Satty Zhuldyz 2023: Arjun Erigaisi roars in rapid

by Shahid Ahmed
4/23/2023 – Arjun Erigaisi won the rapid section of the Satty Zhuldyz tournament in Astana with a 9½/11 score. The youngster kicked off the day with a win over Vladimir Kramnik. He then he drew Levon Aronian, before finishing the rapid event with a victory over Kateryna Lagno. Aronian finished the rapid in second place with 8/11, while Alexander Grischuk was third with 7/11. The tournament is not over, as the final standings will be decided based on the cumulative score of the rapid and blitz events. | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

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Arjun and Aronian remain unbeaten in rapid

Both Arjun Erigaisi and Levon Aronian remained undefeated in the rapid event. The highly anticipated encounter between them ended in a draw. Although Arjun had a substantial advantage, the tournament situation did not require him to push for a full point. They will face each other in the blitz event at least twice on Monday and Tuesday.

Apart from Vishy Anand, Arjun Erigaisi is the only other Indian who has a 2700+ rating in all three formats of the game.

Vishy Anand, Arjun Erigaisi

Arjun Erigaisi is now ranked as world number 24 in the live ratings list for rapid chess | Source:

First-ever encounter against Kramnik

Arjun Erigaisi had never faced the 14th world champion Vladimir Kramnik in a rated game before their encounter on Saturday. The tournament leader had all the momentum and form on his side. Starting his third consecutive day with a win would definitely set the tone before facing Levon Aronian in the penultimate round.


18.b3 forced Black to give up the b5-pawn. There are various ways for Black to deal with the attack on the knight. There followed 18...Nd6 19.Nxb5 Bxb5 20.Bxb5+ Ke7 21.Rfc1 and eventually the extra b-pawn played a crucial role in White’s conversion of his advantage.

Full game: Arjun vs Kramnik | Video: ChessBase India

Satty Zhuldyz Chess Tournament

Round 9 in progress | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Finishing on a high note

After drawing Levon Aronian in round 10, Arjun Erigaisi faced Kateryna Lagno, a former women’s world rapid champion, in the final round of the rapid event.


Black was at a critical juncture. Which endgame to choose? Queen and knight, rook and knight or just knight endgame? The correct answer is: rook and knight endgame. However, Black went for a knight endgame. It did not go well for her — 40...Rxe2 41.Kxe2 Qxf3+ 42.Nxf3 Nxc5 43.Nd4 b4 44.Nc6 and White went on to win the game.

Arjun Erigaisi, Kateryna Lagno

Arjun Erigaisi defeated Kateryna Lagno to win the rapid event and gain a 1½-point lead heading into the blitz | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Arjun Erigaisi

Arjun Erigaisi signs autographs for the young fans | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

A tour of the venue, the Hilton Astana Hotel | Video: ChessBase India

Final standings - Rapid


All games - Rapid



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.