Chennai Masters R5: Gukesh subdues Sjugirov, emerges sole leader

by Shahid Ahmed
12/19/2023 – D Gukesh scored his second win in-a-row, against Sanan Sjugirov, in the fifth round of the Chennai Grand Masters. Gukesh seized his advantage and synthesized an attack on the kingside. Sjugirov had no proper answer to it and succumbed. The Arjun Erigaisi-Levon Aronian saga continues. Arjun had a great opportunity to beat Aronian for the first time in a rated game in over two years. Unfortunately, he pushed a pawn incorrectly in the rook endgame and eventually lost his advantage. The two-time World Cup winner managed to salvage a draw. Pavel Eljanov handed Alexandr Predke his third consecutive loss. Gukesh is in the sole lead with 3½/5, followed by Pentala Harikrishna and Eljanov at 3/5 each. | Photos: Shahid Ahmed

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Arjun misses against Aronian in a thriller

Chennai Grand Masters 2023 official logo

Sanan - Gukesh: 0-1

GM D Gukesh defeated GM Sanan Sjugirov in their last encounter at World Blitz 2021. This time, the youngster was determined to repeat the same feat.

Sjugirov made a dubious pawn sacrifice with 26.c5 to momentarily block the bishop's path and also open the queen's diagonal. However, Gukesh did not hesitate to take the pawn: 26...Bxc5 27.Be3 Bxe3 28. Rxe3 f4 Black does not gain any material immediately due to 29.Re4 Nd5 reinforcing the f4-pawn and unpinning his e6-rook — 30.Qxb7 Qg5 and finally the g3-knight is really under attack. After 31.Nf1 Rg6 32.g3 Qf5 33.Rae1 Qxh3 White's position is a wreck and Black won the game in another seven moves.

D Gukesh on his win against Sanan Sjugirov | Video: ChessBase India

Gukesh made all the right moves against Sanan Sjugirov

Arjun - Aronian: 0.5-0.5

Whenever Arjun Erigaisi and Levon Aronian face each other, one can certainly expect fireworks. This time it was no different. Arjun's 6.Qe2 in the Scotch Game was responded with 6...Rb8. A highly unusual line. After the 22nd move, the game liquidated into a double rook endgame and eventually into a favorable rook endgame for Arjun, who had practical chances.

White needed to play 43.Rc1 to maintain his decisive advantage. It was certainly not easy to find. After pushing his pawn to 43.f5 he realized that a full point left his grasp. The game ended in a draw in the next few moves.

The Arjun Erigaisi - Levon Aronian saga adds a new chapter - Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India

Arjun Erigaisi had a great opportunity to join the lead with Gukesh

Pentala Harikrishna - Parham Maghsoodloo: 0.5-0.5

It feels good to win with Black- Pavel Eljanov on his second win at the Chennai Grand Masters 2023 | Video: ChessBase India

Serbia no.1 vs Ukraine no.1 - GM Alexandr Predke vs GM Pavel Eljanov | Video: ChessBase India

Pavel Eljanov could have finished things earlier against Alexandr Predke — nevertheless, he won the game

Former MD of Microsense, S Kailashanathan, made the ceremonial first move

Round 5 in progress

Deputy Chief Arbiter IA Arasu B and Chief Arbiter IA Gopakumar M S

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S Kailashanathan, former MD of Microsesnse, made the ceremonial first move of the fifth round | Video: ChessBase India

Gutsy Gukesh! IM Sagar Shah's Round 5 summary | Video: ChessBase India

The man who has won over a dozen tournaments in 2023 - IM FT Harikrishnan A Ra | Video: ChessBase India

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Replay Round 5 live stream

Replay the round-5 live commentary by IM Sagar Shah, Amruta Mokal with guest commentators GM Anish Giri and IM Sopiko Guramishvili | Video: ChessBase India

Replay Round 5 games

Round 5 results

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


Standings after Round 5

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


Round 6 pairings

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



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.