Malcolm Pein on…Giri’s Super Start


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Today’s Daily Telegraph column from Malcolm Pein focuses on Anish Giri’s super start at the 11th Hainan Danzhou Super-GM Tournament.

Giri’s powerful play with the black pieces involved a pawn sacrifice and set him up for an excellent finale. Test your own strength on the second position!

Malcolm Pein on…Giri’s Super Start

The 11th Hainan Danzhou Super-GM Tournament has moved online to due to the pandemic. The event is an eight-player double-round-robin with all games played at a rate of 15 minutes for all moves, plus a 10-second increment.

Four Chinese players were joined by four ‘visitors’. Ding Liren and fellow Candidate Wang Hao took part, as well as Wei Yi and Yu Yangyi. The foreign contingent comprised Candidate Anish Giri, Alexander Grischuk, Veselin Topalov and Richard Rapport, who always plays sharp and interesting chess.

It was Giri who played the stand-out game in the early rounds. The first pawn sacrifice gives Black long-term compensation due to the resulting weakness of the white squares. A remarkable second pawn sacrifice puts White under considerable pressure. After 10.a3 a5 11.Bd2 Qe6 12.Rc1 Qe7 13.Bc3 Nd4 14.e3 Nxf3+ 15.Qxf3 Bd6 16.Qh5 c6 17.f4! led to a brilliant win for White in Carlsen-Giri, Shamkir 2019. Instead, 11…Rd8 12.Bc3 Qd6 looks reasonable and if 13.Nd2 Be6 14.Ne4 Qe7 15.Nxc5 Qxc5 followed by Be6–d5.

Big Win as Black

Wang Hao – A. Giri

English Opening, Reversed Sicilian

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Bc5 7.0–0 0–0 8.d3 h6 9.Nxd5 Qxd5 10.Bd2 Rd8 11.Bc3 Qe6 12.Nd2 a5 13.Rc1 Ra6! (Black wants to answer Bxc6 with Rxc6, preserving the e5 pawn and avoiding damage to the queenside. The rook might swing across after Nc6–d4 and also supports a possible a5–a4) 14.Qb3 Qe7 15.Bxc6 (White is committed to this. If 15.Rfe1 Nb4 16.a3 a4 17.Qd1 Na2) 15…Rxc6 16.Bxa5 Ra6 17.Bc3 c6! (Freeing the second bishop for active duty and threatening Bc8–e6 winning the a2 pawn) 18.a3 Be6 19.Qc2 Bh3 20.Rfe1 Ba7 21.Nf3 c5

Giri's Super Start

An amazing idea, the bishop on a7 is hampered only temporarily as Black activates all five pieces. 22.Bxe5 Re6 23.Bc3 b5 24.b4 c4 25.dxc4 bxc4 26.Rcd1 Re8 27.Bd4 (27.Nd4 Qb7 28.f3 Re3 followed by g5–g4 prises open White’s king in slow motion) 27…Qb7 28.Bxa7?? (After 28.e4 Rxe4 29.Rxe4 Rxe4 30.Bxa7 Re8! Black cannot be worse)

Test Your Strength

Giri Checkmating Attack

Black to play and win

Highlight the space under this line to unveil there answer.

28…Qxf3 0-1 In view of 29.exf3 Rxe1+ 30.Rxe1 Rxe1#

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