Reports | January 06, 2012 18:10

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

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

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.

Event 54th Torneo di Capodannno |  PGN via TWIC
Dates December 27th-January 6th, 2011
Location Reggio Emilia, Italy
System 6-player double round robin
Players Ivanchuk, Nakamura, Morozevich, Vitiugov, Caruana, Giri
Rate of play 100 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. 

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.
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. 
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

No. Name Rtg Score/game Tiebreak Perf
1 Giri,A 2714 16.0/10   2821
2 Morozevich,A 2762 15.0/10 SB 28.00 2775
3 Nakamura,H 2758 15.0/10 SB 24.75 2776
4 Caruana,F 2727 15.0/10 SB 24.50 2782
5 Ivanchuk,V 2775 12.0/10   2703
6 Vitiugov,N 2729 8.0/10   2600

Reggio Emilia 2011 | Round 10 Standings (classical)


Reggio Emilia 2011 | Schedule & results

Round 1 27.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 6 02.01.12 15:00 CET
Ivanchuk ½-½ Giri   Giri 1-0 Ivanchuk
Vitiugov 0-1 Nakamura   Nakamura 1-0 Vitiugov
Caruana 0-1 Morozevich   Morozevich 0-1 Caruana
Round 2 28.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 7 03.01.12 15:00 CET
Giri 0-1 Morozevich   Morozevich ½-½ Giri
Nakamura ½-½ Caruana   Caruana ½-½ Nakamura
Ivanchuk ½-½ Vitiugov   Vitiugov 1-0 Ivanchuk
Round 3 29.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 8 04.01.12 15:00 CET
Vitiugov ½-½ Giri   Giri 1-0 Vitiugov
Caruana 0-1 Ivanchuk   Ivanchuk 0-1 Caruana
Morozevich ½-½ Nakamura   Nakamura 0-1 Morozevich
Round 4 30.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 9 05.01.12 15:00 CET
Giri 0-1 Nakamura   Nakamura 0-1 Giri
Ivanchuk 1-0 Morozevich   Morozevich ½-½ Ivanchuk
Vitiugov 0-1 Caruana   Caruana 1-0 Vitiugov
Round 5 31.12.11 15:00 CET   Round 10 06.01.12 13:00 CET
Caruana 0-1 Giri   Giri ½-½ Caruana
Morozevich 1-0 Vitiugov   Vitiugov 1-0 Morozevich
Nakamura 1-0 Ivanchuk   Ivanchuk 1-0 Nakamura


Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


redivivo's picture

I don't find it arrogant either, but I recall the article being referred to in the discussion on Giri's so called "arrogance". It's refreshing to hear a young player say what he thinks, and Giri seems to be both intelligent and with a good sense of humour.

columbo's picture

i agree on that, and considering this article, we in fact talked about it a week or two ago, and didnt find anything arrogant ... the word " arrogant " was thrown out of nowhere ... I saw Giri analysis in Tata Steel last year, and was amazed by his class ! Nakamura on the other hand is arrogant, no doubt about it, and that's probably why he can't yet reach the top, not because he played 4 tournaments in a row

Aditya's picture

What a finish! It looked movielike and dramatic, as if Morozevich had taken Ivanchuk for a conspiracy drink last night, unaware that Giri had taken Vitiugov aside for the same :-). Correction, make that a conspiracy mocktail for Giri. Congratulations to him!

Anonymous's picture

Great tournament! I will derive great pleasure studying these games. Thanks to all the players for their fighting spirit and congrats to Giri for an impressive comeback victory.

Geof Strayer's picture

Congratulations to Giri for a gutsy performance.

Despite initial doubts, I am starting to like this 3-1-0 scoring system. This tournament was full of interesting games. Really a pleasure to watch. Kudos to all the players for their fighting spirit.

Sarunas's picture

Last round dramatic as ever...
Moro took too many risks and was deservedly punished for choosing wrong timing for that.What I mean it's more prudent to do that with White against ill player rather than Black with an outsider desperate for win. After 32.R:e4!, R:h4! and 35.B:h7 Black attack is turned to ashes and afterwards not only 36.Ra1 but also 36.b:a is good enough to make suffer any human being. Such pawn is always worth a piece in human language, but engines, of course, use different count.
As for Chucky -Naka I agree with repoter history repeats itself referring to Bazna. The funny thing is that in that game Chucky really was again himself, playing patiently, building up and executing deep-rooted strategies and manoeuvres. How could this come about? I guess the notorious game end against Caruanna helped him mentally much to recover. It's like going straight into hell after which you realize you've already seen worst of all that may happen in this world...
38...b4? looks very bad to me.Blacks voluntarily dooms him to White's favor. Why not 38...b:a keeping 'b' path accesible? For inst. 39.c4 Rb8 40.Ne7+ (40.f5 p:p 41.e6 Nd6 42.Ne5+ Kb7 43.Nd7 Re8 44.N:p+ Kc6)Kb7 41.Rg3 Ka6 42.R:p R:p 43.R:N a3 etc.
As for third game I don't have any particular comments.

jussu's picture

Super news! Terrific performance by Giri, he is already knocking the door of the elite. If not knocking it down.

columbo's picture

" knowking it down " ... you are an enthousiast :) and let's wait to see teddy bear in Tata B group, he might show up very soon too at the top ... And don't forget Carlsen !!! he is the one at the moment who knocked everything down

jussu's picture

I meant knocking down the door to elite, not the elite itself - which is quite immune to such attempts, even by Carlsen. But "teddy bear" does not mean anything to me...

Knallo's picture

I think Nyzhnik is meant. I once saw a cute photo of him giving a simul while holding a teddy bear.

columbo's picture
Knallo's picture

Here's the teddy bear!
Note that he moves the pieces exactly as GMs do in simuls.

jussu's picture

Oh, 2004. Hopefully, he won't be mocked for that episode forever; we have all been children.

Arjo's picture

I am very curious how Chucky will do @ Tata. It can only go 2 ways. Total meltdown or he will play the tournament of his life. Maybe it's better for him to take some rest soon...

Septimus's picture

Moro's game was very entertaining. If he sees a slight chance to press, he will, consequences be damned. Does he feature in any upcoming super-GM tournaments?

iLane's picture

Am I the only one who didn't get the joke at the beginning of the interview? Why would it be the last interview in English and what does the language have to do if it was Wijk or Regg. Emilia?? :o

Janis Nisii's picture

Must be some promise Giri made to Doggers, to do an interview in Dutch, but it's not clear what would have been the trigger-event. Probably it was in another CV entry, but I forgot.

Ray's picture

Giri apparently doesn't feel confident enough in his mastery of the Dutch language to give an interview in it. So it must be a running gag between him and Peter that "next time" he'll answer in Dutch.

Anthony's picture

Having a few women around sure provides a great Photo op for the champ.

All the same: I hope they invite 12 strong men next year.

wjw's picture

It was Yermolinsky who stated on ICC that Giri would not learn because of his cockiness referring to his statements about Kramnik in NIC. My remark that it is frankness and not cockiness made him answere that it is maybe more bad manners... I do not see it at all in the citements above...

Kholmov's picture

finally the elite players are realizing that chess is enganadador nakamura, Ivanchuk Giri and punished him in an exemplary manner, showing a much greater comprehension of the position, nakamura by then was being blessed with luck, because some players were risking against him when top players play somewhat more conservative, working position slowly loses alcansar nakamura, because there are several players who have a higher comprehension, worse is to read the nonsense that put Nakamura on twitter when they get a victory .... but in order

Anonymous's picture

Did you use Google Translate?

BL's picture

Giri is just so damn arrogant.

columbo's picture



Frits Fritschy's picture

It's no use shouting when someone is deaf.

maturner's picture

One of the most interesting tournaments of the past few years. The guy who is rated the lowest wins. Congrats to Giri for a remarkable comeback.

Giri Ugly's picture

Giri is extreme arrogant AND pathetic

look, giri hates carlsen: (look in 13:00s)

biggy's picture

@Giri Ugly
hate is not an apt word in here (I can also say, you hate Giri!..does not sound nice)...well, you dig up well...better to hear what he says now, rather than two years is the part of his interview he gave recently to Chess-News
(hope, you understand Russian):
Е.СУРОВ: Опять же, если вернуться к вашему интервью двухлетней давности, которое вы дали Юрию Васильеву, то там вы сказали такую интересную фразу: «Как играет Карлсен, меня не впечатляет. Мне его стиль кажется слишком сухим». Я напомню, это был уже 2010-й год. А сейчас изменилось ваше мнение об игре Карлсена?

А.ГИРИ: Да, Магнус играет очень разносторонне, на самом деле. Особенно в последнее время. Все-таки он мировой лидер, у него запас пунктов тридцать рейтинга, сложно сказать, что он – не сильный шахматист.

Dude's picture

This comment by Giri Ugly is even more ridiculous when you realize that the only thing Giri said two years ago that could be interpreted negatively (but shouldn't) is that Magnus doesn't play spectacular games.

Anna's picture

Dude, look the giri face when talk about Carlsen..


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