Indian grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi grabbed the spotlight on Sunday by defeating world champion Magnus Carlsen in the seventh round of the Aimchess Rapid online chess tournament preliminaries.
Erigaisi, 19, who fell to compatriot Vidit Santosh Gujrathi to get a losing start in the event, is currently in fifth place after eight rounds. The win over Norwegian superstar Carlsen in the seventh round early on Sunday was the Indian’s first over the world champion. Erigaisi won three straight matches, beating Nils Grandelius (Sweden), Daniel Naroditsky (USA) and Carlsen before settling for a draw against Jan-Krzyszstof Duda (Poland). He has 15 points and is fifth behind Uzbeks Nodirbek Abdusattorov (17 points), Shahkriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan) and Carlsen (both 16) and Duda (15). Erigaisi lost last month to Carlsen in the final of the Julius Baer Generation Cup online tournament. His 54-stroke victory over the world champion allowed him to bounce back from a slow start to the event and bring him back into the top eight.
Another Indian, D Gukesh, sits sixth with 12 points after mixed fortunes on the second day of the preliminaries. After beating fellow countryman P Harikrishna in the fifth round, he lost to Abdusattorov and Naroditsky in the sixth and eighth rounds respectively. In between, he beat Grandelius in the seventh.
The other Indian players in the fray, Gujrathi, Aditya Mittal and Harikrishna are in 10th, 11th and 15th places after eight rounds of the 15-round preliminary stage. Gujrathi picked up an impressive win over fast-paced world champion Abdusattorov but drew with Grandelius and Naroditsky and a loss at the hands of Carlsen caught up with him.
Carlsen hasn’t been at his best so far, having suffered two defeats (to Mamedyarov and Erigaisi) and escaped with a draw against Indian youngster GM Mittal in the fourth round. He faces Gukesh in the ninth round.
The Aimchess Rapid tournament is part of the Meltwater Champions Tour and has 16 players, including five from India.
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