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Aronian Beats Erigaisi In Armageddon To Clinch Tata Steel India Blitz
A fist bump between Aronian and Erigaisi after the armageddon game. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

Aronian Beats Erigaisi In Armageddon To Clinch Tata Steel India Blitz

PeterDoggers
| 11 | Chess Event Coverage

After a nail-biting finish that went all the way to armageddon, GM Levon Aronian won the Tata Steel Chess India blitz tournament on Sunday. The playoff was necessary after he had finished in a tie with GM Arjun Erigaisi, who impressed once again by winning the rapid tournament on Friday.

How to watch?
You can find the games of the Tata Steel Chess India blitz tournament here.

Our interview with the winner, Levon Aronian.

The blitz tournament was played over two days, with nine rounds on Saturday and another nine on Sunday. It was again Erigaisi who was in the sole lead halfway through the tournament, having scored an undefeated plus-four.

At the closing ceremony, tournament ambassador GM Vishy Anand said that Erigaisi's win over GM Sam Shankland had made a strong impression:

Erigaisi Shankland Tata Steel India Blitz 2021
Erigaisi vs. Shankland. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

One of the main goals of the tournament was to give the young Indian talents a chance to play against top grandmasters. The youngsters did quite well and went toe to toe, as you can see from the final standings. 

One of the champions of the new generation is GM Nihal Sarin, who "won" the second half of the blitz, scoring a wild 6.5/9 on Sunday that included just one draw. One of his victims was Erigaisi, in the 10th round:

Nihal Sarin Tata Steel India Blitz 2021
Nihal Sarin. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

Nihal was doing so well that he was, in fact, leading the tournament with 11/17, with one round to go. A blunder in the opening of his final game with GM Parham Maghsoodloo ended his dream:

Maghsoodloo Nihal Tata Steel Chess India
Maghsoodloo and Nihal shortly before their fateful game. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

As a result, Aronian and Erigaisi had the chance to overtake Nihal and both did, which led to the following final standings.

Tata Steel India Blitz 2021 | Final Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts
1 Erigaisi 2616 2712 ½1 ½0 ½0 10 ½1 ½½ 11 11 11.5
2 Aronian 2767 2697 ½0 ½½ ½1 ½1 11 10 11 11.5
3 Maghsoodloo 2601 2693 ½1 01 10 01 00 11 10 11 11
4 Nihal 2667 2686 ½1 ½½ 10 01 ½0 01 11 01 11 11
5 Gukesh 2376 2679 01 ½0 01 10 11 00 ½1 11 ½½ 10
6 Le 2774 2577 ½0 ½0 10 ½1 00 10 11 8.5
7 Sadhwani 2517 2585 ½½ 00 11 10 11 01 00 00 01 8
8 Shankland 2660 2571 01 00 00 ½0 11 11 ½0 8
9 Vidit 2739 2501 00 01 10 00 11 00 6.5
10 Harika 2422 2418 00 00 00 00 ½½ 00 10 ½1 4

A two-game playoff followed. Erigaisi had great chances in each game, but they both ended in draws. Here's the second game, where there was a clear win earlier on for White (Anand: "Levon has had the luck of the devil today!") but then was even in the opposite-colored bishop endgame at the very end:

Erigaisi Aronian Tata Steel Chess India
Erigaisi and Aronian in their second playoff game. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

Erigaisi won the toss and chose to play black in the armageddon, meaning he got four minutes on the clock (vs. five for Aronian) with draw odds. At the closing ceremony, Aronian was humble and stated that he had been lucky: "I think today I played one good game. It was the armageddon." 

And indeed, Aronian's reaction to Erigaisi's interesting knight sacrifice (Anand: "This is how Arjun plays for a draw!") is excellent.

Aronian Erigaisi Tata Steel Chess India armageddon
The Aronian-Erigaisi armageddon game. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

All games

Arjun Erigaisi Tata Steel India Rapid
Erigaisi with the trophy for the rapid tournament. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.
Levon Aronian Tata Steel Chess India blitz trophy
Aronian receiving the blitz trophy. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.
2021 Tata Steel Chess India players
Players and organizers in front of the Kolkata crowd. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

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