Giri 'Hallucinates' In Bilbao, Loses Berlin Endgame To Wei Yi

Giri 'Hallucinates' In Bilbao, Loses Berlin Endgame To Wei Yi

| 30 | Chess Event Coverage

“I hallucinated,” was how Anish Giri explained his big error (32...Ke6) today at the Bilbao Masters. He lost a drawn position to Wei Yi, who is now back to 50 percent. Nakamura-Carlsen and So-Karjakin were drawn.

Though Monday was a rest day, the players nonetheless entered the Campos Eliseos, at noon, for an event that was organized for the first time in Bilbao: a “Europe vs Rest of the World” team match. Carlsen, Karjakin and Giri played against Nakamura, So and Wei. The game was played on a giant eight meter by eight meter board, and the pieces were played by boys and girls from several schools in Bilbao and Santurtzi.

Here's a short video:

The game, which ended in a draw, started with 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Ng8. 

After the game, a brief media session with Carlsen and Karjakin was held. asked what they think about the fact that, four months before their match should start, the venue still hasn't been announced. 

Carlsen: “I would be lying if I said that it's a great situation, but most of all I am focusing on playing here, and I am hoping that it will work out the way it was planned. I have to say that I am not the biggest expert on this particular subject. I don't know anything that's going on.”

Karjakin: “Basically, my job is to play chess. My manager should be worried about the situation. I am trying to concentrate on my chess.”

Karjakin and Carlsen exchanging some smiles at
the start of the session. | Photo Bilbao Masters.

On the question of whether Karjakin will be a more difficult opponent than Anand, Carlsen replied: “The most difficult opponent is always the next opponent. That's the only thing that matters.”

Back to the tournament, which resumed on Tuesday with a special commentator for the sixth round. Ex-FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov, who returned from Dortmund on Monday night, picked up a headset and went to work discussing the games only two days after Dortmund concluded. Ponomariov is a regular guest of the tournament as he lives in Getxo, a seaside town 12 kilometers northwest of Bilbao, with his wife and one-month-old son.

Ruslan Ponomariov already seems to be speaking Spanish more fluently than English.

Ponomariov has another link with the tournament this year. When he was 12, Sergey Karjakin was part of Ponomariov's team when the Ukrainian GM won the 2002 FIDE Knockout World Championship in Moscow. He defeated his compatriot, and the huge favorite in the final, Vassily Ivanchuk.

14 years later, it's Karjakin's turn to get a shot at the world title. Against Carlsen, he will have to play more accurately than he did today against So though. He committed a Fingerfehler on move 14, and as a result, So could keep the bishop pair and the advantage. It wasn't huge, and the computer actually notes several moments where Black could have equalized. In the game, Karjakin had to suffer a bit before the draw was agreed.

“I was defending,” said the world title contender. “I am not happy with how I played in the opening, and I got into not a very good position, but then after after I sacrificed on g4 I am holding.”

Due to inaccurate opening play, Karjakin had to suffer a bit. | Photo Bilbao Masters.

Karjakin's lack of form might be related to the fact that he is suffering from a cold, which he had already contracted before he paid an early morning visit to the beach on Monday!

Nakamura scored his first ever classical win against Carlsen in the first half of the tournament; Carlsen must have wanted revenge, but he failed to get it today. His slightly passive 6...c6 in the Catalan surprised Ponomariov. “I wanted to play something different for sure,” said Carlsen. “I knew of course that these lines are potentially dangerous for Black, but you get to play a game at least. And the game was interesting, so...”

As always, Carlsen wanted to “get a game.”

The first 16 moves had been played before, but in the post-mortem, the player gave the impression that they were out of book earlier. After a brief tactical phase, where White seemed to be better, the game suddenly petered out to a draw. One of Ponomariov's many good question today was for Nakamura. He asked whether spending lot of time in the opening had influenced later decisions in a negative way. “But it's very hard, in this position without 14.a3 there's so many moves,” the American said. “There could be a line that's just winning right away. That's why I used so much time.”

Nakamura-Carlsen: a short draw which was exciting for only a while. | Photo Bilbao Masters.

The only decisive game was between Wei Yi and Anish Giri, who played a Berlin Endgame that was difficult to assess. Basically all pieces quickly left the board, except for a knight for White and a light-squared bishop for Black. What was going to be more important: the bishop being slightly stronger than the knight, or White's kingside pawn majority?

As it went, White was better, but, “Black has good chances to draw the endgame,” according to Wei.

Wei Yi is back to 50 percent, and thanks to the football scoring system, he is even credited with 7.0/12.

“I misevaluated and misplayed the ending,” said Giri, who first thought 24.a4 was risky, but then decided that it was a good move. When going for 22...c5, he somehow missed that in a structure with Black's king on d4, White wins a tempo with f5 and then Kf4. Giri called this “a hallucination” — a word he would also use for miscalculating 31...g5. 

Ponomariov wondered how it was possible that, at 17, Wei is already so good at endgames. The Chinese GM answered: “I am not good in the endgame, but in this one White has easy play!”

Anish Giri trying to explain what he had overlooked today.

2016 Bilbao Masters | Round 6 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Carlsen, Magnus 2855 2886 01 3 1 3 3 11.0/6
2 Nakamura, Hikaru 2787 2847 31 1 1 1 1 8.0/6
3 Wei Yi 2696 2792 0 1 13 1 1 7.0/6
4 Giri, Anish 2785 2705 1 1 10 1 1 5.0/6 7.75
5 Karjakin, Sergey 2773 2719 0 1 1 1 11 5.0/6 7.00
6 So, Wesley 2770 2720 0 1 1 1 11 5.0/6 7.00

The seventh round on Wednesday will see the games Nakamura-So, Carlsen-Wei, and Giri-Karjakin.

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