Goldmoney Asian Rapid QF Day 1: Arjun Erigaisi ends Aronian's unbeaten streak
Arjun Erigaisi ended Aronian's undefeated run at the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Goldmoney Asian Rapid. He beat the two-time World Cup winner in their very second game of the Quarter-Finals. The set ended in 2-2. Duda and Ding Liren also had 2-2 score in their grueling first set. Carlsen and Artemiev won the first set against So and Giri respectively. While So managed to equalize the first set by winning the second game then he lost the third and drew the fourth, Artemiev scored a hat-trick and won the first set by a 0-3 whitewash. So and Giri must win the second set to force tie-breaks. Quarter-Finals will continue today from 4:30 p.m. IST.
So and Giri in a must-win situation
To say Arjun Erigaisi is in his best form of his chess career would not be an understatement. He ended Aronian's 16-game unbeaten streak as he beat the Armenia no.1 in their very second encounter in the Quarter-Finals. The 17-year-old survived a difficult position in the first game, won the next, lost the third and drew the fourth one. The second set will be crucial to determine who will advance to the Semi-Finals.
Aronian - Arjun: 2-2
Aronian played boldly in the first game and got himself in a good position in the middlegame.
Aronian - Arjun, Game 1
19...Qb8 is a strange retreat as it immobilizes the a8-rook and 20.b4 leaves the d4-pawn vulnerable. Perhaps 19...Re8 or Rdb8 was a better choice to prevent the fork at b7.
White is in complete control in the above position, whereas Black is running out of things to do. 30.Rcc4 will force e5 31.fxe5+ Kxe5 32.Rc1 and white is still having the upper hand.
White could have still stirred up some trouble 36.Rb6 Rc7 37.Ne2 and now White can afford losing the h5-pawn for the d4 as c6-will be threatened after Nxd4 and Nb5 will be looming large. Luckily for Arjun, Aronian made a mistake 36.Ng6 and he got to equalize 36...Bxg6 and save the game.
Arjun played fantastic in the second game to take a 0.5-1.5 lead. He showed some fantastic positional understanding.
Arjun - Aronian, Game 2
16.b4 is an excellent move because after 16...cxb4, Black's light-square bishop's mobility will be hindered by it's own d5-pawn. Black needed to play 16...d4 here to make sure that c6-bishop does not get blindsided.
Find out why 24...Ng7 is a mistake. Black needed to play 24...Nf6.
Black's final mistake in the game was 37...Qxf2. White won the game 38.Nh5+ Kh6 39.Nf4 and black lost the queen in another four moves. Arjun took 0.5-1.5 lead.
Aronian struck back immediately in the third game to level the score 1.5-1.5
Aronian - Arjun, Game 3
Black needed to play 41...b5+ and then activate the c7-knight. 41...g6 allowed White to take advantage of the cornered knight at a2.
Arjun made a solid draw against Aronian in the fourth game. Thus the first set got tied at 2-2.
Carlsen - So: 2.5-1.5
Carlsen got a good position in the first game till he blundered against So.
Carlsen - So, Game 1
Carlsen blundered 21.Nxa5. Instead, 21.b4 would have been fine for White.
Black should have played 26...Bb3 27.Qc1 Qf7 and black can still win this. So was completely winning the first game, and he had plenty of opportunities, but he missed them all. Carlsen won the game after So blundered the extra piece.
So immediately struck back in the second game and leveled the score 1-1.
So - Carlsen, Game 2
Black had to play 36...h5 to prevent White from playing h5, but it was too late. 37.Rg2 Kh7 38.h5 and White gained a substantial advantage. Soon White arrived at a winning rook endgame and Black had to resign.
Carlsen once again took the lead by winning the third game.
Carlsen - So, Game 3
32...Qe7 could have kept the fight going a bit longer, but 32...Ne7 just finishes the game for Black after 33.Rdd8. The score turned 1-2 in Carlsen's favor.
The fourth game was a well contested draw which means Carlsen won the first set 1.5-2.5
Ding Liren - Duda: 2-2
Ding Liren made a slight inaccuracy which Duda did not do anything about in the first game.
Duda - Ding Liren, Game 1
33...f6 creates an opportunity for White to gain an advantage, 34.Qb3. 34...Kf7 is met with 35.Rxc6 and black is forced to give up the exchange.
One of the final chance White had in the game was in the above diagram. 59.d7 would have led to a win, but the text 59.Rh3 led the game to a draw.
The majority of the second game was a rook endgame which Duda defended correctly to make a draw.
Third game also ended in a draw.
The fourth game was an interesting one. At one point it seemed like Duda might score a win.
Ding Liren - Duda, Game 4
White seemed to be in trouble after 30...Nxg2 but Ding Liren being a staunch defender, managed to save the game and the first set. The game eventually ended in a draw, thus the first set got tied 2-2.
Giri - Artemiev: 0-3
Artemiev won the first game after he did a beautiful maneuvering and got a good position.
37...Rxb3 is not a good idea especially considering the fact that Black's back-rank is weak. Instead, Black needed to play 37...Bf8 and there is nothing to worry about Nd6 threat because there is always Rxb3 followed by Rb1 if White decides to take on a5. Artemiev exploited Giri's back-rank weakness and took a 0-1 lead in the first set.
Giri did not anticipate Artemiev's attack on his kingside correctly and grabbed a poisoned pawn.
Giri - Artemiev, Game 2
29.Qxh6 is a blunder. Find out why.
Artemiev won his third consecutive game of the day, making a hat-trick and winning the first set 3-0 against Giri.
Artemiev - Giri, Game 3
28...b3 spells doom as Black can neither get b2 nor get his bishop free from the a2-square. 28...Rc8 would have been a better choice for survival.
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All games will start from 4:30 p.m. IST between 26th June and 4th July 2021.
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