''I wish you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!''
Anish on World Mind Games with the game analyses including a brief wrap up of 2013.

©Official website
Testing the skills!
To finish off my year of chess tournaments, a cherry on the cake, if you wish, I had the opportunity to once again test my skills in the Beijing Sport Accord World Mind Games.

The tournament is a closed 16 player rapid, blitz and weird-chess (last year's blindfold, now the so called Basque system) and it is obviously a lot of fun to take part in, as well as to watch. As usual the rapid event was a Swiss 7-round tournament and the blitz a round robin, this time even a double round robin, meaning that we were to play each other twice. The Basque system event consisted of 5 rounds of the new format, which was invented (although as it turned out with a wheel from a saying, things are being REinvented rather) in San-Sebastian tournament, meaning that the players are to play each other twice at the same time, a mini-match on two boards, so to say.

For the third time, if my counting skills are not betraying me, the tournament is held in Beijing, the capital of China, a great target of my hate-reports on my website and NewInChess magazine, where I have never missed an opportunity to complain about my jetlag and disapproval of oriental cuisine. For this year, to compensate all that (or 'on top of all that', if you prefer) I decided to take my girlfriend to the tournament and, indeed, this time around Beijing I saw the great side of itself. Anyhow, nothing was enough to avoid the usual minus score in pretty much all the events, although this year I definitely enjoyed the games much more than in previous years.

©Official website
Rusty rapid and the 30-round blitz
The rapid event started with a loss for me, as my pet Be3 Grunfeld once again went badly wrong versus Nepomniachtchi.

The second game seemed sad for me as well until it suddenly turned around completely.

Game analysis: S. Mamedyarov - A. Giri (click arrows to view)

You would think one would get a boost from such luck, but no way, as in the remaining 5 rounds I scored just 1/2 a point.

Fortunately, I decided not to think what will happen in the 30-round blitz event if I keep on playing this way and that didn't seem necessary as in the consecutive three days I played much better, even though (slash because) I had a lot less time.

It became a tradition to start a tournament with a loss, so no surprises here, but quite soon I revenged and won my first game against blitz world champion Alexander Grischuk. I was still somewhat rusty in the first day, picking up merely 3 points, the second day went a lot better, as I won two more game, against Leko and Wang Hao, making 4 points and on the final day I suddenly grew wings and scored 6,5 points (and that including blundering a couple of games away in 1 move). It was a real pity for the blitz event to be over (indeed, 30 rounds, how short!!), as towards the end I was feeling better and better, slowly discovering my playing rhythm and calming down when needed, although as you can see from my 29th game (blundering mate in 1), it wasn't always the case.

©Official website

''Ex-angstgegners'' and the Basque system
Besides picking up 'a prize' (the top 10 out of 16 get a prize on top of the guaranteed amount), which wasn't a big deal, especially with my modest shared 8-9th place, I was mostly happy with quite a few victories, especially over some well known blitz experts, such as Grischuk, Mamedyarov, Ivanchuk and many others, like for example my 'ex-angstgegners' Aronian (1,5/2) and Wang Hao (2/2).

Game fragment: A. Giri - P. Leko (click arrows to view)

Game fragment: V. Ivanchuk - A. Giri(click arrows to view)

Game fragment: A. Giri - L. Aronian (click arrows to view)

Obviously, myself I was also on the unlucky side quite a few times, a couple of which are here:

Game fragment: A. Giri - R. Ponomariov (click arrows to view)

Game fragment: A. Giri - J. Nepomniachtchi (click arrows to view)

By the way, don't get it wrong, the games' excerpts are there for fun, as I think it should be forbidden to analyse blitz games, which has its own unique flow and ambiance.

©Official website
The Basque system turned out to be a lot harder than I thought. My first round opponent, the tricky and devilish Levon Aronian brought me in state of panic right from the start, banging out his moves a-tempo on both boards. At some point I just didn't know what to do, where to look, what to think about, and although Levon kept giving me chances on both boards, I was never really there to even try and take them. The second round I played Peter Leko, who seemed to be as devastated as me by the complexity of this new setting for us, and as if by mutual agreement we quickly drew one game, converting to the rapid format. Unfortunately, by the time we drew my black game I was already worse in my white game, but surprisingly Peter, who was in the great shape, sharing first in rapid, managed to spoil his position and at the end I was even brutal enough to avoid move repetition in a dead equal position. Black didn't play the best way, to say the very least, but still I very much like the geometry at the end.

Game fragment: A. Giri - P. Leko (click arrows to view the annotation)

This put me back in the tournament, but I gave it away in the next round when failing to convert a well played game with black against Kamsky. I couldn't find my way to concentrate properly on both games the next day as well and the score of 1-1 against both Wang Hao and Vachier-Lagrave can be considered a relative success. It still felt fun to win a couple of games. With Wang Hao there was another cute geometry with the queen.

Game fragment: W. Hao - A. Giri (click arrows to view the annotation)

And with Vachier-Lagrave, the games were full of one move blunders and oversights and all I can be happy about is the fact that it was probably the first time I managed to win a tournament game against a player with two names, not even saying that Maxime is definitely the strongest in this category.

©Official website
I can add that although my result was pretty modest (or simply put- bad) again, the tournament gave me some good feeling as there have been moments, if even just a few, not many, when I managed to gain the level of concentration and focus that makes me play the kind of chess that I am happy with and that can bring me good results at any level.

All in all, I still had a lot of fun in Beijing and I am definitely looking forward to be back at the chess board in Wijk aan Zee.

Look back at 2013
Last but not least, since the Beijing event was the last chess tournament for me this year, it's also time to take a quick look back at the year 2013.

Most of my tournaments went without any major ups and downs and considering that I finished my school this year, it felt as if this year served a merely transitional role. My top events have been quite mediocre with no major victories, so that will go into the do-list for the next year and my rating was going up and down a little, but not too much.

Anyhow, it's now time to have some rest and meet the New Year 2014 full of determination and new energy!

I wish you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Till 2014!


Official Website of the Tournament