“Looking back to 2018!”
Anish resumes writing for his website in 2019!
Grand Chess Tour: Rapid and blitz in Leuven
The rapid and blitz in Leuven last summer didn't go well at all, but looking back, there was one (yes, indeed out of like 20 games, it was just 1) blitz game that I was quite happy about.
Game Fragment: A. Giri - H. Nakamura (Click here to view in Chessbase viewer)
The second round too, I couldn't have hoped for more. I was paired against Vladimir Kramnik, against whom I had a score of -7 without wins.
Dortmund was a bumpy ride at the start as I blundered a pretty tactic to Kovalyov.
Game Fragment: A. Giri - V. Kovalev (Click here to view in Chessbase viewer)
Fortunately I came back with a good win against Nisipeanu and then even beat Mr.Dortmund himself, Vladmir Kramnik, thanks partly to some very peculiar preparation!
Game Fragment: V. Kramnik - A. Giri (Click here to view in Chessbase viewer)
The rest of my summer was a lot of training and hard work. I had fascinating training sessions, working on some theoretical endgames with Karsten Muller and brushing up my opening repertoire and on my mojo with Vladimir Chuchelov.
In fact I even planned one more session, but then I got invited to participate in the 960 match with Wesley So. It was a fun experience, but unfortunately my lack of blitz skills, especially with delay really told and I lost a lot of points in the time scramble. Wesley was a deserved winner, but I felt with more practice I could do better. Hopefully I get a chance to prove that next year, when I will play more rapid and blitz events.
Olympiad in Batumi (almost home) went well. I won a bunch of games, rating points and a respectable bronze medal on board 1. The wind was blowing in the back, just like in the following, basically miniature.
Game Fragment: F. Amonatov - A. Giri (Click here to view in Chessbase viewer)
Isle of Man
Isle of Man that followed was less eventful. Far too many of my opponent when playing white were extremely cautious (understandably, as my rating is slowly back to becoming quite intimidating). After Olympiad I didn't feel like taking any crazy risks either. This time it didn't work out this good. I won some games, but lost a bit of rating and didn't get too high in the prizes either.
Straight after that I went to Shenzhen which was a fun affair. I made 9 consecutive draws (nothing new under the sun), but then to surprise of everyone, myself included, won a pretty Catalan endgame.
Game Fragment: A. Giri - R. Wojtaszek (Click here to view in Chessbase viewer)
I was quite excited to be a part of the commentary team for chess24 for the World Championship match. Don't blame it on me, but that event finished in 12 draws. We all know what happened next, as the tiebreaks were a clean sweep for Magnus Carlsen.
I learnt a lot from my colleagues Alexander Grischuk and Peter Svidler, and perhaps in the future another commentary-opportunity will come by, but for now I certainly hope to play a bigger role in the next world championship match.
The year was about to end, but finally new FIDE lived up the high expectations that they are facing from the chess society and put together a very formidable World Rapid and Blitz Championship in my hometown of St. Petersburg Russia.
I was happy to be able to combine the event with visiting my family. Magnus Carlsen has announced my potential failure in an infamous interview with Jan Gustafsson (I was supposed to lose to Artemiev, Bocharov and all the Russian guys). Turns out this was merely a diversion as I hardly lost any games to the russians, in fact I even beat Artemiev in a blitz game (I hadn't been this proud of myself in a while!), but it was actually Magnus himself that put the end to my blitz comeback.
Finally I finished in top 10 in both events and considered it a very respectable debut for my standards.
Looking forward to 2019!
In the me antime obviously the winter holidays have been celebrated and preparations for the new season took place.
2019 is looking like a very challenging year ahead and I am looking forward. But for now, first up Wijk aan Zee!
Wish you all happy and successful year 2019!!