GMs Fabiano Caruana and Vladislav Artemiev must win their matches against GMs Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi respectively.

Games QF Day 2

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

Previous reports

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

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