Tata Steel Chess Rapid R4-6: The Arjun Erigaisi day

by Shahid Ahmed
11/19/2021 – It was not Arjun’s birthday, but given the way he played, it can easily be called ‘The Arjun Erigaisi day’, as he scored a hat-trick, gained sole lead and beat former US champion Sam Shankland in just 19 moves. This just shows his preparation, strength and consistency. He is now a full point ahead of his competition on 5.0/6. Praggnanandhaa and Aronian are at 4.0/6 each. He will face Adhiban, Vidit and Aronian in the final three games tomorrow. Arjun vs. Aronian is something everyone is waiting for with bated breath. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Praggnanandhaa is still unbeaten

Arjun Erigaisi is playing like a man on a mission who has no desire to slow down. Why would he? He should aim for the maximum by swinging for the fences. Who knows? A triumph at the rapid event may land him the 14th spot in the Tata Steel Chess Masters 2022, which is still not revealed and remains a mystery.

Round 4: Liem - Aronian: 1-0

We all remember Aronian and Liem having a cracker of a game this past summer at Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Chessable Masters semifinals. A repeat was seen this time. It was a back and forth game, a delight for chess enthusiasts.


White’s first big mistake was 31.Bg3 as it allows 31...d3 and 32...d2.


40...Ng1 allowed White an opportunity to get back in the game 41.h3 Ndf3 42.Qd5+ and now Black made a big mistake in the next few moves.


As the maestro Vishy Anand described, the game truly had a study-like finish as 44...Bd6 cost Aronian his first loss of the event and he lost the lead. Find out why it is a blunder and what Black should have played instead.


Liem had a rollercoaster of a game against Aronian | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Parham - Vidit: 0.5-0.5

Parham and Vidit had an entertaining draw in which the four-knight endgame lasted for 40 moves before Parham had to give up his knight for Vidit’s passed pawn.


Anand was hoping for White to play 87.Nd3 as it’s a ‘knight fork’ which leads to a tablebase draw. Unfortunately White did not play it. However, the outcome remained unchanged.


What a delightful draw | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Praggnanandhaa - Adhiban: 1-0

Anand in the post-match press conference mentioned Pragg playing ‘the move of the tournament’ in this game against Adhiban.


20...a6 was a blunder as 21.Qh7+ Kf8 22.Bd6+ simply finishes the game for Black as White has a crushing attack.


They say, the hardest game to win is a won game. Well, not if your name is Praggnanandhaa, then you make excellent moves, and it delights the legend, Vishy Anand. 24.Qh2 is definitely one which should make it to the chess books in the years to come.


Praggmatic victory against ‘The Beast’ featuring the move of the day | Video: ChessBase India

Vaishali - Arjun: 0-1

Vaishali was playing well against Arjun until she made a mistake in the rook ending.


51.a5 Ra3 continues the fight, and it probably should have ended in a draw. However, 51.Kf6 completely gives Black a decisive advantage as the king goes far away from the action point after 51...Rb6+. Arjun took a little longer to finish. In the end he won the winning queen endgame where he showcased his endgame technique.


Vaishali’s results may not reflect it, but she is playing excellent chess | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Round 5: Arjun - Liem: 1-0

What does it take to beat a former World Blitz champion? You have to be absolutely precise in finding your opponent’s mistakes and make the most out of it. That is exactly what Arjun did.


20...Rfe8 invites trouble after 21.Be4 Qb5 22.Bxb7 Qxb7 23.f5 Qd5 24.f6 and it would not be an understatement to say it’s game over for Black. Computer prefers 25.Qh6, although the text works just as much. Black blundered again and this time it was a point of no return — Arjun wrapped up the game comfortably.


Arjun Erigaisi beats Le Quang Liem to take sole lead with 4.0/5 | Video: ChessBase India

Shankland - Vaishali: 1-0

Shankland was cruising towards a victory until he made a mistake which completely turned things in Vaishali’s favor. Much to her chagrin, she missed her opportunity.


Find out how Black could have completely turned things around after 25.a6.


Round 6: Liem - Parham: 0-1

If you are looking for an example of how quickly tables can turn in a game, the following case is a perfect one:


The position after 49...b3+ looks like White should win this. A careful examination reveals that it is far from over. After 50.Kc3, it is 50...b2 which saves the day for Black. Isn’t it mind-blowing? After a few mutual errors, it was Parham who walked away with a full point. No wonder Anand had a delightful day as a spectator.


The former World Junior champion won the game in his typical style | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Arjun - Shankland: 1-0

Arjun scored his fourth win in-a-row, in just 19 moves against Shankland.


12...Bxe5 only further worsens Black’s already cramped position. 13.dxe5 g6 14.0-0 Nc5 15.Rac1 a5 16.Qh4 and it’s just over for Black.


Arjun deserves to be delighted with the way he has played the tournament so far | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Photo Gallery

First move is being made on Parham-Vidit’s board | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Families stick together — Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali... | Photo: Lennart Ootes

...Vidit and Vedika | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Sam Shankland scored 50% again, and he is at 50% score too | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Tania, Arjun and Sagar having a great time during the analysis | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Replay Round 4-6 games


Standings after Round 6

Tata Steel Chess India 2021 Rapid Round 4-6 | Live commentary by IM Tania Sachdev, IM Sagar Shah and Samay Raina | Video: ChessBase India


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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