Malcolm Pein on…Giri’s Pressure


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Today’s Daily Telegraph column continues Malcolm Pein’s coverage of the Tata Steel Masters with a look at Anish Giri’s pressure as the tournament reaches its closing stages.

Malcolm Pein on…Giri’s Pressure

Not for the first time in his career, Anish Giri faltered under pressure and was unable to close out victory after outplaying Alireza Firouzja at the Tata Steel Masters. Giri missed a couple of straightforward wins, then a study-like one, and so entered the final round just half a point clear.

Leading scores: 1 Giri 8/12, 2-4 Caruana, Firouzja, van Foreest 7.5, 5 Esipenko 7, 6 Carlsen 6.5.

A. Giri – A. Firouzj

A. Giri – A. Firouzj

46.Rf1! is the simplest way to win, or even 46.Bc6 e4 47.Re7 e3 48.Kc2! 46.a4 Nd5 47.Rxh7 e4 48.Rf7 e3 49.Rf1 Nc3 50.Rf4+ Ke5 51.Rf3! (51.Rf7? Nxb5 52.axb5 Ke4 is only a draw, but now White is winning) 51…Nxb5 (White also obtains four pawns for the piece after 51…Kd4 52.Rxe3! Nxb5) 52.Rxe3+! Kd4 53.Rg3 Nd6 54.Rxg6 Ne4 55.a5 Kd5 56.a6 (56.h4!? might have been simpler) 56…Nc5+ 57.Ka3 Nd3 58.a7 Ra8 59.Rg7 Kc6 60.h4 Nf4 (Here 61.Kb3? Ne6 is similar to the game, but 61.Ka4! would have won thanks to the key point 61…Kb6 62.Kb3! Ne6 63.Rg6. Black is also unable to save the game after 61…Ne6 62.b5+ Kb6)

A. Giri – A. Firouzj Ending

63.Rg6 Rxa7+ 64.Kb4 Re7 65.h5 Kc7 66.h6 Kd6 67.b6 Ke5 68.g4 or 61…Nd5 62.b5+ Kb6 63.g4 Nc7 64.Kb4 Rxa7 65.Rg6+ Kb7 66.h5) 61.g4? Ne6! 62.Rf7 Nc7 63.g5 Rxa7+ 64.Kb2 Ra8 65.g6 Ne6 (Black is active enough and will sacrifice his knight for the g- and h-pawns if needed) 66.h5 Rh8! 67.Rh7 Rg8 1⁄2-1⁄2

Test Your Strength

A. Giri – R. Wojtaszek

Black has just blundered with 48…Ba1-b2. What had he overlooked?

Highlight the space below to reveal the answer.

49.Rxh7! 1-0 49…Kxh7 50.Rd7+ Rf7 (if 50…Kh8 51.Nxg6+ Kg8 52.h7# or 50…Kg8 51.h7+ Kh8 52.Nxg6#) 51.Rxf7+ Kg8 52.Re7 Rb6 53.Kxf3 is hopeless.

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