Yes, there is a bit of Girimania in The Netherlands
In the week after his succesful Tata tournament, Anish Giri appeared on national TV, in a very popular talk show. A day later he gave a simul against members of the Dutch parliament. Adding more fuel to the fire, the 16-year-old grandmaster recently launched his own website.
When Anish Giri defeated Magnus Carlsen in a mere 22 moves with Black, last month at the Tata tournament, he probably didn't realize immediately what it meant for the Dutch chess scene. The next day Tata press chief Tom Bottema was receiving phone calls from several television programs, and some of these sent camera crews to Wijk aan Zee, to film the 'new', young chess phenomenon. And, on the front pages of two important national newspapers, Giri's victory was mentioned.
De Wereld Draait Door
Then, two days after the Tata Steel tournament had finished, Anish Giri was invited to the incredibly popular TV show De Wereld Draait Door (As the World Turns), which is broadcast on one of the Dutch national channels on week days at prime time: from 19:30 till 20:15.
Giri was joined by IM Hans Böhm, who is usually invited to programs like these when the subject is chess. The TV host is Matthijs van Nieuwkerk, and at the end of the video his sidekick, the popular radio DJ Giel Beelen, asks Giri some questions too. Here's the video, and below a transcript in English:
[Matthijs van Nieuwkerk:] How was your day at school?
[Anish Giri:] Today not so bad.
What courses did you attend?
Math B, Math D, Biology, English...
What did you learn?
Unfortunately not too much, but this will come.
Did you feel like going to school again?
Honestly speaking I knew the day would come that I had to go back to school, so...
Because you can look back at an incredible month, playing a tournament, beating Carlsen, all chess enthusiasts want to speak to you... For a moment you're the king of the world, and then you have to go again.
Yes, that's true, it's a very different life, but for me it has been a number of years like this, living in two worlds. A chess world in which I play against Carlsen, and a school world where I get a lot of homework.
You beat Carlsen. I'm not the expert here - Hans is - but... he made a wrong move; did you see that immediately? In a split second, when he let loose of the piece, did you think: I got him?
Well, I knew in advance that it was a bad move, and a player like Carlsen should see this. Even Hans saw it...
Even Hans saw it!
[Hans:] Thanks for that!
Sorry, that's not what I meant... I mean, it's a blunder...
[Matthijs:] Of course you're sitting stoically, you're sitting behind that board, you see him making that bishop move (I don't know) and you see: this is wrong, you knew...
Well, it was such a game that I was doing well from the beginning, with Black. He begins, and normally he has a small advantage from the beginning. So I was better in the whole game, but when he made the losing move, yes, it was really feeling great.
[Turning to Hans Böhm:] How good is this boy?
Yeah, I'm sitting right next to him, but... he's just very good. It's not just that he beats the world's number one, and later in the tournament puts the World Champion under pressure, it's not just that. It's also not the tournament result, because he ended somewhere in the middle. That's not it. It's more the way he's handling everything, the way he analyzes, how he deals with the top players, how they accept him, how they deal with him, the respect the top players have for him, from this you can conclude that he is a great talent.
And also the euphoria we had after he beat Carlsen - he didn't have that himself. He just said that Qd2 was not a great move and this is how I refuted and, that's it. So he saw this tournament... I think he and his coach Vladimir Chuchelov, I think they did this very well, they saw this prestigious tournament, this Tata tournament, the best event of the year, they saw it as one big lesson. I think he wants more than just doing well in this tournament. For example, in his game against Nepomniachtchi, a Russian grandmaster, he avoided a move repetition, so he could have scored even better, he could have finished equal with Carlsen. He didn't do this. He had a chance to meet the very best players of the world, and he took full opportunity.
Later we'll see how you could have beaten Anand, you almost beat the World Champion, if you had played the move Hans will show. But first: the future. You are obliged to go to school, but every chess fan says: quit school, go study, just chess, and you'll become World Champion. Are you going to do this?
In principle I do want to become World Champion, but I think there are more things in life and at a certain point...
Oooh, that's not a good answer for the chess world. Hans, can one become World Champion when 'there's more in life than chess'?
Yes, it's possible, but there shouldn't be much more.
You have to be a little monomaniac.
You have to get your teeth into it; that's what Kasparov did when he was the best. You should give everything for the sport, I think that's what you should do. All the World Champions in the previous century had a side job... You also see the different ages, Euwe was 34, Botvinnik 36, they were all around 35. The first who broke with this was Spassky, he was 32, then you got Fischer, in '72, he was 29, then they got in their twenties, Karpov 24...
What do you think he can do next to chess?
Well... it's getting younger and younger so you have to hurry, that was my point...
Yes but the question was... what can he do. I read the newspapers, and the experts say: chess. Maybe walk the dog, c'est tout.
He speaks several languages: Russian, English, a bit of Japanese, Dutch, he's developing there already. If he'll also develop writing skills, it would be nice if it would be about chess, or what he experiences in life, this way he would develop himself on the go, and in chess, so he would become educated more or less without effort. For me he doesn't need to become a second-class economist or something.
Who is your hero, chess hero, who is your example, your pop star?
What I like about a chess player is that he's just strong. I like universal players who play nice games but also ugly games, but keep on winning.
My chess hero is Kasparov, because he dominated chess for a long period.
[Giel Beelen:] Just a moment, I'm curious, because you said pop star... You're also just a 16-year-old; you're not a geek or something... What kind of music do you like?
Well, music... I like pop, hiphop, rap, for example Black Eyed Peas, Drake, Eminem...
Excellent. And are you a gamer too? I can imagine you also play chess on the computer.
I think chess is quite different than gaming, but yes... I play some games with my friends or with chess players during a tournament, because they're friends too...
And then you just shoot away for a while.
Yes, well, maybe for ten minutes, just for fun...
[Matthijs:] And which girl is hanging above your bed?
[Anish looks astonished. Laughter follows.]
Aha you mean posters.
You really thought I wondered if there was a girl hanging above your bed?
Yeah it sounded a bit strange. But no, I don't have posters of girls.
After this, for a few minutes Hans Böhm showed, with the Tata Steel tournament's demo board, how Giri missed his chance at the end of his game against Vishy Anand. Not bad, a few minutes of pure chess at prime time on national TV...
Simul in The Hague
The next day, on Wednesday, February 2nd, Anish Giri played the traditional, annual simul exhibition for members of the Dutch parliament, in The Hague. They played in the lobby of the 'Tweede Kamer der Staten Generaal', and Giri won 29-0.
The famous political journalist Frits Wester was the first to go down. The last was Jan Nagel who is the father of Yvette Nagel-Seirawan and therefore, yes, the father-in-law of GM Yasser Seirawan.
Macauley Peterson was there too, and took a few photos:
The traditional simul, on the Wednesday after Wijk aan Zee, in The Hague
The first who lost was journalist Frits Wester
Ramonda Golob, almost to move...
'Oh no, there he is already!'
Anish thinking about his next move on one of the boards
Deep concentration also among parliament members
The simul seen from above
Last man sitting: Jan Nagel
Macauley also recorded the following audio clip with Anish Giri:
Anish Giri talking to Macauley Peterson
Last but not least, we'd like to mention the official Anish Giri website which was launched about a month ago, shortly before the start of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament. Amazingly, it can be enjoyed in no less than five languages: Japanese, Nepalese, Dutch, English and Russian.
Anish's father Sanjay tells us:
We thought about a website as it is an effective platform to let people know about yourself, your activities and intentions (this is obvious!). The main aim is to bring Anish closer to the people, not only as a chess player, but also as a person in a multicultural society. This is also a reason why we chose multilingual aspect (obviously it would not be so easy and even not always necessary to update all the contents, but still...). Anish has been associated with these countries and the people in one way or another, and we believe that this kind of gesture would be of help to get warmth of the people, which is very important in a human life.
We hope that this kind of activities will be of great use to him as well to develop his not only professional skills, but also social awareness.
In addition, we are also thinking of doing something to promote chess, particularly in Nepal (it is rather obvious for Holland as he is a Dutch player; moreover Holland has already a very nice chess culture, where in effect Anish has been flourishing). We have some idea, and we will come up with the same in near future. We try to make the site simple and interesting, and maintain it in a regular basis.
Thus far Anish and his father Sanjay have managed to keep the site very up to date. At the moment of writing the last news item is about some games from the Bundesliga, played less than a week ago.
On the site you'll also find lots of pictures and videos from ChessVibes, since we agreed to help as much as we can in that area. After all this site has its origin in The Netherlands as well, and we wouldn't mind if some of the chess culture that existed in the heydays of Max Euwe, and those of Jan Timman, would return. Nothing wrong with a bit of Girimania, right?
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