Arjun Erigaisi wins Sharjah Masters

by André Schulz
5/26/2023 – The 6th Sharjah Masters was a top tournament with many young players. Before the final round, eight players shared first place. In the top encounters of the last round, only Arjun Erigaisi managed to win his game and emerged as the tournament winner. | Photos: Tournament page

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The Sharjah Masters in the United Arab Emirates was a top invitation tournament with nearly 80 participants in the main Masters event. Additionally, there was a Challengers tournament and a youth tournament. The Masters was a 9-round Swiss and all participants were Grandmasters. Over half of the players had Elo ratings above 2600, and eight players even had ratings above 2700 Elo.

Once again, India had the largest contingent of players with 16 participants. The Indian group included well-known players such as Gukesh, Vidit, Erigaisi, Praggnanandhaa, and Nihal. However, the top seed in the tournament was not an Indian player but Parham Maghsoodloo from Iran. Gukesh was second seed.

The only woman in the field was reigning Women's World Champion Ju Wenjun. From July 3rd, she will have to defend her title in the Women's World Championship match against Lei Tingjie. Some practice beforehand will certainly be useful.

Attack like a Super Grandmaster

In this Fritztrainer: “Attack like a Super GM” with Gukesh we touch upon all aspects of his play, with special emphasis on how you can become a better attacking player.

The best non-Asian players in the field were the Russian Sanan Sjugirov, born in Elista, and the two US Grandmasters Hans Moke Niemann and Ray Robson. Sam Sevian, another strong US Grandmaster, also made his way to the Persian Gulf. Grigoriy Oparin, a native Russian, now also plays under the US flag. The highest-rated participants from Central or Western Europe were the Czech player Ngyuen and the Belgian player Daniel Dardha.

As expected, the top positions in this strong field were highly contested. Ju Wenjun was among the players with the best start, being part of a four-player leading group after three rounds. In round two the Chinese defeated the strong Indian Vidit. However, in the middle of the tournament, Ju suffered two losses and then was unable to win any more games. She finished the tournament with 4.5 points in the middle of the field, with an impressive Elo performance of 2680 (!).

After six rounds, Sevian and Oparin were part of a leading trio. However, as more players in the top group started to play draws, players from the chasing pack were able to catch up, and before the final round, no less than eight players shared the lead.

Samuel Sevian (with White) in his game against Grigoriy Oparin. Sanan Sjugirov is in the back.

In the top encounters of the final round, Arjun Erigaisi was the only one who won his game, and this win helped him to win the tournament half a point ahead of his rivals.

Seven players finished with six points, including the Americans Sevian, Niemann, and Oparin, as well as Gukesh, who was the second-highest-ranked Indian player and the youngest player in the leading group.

But chess was not the only game the players enjoyed.

Final standings

Rk. Name Pts.  Tb1 
1 Erigaisi, Arjun 6,5 0
2 Sevian, Samuel 6 0
3 Gukesh, D 6 0
4 Yu, Yangyi 6 0
5 Martirosyan, Haik M. 6 0
6 Niemann, Hans Moke 6 0
7 Tabatabaei, M. Amin 6 0
8 Oparin, Grigoriy 6 0
9 Nihal, Sarin 5,5 0
10 Nguyen, Thai Dai Van 5,5 0
11 Yakubboev, Nodirbek 5,5 0
12 Cheparinov, Ivan 5,5 0
13 Narayanan.S.L, 5,5 0
14 Sjugirov, Sanan 5,5 0
15 Praggnanandhaa, R 5,5 0
16 Esipenko, Andrey 5,5 0
17 Dardha, Daniel 5,5 0
18 Adhiban, B. 5,5 0
19 Aryan, Chopra 5 0
20 Sargsyan, Shant 5 0
21 Korobov, Anton 5 0
22 Mchedlishvili, Mikheil 5 0
23 Suleymanli, Aydin 5 0
24 Kadric, Denis 5 0
25 Vakhidov, Jakhongir 5 0
26 Kuybokarov, Temur 5 0
27 Maghsoodloo, Parham 5 0
28 Petrosyan, Manuel 5 0
29 Galperin, Platon 5 0
30 Yuffa, Daniil 5 0



André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.