Vidit Chess Tour QF: Arjun Erigaisi eliminates Praggnanandhaa
IM Aronyak Ghosh continued his impressive run in Vidit Chess Tour as once again he caused another big upset by beating GM Harsha Bharathakoti 1.5-0.5 to advance to the Semi-Finals. Speaking of upsets, GM Arjun Erigaisi eliminated GM Praggnanandhaa after the latter missed a simple draw in the endgame in their first encounter of the Quarter-Finals. GM Narayanan managed to beat GM Visakh in Armageddon and GM Gukesh beat IM Mitrabha to advance to the next stage. Semi-Finals will take place today on chess24 from 7 p.m. IST. Photo: IA Gopakumar Sudhakaran
Aronyak impressive again
The Quarter-Finals witnessed only one Armageddon. Despite being better in both rapid games, GM Visakh N Rwas unable to capitalize on his opportunities and he eventually lost Armageddon against GM Narayanan S L to get eliminated. GM Gukesh played strong to defeat IM Mitrabha 1.5-0.5 and set up a clash with Narayanan in the Semi-Finals. GM Praggnanandhaa missed a draw in the endgame against GM Arjun Erigaisi, thus he had to try too hard in the second game but fall short. Arjun won the bout 1.5-0.5. IM Aronyak Ghosh survived adversity in the first game and salvaged a draw, only to make the most of the opportunity and beat GM Harsha Bharathakoti in the second game to secure his place in the Semi-Finals against Arjun Erigaisi.
Narayanan - Visakh: 2*-1
GM Narayanan S L went wrong early in the middlegame against GM Visakh N R in the first game.
Narayanan - Visakh, Game 1
14.Nd5 was uncalled for. A simple 14.Rb1 or Nb5 would have sufficed. Narayanan utilized his extra pawns carefully to compensate the lack of bishop and eventually salvaged a draw.
In the second game also, Narayanan erred and Visakh got a substantial advantage but much to his chagrin he was unable to capitalize on his advantage.
Visakh - Narayanan, Game 2
Should white take on f4 now or later? Try to find out if white needs to play an intermediate move.
The obvious move for white here should be 37.Qxc3 but the game went on with 37.Bg2 Qg4 and then white took on 38.Qxc3 which is also correct. After 38...Qh4 white went with 39.Qe5 which was a mistake.
White is completely winning here but he needs to play carefully. Find out the correct continuation for white after 38...Qh4. The game eventually ended up in a draw after another 51 moves as the position liquidated into a Queen and double Bishop vs Queen and Bishop endgame.
Since the score was level at 1-1, Armageddon was enforced. Narayanan got white and he was thwarted into a must-win situation. After making a comeback from difficult position in two consecutive games, there was no way Narayanan was going to let go of another opportunity to go into the Semi-Finals.
Narayanan - Visakh, Armageddon
Black's first big mistake was 17...Nfd7. He should have simply played 17...Nh5. The game went on with 18.e6. Although it feels like he wanted to go with 18.exd6 and had a mouse slip because there is no good reason to play 18.e6.
Position after 19...Bxf3
19...Bxf3 was the final mistake as that move cause black to have dark square weakness on the kingside. Black needed to play 19...Kg7. Soon the position crumbled and desperate sacrifice did not work things out for Visakh and Narayanan scored a comfortable victory to secure his place in the Semi-Finals.
Gukesh - Mitrabha: 1.5-0.5
Mitrabha delayed castle and got into a pickle in the middlegame.
Gukesh - Mitrabha, Game 1
19...Rd8 landed black in a bit of a situation. How? Mitrabha somehow managed untangle his position and liquidated into a seemingly equal endgame.
It is still not over and black can salvage the game after 52.Be6. However 52...a2 only made things difficult for black.
Black had one last opportunity to save the game after 55.Ke4. What is it?
Gukesh made a comfortable draw in the second game to advance to the Semi-Finals.
Praggnanandhaa - Arjun Erigaisi: 0.5-1.5
Praggnanandhaa blundered in the seemingly equal Rook endgame and lost the first encounter against Arjun Erigaisi.
Praggnanandhaa - Erigaisi, Game 1
Find out the best way for white to save the game after 43...exf4. The game went on with 44.Rc2 and after 44...Rxa7+ 45.Kxa7 Kxh4 white is completely lost as black's pawns are much stronger and faster and white's king is too far.
Praggnanandhaa pushed too hard for a win as he was in a must-win situation to enforce Armageddon but ended up in a completely lost position.
Erigaisi - Praggnanandhaa, Game 2
White is completely winning after 63...Kb2. Find out how.
Harsha - Aronyak: 0.5-1.5
IM Aronyak Ghosh got himself out of deep trouble and managed to salvage a draw in the first game against GM Harsha Bharathakoti.
Harsha - Aronyak, Game 1
Find out the best continuation for white after 20...Nd5.
In the second game, Harsha played some strange moves in the opening and got himself in trouble.
Aronyak - Harsha, Game 2
16...Bd6 is a superficial move in an already difficult position. How could white capitalize on black's mistake? Black made another mistake shortly after and lost the game.
* - Won by Armageddon
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Top 16 Qualifiers
The qualifier events took place from 21st to 28th February 2021 on Tornelo. The time control for each event was 3 mins + 2 second increment.
Here are the results:
Event 1 (21st February) - GM Arjun Erigaisi 8.0/9 and GM Harsha Bharathakoti 7.5/9
Event 2 (22nd February) - GM Raunak Sadhwani 8.5/9 and GM Abhimanyu Puranik 7.5/9
Event 3 (23rd February) - GM Narayanan S L 8.0/9 and IM Mitrabha Guha 8.0/9
Event 4 (24th February) - GM Praggnanandhaa 7.5/9 and IM Sammed Shete 7.5/9
Event 5 (25th February) - GM Visakh N R 8.0/9 and IM Arjun Kalyan 7.5/9
Event 6 (26th February) - IM Aronyak Ghosh 8.0/9 and GM D Gukesh 7.0/9
Event 7 (27th February) - IM Pranesh M 7.5/9 and GM Vishnu Prasanna 7.0/9
Event 8 (28th February) - GM Abhijeet Gupta 7.5/9 and GM Diptayan Ghosh 7.0/9
Online Qualifiers: 21st to 28th Feb at 7 pm IST
Pre Quarter-Finals: 4th March at 7 pm IST
Quarter-Finals: 5th March at 7 pm IST
Semi-Finals: 6th March at 7 pm IST
Finals: 7th March at 7 pm IST
Pre Quarter-Finals - A total of 16 Participants will play in pre-quarters. The pre-quarters will be a series of two games. In case the score is equal, the result will be drawn by a single Armageddon game.
Quarter Finals - The remaining eight players will play a best of two games knockout series against their opponent. In case of a draw, there will be Armageddon.
Semi Finals - Top two players in each group will play two games against each other and winner in each group will qualify for finals. In case of a tie between two players, there will be a single Armageddon game.
Finals - Series of four games to decide the winner. In case of draw, there will be Armageddon.
Time control for the eight Qualifiers is 3 minutes + 2 seconds while for Knockout stages is 15 minutes + 10 seconds. Armageddon games will have a time control of 4 mins for player with the black pieces and 5 mins for player with white pieces.
1st - US$ 1000
2nd - US$ 750
3rd - US$ 500
4th to 16th - US$ 233
Top eight finishers will get an entry to Indian Qualifiers of Meltwater Champions Chess Tour and chess24 Premium subscription and free chessable courses.