Arjun Erigaisi wins Indian Qualifier to the Champions Chess Tour

by Shahid Ahmed
5/11/2021 – Arjun Erigaisi pulled a massive upset in the finals of the Indian Qualifier to the Champions Chess Tour by handing Adhiban his first defeat of the event. Nonetheless, by reaching the finals, Adhiban had already qualified to the elite online tour. Aravindh beat Gukesh in the match for third place. Gukesh should be happy with his performance, as he was the only player to beat eventual champion Arjun Erigaisi in the very first game of the semifinals.

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Adhiban also qualifies

Adhiban did not lose a single game in the Indian Qualifier until the fifth encounter of the finals against Arjun Erigaisi. The sole loss turned out to be decisive as Arjun drew the sixth game comfortably to win the tournament. Despite losing in the finals, Adhiban also got a spot at the June event of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, as the qualifier granted two tickets to the online tournament.

After making four draws in the rapid games, Arjun won the first blitz tiebreaker and took the lead in the finals.


White has got a desired position out of the opening, and he just needs to capitalize on it. Black seems to be getting into quite an uncomfortable position after 10.f5 or 10.h5. The game continued with 10.h5 Bh7 11.g5 hxg5 12.fxg5 Nfd7 13.g6 Bg8 14.exd5 exd5, and we get the following position:


This looks like a position which White should win. Find out the correct plan for White to continue here. The game went on with 15.Qe2+ Qe7 16.Qxe7 Kxe7 17.Nh3 Rxh5 and White’s advantage evaporated as Black managed to equalize.


White blundered in the endgame with 32.Nh4. Find out why it is a mistake and what White should have played instead.


Arjun made a comfortable draw in the sixth game and won the finals 3½-2½.

Adhiban Baskaran

Aravindh beats Gukesh to grab third place

Gukesh escaped from the jaws of defeat in the first game after he blundered in the endgame under time pressure.


35...Kc6 is a blunder as White can now win in all plausible variations. Find out how and also what Black should have played instead.


In the second game, Aravindh launched a heavy attack on the kingside against which Gukesh did not have any defence.


Things have gone completely wrong for White as Black is ready to outplay him. The game went on with 22.Nb3 and after 22...Nf5 things went out of hand for White very soon. Aravindh won the game in another eleven moves and took a 1½-½ lead.


In the third game, Gukesh lost a pawn early in the opening and could not recover for the rest of the game.


While 10...e5 is a thematic break in the Dutch, in this particular case it costs Black a pawn. Instead, 10...a5 or 10...Na6 would have been fine for Black. With this win, Aravindh won the match by 2½-½ and secured third place.




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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