Kramnik Stops, Catches Giri in Qatar

Kramnik Stops, Catches Giri in Qatar

| 31 | Chess Event Coverage

Top seed Anish Giri started with a massive 6.0/6 score at the Qatar Masters Open in Doha but was then defeated by Vladimir Kramnik.

The two GMs share the lead with two rounds to go. The first prize is $25,000.

Like in Tromsø in August, Anish Giri has shown in Doha that he is particularly good in combining styles: against tough 2700 players he can play solid chess, and he can easily switch to more aggressive play against 2600 players. 

The Dutchman started the first Qatar Masters Open with six consecutive wins, and number six was in fact one of those big names in the 2700 club: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. The Azerbaijani was clearly outcalculated by his opponent.

Giri & Mamedyarov, about to start their game. | Photo Maria Emelianova.

Shortly before the end of the game Mamedyarov, was given a cup of coffee by his sister Zeinab, as could be seen in the live video. That coffee was never touched. Mamedyarov quickly left the board after this horrible defeat.

The next day he would lose again, to Ivan Ivanisevic of Serbia.

On Monday, Giri faced Nils Grandelius, who was playing a fine tournament. The young Swedish grandmaster played another excellent game, and was very close to achieving a draw. In the end Giri showed that he has that little bit of extra power of a top-10 player: he ground down his opponent in 74 moves.

Grandelius came very close to a draw. | Photo Maria Emelianova.

Meanwhile, Kramnik had won four games in a row, washing away the bad taste of the two half-points dropped in the first two rounds. The win against his compatriot Sanan Sjugirov was described as coffeehouse play, but it was coffeehouse play based on excellent preparation, since Kramnik only started to think around move 15!

The next morning this reporter was having breakfast when he heard one of the hospitality ladies of the hotel say: “I have been waiting all morning for you!” She wasn't talking to me -- no, she was welcoming Anish Giri and his girlfriend Sopiko Guramishvili. She showed them an article from the local newspaper.

I am not sure if it was the one below, but it's a nice opportunity to show this, taken from The Peninsula:

Click to see bigger version.

Before the game Giri jokingly showed his name tag to Kramnik.

It was a great clash between Kramnik-Giri, but not for the young Dutchman. The 14th world champion played a fine, positional game and improved his big score against Giri even further, to +6, =2, -0.

After the game, Kramnik joined GM Simon Williams in the commentary studio. He showed his game, and gave some very interesting comments afterward:

“He was about to score a Caruana, seven victories. I still have a chance to do a Caruana, not him anymore!” said Kramnik.

With two rounds to go, Giri and Kramnik are now tied for first place. Giri faces Yu Yangyi with White in round eight, while Kramnik has the black pieces against Salem Saleh. The young GM of the UAE, who is coached by Ivan Sokolov, is having a great tournament so far.

Follow the action at!

Elina Danielian of Armenia and Bela Khotenashvili of Georgia have the best chances to win the $5,000 prize for the best women's player; both are on 4.0/7 with two rounds to go.

Their closest rivals, on 3.5 points, are Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria, Lela Javakhishvili of Georgia, Ju Wenjun and WGM Huang Qian of China (who play each other in round 8), Natalia Zhukova, Zeinab Mamedjarova and Irina Krush.

Krush did not appear for the fifth round because she had an accident; after climbing on a giant oyster for a nice picture, she fell and suffered from a dislocated shoulder.

While on pain killers, she continued the tournament anyway!

Qatar Masters Open 2014 | Round 7 Standings (Top 10)

Rk. SNo Title Name FED Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1 1 GM Giri Anish NED 2776 6 2950 30 33
2 2 GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS 2760 6 2908 25 28
3 62 GM Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2586 5,5 2856 27 29
4 13 GM Yu Yangyi CHN 2705 5,5 2823 28 32
5 69 GM Grandelius Nils SWE 2573 5 2800 30 33
6 44 GM Oleksienko Mikhailo UKR 2620 5 2782 27 29
7 39 GM Volokitin Andrei UKR 2627 5 2771 26 27
8 4 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2751 5 2769 27 30
9 12 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy UKR 2706 5 2765 29 32
10 10 GM Tomashevsky Evgeny RUS 2714 5 2762 29 32

Full standings here.

The Qatar Masters Open 2014 is a 9-round Swiss. It takes place November 26-December 4 at the business center of the Crowne Plaza hotel in Doha, Qatar. The total prize fund is $110,000, with a $25,000 first prize. Follow the action at!

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.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

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