Arjun Erigaisi wins Indian National Championship

by Shahid Ahmed
3/6/2022 – Rating favourite Arjun Erigaisi won the MPL 58th National Senior Chess Championship 2022, which took place from February 25 to March 3 in the city of Kanpur. Arjun edged past D Gukesh and Iniyan P on tiebreaks. All three of them scored 8½/11 points. Only four players younger than Arjun have won the National Senior title in Indian chess history. | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

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Gukesh and Iniyan reach the podium

Arjun Erigaisi18-year-old Arjun Erigaisi expectedly won the MPL 58th National Senior Chess Championship 2022. He edged past D Gukesh and Iniyan P on tiebreaks. All three of them scored 8½/11 points. They received ₹600,000, ₹500,000 and ₹400,000 respectively, along with a trophy.

The remaining top ten scored 8/10 each. Koustav Chatterjee and Pranav Venkatesh were the only two IMs to make it in the top 10. The total prize fund of the tournament was ₹30,00,000. Only four players younger than Arjun have won the National Senior title in Indian chess history. It is evident that the future of Indian chess is very bright when the teenagers are winning the National Senior in both the Open and Women’s sections. 

Arjun won the title at the age of 18 years. Karthikeyan Murali won his first title in 2015 (16 years), his second triumph in 2016 (17 years), G Akash in 2012 (16 years), B Adhiban in 2009 (17 years) and Parimarjan Negi in 2010 (17 years). This year the entire podium finishers are teenagers — Arjun (18 years), Gukesh (16 years) and Iniyan (19 years). They all faced each other and each game ended in a draw.

Arjun played two classical tournaments this year, and he won both of them. Back in April, the youngster impressed by winning the Tata Steel Challengers in Wijk aan Zee.

Interview with the champion


Iniyan - Mitrabha: 1-0

GM Iniyan P (Tamil Nadu) defeated the defending champion GM Mitrabha Guha (West Bengal) in the final round.


White got a pleasant position out of a Petroff’s Defence when his opponent opted for 8...Ne6. Black was unable to get out of the gate for the rest of the game, and Iniyan comfortably scored a full point.


Lalith - Koustav: 0-1

IM Koustav Chatterjee (West Bengal), after suffering a loss against GM D Gukesh, made three draws and then defeated IM Srihari L R (Tamil Nadu) in the penultimate round. He finished the tournament true to his performance in the first half of the event by winning against GM Lalith Rohit (Petroleum Sports Promotion Board) in style.


Lalith went wrong early in the opening, which caused him to face a lot of trouble. 12.b4 provoked a lot of attacks as White did not have a lot of choices left either. 12...e3 is almost winning for Black, but Koustav chose an interesting continuation with 12...Nf3+. It allowed White to regroup his position via 13.Bxf3 Bxh3 14.Bh5 Qg5 15.Bxf7+ Kxf7 16.bxc5 Qxd5.

White managed to exchange a bunch of pieces, but the king being stranded at the centre and a lack of piece coordination suddenly did not wither the troubles away.


How many times have you witnessed the queen being trapped at the centre of the board? Well, technically the queen is virtually trapped because it has a safe square at h4. However, it is not a safe haven as White has a back rank weakness. It is evident that Black is completely winning, and he wrapped it up in the next four moves.


Final standings - Top 15

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Erigaisi Arjun 8,5 77,0
2 Gukesh D 8,5 75,5
3 Iniyan P 8,5 69,0
4 Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. 8,0 73,5
5 Aryan Chopra 8,0 71,5
6 Koustav Chatterjee 8,0 70,0
7 Karthikeyan Murali 8,0 69,5
8 Visakh N R 8,0 68,0
9 Sethuraman S.P. 8,0 67,5
10 Pranav V 8,0 66,0
11 Mitrabha Guha 7,5 72,5
12 Gupta Abhijeet 7,5 72,0
13 Sengupta Deep 7,5 69,5
14 Harsha Bharathakoti 7,5 68,0
15 Das Sayantan 7,5 67,5

...184 players

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Shahid Ahmed is the senior coordinator and editor of ChessBase India. He enjoys covering chess tournaments and also likes to play in chess events from time to time.


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