Features Apr 1, 2016 | 11:57 AMby Colin McGourty

Giri’s 60 Memorable Draws (exclusive excerpt!)

Anish Giri, the world no. 4 and at 21 the youngest player in the 2016 Candidates Tournament, has become the butt of jokes for his incredible streak of 14 draws in 14 games in Moscow. As so often in his fledging career, though, Anish is going to have the last laugh. Already a prolific author, he’s picked up the internet’s suggestion of writing his own version of Bobby Fischer’s “My 60 Memorable Games”, and he’s given us a teaser of what to expect. Enjoy five of his most memorable draws!

UPDATE: As many people spotted, this was indeed an April Fool's Day article - sadly as far as we know Giri isn't planning to write this book, and he isn't the author of any of the quotes below. We hope you enjoyed it anyway - and just let us know if you need a ghost writer, Anish! 

While other players were distracted by the fool’s errand of qualifying for a World Championship match against Magnus Carlsen, Anish Giri set about seeing his name go down in chess history for a perfect drawing record in the 14-round event.

Of course the jokes were inevitable, with Anish getting christened “The Artist” for his love of drawing, while the Twitter hashtag #GiriJokes (shame on our Spanish chess24 colleagues ) was much busier than #MoscowCandidates! We have to agree with Eric Hansen:

But perhaps one book idea, more than any other meme, captured the popular imagination:

Credits: Roberto Paixão

Posted by Troll Chess on Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Anish himself concluded that if you can’t beat ‘em you should join ‘em:

But he’s a clever guy, and has decided to take advantage of all the publicity and actually publish a book on his memorable draws! How do we know that? Well, we have some insider info, since Giri's wife Sopiko Guramishvili is of course one of our top video authors. As Sopiko says in the introduction to her new series on the Triangle Slav opening:

It’s really good to be married to a top grandmaster who is always ready to help you whenever and wherever. So thank you, Anish!

(Pro tip: Sopiko’s A complete Najdorf repertoire was coordinated by Anand, Karjakin and now Caruana second Rustam Kasimdzhanov, with more input from Anish - don't underestimate it!)

Of course in most cases you’d dismiss the prospects of a young chess star finding the time to publish a book, but Anish Giri writes a regular column for New in Chess, has published profiles of Magnus Carlsen’s great successors (cheeky!) and My Junior Years in 20 Games. Is there anything this polyglot can’t do?

In any case, Giri told us:

For all the jokes, draws are a huge and overlooked part of chess. Many wins are just badly-played games, while learning to draw is one of the first steps to mastery. If you want to win a World Championship match you need to be able to draw almost at will – a lesson Kasparov learned against Karpov in their first match. Sure, people point out you can’t get to a match without winning some games, but who wants to play a match just to get crushed? Ask Nigel! Big Vlad showed how it’s done – frustrate the champ by stopping him winning and then pick off a couple of wins when your opponent doesn’t know the drawing line in some deep preparation! I hope my book will open people’s eyes a little – or at least annoy Magnus 

So then, here are some early notes Anish sent us from his future magnum opus:

1. Giri ½-½ Caruana, Reggio Emilia, 2011-12

Critics – yeah, I know, I have a lot of those! – often point out I’ve never won a supertournament, though I wonder if they’ve ever finished ahead of Chucky, Naka, Fabi and Moro in a 6-player double round-robin  

1.Giri, Anish27140½011½½1½116
2.Morozevich, Alexander27621½½1100½1015
3.Nakamura, Hikaru275810½0½½101115
4.Caruana, Fabiano27270½01½½011115
5.Ivanchuk, Vassily2775½01½0110½012
6.Vitiugov, Nikita2729½0010000½18

Reggio Emilia is, in a way, where it all began. I was 17 and met my future wife Sopiko - she won the women’s tournament, for good measure! – while on the chessboard the power of the draw was shown in all its glory. 

Giri, his sisters and Sopiko - celebrating both the New Year and her 21st birthday in Reggio Emilia | photo: Martha Fierro, Accademia Internazionale di Scacchi 

I’ll skip the early part of this tale as way off-topic (4 wins and 2 losses in 9 rounds, seriously?! That guy was crazy!) and fast forward to the last round. I entered tied for first with Morozevich and Hikaru, with Moro playing Vitiugov (6 losses in 9 rounds) and Nakamura playing Ivanchuk (4 losses in a row from rounds 5-8 – he was on tilt). I had the white pieces against Caruana and the naïve would call it a “must-win” game if I wanted to win the tournament. So, of course, a quick and uneventful 28-move draw followed!

Imagine the fun, though, of watching both Nakamura and Morozevich get ground into dust! So we got that crosstable you see above. Lately I’ve been working with Vladimir Tukmakov and got some inspiration from his book, Modern Chess Preparation. He has a chapter on “Deciding Games” and how to approach them, and here, in some advice for chess amateurs, he notes that the great Tigran Petrosian would always take a draw in the final round if it might be enough – great advice for us all 

The task gets a little easier when the desired outcome is a draw. Often that can be achieved simply by proposing it. Even if a peaceful outcome by no means guarantees overall success, but just gives good chances of it, it might make sense to settle for a bird in the hand rather than two in the bush. After all, you’ll recall a potential failure for months to come. If it turns out a draw agreement would have allowed you to achieve your goal that will just exacerbate the situation. Moreover, you’ll preserve your precious nerve cells which, they say, don’t regenerate. If as great a chess player as Tigran Petrosian ALWAYS adopted such an approach, then for a pure amateur it’s probably a sensible approach.    

2. Giri ½-½ Caruana, Moscow Candidates, 2016

A more recent game between me and Fabi was pretty memorable as well. It’s often said that “the toughest thing in chess is winning a won position” – which is ludicrous, of course! As we all know, you’re much more likely to win a won position than a lost one, opponents usually help us out, and have you ever tried preparing for Vlad with the black pieces?!

Snatching a draw from the jaws of victory | photo: World Chess

Having said all that, I’ve got to admit that failing to win from a position with four extra pawns is definitely a feather in my cap! At least Lawrence’s man didn’t go on to win the Candidates, when this game might live on in notoriety, and not just make a funny interlude in the book:

1. d4 ♘f6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 d5 4. cxd5 ♘xd5 5. e4 ♘b6 6. ♘c3 ♗g7 7. ♗e3 O-O 8. ♕d2 e5 9. d5 c6 10. h4 cxd5 11. exd5 ♘a6 12. h5 ♘b4 13. hxg6 ♗f5 14. gxh7+ ♔h8 15. ♖d1 ♘c2+ 16. ♔f2 ♘xe3 17. ♕xe3 ♗d7 18. ♘h3 f5 19. f4 ♖c8 20. g3 ♘c4 21. ♗xc4 ♖xc4 22. fxe5 f4 23. ♘xf4 ♕g5 24. ♖d4 ♖xd4 25. ♕xd4 ♗xe5 26. ♕b4 ♖f7 27. ♘e2 ♗g4 28. ♕e4 ♕f6 29. ♖h4 ♗f5 30. ♕e3 b6 31. b3 ♖e7 32. ♕d2 ♖c7 33. d6 ♗xd6 34. ♕d5 ♖f7 35. ♔g2 ♗c5 36. ♖h5 ♗g4 37. ♖h6 ♕xh6 38. ♕xf7 ♕c6+ 39. ♘d5 ♗e6 40. ♕f6+ ♔xh7 41. ♕h4+ ♔g7 42. ♕g5+ ♔f8 43. ♕f6+ ♔g8 44. ♕g6+ ♔f8 45. ♕h6+ ♔g8 46. ♕g5+ ♔f8 47. ♘f4 ♗f7 48. ♕e5 ♔g8 49. ♔h3 ♕d6 50. ♘f6+ ♔f8 51. ♕f5 ♔e7 52. ♘6d5+ ♔f8 53. ♔g4 ♗d4 54. ♘c7 ♗e5 55. ♘cd5 a5 56. ♕c8+ ♔g7 57. ♘e3 ♔h7 58. ♕b7 ♔g8 59. ♕a8+ ♕b8 60. ♕e4 ♕d6 61. ♘f5 ♕d1+ 62. ♘e2 ♗g7 63. ♘xg7 ♔xg7 64. ♕e5+ ♔g6 65. ♔f3 ♕d3+ 66. ♔f2 ♕c2 67. ♕d6+ ♔g7 68. ♕d4+ ♔g8 69. ♕g4+ ♔f8 70. ♕a4 ♗e8 71. ♕a3+ ♔g8 72. ♕e7 ♗f7 73. ♕d8+ ♔g7 74. ♕d4+ ♔g8 75. ♕a4 ♕d2 76. ♕g4+ ♔f8 77. ♕c8+ ♔e7 78. ♕c7+ ♔f8 79. a3 ♗xb3 80. ♕b8+ ♔f7 81. ♕b7+ ♔g8 82. ♕xb6 ♕a2 83. ♕d8+ ♔f7 84. ♕d7+ ♔g8 85. ♕e8+ ♔g7 86. ♕e7+ ♗f7 87. g4 ♕d2 88. ♕c5 ♗e6 89. ♕e5+ ♔f7 90. g5 ♕a2 91. ♕f6+ ♔e8 92. ♕h8+ ♔e7 93. ♕h7+ ♔f8 94. ♕h8+ ♔e7 95. ♕g7+ ♔e8 96. ♕h8+  1/2-1/2

3. Carlsen ½-½ Giri, Tata Steel Masters, 2016

This could have been any of my draws against our champ. Bobby Fischer was asked about the greatest pleasure in chess:

Crushing the other guy’s ego. I like to see ‘em squirm!

Well, this was a pretty bad game all round – I squandered an opening advantage gained because Maggie had dozed off in theory class. Still, we got to see him squirm afterwards!

4. Anand ½-½ Giri, Tata Steel A, 2011

Earlier in this tournament, which I played as a 16-year-old, I beat Magnus with Black in 22 moves, but that was a bit careless – and off-topic. This game is more like it. Perhaps the draw was a bit too exciting for my future taste, but if Sergey Shipov commented, “Today Anish Giri played the game of his life, but he couldn’t bring it to its logical conclusion”, it can’t have been all bad!

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. ♘f3 ♘f6 4. ♘c3 e6 5. ♗g5 h6 6. ♗xf6 ♕xf6 7. e3 g6 8. ♗d3 ♗g7 9. O-O O-O 10. ♖c1 dxc4 11. ♗xc4 ♘d7 12. e4 c5 13. d5 ♘b6 14. b3 exd5 15. ♘xd5 ♕d8 16. h3 ♘xc4 17. bxc4 ♖e8 18. ♖e1 ♗d7 19. ♕d2 ♖c8 20. ♕f4 b5 21. e5 g5 22. ♕g3 bxc4 23. ♖ed1 ♖c6 24. ♘e3 ♕c7 25. ♘xc4 ♗e6 26. h4 g4 27. ♘fd2 ♖d8 28. ♖e1 ♖d4 29. ♕e3 ♕d8 30. g3 ♕d5 31. ♘a5 ♖c8 32. ♘dc4 ♖b8 33. ♕e2 ♗f8 34. ♘e3 ♕e4 35. ♘b3 ♗xb3 36. axb3 ♖xb3 37. ♕a2 ♕b7 38. ♕c2 ♖b2 39. ♕f5 ♕e4 40. ♕xe4 ♖xe4 41. ♖a1 c4 42. ♖xa7 ♗c5 43. ♖a8+ ♔h7 44. ♖f1 c3 45. ♖c8 ♗d4 46. ♖c7 ♖xe5 47. ♖xf7+ ♔g6 48. ♖d7 ♗xe3 49. fxe3 ♖d2 50. ♖c7  1/2-1/2

5. Giri ½-½ Topalov, Moscow Candidates 2016

Mission accomplished! | photo: World Chess

There was so much that could have gone wrong here! In 11 games between us we had 7 decisive results and only 4 draws – plus Topalov had given up early in Moscow and went into this game on the back of 2 losses, making a total of 5 for the event. It took focus, determination and a little luck, but I pulled it off!

14 draws in 14 Candidates games. Beat that!

We’ll of course let you know as soon as Giri’s new book – which will include move-by-move analysis - is ready for publication! Before that happens, we just hope Giri doesn’t produce too much more material… since it’s costing us a fortune. In the middle of the tournament our Spanish commentary team had a brainwave for a promotion:

It was meant to last a game or two! Now it’s going to stretch at least into the Norway Chess Supertournament. Thanks, Anish     

See also:

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