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Satty Zhuldyz Rapid R1-4: Arjun Erigaisi makes a fantastic start

by Shahid Ahmed - 21/04/2023

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.

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

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

Position after 20.g5

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.

Arjun Erigaisi is a tactical monster - Arjun Erigaisi vs Haik Martirosyan (ARM) | Video: ChessBase India

Arjun Erigaisi maintains his unbeaten streak against Haik Martirosyan | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

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

Position after 67...f3

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.

Position after 73.Rg6+

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.

Full game: GM Javokhir Sindarov (UZB) vs GM Arjun Erigaisi | Video: ChessBase India

It was a thrilling game between GM Javokhir Sindarov (UZB) and GM Arjun Erigaisi | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

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

Position after 51...g5

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.

Full game: GM Arjun Erigaisi vs GM Hou Yifan (CHN) | Video: ChessBase India

There is always a lot to learn by analyzing with your opponent, especially when she is the World no. GM Yifan Hou (CHN) | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy
GM Boris Gelfand vs GM Kateryna Lagno | Video: ChessBase India

Round 4: Alexander Grischuk - Arjun Erigaisi: 0.5-0.5 | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy
Grischuk has something to tell Arjun after the game | Video: ChessBase India
IM Bibisara Assaubayeva vs GM Vladimir Kramnik + post-match analysis | Video: ChessBase India

Photo Gallery

The playing arena at the Hotel Hilton Astana | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

The live DGT boards along with the players' photos is just behind the players for everyone's view | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

GM Arjun Erigaisi is getting interviewed by the Press Officer, WFM Maria Emelianova (FRA) | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

The long analysis between IM Bibisara Assaubayeva and 14th World Champion GM Vladimir Kramnik piqued interest in GM Javokhir Sindarov, GM Jakhongir Vakhidov and IM Jovanka Houska | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

The Official Commentators - IM and WGM Jovanka Houska (ENG) and FM James Canty (USA) | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

For more inauguration ceremony and Round 1-4 photos, please click at the respective links.

Arjun Erigaisi finally answers the question that is on everyone's mind | Video: ChessBase India
Levon Aronian is a fan-favorite anywhere in the world | Video: ChessBase India
Satty Zhuldyz 2023 Rapid Round 1-4 Live commentary by IM and WGM Jovanka Houska, FM James Canty | Video: ChessBase India

Replay Round 1-4 games

Round 1-4 results

Round 1 on 2023/04/20
112359IMAssaubayeva, Bibisara½ - ½GMLagno, Kateryna248512
222626GMGelfand, Boris1 - 0GMVakhidov, Jakhongir251311
332630GMKeymer, Vincent½ - ½GMGrischuk, Alexander273110
442756GMKramnik, Vladimir1 - 0GMHou, Yifan26189
552720GMAronian, Levon1 - 0GMSindarov, Javokhir25788
662685GMErigaisi, Arjun1 - 0GMMartirosyan, Haik M.25877
Round 2 on 2023/04/20
1122485GMLagno, Kateryna½ - ½GMMartirosyan, Haik M.25877
282578GMSindarov, Javokhir0 - 1GMErigaisi, Arjun26856
392618GMHou, Yifan½ - ½GMAronian, Levon27205
4102731GMGrischuk, Alexander½ - ½GMKramnik, Vladimir27564
5112513GMVakhidov, Jakhongir½ - ½GMKeymer, Vincent26303
612359IMAssaubayeva, Bibisara½ - ½GMGelfand, Boris26262
Round 3 on 2023/04/20
122626GMGelfand, Boris½ - ½GMLagno, Kateryna248512
232630GMKeymer, Vincent½ - ½IMAssaubayeva, Bibisara23591
342756GMKramnik, Vladimir0 - 1GMVakhidov, Jakhongir251311
452720GMAronian, Levon½ - ½GMGrischuk, Alexander273110
562685GMErigaisi, Arjun1 - 0GMHou, Yifan26189
672587GMMartirosyan, Haik M.1 - 0GMSindarov, Javokhir25788
Round 4 on 2023/04/20
1122485GMLagno, Kateryna0 - 1GMSindarov, Javokhir25788
292618GMHou, Yifan1 - 0GMMartirosyan, Haik M.25877
3102731GMGrischuk, Alexander½ - ½GMErigaisi, Arjun26856
4112513GMVakhidov, Jakhongir½ - ½GMAronian, Levon27205
512359IMAssaubayeva, Bibisara½ - ½GMKramnik, Vladimir27564
622626GMGelfand, Boris½ - ½GMKeymer, Vincent26303


Round 5-8 pairings

Round 5 on 2023/04/21
132630GMKeymer, VincentGMLagno, Kateryna248512
242756GMKramnik, VladimirGMGelfand, Boris26262
352720GMAronian, LevonIMAssaubayeva, Bibisara23591
462685GMErigaisi, ArjunGMVakhidov, Jakhongir251311
572587GMMartirosyan, Haik M.GMGrischuk, Alexander273110
682578GMSindarov, JavokhirGMHou, Yifan26189
Round 6 on 2023/04/21
1122485GMLagno, KaterynaGMHou, Yifan26189
2102731GMGrischuk, AlexanderGMSindarov, Javokhir25788
3112513GMVakhidov, JakhongirGMMartirosyan, Haik M.25877
412359IMAssaubayeva, BibisaraGMErigaisi, Arjun26856
522626GMGelfand, BorisGMAronian, Levon27205
632630GMKeymer, VincentGMKramnik, Vladimir27564
Round 7 on 2023/04/21
142756GMKramnik, VladimirGMLagno, Kateryna248512
252720GMAronian, LevonGMKeymer, Vincent26303
362685GMErigaisi, ArjunGMGelfand, Boris26262
472587GMMartirosyan, Haik M.IMAssaubayeva, Bibisara23591
582578GMSindarov, JavokhirGMVakhidov, Jakhongir251311
692618GMHou, YifanGMGrischuk, Alexander273110
Round 8 on 2023/04/21
1122485GMLagno, KaterynaGMGrischuk, Alexander273110
2112513GMVakhidov, JakhongirGMHou, Yifan26189
312359IMAssaubayeva, BibisaraGMSindarov, Javokhir25788
422626GMGelfand, BorisGMMartirosyan, Haik M.25877
532630GMKeymer, VincentGMErigaisi, Arjun26856
642756GMKramnik, VladimirGMAronian, Levon27205


Standings after Round 4

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
16GMErigaisi, ArjunIND26853,505,003
22GMGelfand, BorisISR26262,504,751
35GMAronian, LevonUSA27202,503,751
410GMGrischuk, AlexanderRUS2731205,000
511GMVakhidov, JakhongirUZB2513204,251
63GMKeymer, VincentGER2630204,250
71IMAssaubayeva, BibisaraKAZ2359204,000
84GMKramnik, VladimirRUS2756203,501
912GMLagno, KaterynaRUS24851,503,000
109GMHou, YifanCHN26181,502,751
117GMMartirosyan, Haik M.ARM25871,501,751
128GMSindarov, JavokhirUZB2578101,501



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