Reggio Emilia: Anish Giri wins his first big one - INTERVIEW!

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage

Anish Giri emerged as the sole winner in Reggio Emilia on Friday. At the 54th Torneo di Capodanno he drew with Fabiano Caruana and saw his two main rivals Alexander Morozevich and Hikaru Nakamura lose against Nikita Vitiugov and Vassily Ivanchuk respectively.

Event54th Torneo di Capodannno |  PGN via TWIC
DatesDecember 27th-January 6th, 2011
LocationReggio Emilia, Italy
System6-player double round robin
PlayersIvanchuk, Nakamura, Morozevich, Vitiugov, Caruana, Giri
Rate of play100 minutes for the first moves followed by 50 minutes to finish the game with 30 seconds increment from move 1

As we noted yesterday, a lot of scenarios were possible for the last round in Reggio Emilia. Eventually the tournament did get a sole winner: Anish Giri, in fact the youngest and lowest rated player in the tournament. It was the biggest succes so far for the 17-year-old grandmaster, who was born in St. Petersburg but has been living in The Netherlands since early 2008 and plays under the Dutch flag.

The funny thing was that Giri didn't even win in the last round: with White he was held to a draw by Fabiano Caruana, who played a very solid set-up against Giri's English Opening. 

[Event "54th Reggio Emilia"]
[Site "Reggio Emilia ITA"]
[Date "2012.01.06"]
[Round "10"]
[White "Giri, A."]
[Black "Caruana, F."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A20"]
[WhiteElo "2714"]
[BlackElo "2727"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "55"]
[EventDate "2011.12.27"]

1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nc6 3. Bg2 Bc5 4. Nc3 d6 5. e3 Nge7 6. Nge2 O-O 7. O-O a6 8. h3
Ba7 9. Kh2 $146 (9. b3 Rb8 10. d3 Be6 11. Nd5 Qd7 12. Kh2 Nd8 13. d4 f6 14. Qd2
Nf7 15. Bb2 b5 16. dxe5 fxe5 17. Rac1 bxc4 18. Nxe7+ Qxe7 19. bxc4 {Trella,T
(2391)-Henrichs,T (2461)/Germany 2010}) 9... Be6 10. Nd5 Bd7 (10... Qd7) 11. b3
Nxd5 12. cxd5 Ne7 13. d4 Nf5 14. Bb2 Re8 15. Rc1 Rc8 16. a4 a5 17. Qd2 Bb6 18.
Rc2 Qg5 19. Qd3 Qg6 20. Rd1 Rcd8 21. e4 Nxd4 22. Nxd4 exd4 23. Bxd4 Bxd4 24.
Qxd4 c5 $1 {An excellent move. During the game the players felt that it sort
of equalized.} 25. dxc6 Bxc6 26. Rc4 Qh5 27. Qd2 h6 28. Rd4 ({After the game
the players realized that White is still better after} 28. Rd4 Re7 29. f3 Qc5
30. h4) 1/2-1/2
This meant that both Alexander Morozevich and Hikaru Nakamura could still finish ahead by winning their games, or at least share first place with a draw. Instead, these two players lost.
For Morozevich especially it was a disappointing affair: the Moscovite had the best SB score going into the final round, and in fact he reached a winning position against Nikita Vitiugov. Just before the time control, two mistakes changed a winning position into and ending an exchange down, and then a third mistake led to a theoretically lost position.
[Event "54th Reggio Emilia"]
[Site "Reggio Emilia ITA"]
[Date "2012.01.06"]
[Round "10"]
[White "Vitiugov, N."]
[Black "Morozevich, A."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A16"]
[WhiteElo "2729"]
[BlackElo "2762"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "133"]
[EventDate "2011.12.27"]

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. cxd5 Nxd5 4. g3 Nxc3 5. bxc3 g6 6. Bg2 Bg7 7. Rb1 Nc6 8.
h4 h6 9. Nf3 O-O 10. O-O e5 $146 (10... b6 11. h5 gxh5 12. Rb5 Bg4 13. Nh2 Qd7
14. Nxg4 hxg4 15. Qa4 Rad8 16. Rd5 Qe6 17. Rxd8 Nxd8 18. Qxa7 Qxe2 19. Qxc7 b5
{Rasmussen,K (2417)-Mikhalevski,V (2532)/Saint Vincent 2000}) 11. d3 Kh7 12.
Nd2 f5 13. Ba3 Rf6 14. Qc2 Qe8 15. e3 b6 16. d4 Ba6 17. Rfe1 e4 18. c4 Rc8 19.
Qa4 Nb8 20. Qxe8 Rxe8 21. Rec1 Nd7 22. Nb3 Rf7 23. Bb4 c5 24. Bd2 g5 25. hxg5
hxg5 26. a4 $6 ({In hindsight this move might have been the one which got
White into trouble, as the exchange of pawns on d4 is good for Black because
of the f5-f4 push.} 26. dxc5 $5) 26... cxd4 27. exd4 f4 {There you have it.
Computers don't see it immediately, but Black has the crude plan of pushing
f4-f3 followed by doubling rooks on the h-file!} 28. a5 {Was there a way to
avoid Black's plan?} f3 $1 29. Bf1 (29. Bh3 Kg6 $1 30. axb6 Bf6 $1 {is even
worse.}) 29... Kg6 $1 30. axb6 Bf6 $1 {The kind of position where the
evaluation of the engine suddenly changes dramatically as soon as it starts to
see the mate!} 31. Re1 $1 {White, on his turn, has a very nice way of
countering the attack.} Rh8 32. Rxe4 Rfh7 33. Rh4 $1 gxh4 34. Bd3+ {The point.}
Kg7 35. Bxh7 Kxh7 {The whole thing has cost White a piece, but he has some
dangerous pawns as compensation. Black keeps the better chances, of course.}
36. Ra1 $2 ({The best drawing chances offered} 36. bxa7 Bxc4 37. Be3 hxg3 38.
Nd2 Bd5 39. Rb5 Bc6 40. Ra5) 36... Bxc4 37. Rxa7 Bxb3 $2 ({Winning was} 37...
Rd8 $1 38. Nc5 (38. Na5 Bd5) 38... Bxd4 39. Rxd7+ Rxd7 40. Nxd7 hxg3 41. Be1
Bd5 $19) 38. Rxd7+ Kg6 39. Bf4 $1 {Already putting the bishop on the right
diagonal.} hxg3 40. Bxg3 Ba4 $6 {Now Black is getting into trouble.} ({Better
was} 40... Be6 41. Rd6 (41. Rc7 Bxd4 42. b7 Bd5) 41... Kf7 42. b7 {and now the
computeresque} Rg8 $1 43. Rb6 (43. d5 Bh3) 43... Rxg3+ $1 44. fxg3 Bxd4+ 45.
Kh2 f2 46. Rb1 Ba7 $11) 41. Rd6 $1 {Thanks to the pin, White wins a tempo for
b6-b7 and Rd6-b6.} Rg8 42. b7 Kf5 43. Ra6 (43. Rb6 Bxd4 44. b8=Q Rxb8 45. Rxb8
{is similar to the game.}) 43... Bxd4 44. b8=Q Rxb8 45. Bxb8 Bc2 46. Kh2 Bd3 $2
({After} 46... Kg4 {it's not clear whether White can win the ending.}) 47. Ra4
$1 {Now White wins because Black cannot allow 48.Rf4+.} Be5+ 48. Bxe5 Kxe5 {
This is a theoretical win: White can always give his rook for the bishop and
pawn while controlling the key squares in front of the pawn with his king.
(The tablebase says mate in 37.)} 49. Kg3 Be2 50. Kg4 Kf6 51. Kf4 Bd1 52. Ra6+
Kf7 53. Ke5 Be2 54. Rf6+ Kg7 55. Kf5 Bd3+ 56. Kg5 Be2 57. Rf4 Kg8 58. Kh6 Bd1
59. Rd4 Be2 60. Rd7 Kf8 61. Kg5 Ke8 62. Ra7 Kf8 63. Kf4 Kg8 64. Ra3 Kf7 65.
Rxf3 Bxf3 66. Kxf3 Kf6 67. Ke4 1-0
But Hikaru Nakamura also had enough reason to feel disappointed. The American grandmaster was leading by 4 points after 7 rounds, but then lost all three games in the final 3 rounds. On Friday it was Vassily Ivanchuk who beat him, finally recovering from a very bad series. History repeated itself, because last year in Bazna Ivanchuk also won against Nakamura in the final round after many losses. 
[Event "54th Reggio Emilia"]
[Site "Reggio Emilia ITA"]
[Date "2012.01.06"]
[Round "10"]
[White "Ivanchuk, V."]
[Black "Nakamura, Hi"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C67"]
[WhiteElo "2775"]
[BlackElo "2758"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "133"]
[EventDate "2011.12.27"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5
8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Nc3 Ke8 10. h3 h5 11. Rd1 Be7 12. Ne2 Bd7 $146 (12... Be6 13.
Ned4 Rd8 14. Bf4 Nxd4 15. Nxd4 Bc8 16. e6 Bxe6 17. Bxc7 Rd5 18. c4 Rd7 19. Nxe6
fxe6 20. Bb8 Bc5 21. Rxd7 Kxd7 22. Rd1+ Kc8 23. Be5 Rf8 24. Rd2 g6 {Caruana,F
(2700)-Kramnik,V (2780)/Khanty Mansiysk 2010}) 13. Bg5 Rd8 14. Nf4 Bc8 15.
Rxd8+ Kxd8 16. Rd1+ Ke8 17. g3 Rh7 18. Bxe7 Nxe7 19. Ng5 Rh6 20. h4 c5 21. c3
a5 22. Rd2 Be6 23. Ngxe6 fxe6 24. Kg2 Nc6 25. Re2 Nd8 26. Kh3 Nf7 27. Re3 Kd7
28. f3 b6 29. a3 Kc6 30. g4 hxg4+ 31. Kxg4 Kd7 32. h5 Rh8 33. Rd3+ Kc6 34. Ng6
Re8 35. f4 b5 36. a4 Nh6+ 37. Kg5 Nf7+ 38. Kh4 b4 39. c4 Nh6 40. Kg5 Nf7+ 41.
Kg4 Nh6+ 42. Kh4 Nf7 43. f5 $5 {Playing for a win.} exf5 44. Rd5 b3 {This
might be inaccurate - the pawn will become weak very soon.} (44... Re6 $5 45.
Kg3 f4+ 46. Kxf4 Re8 47. Rd1 Nd8) 45. Kg3 Ng5 46. Kf4 Ne6+ 47. Kxf5 Nd4+ 48.
Ke4 Ne6 (48... Re6 49. Rd8 {followed by 50.Rg8.}) 49. Rd3 Ng5+ 50. Ke3 Ne6 51.
Rxb3 Nd4 52. Rd3 Rb8 53. b3 Kd7 54. Ke4 c6 (54... Rxb3 55. Rxb3 Nxb3 56. Nf4
Nd4 57. Kd5 Nb3 58. e6+ Ke7 59. Nd3 $18) 55. Nh4 $1 Ke6 56. Rg3 Kf7 57. Nf5 Ne6
58. Rd3 Ng5+ 59. Kf4 Ne6+ 60. Kg4 Nd4 (60... Nf8 61. Rd6 Rxb3 62. Rxc6 Ne6 63.
Ra6) 61. Nxd4 cxd4 62. Rxd4 Rxb3 (62... Ke6 63. Kf4 Rxb3 64. Rd6+ Ke7 65. Rg6
Kf7 66. Rxc6) 63. Rd7+ Ke6 64. Rxg7 Rb4 (64... Kxe5 65. h6 Kf6 66. Rg8 Rb7 67.
Kh5 Rb1 (67... Rf7 68. Rc8) 68. Rf8+ Ke6 69. h7 $18) 65. h6 Rxc4+ 66. Kh5 Rc1
67. Rg4 1-0
Tournament director Roberto Mongranzini, Sopiko Guramishvili (who won the women's event) and Anish Giri

Interview Anish Giri

It was a remarkable tournament where only a few games ended in draws. After the round, and after the closing ceremony, we conducted an interview with the tournament winner via Skype Chat. After we congratulated him, Anish Giri was the first to admit that he had been lucky finishing sole first in Reggio Emilia. Here's the interview:
[Peter Doggers:] So... will this be our last interview in English? 
[Anish Giri:] Hahahaha. Not sure... It's not Wijk that I won, so sorry, no promises!
Never mind, about the tournament, it's one with two 'faces'. Two losses and two draws, before the engine started rolling, what went wrong at the start, if anything?
If I were you, I would ask what went right at the end... 
That was my next one.
But to be honest, it's pretty clear. I mean in my white games I was just getting positions I didn't like. I wasn't too familiar with variations I played. 
Even the KID against Hikaru?
Yes, I had the advantage, but I didn't understand the position that I had gone for. In fact I don't need any d6 after Nc5, with one knight gone White is pretty much better anyhow as as the g4 plan loses it's strength dramatically, I can even try g3 myself.
Did you miss the Qd4+ in that line?
Yes, I missed Bxc5. I was calculating Qb6 like a maniac. Once I played Bxc5 I saw Bxc5 and Qd4+... That was awful. And with Morozevich I followed my OOOOOLD analysis and it just was bad, as I didn't understand the position back then.
So I guess you weren't 100% sharp yet - this might worry a chess player, but then you got a game where Fabiano played perhaps his worst of the tournament? Something very welcome to get into the tournament? Or am I underestimating your play in that one!?
Yes, but I must say my head started working finally. I was very unconfident, but I did make some good, healthy moves. But then again, the position played itself. I love this kind of games, when it just goes naturally, all you need is to listen to the position.
I love this kind of games, when it just goes naturally, all you need is to listen to the position.
And then Chuky, did this go natural as well? It looked like it.
Yeah, he played terrible. h5?? and Rg8, Ra7, all those moves. It just wasn't his day. But it started there I suppose.
Yes, it's still Chuky, you haven't beaten many players yet like him, how did you feel afterwards?
Okay, it always feels great, but I felt confused as he played far below his level. I mean seriously, moves like h5, something is just wrong. It's not even a miscalculation.
Right. And then something interesting. You've recently added 1.e4 to your repertoire, and with success!
Recently? My goodness, I play it since I was 7. I added d4 when I was around 12 I think. Everybody just freaks out when I play 1.e4, tell me, WHY?
But I haven't seen 1.e4 in many of your games in the last few years. But OK, I will check the stats.
OK, recently I started playing it a bit more, as I discovered some unseen ideas in topical lines. And 1.d4 is having some crisis sometimes.
Maybe it's surprising not because of you, but because it's sort of the other way around, a lot of 1.e4 players went 1.d4, but OK, again, I will do a '1.e4 Giri' search!
Yeah, actually it's all about fresh ideas, and inspiration. Somehow I am often inspired by 1.e4, and vice versa.
Did you prepare the exchange sac in that game?
Well, he played only French lately, so I was surprised sort of, but I had a look at that line a long time ago. I prepared this Be2 year or two ago, in fact.
Yeah, it's tricky.
It's a nice surprise weapon, especially for those unfamiliar with Scheveningen (as Black).
Then, ...exf5 was indeed wrong I guess? Or is White better anyway?
No, no. I was far from sure. I underestimated this Qd2! idea. Instead of f4, I liked Qd3 at first, but it was also nothing, as after Bxe5 Rad1 Bxd6 Qxd6 he has very strong f6! so after Qd2 I felt it was around even. He could go c5 on next move or one after and OK, a4! and f5! were just to throw some wood into fire, in time trouble. I was sure it's full compensation.
And then the 'big game'...
Haha, okay...
How did you go into the second one against Hikaru, Petroff... a draw was fine?
Well, lately people forget that the Petroff is not for two results. And against Hikaru it's not really about that. 
Right, you know he will always play.
Yes he always plays, and gives people play. And, I just felt comfortable with my opening choice. And when I feel comfortable it doesn't matter what opening. I mean if I go Najdorf it was more probably likley I would lose. And to be honest, I didn't mind draw with black so much. I would take my chance. But otherwise, I can't squeeze something out of nothing, and don't forget I started with -2. 
Right. And he lost the day before... Did you feel he wasn't in top shape anymore? During the game?
Well, I felt, or better to say witnessed, that he misunderstood the position we had. Ng5, h5, all those moves...
Well, I felt, or better to say witnessed, that he misunderstood the position we had.
They were just not good, in that position. At least that's what I thought.
That's interesting because he had something very similar against Kramnik. And still he misunderstood it somehow?
Well, I played a new concept. I waited with Nf6 for one move. It's not popular, so he thought Ng5 is still good but with knight on f8 it just loses the point. I can always kick it out with h6 or f6, whereas there he can sac it, like Karjakin. The position is very complex, needs a lot of analysis.
Did you find this idea before the tournament, or during?
Oh, it's Petroff, do you take me seriously? Ok, I am joking, but I had a look at it long in advance. I analysed it quite a lot, but it's too complex anyway. Weird line.
And I guess your last-round psychology was similar: not losing was more important than winning?
No, I felt like I was going to win. I was very confident, like never before (before the game), but during the game, once I got into time trouble I started getting nervous. I was afraid to blow the advantage away, and then with pressure and time trouble I just misjudged the position. I thought it was equal, while I had a pleasant edge. 
24...c5 looked very strong.
Yes, I saw it, it seemed kind of equalizing but in fact I had a strong plan, to play f3, triple, and once he has a rook on e6 to go h4, Bh3. We both missed it and thought Black was just equalizing. OK, easy, but I just was under too much pressure. I am not used to be so close to win a tournament, I guess...
I am not used to be so close to win a tournament, I guess...
Sure. Well luckily it didn't matter in the end - you stayed to watch the other games I guess?
No, I left the hall OK, yes, it may even seem like I made a genius decision, but to be honest I thought it wouldn't matter, as I expected Morozevich to win. His position looked very good And Vitiugov was playing unconfidently in the beginning. So I thought Moro was first anyway, and I thought second place is fine, and the tournament was good. But then Vitiugov used all the chances. Very nice tricks at the end. Maybe if Morozevich avoided trading bishops it would still be a draw. With Hikaru we discussed it briefly afterwards, we both felt it was drawish. So I would become 2nd after all :-) So too much luck, really. :-)
But in any case +2 in such tournament after -2 would be fantastic for me. 
Yes, it's always tough to recover DURING an event I think, but this was more than just recovering! 
Well, I am usually OK with losses, but this was too much indeed.
So does this result make you more confident for Tata, or do you feel the same?
Of course it does. But I start with +0 like all the others, so it can go either way. But a nice boost for sure, I hope. 
And the next few days, rest, prepare, school, none of the above?
Rest and prepare. School is for after Wijk!
Oh, yes.
Well thanks a lot, enjoy it!
Sure! Thanks a lot!

Reggio Emilia 2011 | Round 10 Standings

1Giri,A271416.0/10 2821
2Morozevich,A276215.0/10SB 28.002775
3Nakamura,H275815.0/10SB 24.752776
4Caruana,F272715.0/10SB 24.502782
5Ivanchuk,V277512.0/10 2703
6Vitiugov,N27298.0/10 2600

Reggio Emilia 2011 | Round 10 Standings (classical)


Reggio Emilia 2011 | Schedule & results

Round 127.12.1115:00 CET Round 602.01.1215:00 CET
Ivanchuk½-½Giri Giri1-0Ivanchuk
Vitiugov0-1Nakamura Nakamura1-0Vitiugov
Caruana0-1Morozevich Morozevich0-1Caruana
Round 228.12.1115:00 CET Round 703.01.1215:00 CET
Giri0-1Morozevich Morozevich½-½Giri
Nakamura½-½Caruana Caruana½-½Nakamura
Ivanchuk½-½Vitiugov Vitiugov1-0Ivanchuk
Round 329.12.1115:00 CET Round 804.01.1215:00 CET
Vitiugov½-½Giri Giri1-0Vitiugov
Caruana0-1Ivanchuk Ivanchuk0-1Caruana
Morozevich½-½Nakamura Nakamura0-1Morozevich
Round 430.12.1115:00 CET Round 905.01.1215:00 CET
Giri0-1Nakamura Nakamura0-1Giri
Ivanchuk1-0Morozevich Morozevich½-½Ivanchuk
Vitiugov0-1Caruana Caruana1-0Vitiugov
Round 531.12.1115:00 CET Round 1006.01.1213:00 CET
Caruana0-1Giri Giri½-½Caruana
Morozevich1-0Vitiugov Vitiugov1-0Morozevich
Nakamura1-0Ivanchuk Ivanchuk1-0Nakamura


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