This game at move 69 - https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/tataSteelMasters2015/9/1/3

[fen "8/2p5/1pBpK1k1/1P1P2N1/7r/8/8/8 w - - 0 1"]
[White "Anish Giri"]
[Black "Ding Liren"]
[Event "Tata Steel Chess"]
[Date "2015.01.20"]

Giri thought for 6 minutes and decided to save the knight. Is the continuation for sacrifice really counterintuitive?

  • 3
    By sacrificing the knight do you mean playing Kd7 ?
    – Tanj
    Jan 21 '15 at 14:17
  • I looked at this this morning, and it seemed unclear. Now I looked at it, and it looks like a simple win. I must be confused.
    – Tony Ennis
    Jan 21 '15 at 22:47
  • I'll assume Giri was low on time. This is a slam dunk.
    – Tony Ennis
    Jan 21 '15 at 22:52

When I saw the live broadcast yesterday I was sure he would go for the knight sacrifice. And I still think he probably intended to. It is in no way counterintuitive, I think it is rather the obvious candidate for a winning continuation.

But of course a knight is a knight and the queening of one of the white pawns is still some ten moves away. He probably tried to work it out completely to the point where black has to give his rook and the ending is beyond any doubt one hundred percent winning, and after 68 moves of an extremely hard fought game he just couldn't do it.

And in the end, instead of wasting any more time, he decided to play it save. So my take on this is that tiredness and the irrational fear to overlook some miracle save lead to a more practical decision.

  • Yes, that was move 69. Edited question.
    – jva
    Jan 21 '15 at 9:37

Why he played something is a question that can only be answered by asking him, or by speculating. However, the following seems reasonable:

It is not the goal of most players to play the strongest move in each position, but it is their goal to win the game.

Perhaps he just analysed till the point where he saw/thought that Nf3 would be good enough to win the game and then just played it.

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