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Anish Giri vs Wesley So
Tata Steel Masters (2015), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 12, Jan-24
English Opening: Agincourt Defense (A13)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-24-15  Steve.Patzer: Please tell me it ain't So.
Jan-24-15  SmoothSkinnedLeper: great endgame play by Giri.
Jan-24-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: So close and yet So far.
Jan-24-15  dunamisvpm: Congrats to GM Giri! He is no doubt a strong contenter to be world champion. His record shows that he by passed the IM norm and proceeded right with the GM norm. To GM Wes, he is also a strong contender just like Anish. It just so unlucky he was beaten thrice by Anish. BUT it is not the end of the road for these two contenders. Maybe, just maybe, one of them will be Magnus challenger this year! Have fun all the way and GOD bless!
Jan-24-15  kamagong24: its a learning experience for GM Wes, may mga susunod pang mga pagtutuos!
Jan-24-15  epistle: I think its more exciting if Magnus can just be disqualified as WC. Just declare him the best chessplayer in the planet. Then hold a WC match among the rest.
Jan-24-15  visayanbraindoctor: From a human perspective Giri's 10. c5! is a great move. It forces Black to make very difficult decisions.

After 12. Re1, Black has only two playable choices, to castle in order to tuck in his King into safety or to accept the gambit pawn by 12.. f6. The latter would allow 13. Nh5 with the threats of Qh5 or Nf5, and for Black to deny these squares to White by 13.. g6 would in turn allow 14. Bh6, with a strong attack coming up.

The solid So chooses to castle 12.. O-O, giving back the gambit pawn. It's a 'stylistic' decision; I suspect pawn grabbers like Fischer and Korchnoi would have played 12.. f6 holding on to the pawn, and then try to weather the coming attack; and so would the peak Capablanca and Petrosian, so confident in their excellent defensive abilities. Giri efficiently utilizes his lead in development in order to win another pawn later in the middlegame.

The Queen ending is too complicated for me to visually assess properly. Queen endings are the abstract paintings of the endgame genre, very difficulty for humans to evaluate and play. It looks to me that the key plan is:

1. To push the White pawn to a7 with the White Queen behind it. This would force the Black Queen onto the a8 square in order to block the pawn from queening.

2. Move the white Queen into the b-file with tempo (by checking the black king) and then jump it to b8, giving no time for Black to take the a7 pawn, thus again defending the pawn and at the same time attacking the black Queen at a8 and securing that square for the pawn.

3. Avoid a multitude of checks, which requires continuous tactical play, mainly by hiding the white king around White's remaining Kingside pawn.

For a while Giri did not seem to be making progress and apparently did not know how to, even though it seems to me he was winning when the endgame began. There were probably many errors on both sides, and So may have missed drawing lines.

I remember So's embarrassing fall-into-a-mating-net W So vs A Giri, 2010 and instructive-pawn-ending A Giri vs W So, 2010 defeats to Giri. They will have to go unavenged for now, but So did put up an honorable and proud resistance in this game.

If a loss can be termed as impressive, on So's part this is the most impressive defeat in the tournament so far. So contested every attempt by Giri to gain a clearly decisive advantage for more than a hundred moves.

Giri on the other hand resolutely refused to allow So to escape without testing him to the limits.

This memorable epic battle does credit to both players.

Jan-24-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: <Volmac: According to the Chessbase report So had a tablebase draw somewhere. Exactly where?>

The position after 72...Qxf2 is a tablebase draw.


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Wesley made a decisive error in the position after 90.Ke3


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Here, Wesley played 90...Qa4? This move loses.

90...Qe1+ is a tablebase draw.

Anish Giri: "Somehow, with my last strength, I managed to win!"

Jan-24-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Good sum up visayanbraindoctor,

It does appear Giri was fishing and wishing.

But at this level these guys would have seen all kinds of tricks and patterns. This is their trade.

Been a while since young Wes lost a game. I knew he going to lose one the moment I saw some of the lads tempting Caissa's fate by boasting of Wes's unbeaten run in another forum.

Be interesting to see how Wes reacts.
He does not have much recent experience at losing.

Some players drop their next game in a crisis of confidence or go on a run of draws.

Possibly not here. Wes did not play badly, Anish played better, no real need to go on a downer.

Though he will be knackered after playing for so long and losing. That can be mentaly exhausting.

Jan-24-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Some people will criticize this game for the many inaccuracies, but they are missing the point.

It was a <fight> as Emanuel Lasker would say.

Two players stubbornly pushing their agenda: Giri to win, and So fighting with might and main not to lose.

A great game.

Jan-24-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: GM Andrey Deviatkin: "The fact that the game was far from ideal can be explained easily by the tense tournament situation, let alone it having been played at the finish of an extremely strong and long competition."

Particularly, queen endgames are very difficult to play over-the-board. These endgames require "tons of calculations". The game lasted more than 7 hours (111 moves at the finish of a long tournament).

Jan-24-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <kbob> What game number of the 1972 match did he swindle Spassky? But Spassky can't blame Bobby, LOL...Lothar allowed it, and Spassky never complained, so Spassky was not sure of the rule himself!!
Jan-24-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Joshka,

This one, Game 20.

Fischer vs Spassky, 1972

Some sources say some Russian players have been caught out this way because in their rules the 3 fold rep must be in succesive moves.

Not sure if Spassky would fallen for this or not known about it because in the Fischer Petrosian match (which Spassky surely would have followed) the same thing happened.

Fischer vs Petrosian, 1971

Petrosian did not seem to know the rules about 3 fold rep.

Jan-24-15  mishafan: I am a Wesley So fan but I have to give Giri some props in this game! Very well played!
Jan-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <Sally Simpson> hey thanks for the info!! I THOUGHT I knew the rule, and have used it many times during the years, but was not aware that depending on WHO's move it is, is important in the rule as well. Thanks!! Good to learn something new about chess every day!:-)
Jan-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: Then again, how is it possible that Lothar who is the arbiter does NOT know this rule??? Very strange;-)
Jan-25-15  SimonWebbsTiger: the usual <chess24> recap with Jan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXL...
Jan-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  kbob: Spassky agreed to the draw while the arbiter was still examining Fischer's claim. With five states of castling privilege and an initial en passant option, I figure it is theoretically possible for a position to occur for the 22nd time before a claim of draw by repetition is valid. Or perhaps I should say 21 if that player announces his intention prior.
Jan-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: Good opening choice by Giri refraining from his favored Catalan. The game took a reversed Benoni course with two extra tempi for White. GM Dejan Bojkov: "This fact allows White a chance to play more aggressively than usual."

Benoni: Modern Classical Variation

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nf3 g6 7. e4 Bg7 8. Bd3


click for larger view

Anish Giri - Wesley So

1. c4 e6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. Nf3 d4 <Due to Black having played ...e6 previously and by following up with ...e5 later, he is loosing a tempo> 5. O-O c5 6. e3 Nc6 7. ed4 cd4 8. d3 Bd6 9. Na3 e5


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A Reversed Benoni with two extra tempi for White (0-0 and Na3)

Here, Giri introduced a novelty 10.c5. Previously 10.Re1 and 10.Nb5 had been tried.

Giri got clearly better chances out of the opening.

Jan-26-15  johnkr: Key move in the opening was 12, where So could try to hold his extra pawn with ...f6. Strangely, I noticed that Chessdom.com, Houdini gives the line 12...f6 13 Nfxe5 Ncxe5!? What? Is it now bad for black to play 13...fxe5? Fritz does not bless 13...Ncxe5. Humans I think would analyze the line 13 Nh4. Queen ending was mind-bending, but interesting to follow the analysis of Seraiwan.
Jan-26-15  iamsheaf: Queen endgames are the hardest of them all...there are no established theories... so winning or defending is not always easy
Jan-27-15  KingchecksQueen: January 2016
Dear Wesley So, please seek advise and tutorial lessons from Mr. Garry Kasparov if you want to be the next world champion. You will never go wrong with him, just look at Carlsen and Anand.

Your friend K+Q

Jan-28-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: The analysis by GM Jan Gustafsson at the link posted above by <SimonWebbsTiger> provides an excellent detailed 45 minute analysis of this game.

As GM Gustafsson notes and <visayanbraindoctor> observes here, the clearance sacrifice 11. c5! was a key turning point in the game leading to a sustained White advantage and initiative.

Earlier, GM Gustafsson indicates the novel move 9...e5!? may have been an error. The more frequently played move here according to the cg.com opening explorer is 9...0-0 as in D Marholev vs A Baryshpolets, 2014. Also good here is probably 9...a6 which, according to Fritz, may well transpose to 9...0-0 10. re1 a6 = after 9...a6 10. Re1 0-0 =.

Haven't seen any commentary on it, but it appears the Fritz suggestion 11...e4!? = to seems to give Black good practical chances of holding, which if so would indicate 9...e5!? might not be as bad as GM Gustafsson suggests.

After 11...e4!? 12. dxe4 Bd6, my move-by-move look with Fritz indicates play might continue 13. e5 Ne4 14. Qd3 O-O 15. Qxe4 Bxc4 16. Ng5 g6 17. Re1 Be7 18. b3 Bxg5 19. Bxg5 Qxg5 20. bxc4 Rad8 21. f4 Qe7 22. Rab1 h5 23. Rb3 Na5 24. Rb5 Nxc4 25. Rxb7 Qe6 26. Qd3 Ne3 27. Rxa7 h4 28. Ra6 Qg4 29. Qe2 hxg3 30. Qxg4 gxh2+ 31. Kxh2 Nxg4+ 32. Kg3 Ne3 =.

Jan-29-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Out of the opening and into the middle game some missed opportunities and improvements from GM Gustafsson's analysis are:

27. Qh5! when play might go f5 28. Qf3 h6 29. Rc6 Qd7 shortening the game.

30... h5! when play might go 31. Rc1 axb4 32. Qxb4 h4 33. Re1 Rxe1+ 34. Qxe1 Qd7 35. Qa5 h3 36. Qa8+ Kh7 37. Qf3 Qc8 38. Qd1 g6 39. a5 Kg7 40. Qa1 f6 41. f4 Qe6 with drawing chances

36. Re8+! Kh7 37. Qe4+ g6 38. a5 avoids the complicated Queen versus Queen and Pawn ending in the game continuation.

71. Kg1! expedites and simplifies the decisive Queening of the a-pawn.

Regarding the post of a table base win with 90...Qe1+! by <cro777>:

Fritz indicates complicated play for the draw might go 90... Qe1+! 91. Kd4 Qa5! 92. Kc4 Kg4 93. Qd4+ Kh5 94. Qh8+ Kg4 95. Qg7+ Kh3 96. Qb7 Qa2+ 97. Kc5 Qa3+ 98. Kc6 Qc3+ 99. Kd7 Qg7+ 100. Kd6 Qxg3+ 101. Ke6 Qg8+ 102. Ke5 Qh8+ 103. Kd5 f4 104. a7 Qg8+ 105. Kd4 Qg1+ 106. Kc4 Qc1+ 107. Kb5 Qf1+ 108. Kc5 Qg1+ 109. Kd6 Qg6+ 110. Kc7 Qh7+ 111. Kb8 Qxb7+ 112. Kxb7 f3 113. a8=Q f2 114. Qa6 Kg2 115. Qa1 f1=Q =.

White can avoid this with 90. Qe6+! when play might go 90. Qe6! Kg5 91. Qe3+ Kg6 92. a7 Qa2+ 93. Kf1 Qb1+ 94. Qe1 Qb5+ 95. Kg1 Qb6+ 96. Qf2 .

Jan-31-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: <patzer2: Regarding the post of a table base win with 90...Qe1+! by cro777>

As I remarked, 90...Qe1+ is a tablebase draw.


click for larger view

If 91.Kd4 then 91...Qa1+ is a draw.

91.Kd4 Qa5 (suggested by Fritz) is also a draw.

As you mentioned, earlier Giri missed a direct win (he should have played 71.Kg1 instead of 71.Kg2).


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71. Kg1! h3 72. Qd7+ Kg6 73. a7 h2+ 74. Kg2


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Black to play. White mates in 14.

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