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Vidit Gujrathi is the top Indian performer at World Blitz 2021

by Shahid Ahmed - 02/01/2022

India no.2 Vidit Gujrathi and currently India no.4 Nihal Sarin, both of them scored 13.0/21 at World Blitz 2021. They were placed 18th and 19th according to tie-breaks. However, it was Arjun Erigaisi who was India no.1 in Blitz, went to the tournament with a lot of expectations on his shoulder and he did not disappoint. He might have scored 12.5/21 and secured 24th place, if you take a look at the opponents he faced and how he fared, that will give you a real picture of what he went through. Gukesh finished 32nd place 12.5/21. In the Open section, India got three places in top 30 and four in top 50, which is quite impressive. Among the women, GM Koneru Humpy secured fifth place and IM Vaishali R was placed 14th. Photo: Anna Shtourman/FIDE

Arjun Erigaisi lives up to all expectations and more

Points table may tell you a different story, however, it is clear that Arjun Erigaisi had a fantastic debut at the World Blitz 2021. It might be his first time at the World Blitz, however he has already played against world's best players in summer 2021, starting from Goldmoney Asian Rapid of Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. At World Blitz 2021, he drew with Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, Daniil Dubov and Ian Nepomniachtchi. Only three consecutive losses against Vachier-Lagrave, Firouzja and Kravtsiv hurt his final ranking but one certainly cannot take away anything from the fact that he faced the world's best and managed to hold his own.

Vidit Gujrathi was top Indian performer at World Blitz 2021 | Photo: Anna Shtourman/FIDE

Vidit Gujrathi 13.0/21

Vidit's highlight of the first day at World Blitz was certainly his win against the eventual champion, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in Round 4. He started the second day scoring 1.5/2, before suffering two consecutive losses. Then he scored 4.0/5 in the next five games including a nice victory against Anton Korobov (UKR) in Round 17 which had an unusual funny ending, not on the board but off it.

Korobov vs Vidit - World Blitz 2021 Round 17 | Video: ChessBase India
Vidit Gujrathi on World Blitz 2021 | Video: ChessBase India

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Nihal Sarin 13.0/21

Nihal started the second day with two losses, then he scored 5.5/7. He defeated bullet specialist, Andrew Tang (USA) on time, in a completely lost position. However, the best would have to be against Netherlands no.2 Jorden van Foreest in Round 18.

Nihal - Jorden, Round 18

Position after 24...Rh8

Black needed to play 24...Qg5 first before playing Rh8. Can you find out the subtle difference between the move order?

Nihal missed a mate in one against Shamsiddin Vokhidov - World Blitz 2021 Round 8 | Video: ChessBase India

19th Nihal Sarin 13.0/21 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

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Arjun Erigaisi 12.5/21

Arjun Erigaisi had a brilliant start on the second day. He beat Javokhir Sindarov (UZB), drew with Levon Aronian (USA), then beat Parham Maghsoodloo (IRI), drew with Daniil Dubov (RUS) and Ian Nepomniachtchi (RUS), before losing the next three round against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA), Alireza Firouzja (FRA) and Martyn Kravtsiv (UKR). Until those three losses, Arjun was 11.5/16, just 1.5 points behind the leader Aronian. Arjun managed to save a tough position against Aronian.

Aronian - Arjun, Round 14

Position after 30.f5

Black's position looks incredibly difficult. 30...Nfd7 is the correct way for Black to proceed. However, the game continued 30...f6 and Arjun eventually managed to salvage a draw.

Arjun Erigaisi explains as to why he is so good at Blitz | Video: FIDE

24th Arjun Erigaisi 12.5/21 had a great tournament and undoubtedly the best Indian performer at the event | Photo: Michal Walusza/FIDE

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32nd - GM D Gukesh 12.5/21 | Photo: Michal Walusza/FIDE

Gukesh finished with the same score as Arjun Erigaisi 12.5/21, he was placed 32nd according to the tie-breaks. He started the second day with a score of 3.5/4, includin wins over Sanan Sjugirov (RUS), Salem Saleh (UAE) and Rauf Mamedov, drew with Ivan Cheparinov (BUL), pictured above.

Sjugirov - Gukesh, Round 13

Final position 58...Nh6#

Gukesh persevered a difficult position and ended with a very pretty 58...Nh6#.

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68th GM Harsha Bharathakoti 11.0/21 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Harsha had a tough second day, as he scored 4.5/9 and suffered four losses including one against Caruana from a promising position. The notable wins are against GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek (POL) and GM David Anton Guijarro (ESP). He defeated Anton using Bird's opening. Yes the opening does not make a huge difference, however trying something new at a tough tournament takes a lot of courage which Harsha showed.

Harsha - Wojtaszek, Round 13

Position after 35...Bc3

A couple of moves ago, 32...Rc3 was winning for Black and now 35...Bc3 is completely winning for White. Find out why it is winning for White in the above position.

Harsha - Caruana, Round 15

Position after 29...a5

Both sides are trying to launch an attack on both wings. White continued 30.h5 a4 31.h6 g6 and so on. However, there was a way for White to speed things up. Find out what it was. Had Harsha won this game, he might have been top Indian finisher at the World Blitz event for the second consecutive edition.

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84th GM Pentala Harikrishna 10.5/21 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

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86th GM Raunak Sadhwani 10.5/21 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

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89th GM Mitrabha Guha 10.5/21, gained 113 Elo rating points | Photo: Anna Shtourman/FIDE

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112th GM Narayanan S L 10.0/21 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

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131st GM Abhimanyu Puranik 9.0/21, gaining 83.2 Elo rating points | Photo: Anna Shtourman/FIDE

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141st IM Aditya Mittal 9.0/21 | Photo:Anna Shtourman/FIDE

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150th GM Sankalp Gupta 8.5/21 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

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Koneru Humpy 11.5/17

Humpy needed a win in the last round for a medal. However, the loss against IM Polina Shuvalova (RUS) cost her a podium finish. Humpy started the day with a win against Kosteniuk in Round 10. However, a loss against the eventual champion, IM Bibisara Assaubayeva in Round 11, diminished her championship hopes, as the gap increased to two points.

5th GM Koneru Humpy 1.5/17 | Photo: Anna Shtourman/FIDE

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Vaishali R 10.5/17

IM Vaishali R started the day with a loss against IM Bibisara Assaubayeva (KAZ). She bounced back strong by beating GM Aleksandra Goryachkina (RUS) in the next round. After another loss, she defeated former World Rapid and Blitz Women champion, GM Anna Muzychuk (UKR). Then she lost the next two games against Humpy and Kosteniuk, thus she was out of a medal chance.

14th IM Vaishali R 10.5/17 | Photo: Anna Shtourman/FIDE

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30th WGM Vantika Agrawal 9.5/17, gaining 157.6 Elo rating points | Photo: Lennart Ootes/FIDE

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55th IM Padmini Rout 8.5/17 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

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Final standings of all Indian players at World Blitz 2021

10GMErigaisi Arjun2765IND½11011½1½½1½1½1½½000½12,524Open
20GMNihal Sarin2705IND1½01½1½10½1½001½11½1½13,019Open
52GMVidit Santosh Gujrathi2628IND1½110100½11½½1001½1½113,018Open
57GMHarikrishna Pentala2614IND01½11½½0½½½1½½010½½½010,584Open
79GMHarsha Bharathakoti2576IND10110½1½01½010011½10011,068Open
88GMSadhwani Raunak2562IND0½11½100110010101½10010,586Open
119GMGukesh D2506IND0101000111½111½1011½012,532Open
138GMPuranik Abhimanyu2437IND111½1010½00½001½010009,0131Open
154IMMitrabha Guha2370IND½01½½½101001001½1010110,589Open
163IMSankalp Gupta2323IND01½0½110½0011½0000½018,5150Open
169IMAditya Mittal2245IND10½0000010011½00110119,0141Open
3GMKoneru Humpy2483IND11011½½1110101½1011,55Women
21IMVaishali R2313IND11½1011110101001010,514Women
31IMPadmini Rout2276IND10100½101011011008,555Women
86WGMVantika Agrawal1917IND11101½0½0011001½19,530Women



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