Arjun Erigaisi underlines his class in rapid section

Claims the title by being a point ahead of Aronian, Praggnanandhaa and Vidit

The odds of Arjun Erigaisi winning the Tata Steel Chess weren’t much different from those of Emma Raducanu claiming her maiden Grand Slam singles at the US Open tennis a couple of months ago. He did a Raducanu at the National Library here on Friday.

The 18-year-old from Telangana won the rapid event of the Tata Steel Chess, finishing ahead of stronger and more fancied players. The new emerging star of Indian chess could not have announced his arrival in a more emphatic fashion, as he won the 10-player, round-robin event by one full point.

Levon Aronian of Armenia, the top seed and Arjun’s opponent in the final round, had to settle for the second place, as he finished with 5.5 points, the same as R. Praggnanandhaa and Vidit Gujrathi.

Getting the right move

Aronian, though, had seemed on course for a win in that crucial game, but, playing from the white side of a Petroff Defence, he messed it up with a series of weak moves. Arjun, however, still had to find the right moves — sometimes the only one — to get the draw he needed.

He did, like his 41st move with the queen, which ensured that he would get the half-the-point and the biggest title of his career yet. The game ended six moves later with the repetition of moves.

Earlier in the day, he drew with Gujrathi and B. Adhiban, in contrasting styles. While he had to battle it out for 45 moves with Adhiban, he and Gujrathi split the point after just 12.

Like Raducanu had to extend her stay in New York — she had booked her flight home after the qualifying round — Arjun will stay back for the blitz section, replacing an unwell Adhiban, who has withdrawn.

The results (Indians unless specified): Ninth round: B. Adhiban lost to Le Quang Leim (Vie); Vidit Gujrathi drew with Sam Shankland (USA); Levon Aronian (Arm) drew with Arjun Erigaisi; Parham Maghsoodloo drew with R, Vaishali; R. Praggnanandhaa drew with Karthikeyan Murali.

Eighth round: Liem drew with Praggnanandhaa; Karthikeyan bt Maghsoodloo; Vaishali drew with Aroninan; Arjun drew with Gujrathi; Shankland drew with Adhiban.

Seventh round: Shankland bt Liem; Adhiban drew with Arjun; Gujrathi bt Vaishali; Aronian drew with Karthikeyan; Maghsoodloo drew with Praggnanandhaa.

Final standings: 1. Arjun 6.5; 2-4. Aronian, Praggnanandhaa and Gujrathi 5.5; 5-6. Karthikeyan and Shankland 5; 7, Maghsoodloo 4.5; 8. Liem 4; 9. Adhiban 2; 10. Vaishali 1.5.

Source: Read Full Article