Chennai Masters R1: Harikrishna and Eljanov strike

by Shahid Ahmed
12/15/2023 – The Chennai Grand Masters 2023 got off to a splendid start. Just when it seemed like the first round would end up being victorless, Pentala Harikrishna and Pavel Eljanov proved those predictions wrong. Arjun Erigaisi (Harikrishna’s opponent) made a significant mistake early in the game. It made him defend the better part of the battle. Eventually he missed his final opportunity to salvage a half point, which cost him the game. Parham Maghsoodloo (Eljanov’s opponent) made a huge blunder in a rook and two pawns endgame which was seemingly heading towards a draw. | All photos are by Shahid Ahmed unless specified otherwise.

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Endgames decide the fate

Chennai Grand Masters 2023 official logo

Harikrishna - Arjun: 1-0

GM Pentala Harikrishna (2696) played only three rated games against GM Arjun Erigaisi (2727) a few months ago in Kolkata at Tata Steel Chess India 2023. Arjun won a rapid and blitz game each, while the other blitz game ended in a draw. Of course, Harikrishna had not forgotten about it.

According to Harikrishna, 15...Bxc3 was a huge mistake, simply because Black suddenly has to find all the tough correct moves. White has a bishop pair and rooks controlling on the c-file, which does not make things easier for him.

White blundered 49.Ra7?? It allowed Black to escape with a draw via 49...Rh5 50.f5 — now he needed to take the h6-pawn with Rh1+ 51.Kd2 Rxh6. Instead, he missed it and went to capture the f5-pawn. 50...Rxf5 abandoned all hope for Black to salvage a draw.

Harikrishna breaks down his win against Arjun Erigaisi and also talks about reaching Bremen, just three hours before the game | Video: ChessBase India

The battle of the Telugu boys - Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India

Final moments: Pentala Harikrishna vs Arjun Erigaisi | Video: ChessBase India

Pentala Harikrishna got the better of Arjun Erigaisi

Maghsoodloo - Eljanov: 0-1

GM Parham Maghsoodloo (IRI, 2742) and GM Pavel Eljanov (UKR, 2691) played only two classical rated games before this encounter. The first one ended in a draw, and Maghsoodloo won the second one. It was about time for Eljanov to deliver the equalizer.

51.Re3?? was the decisive mistake by White. 51...Rg5+ dropped the h5-pawn and Black got a decisive advantage, thanks to White's misplaced king at the center of the board.

Parham Maghsoodloo (IRI) Stunned by Pavel Eljanov (UKR) | Video: ChessBase India

Pavel Eljanov (UKR) on his win against Parham Maghsoodloo (IRI) | Video: ChessBase India

Pavel Eljanov (UKR) 'got the jump' on his opponent as he jokingly said at the 'Draw of Lots' when he was asked about his aim at this event

GM Levon Aronian (USA) - GM D Gukesh: 0.5-0.5

GM Sanan Sjugirov (HUN) - GM Alexandr Predke (SRB): 0.5-0.5

For more photos, please click here.

What did the arbiter say to Arjun Erigaisi during the security check? | Video: ChessBase India

Amruta Mokal and IM Sagar Shah are the official commentators

Spectators in attendance at the venue following the games with live commentary | Photo: Abhyudaya Ram

Those who wish to spectate the tournament at the venue, please click here and check the procedure.

Top two seeds crumble! IM Sagar Shah's Chennai Grand Masters 2023 Round 1 summary | Video: ChessBase India

Who do you think will win Chennai Grand Masters 2023 | Giveaway + Wildr Challenge | Video: ChessBase India

Replay Round 1 live stream

Replay the round-1 live commentary by IM Sagar Shah, Amruta Mokal with guest commentators GM Anish Giri and IM Sopiko Guramishvili | Video: ChessBase India

Replay Round 1 games

Round 1 results

Bo. No. Rtg Name Result Name Rtg No.
1 1 2723
GM Aronian, Levon ½ - ½ GM Gukesh, D
2720 8
2 2 2742
GM Maghsoodloo, Parham 0 - 1 GM Eljanov, Pavel
2691 7
3 3 2703
GM Sjugirov, Sanan ½ - ½ GM Predke, Alexandr
2689 6
4 4 2696
GM Harikrishna, Pentala 1 - 0 GM Erigaisi, Arjun
2727 5


Standings after Round 1

Rk. SNo Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3   TB4 
1 Eljanov, Pavel 1 0
2 Harikrishna, Pentala 1 0
3 Aronian, Levon 0,5 0
Sjugirov, Sanan 0,5 0
Predke, Alexandr 0,5 0
Gukesh, D 0,5 0
7 Maghsoodloo, Parham 0 0
Erigaisi, Arjun 0 0


Round 2 pairings

Bo. No. Rtg Name Result Name Rtg No.
1 8 2720
GM Gukesh, D GM Erigaisi, Arjun
2727 5
2 6 2689
GM Predke, Alexandr GM Harikrishna, Pentala
2696 4
3 7 2691
GM Eljanov, Pavel GM Sjugirov, Sanan
2703 3
4 1 2723
GM Aronian, Levon GM Maghsoodloo, Parham
2742 2



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.