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Airthings Masters 2023 SF: Carlsen beats Arjun Erigaisi, will face Nakamura in the Finals

by Shahid Ahmed - 08/02/2023

Arjun Erigaisi started the Airthings Masters 2023 Semifinal with a loss. He drew the second game against Magnus Carlsen and then beat him in the third. The fourth game ended in a draw which forced Armageddon. Arjun could only manage a draw in a must-win situation, although he was lost at one point. Thus, Arjun will now have to take the alternate path towards the Grand Final. He will face Alexey Sarana in the Losers Quarterfinal. Rauf Mamedov lost to D Gukesh 1-2. Thus, Gukesh will face Wesley So in the LQF, as he continues towards the Grand Final. Carlsen vs Nakamura in the Winners Final starts tonight from 9:30 p.m. IST. However, it will not crown the tournament winner yet. Photo: ChessBase India live stream

Gukesh beats Mamedov, next match against So

D Gukesh bounced back from his previous day loss. He started with a victory over Rauf Mamedov. Then, he lost the second game. The teenager won the must-win Armageddon with white pieces to advance to the Losers Quarterfinal where he will face Wesley So. Raunak Sadhwani and Diptayan Ghosh lost to Daniil Dubov and Vladimir Kramnik by 0.5-1.5 each respectively in the Losers Round 1 to get eliminated from the tournament. R Praggnanandhaa defeated Pranav Venkatesh and Aleksandr Lendermann in the Winners Quarterfinals and Semifinals stage to advance to the Winners Final in Division 3 where he will face Sam Sevian.

Arjun Erigaisi did not go down against Magnus Carlsen without making his presence felt | Photo: ChessBase India live stream

Semifinals: Carlsen - Arjun: 2.5-2.5

Magnus Carlsen simply outplayed Arjun Erigaisi positionally in the first game. The second one ended in a draw. In a must-score third game, Arjun Erigaisi managed to beat the world no.1.

Carlsen - Arjun, Game 3

Position after 34.Rd1

Putting the rook on d-file 34.Rd1 was a mistake. 34.Nh4 and Rh1 both were fine for White. 34...Qe4! 35.Qxg5+ Rg7 36.Qh5 Ne6 threatening Nf4+ 37.Kg1 Rh7 38.Qe8 Qxf3 Black needed to defend his own knight via Rh6 before taking at f3. 39.Qxe6+ Kh8 40.Qe5+ Kg8 41.Qe6+ Rf7 42.Qg6+ Bg7 and now White blundered again 43.Rd2. Instead, White could have taken the d3-pawn even though it looks dangerous. 43.Qxd3 Qxf2+ 44.Kh1 Rf6 and there are some interesting lines where White plays sharply to save the game. 43...Qe4 threatening Qe1+ forced White to trade the queens 44.Qxe4 dxe4 and it's over for White. Arjun leveled the score 1.5-1.5.

Final moments: Magnus Carlsen vs Arjun Erigaisi, Game 3 | Video: ChessBase India
How Arjun Erigaisi managed to give Magnus Carlsen a very tough fight | Video: ChessBase India

The fourth game ended in a draw which means the score was still tied 2-2. Thus, Armageddon was enforced. Same thing happened with So - Nakamura's Semifinal too where they drew all four Rapid games. Checkout how each player made their bid for Armageddon.

Carlsen missed a win and eventually drew the Armageddon which means he advanced to the 'Winners' Final where Nakamura also advanced in the exact same way. Arjun Erigaisi will have to play Alexey Sarana in the 'Loser' Quarterfinals. D Gukesh who defeated Rauf Mamedov in a must-win Armageddon, will face Wesley So in the same stage.

Division 1 bracket and results | Photo: Champions Chess Tour

Replay the live stream

Airthings Masters 2023 Semifinals Live commentary by IM Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal | Video: ChessBase India

Replay Division 1 Winners Semifinal and Losers Round 1 games

Replay all Division 2 Winners Quarterfinals and Losers Round 1 games

Results of Divisions 2 and 3

Division 2 Winners Quarterfinal and Losers Round 2 results | Photo:

Division 3 Winners Semifinals and Losers Round 4 results | Photo:

All games will start from 9:30 p.m. IST between 6th and 10th February 2022.


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