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Satty Zhuldyz Rapid R5-8: Arjun Erigaisi is on a roll, now World no.25

by Shahid Ahmed - 22/04/2023

Arjun Erigaisi continues his momentum from the previous day at Satty Zhuldyz Rapid and Blitz 2023. He started the day with a convincing victory over GM Jakhongir Vakhidov (UZB). Then he showcased positional prowess against the reigning two-time World Blitz Women's champion, IM Bibisara Assaubayeva (KAZ). The teenager registered his third victory of the day against the legend, GM Boris Gelfand (ISR), who ran out of time in an equal knight endgame. Arjun finished the day with a draw against the Germany no.1 GM Vincent Keymer. He is now a full point ahead of Levon Aronian at 7/8. They will meet each other in the penultimate round. Round 9 starts today at 5 p.m. local time, 4:30 p.m. IST. Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Only Arjun and Aronian undefeated so far

A new chapter is waiting to be written today between Arjun Erigaisi and the only two-time World Cup winner in history, Levon Aronian (USA). They are the only two who are unbeaten till Round 8. Their penultimate round clash could very well be Arjun's final hurdle towards his triumph in the Rapid portion of the event.

GM Arjun Erigaisi is the sole leader 3.5/4 | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Arjun Erigaisi is now World no.25 in Rapid live ratings | Source:

Round 5: London System strikes

The only time GM Arjun Erigaisi (2685) faced GM Jakhongir Vakhidov (UZB, 2513) in a rated game, was at World Rapid 2021. It ended in a draw. This time, Arjun had the white pieces. He got a winning position out of the London System opening within the first 15 moves.

Arjun - Vakhidov

Position after 18.Ng5!

18.Ng5! is fantastic move. 18...hxg5 leads to a checkmate via 19.Qh5+ using the queen and rook. 18...Bxe5 does not alter the course either 19.dxe5 f6 20.Qh5 Qg7 21.exf6 Rxf6 22.0-0-0 Bd7 23.Nxe4 Be8 24.Rxg7 and Black resigned.

Full game: GM Arjun Erigaisi vs GM Jakhongir Vakhidov (UZB) | Video: ChessBase India

GM Arjun Erigaisi started his second day with an emphatic victory over GM Jakhongir Vakhidov (UZB) | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy
Final moments: GM Vladimir Kramnik vs GM Boris Gelfand (ISR): 0.5-0.5 | Video: ChessBase India

Audience view of Round 5 | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Round 6: Positional squeeze

GM Arjun Erigaisi (2685) faced the reigning two-time World Blitz Women's champion, IM Bibisara Assaubayeva (KAZ, 2359) for the first time in a rated game. He got a pleasant position in the middlegame once the queens were off the board.

Bibisara - Arjun

Position after 25...f6

25...f6 forced the queen exchange. 26.Qxd6 Bxd6 and Black made the most out of his space advantage. Eventually Black created a lot of pressure on the b-file, which led to White making an error which cost her the point.

IM Bibisara Assaubayeva (KAZ) and GM Arjun Erigaisi analyze their game | Video: ChessBase India

GM Arjun Erigaisi displayed his fantastic positional understanding | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

An aerial view of Round 6 | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Round 7: Six decisive games

GM Arjun Erigaisi faced the legendary GM Boris Gelfand (ISR, 2626) only once in a rated game in World Rapid 2021 which ended in a draw. This time the color got reversed and Arjun had the white pieces. The game was fairly balanced throughout, until Gelfand ran out of time in an equal knight endgame and lost the game.

Final moments: GM Arjun Erigaisi vs GM Boris Gelfand (ISR) | Video: ChessBase India

GM Arjun Erigaisi played a great game against GM Boris Gelfand (ISR) | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy
Full game: GM Javokhir Sindarov (UZB) vs GM Jakhongir Vakhidov (UZB) | Video: ChessBase India

All Uzbek battle: GM Javokhir Sindarov lost in a 16-move miniature against his Olympiad teammate GM Jakhongir Vakhidov | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Round 7 from a little kid's perspective | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy
Full game: GM Vincent Keymer (GER) vs GM Arjun Erigaisi | Video: ChessBase India 

Round 8: GM Vincent Keymer (GER) - GM Arjun Erigaisi: 0.5-0.5 | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Autographs for fans by - GM Vincent Keymer (GER) and... | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

...the World no.1 woman - GM Yifan Hou (CHN) | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

For more Round 5-8 photos, please click here.

GMs Levon Aronian and Kateryna Lagno make the ceremonial moves at Bibisara Assaubayeva Cup | Video: ChessBase India
Traditional and Authentic Kazakh menu for players at the Satty Zhuldyz Chess Festival 2023| Video: ChessBase India
Satty Zhuldyz 2023 Rapid Round 5-8 Live commentary by IM and WGM Jovanka Houska, FM James Canty | Video: ChessBase India

Replay Round 5-8 games

Round 5-8 results

Round 5 on 2023/04/21
132630GMKeymer, Vincent½ - ½GMLagno, Kateryna248512
242756GMKramnik, Vladimir½ - ½GMGelfand, Boris26262
352720GMAronian, Levon1 - 0IMAssaubayeva, Bibisara23591
462685GMErigaisi, Arjun1 - 0GMVakhidov, Jakhongir251311
572587GMMartirosyan, Haik M.1 - 0GMGrischuk, Alexander273110
682578GMSindarov, Javokhir½ - ½GMHou, Yifan26189
Round 6 on 2023/04/21
1122485GMLagno, Kateryna1 - 0GMHou, Yifan26189
2102731GMGrischuk, Alexander1 - 0GMSindarov, Javokhir25788
3112513GMVakhidov, Jakhongir½ - ½GMMartirosyan, Haik M.25877
412359IMAssaubayeva, Bibisara0 - 1GMErigaisi, Arjun26856
522626GMGelfand, Boris0 - 1GMAronian, Levon27205
632630GMKeymer, Vincent0 - 1GMKramnik, Vladimir27564
Round 7 on 2023/04/21
142756GMKramnik, Vladimir1 - 0GMLagno, Kateryna248512
252720GMAronian, Levon1 - 0GMKeymer, Vincent26303
362685GMErigaisi, Arjun1 - 0GMGelfand, Boris26262
472587GMMartirosyan, Haik M.1 - 0IMAssaubayeva, Bibisara23591
582578GMSindarov, Javokhir0 - 1GMVakhidov, Jakhongir251311
692618GMHou, Yifan0 - 1GMGrischuk, Alexander273110
Round 8 on 2023/04/21
1122485GMLagno, Kateryna½ - ½GMGrischuk, Alexander273110
2112513GMVakhidov, Jakhongir½ - ½GMHou, Yifan26189
312359IMAssaubayeva, Bibisara½ - ½GMSindarov, Javokhir25788
422626GMGelfand, Boris½ - ½GMMartirosyan, Haik M.25877
532630GMKeymer, Vincent½ - ½GMErigaisi, Arjun26856
642756GMKramnik, Vladimir½ - ½GMAronian, Levon27205


Standings after Round 8

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
16GMErigaisi, ArjunIND26857022,756
25GMAronian, LevonUSA27206019,004
34GMKramnik, VladimirRUS27565017,253
47GMMartirosyan, Haik M.ARM25874,5114,503
510GMGrischuk, AlexanderRUS27314,5016,752
611GMVakhidov, JakhongirUZB25134015,002
72GMGelfand, BorisISR26263,50,513,251
812GMLagno, KaterynaRUS24853,50,511,501
93GMKeymer, VincentGER26303012,500
109GMHou, YifanCHN26182,5010,501
111IMAssaubayeva, BibisaraKAZ23592,508,500
128GMSindarov, JavokhirUZB2578206,001


Round 9-11 pairings

Round 9 on 2023/04/22
152720GMAronian, LevonGMLagno, Kateryna248512
262685GMErigaisi, ArjunGMKramnik, Vladimir27564
372587GMMartirosyan, Haik M.GMKeymer, Vincent26303
482578GMSindarov, JavokhirGMGelfand, Boris26262
592618GMHou, YifanIMAssaubayeva, Bibisara23591
6102731GMGrischuk, AlexanderGMVakhidov, Jakhongir251311
Round 10 on 2023/04/22
1122485GMLagno, KaterynaGMVakhidov, Jakhongir251311
212359IMAssaubayeva, BibisaraGMGrischuk, Alexander273110
322626GMGelfand, BorisGMHou, Yifan26189
432630GMKeymer, VincentGMSindarov, Javokhir25788
542756GMKramnik, VladimirGMMartirosyan, Haik M.25877
652720GMAronian, LevonGMErigaisi, Arjun26856
Round 11 on 2023/04/22
162685GMErigaisi, ArjunGMLagno, Kateryna248512
272587GMMartirosyan, Haik M.GMAronian, Levon27205
382578GMSindarov, JavokhirGMKramnik, Vladimir27564
492618GMHou, YifanGMKeymer, Vincent26303
5102731GMGrischuk, AlexanderGMGelfand, Boris26262
6112513GMVakhidov, JakhongirIMAssaubayeva, Bibisara23591



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