Satty Zhuldyz Rapid R1-4: Arjun Erigaisi makes a fantastic start
Arjun Erigaisi scored 3.5/4 on the first day of Satty Zhuldyz Rapid 2023. He is currently the sole leader and a full point ahead of Boris Gelfand and Levon Aronian. The India no.5 showcased his sharpness against Haik Martirosyan. In the second round, he had a thrilling finish against Javokhir Sindarov. It could have gone either player's way. In a first-ever rated matchup, Arjun got the better of World no.1 woman, Yifan Hou. She made an unforced error in the endgame which seemed to be heading towards a draw. The teenager finished the day with a short draw against the three-time World Blitz champion, Alexander Grischuk. Round 5 starts today at 5 p.m. local time, 4:30 p.m. IST. Photo: Aditya Sur Roy
Grischuk, Keymer and Bibisara in search of their first win
Arjun Erigaisi will face GM Jakhongir Vakhidov (UZB), IM Bibisara Assaubayeva (KAZ), GM Boris Gelfand (ISR) and GM Vincent Keymer (GER) in Rounds 5 to 8.
Round 1: Tactics is the key
The last time the India no.5 and World no.37, GM Arjun Erigaisi (2685) had a decisive rated game against the Armenia no.2 and World no.61, GM Haik Martirosyan (2587) was at World Blitz 2021. Arjun won that game. The next encounters were in Classical format in 2022. Both of them ended in draws. In fact, Arjun has never lost a rated game against Haik in any of the three formats. Arjun opted for the Trompowsky in the first round.
Arjun - Haik
20.g5 is an attempt to destroy Black's kingside. The correct response here is 20...Qd7 21.gxf6 Qxd3+ 22.Qxd3 Rxd3 23.Nc5 Rd6 and there is no trouble for Black. 20...Bc4 invited disaster 21.gxf6 White captures with a tempo Qc7 22.fxg7! Black probably missed this. Black cannot take on d3 by either piece as Nf6+ followed by Ne8+ fork is looming large. Hence, 22...Kxg7 23.Rg1+ and White won the game in the next six moves.
Round 2: Edge of your seat battle
GM Arjun Erigaisi (2685) has never lost a game against GM Javokhir Sindarov (UZB, 2578). Their both Classical games including the last one at 44th Chess Olympiad last year, ended in a draw. The only Blitz game between them was won by Arjun. So this was their first-ever rated Rapid game. Sindarov was winning for the better part of the game, until he blundered big time in an extremely complex rook and minor piece endgame.
Arjun - Sindarov
Both sides are trying to promote their connected passed pawns. White should be able to win this because of the fact that he not only has extra pawns but his bishop does both jobs while the black knight at g8 is only busy in stopping the g and h-pawns. It is unable to participate in the black pawns' promotion. 68.c5 is what the computer suggests to be winning for White, whereas 68.b6? gives Black a second chance at the game. 68...Re3 69.Bxe2 White should have done this a few moves ago Rxe2+ 70.Kd1 Rb2 71.h6 Nxh6 72.Rf6 f2 73.Rg6+ and we get the following position.
73...Kf3 is winning for Black. The reason is Black threatens a pawn promotion with a checkmate and prevents g8 promotion at the same time. These are easier to calculate when the clock is not rushing down to zero. Over the board, at a tournament, the scenario is completely different. Black played 73...Ng4?? 74.Rxg4+ and White should have kamikaze'd rook to promote the g-pawn into a queen. Black denying the rook would have also led to a draw. Fortunately for Arjun, White played 74.Kc1 f1Q+ and well once again Arjun got a winning opportunity. This time, he didn't let his advantage slip and converted it into a full point.
Round 3: First rated game against World no.1 Yifan
GM Arjun Erigaisi has faced World no.1 woman, GM Yifan Hou (CHN, 2618) in an online tournament almost two years ago. He won that game. However, they both never faced each other in a rated game. Just when it seemed like the game is heading towards a draw, Yifan made an incorrect break in the endgame.
Arjun - Yifan
The only way for White to make any progress is if Black plays 51...g5. That is exactly what she did and the half point slipped away. 52.Rh6+ Ke7 53.fxg5 and the win was just a matter of time for White.
Replay Round 1-4 games
Round 1-4 results
Round 5-8 pairings
Standings after Round 4
|11||7||GM||Martirosyan, Haik M.||ARM||2587||1,5||0||1,75||1|