anish banter thumb

Dutch no. 1 Anish Giri was in fine form when he played
Banter Blitz yesterday, both with his blitz chess – he won all 16 games against
chess24 users – and with his banter, where topics ranged from humour in chess
to the likely future World Chess Champion and whether the title still matters. It’s
“a golden era of Banter Blitz”, as Anish said, and today, to mark chess24’s 7th
Birthday, we’ve got Hand and Brain shows with Radjabov & Giri and
Nepomniachtchi & Dubov, as well as a special show with chess24’s own Jan
Gustafsson and Laurent Fressinet.

You can rewatch Giri’s 90-minute Banter Blitz session below:

We’ve transcribed some of the most interesting quotes,
with the session getting off to a fun start when his first opponent offered a
draw (you can replay all the games from Anish Giri’s chess24 profile):

A draw? No, I don’t want a draw. You are 2095. You are not
capable of beating me… Hashtag Elitism In Chess. You are incapable of beating
me, my friend.  

During the 2nd game someone in chat described Anish as “too

I wasn’t even trying so far. I had my funny switched off. I
have to switch off my funny when I’m a bit tired, because if I switch on my
funny when I’m tired I start becoming extremely rude, you understand? The jokes
become far too cynical, the roasts become far too brutal, so I switch off my
funny. That said, my pawn grabbing mechanism is always on…

On Ian Nepomniachtchi’s recent tweet:

Nepo did a nice tweet. He first wrote a tweet, got a bunch
of likes, then he said, ok, guys, sorry, I was kidding, and that was it. That
was very good, very clever. A little like this other guy, what’s his name? The
funny one. This Ben Finegold. He also did something like this. He made some
kind of a wild
, it went completely viral, and then he said sorry,
and that was it. It was a very good idea. It’s what I do with Magnus, except I
don’t say sorry.

This is the original tweet from Nepo:

It got plenty of responses, for instance from Levon Aronian…

…and of course from Hikaru Nakamura, which got Magnus
Carlsen involved as well. Twitch streamer xQc responded:

And that was where Anish stepped in…

Before Nepo returned to summarize!

In the meantime Anish was also playing a game of chess, but
he wasn’t finding it too demanding:

I forgot to talk about this game, by the way. I was winning
the whole time, so I kind of forgot about it, and basically I was too winning,
too winning for words.

The thing is, when you are inexperienced you don’t realise
how lost you are sometimes, so it comes with experience to resign at the right
moment. Let’s say it’s fine when somebody doesn’t resign in such a position if
he’s not strong enough, like my opponent, but sometimes the opponent is strong
enough and then it’s just they’re tilted. But here clearly our opponent was not
experienced enough and he didn’t really realise.

In fact that wasn’t entirely true!

Anish was asked, “Who is the 2nd funniest chess player out

A lot of chess players are funny. Really many chess players
are funny people. Half of them are funny intentionally, the other half
unintentionally, but really a lot of chess players are funny. I have a feeling
on average chess players are more funny. I don’t even know why that is, but I
think on average chess players are much more funny than average people. I think
the level of humour is also, I’m not going to be racist here, but the level of
humour is also heavily country-dependent, and culture-dependent as well.

When will he “finally” win the Candidates Tournament?

As if it’s a weekly event! Ok, guys, you tried already to
win the Candidates Tournament 20 times, when will you finally win it? When will
they finally host it, man, is the question, not when will I finally win it!

How was his experience working as a second for
Kramnik? Van Wely said it was like slavery.

I think this says more about my esteemed countryman, Van
Wely, than Kramnik.

Has he sold his soul to chess24?

Yes, but it turned out I had more souls than I expected, so I
keep selling them! But I want to make sure there’s not a single soul left for
myself – it’s all sold.

Anish was constantly dropping nuggets of wisdom…

Thinking fast and playing slow – famous book!

It’s a big mistake, by the way, to think fast and play slow.
People have lots of thoughts, they’re super-fast in their thinking, but they’re
playing very slow still – not good.

Who is his toughest opponent?

I used to have a very bad record with Kramnik and Aronian.
Kramnik quit, after I’d fixed my record against him, and Aronian I haven’t
played in a long, long, long time, so long, that I hope that it’s forgotten,
all my previous games, but we’ll see.

Why don’t people think Duda is the next World Champion, but that Firouzja is?

Firouzja, guys, is younger than everyone, that’s why. Duda
is a very strong player, of course, but he doesn’t really stand out so much by
age, nor by some kind of outstanding results. He has good results, but I don’t
think that Duda is the first name that comes to mind if you think of the next
World Champion.

I think it’s the wrong thinking to now look for the next World
Champion among the youngsters. It’s possible, of course, that no-one will
become World Champion from the current elite, but frankly there are so many
players who are a threat to Magnus, like a real threat. Fabi’s always there,
Wesley’s also there. Besides the fact that Magnus is World Champion there’s not
much evidence why he’s now stronger than Wesley So, for example, if you look at
the quality of games and the level. Wesley just played better, no? So I don’t
really see why we have to look for someone really young.

Why did he decide to live in the Netherlands?

At first it was not my decision, so I’d rather say, why did
you decide to stay in the Netherlands? It’s a good place. “I believe currently
it’s the best place for me to realise my full potential” – how’s that for an

What does he think about Dubov’s style?

I’m not sure there’s such a thing as “style” style. I think
every game is different, but the ones that people pay a lot of attention to
they are very spectacular, and it’s nice that he has some spectacular games.
Not everybody has this many spectacular games. I think most players have nice
games, but he’s got really a few by now. I wouldn’t call it like a style, but
you could call it that.

On Dubov playing like Mikhail Tal.

Didn’t you know that Tal had this very famous phase in his
career when he played a lot of sacrificing chess – he was definitely
revolutionary in that he saw potential in sacrificing material without direct
gain, much more so than many of his contemporaries – but then there was also a
phase when he was having super-long streaks of going without a loss, which is
kind of remarkable about him, that he’s had these two different phases in his

And famously he said that the old Tal would crush the young
Tal. I don’t know exactly what he said, but it was something like that, so that
was kind of funny. But not sure actually, many people are debating that.
They’re saying that he was playing all these sacrifices that at the time people
thought were incorrect, but later they’ve decided it was too rough calling them

On the influence of commentators:

It’s really funny how many people form their judgment based
on what the commentators say and that makes the role of commentator really a
very important one. They are unable to judge anything by themselves, which is
normal – chess is very hard. And then it’s up to a commentator to shape the
image of a player – a lot of power and a lot of responsibility. But I trust
experienced commentators of the modern era… but it’s a responsibility, I hope
they all realise that.

Never anger commentators?

Yeah, but you have to sometimes punish them – keep them
sharp! They have all the power. Just like streamers, they have also all the
power to manipulate the crowd.

Who will be the next World Chess Champion?

People are taking the World Champion title too seriously. I
feel there will come some guy who’ll become World Champion, by normal means,
through the Candidates Tournament and then the match, and then he will not be
the strongest player of the time, and as that will happen, somehow the value
and the whole magic around the title will be gone. I think that day will likely
happen, not 100%, but very likely, I would say 50%. And then everyone will be
like, ‘wait, was that also possible, could you just become World Champion even
if you are…?’ Yeah, why not!

And that will be the turning point in history, because so
far we made heroes out of the World Champions, tried to prove they are
super-humans and they’re different from everybody else and they were destined
to be the World Champions. I don’t think so. I think nobody is destined to be
anything – you don’t have to be special. I’m sure some of the World Champions
already were maybe not the best players at that time, but you’re not allowed to
say that. It’s just a point of view – it’s just some philosophy that I made up
on the spot. So not such a big deal, guys. Who’ll be next World Champion? Not a
big deal. Somebody, then somebody else.

On Banter Blitz:

It must be a great time for those people who like to play
grandmasters, because there are so many Banter Blitzes, so many opportunities
on chess24 these days. That must be great, a golden era of Banter Blitz. Every
day, pretty much every day.

If you want to have a tennis lesson from a top tennis player,
or sparring, it’s very hard, I think. There are these things, of course, you
can sometimes buy or purchase it, but it’s really hard, I think. Probably not
even all people do that and it’s probably expensive. At the same time, the
experience of playing online against a top player is obviously less than the
experience of playing tennis against… right, I assume. I don’t know. Still,
it’s still great. Something to brag about to your friends!

The Banter Blitz continues today, February 24th 2021, which
also happens to be the 7th anniversary of the launch of chess24! The dynamic
duo of Laurent Fressinet and Jan Gustafsson will be celebrating at 16:30 CET…

…and that’s sandwiched between Hand and Blitz with some of
the world’s very best players, starting with Giri and Teimour Radjabov at
15:00. Here are the shows in English for the next couple of days:

You can get an extra 3 months of Premium membership for free if you use the voucher code 7YEARS when you Go Premium.

We hope you’ll join us!

Chess Mentor

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