Kindred’s Special: The Young Lions Meet at the 2011 Wijk aan Zee International Tournament

Giri mania hit the country.  The Dutch press appeared not to care about why Carlsen lost, only that he did so against the young rising star Anish Giri who, between his 16-17 birthdays nearly closed the rating gap with Magnus Carlsen at the same age. Magnus Carlsen defeated the eventual winner Hikaru Nakamura but slipped and lost a possible draw with Ian Nepomniachichi as well as Giri, finishing with Levon Aronian, each making 8 points.   Giri and Ponomariov finished with equal scores of 6.5.

White: Magnus Carlsen  vs. Black: Anish Giri   Opening: Gruenfeld Defense

1. d4  Nf6  2. c4  g6  3. g3  Bg7  4. Bg2  d5  5. cxd5  Nxd5 6. Nf3  Nb6  7. Nc3  Nc6  8. e3  O-O  9. O-O Re8  In previous times this position saw …e5 but the idea of getting pieces in play in preparation of such pawn thrusts has altered somewhat the thinking of younger players.

10. Re1  a5  A waiting move that increases square count  and proves useful later on.

11. Qd2!? Novel as either 11. Qe2 or Qc2 have appeared previously in this position. Now, the youngster Giri sees a trick and likes to play tricks!

11. … e5  The right moment to strike the center. Another possible idea was 11. …a4.

12. d5  Nb4  13. e4  c6  14. a3  cxd4!!  Black is in a better tactical position and smashes into the center most likely thinking that White’s play was less than it could be reaching this position.

15. axb4  axb4  16. Rxa8  bxc3!  This sharp tactic points out the flaw in choosing Qd2 earlier.

17. bxc3  The sequence 17. Rxa8  cxd2  18. Rxd8  dxe1/Q+ is pretty.

17. … Nxa8  18. exd5  The start of trying too hard to make something from nothing. Such illusions seem to invade our thoughts apparently at every rating class level. Giri gives as best simply 18. Qxd5 Nb6! which looks drawish.

18. … Nb6  19. Rd1?? Losing his last chance to try for equality with 19. d6!? or even 19. c4.

19. … e4!  20. Ng5?? This rapid reply seems to suggest a mental block and a complete blindside of Black’s threats.

20. … e3  Here is a perfect example of cutting the lines of communication between an outpost and supporting defender.

21. Qb2  Qxg5  Maybe he was thinking 22. Qxb6 but 22. …e2 23. Re1  Qxc1! wins easily.

22. Bxe3  Qg4 White resigns. (0-1).

The lesson to be learned might be best said as DON’T TREAD ON ME! Trying to force a position while in the bounds of keeping practical chances alive runs the risk of mental collapse of one’s thought processes. Every game reaches a crisis point where critical analysis must remain sharp and alert.

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