Anish Giri is one of the most familiar faces in the chess world. Besides belonging to the chess elite, this Dutch Grandmaster is active on social media and streams regularly. He enjoys a huge following among Indian chess lovers by virtue of being a regular on Chessbase India’s streams.
One of Anand’s favourites among the ‘younger’ lot of players, Anish heads the seventh seed Netherlands’ squad in the Open section of the Olympiad. A day after beating Vidit Gujrathi in Mumbai in the 9-8 in the first of the Chessbase India Originals “Death Match” featuring blindfold, rapid, no-castle, Chess960, blitz and bullet games, Anish took time off to share his thoughts.
Asked to take a look at the contenders in the open section, Anish responded, “The USA is, by far, the strongest because they have three absolute top-10 players (Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian and Wesley So). Then they have Leinier Dominguez, who is a tremendous top player as well with a huge set of accomplishments and reputation. He has actually been a medallist Cuba on Board One, as well, and now plays on Board Four. In my opinion, they’re huge, huge favourites. It’s just an incredible team.
Making his point, Anish elaborated, “Basically, they have four Board 1s. Any of these players can be on Board One and would be a good Board No. 1 for any team. Like Leinier was a Board One for Cuba, Fabiano for Italy, Leon for Armenia and Wesley could have easily been on Board One for the Philippines where he’s from. So it's really a remarkable team in that sense. It’s just super strong.
Talking of India, Anish said, “I think the Indian teams look really good. They have extremely talented youngsters and formidable players like Vidit and Harikrishna. But I think, on paper at least, there is a gap between the USA and the rest. I believe other teams will be eager to fight for the medals. I think a bunch of coincidences have to happen for the USA to suddenly not be a favourite to win gold.”