Chess: Arjun Erigaisi annexes Delhi Open International title

New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) Grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi came up with another inspired effort and crashed through the defenses of Karthik Venkataraman to annex the 19th Delhi International open chess tournament that concluded here on Tuesday.
Starting the day in a five-way lead and having the best tiebreak, Erigaisi left nothing to chance as he went for an offensive right from the word go in a Sicilian Najdorf game as white and even though Karthik posed some challenge in the middle game, the young National champion romped home easily with some finely-crafted maneuvers.
Erigaisi got Rs 4 lakh as the winner’s purse plus a glittering trophy and looks like a sure-fire bet for the main team in the forthcoming Chess Olympiad at Chennai as he scaled past 2675 in live Elo ratings. Earlier this month the young man had won the National championship at Kanpur quite easily and that means his winnings this month are Rs 10 lakh in all.
D Gukesh, who had also fought tooth and nail with Erigaisi in the national championship, defeated last event’s winner Abhijeet Gupta from a level endgame to finish second. The Nimzo Indian by Gukesh as black led to a level endgame but Gupta took unwarranted risks leading to his downfall. It was almost a repeat of the last round of the National championship when Gupta had a similar fate out of the same opening against Gukesh.
Harsha Bharthakoti finished third on a tiebreak defeating S.P Sethuraman who played black. For the record, Erigaisi, Gukesh and Bharathakoti all ended up on 8.5 points out of a possible ten.
The caravan now moves to Ahmedabad for the final installment of the three International events planned in India after a two-year gap.
The Delhi Open next year will be a much bigger event in several categories with Rs. 1.25 crore as prize money, an announcement made by All India Chess Federation Secretary and Delhi Association President Bharat Singh Chauhan on the opening day of this gala meet.
Important results final round: Abhijeet Gupta (7.5) lost to D Gukesh (8.5); S P Sethuraman (7.5) lost to Harsha Bharathakoti (8.5); Erigaisi Arjun (8.5) beat Karthik Venkataraman (7); Gusain Himal (7.5) drew with M R Lalith Babu (7.5); Tahbaz Arash (7) lost to Nigmatov Ortik (8); P Iniyan (7) drew with Neelash Saha (7.5); Shahil Dey (6.5) lost to Delgado Ramirez Neuris (7.5); Divya Deshmukh (6.5) lost to R R Laxman (7.5); S Nitin (6.5) lost to Rohith Krishna (7.5); Aradhya Garg (6.5) lost to Gholami Orimi Mahdi (7.5).
The top ten: 1-3: Erigaisi Arjun, D Gukesh, Harsha Bharathakoti (8.5 each); 4. Nigmatov Ortik (8); 5-10: S P Sethuraman, Delgado Ramirez Neuris, M R Lalith Babu, Abhijeet Gupta, Neelash Saha, Gholami Orimi Mahdi (7.5 each).

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