“The fairytale didn't exactly continue in Tashkent….”
Anish on Univé match and the Tashkent Grand Prix with game analyses
Held as a part of the yearly Univé festival in the Dutch city of Hoogeveen, the match against Shirov was an experiment by the organizing committee. Previously the tournament was always a double round-robin of 4, which was substituted this time by two entertaining matches. That was fine by me, as already for a long time I was looking for a way to learn something from the great attacking player, the 'Fire on Board' Alexei Shirov and this match was a great opportunity to do that.
Before the match I decided to do all I can to achieve the best result possible, rather than just creating chaos and enjoying Alexei giving me lessons at the cost of my rating. Therefore I came very well prepared in the opening, which was clearly the weak point of my opponent. This created a rather unfair fight and I was basically taking a handicap in every game, especially since all of my intentions worked out perfectly, which can only happen when the wind of fortune is blowing your way. The result of that was the final score of 4.5-1.5, which of course looks quite exaggerated, considering how strong an opponent I had.
I won the very first game with black, which I consider my biggest achievement, as it was earned in a 'fair' fight. My second victory came already in the second game when I caught Alexei in one of his pet-lines of the Slav. He played reasonably well and it wasn't easy to convert, but fortunately I managed to do that eventually and since then the match seemed pretty much decided. Games 3, 4 and 5 were drawn the first two of which were good fights. The final game I won after I managed to use an interesting novelty in the old variation of the Sveshnikov defense. After my preparation was over, I had to find a winning tactic and the game was effectively over. Once again, it all went my way.
Game 1: A. Shirov - A. Giri (Click here to view the game analysis in Chessbase viewer)
Game 2: A. Giri - A. Shirov (Click here to view the game analysis in Chessbase viewer)
Game 6: A. Giri - A. Shirov (Click here to view the game analysis in Chessbase viewer)
The fairy-tale didn't exactly continue in Tashkent, though. I had travelled more or less directly from Hoogeveen to Tashkent and arrived there well in time for the opening ceremony. The Grand Prix cycle had already begun with a tournament in Baku, which was won by Caruana and Gelfand. The event in Tashkent was a second leg with 2 more to follow.
The line-up was obviously very strong. Amongst my opponents were Caruana, Mamedyarov, Karjakin, Gelfand, basically I can continue listing all of the players, so it is easier to refer to the tournament table. Speaking of the tournament table, I had a very disappointing event, playing solid throughout but not winning a single game and losing one. I failed to convert two technical positions, in round 2 and round 10 and I lost a rather interesting game against Karjakin, deservedly, no doubt, but it could have very well gone differently, had I remained focussed throughout the whole game.
Since I failed to use any chances, I decided to comment on the ones I missed, my 2nd round game with Mamedyarov and my only resultative game- my loss against Karjakin.
Game 1: A. Giri - S. Mamedyarov (Click here to view the game analysis in Chessbase viewer)
Game 2: S. Karjakin - A. Giri (Click here to view the game analysis in Chessbase viewer)
The Grand Prix series is such that every individual result contributes to the overall standing, so from that point of view the 9th place that I ended on doesn't really help. Nevertheless, there is not all that much time to get overly depressed, with World Championship match going on at the moment and some new events starting soon, for myself as well. Next on the agenda is the impressively strong Qatar Masters Open and then the elite event London Chess Classics.
Official Website of Univé Chess Tournament 2014
Official Website of Grand Prix Tashkent 2014