Candidates Tournament Contenders: Anish Giri

Qualification: Top two highest average rating in 2015

FIDE Rating: 2793

Most Played Opening (W/B): Sicilian, Sicilian

*(Till Zurich Chess Challenge) Career Stats: Wins- 353, Draws- 487, Loses- 181

Anish Giri is the second seed at the Candidates Tournament, however, he had qualified as the top seed. He is the youngest among the other players at the tournament in Moscow and despite his age he makes lesser mistakes than most veterans on the board.

Giri’s major challenge is that he has never won any major competition so far in his career and now he is presented with the golden opportunity to burst through in what could be the most important competition in his life. Like many others in his generation, Giri is self trained and owes his development largely to computers which even make him think like one on the Chess board.

An unique feature about Giri’s play-style is his ability to use different openings depending on his opponents. He attains this ability through his vast analysis of his competitor’s games. Over the years, he has transformed and adapted his play to help establish himself firmly among the best in the world.

How Anish Giri fared since 1st January 2015?

Total games: 168

Wins/Draws/Loses: 47/101/20

Anish Giri has one of the highest draw percentages in the past year at just above 60% and nearly 12% loss making it abundantly clear that it is very difficult to pick a point against the Dutchman’s tactics. He has already converted potential losses into draws, whether he can convert potential draws into wins is what will make some much needed difference for the youngster. While, his win rate is a cause of concern at the moment.

Levon Aronian is likely to make Giri sweat during their games as he has exploited the youngster during his transition period on a regular basis. But no other Candidate has caused Giri with much trouble during his stint as one of the best. Giri’s play style might be the determinant in whether he makes it through the Candidates as a winner. Whether he chooses to sit patiently and punish the nervous play of his opponents or set himself to play a bit more carefree.

Chances against Magnus Carlsen

It is not a surprise that Anish Giri has never really been troubled by the reigning Champion Magnus Carlsen. As a matter of fact, it is Giri who holds the advantage over the Norwegian with one win and zero losses. This is the best record for any individual against Magnus Carlsen among the pool of Candidates in Moscow. Thus, he is likely the most difficult opponent for the World Champion.

As one of the highest ranked players in the Candidates, Giri emerges as a favourite but his lack of experience makes him an underdog or even a wildcard.

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