Indian Grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi scored a 2.5-1.5 win over Dutch GM Anish Giri in the fifth round of the Meltwater Champions Tour Finals here on Saturday.
Teenage GM R Praggnanandhaa was involved in an intense battle with Poland’s Jan-Krzysztof Duda with the match ending 3.5-3.5 after the players shared honours in the four rapid games, two blitz and an armageddon game.
Erigaisi’s win over Giri was his second and took him to six points along with 17-year old Indian compatriot Praggnanandhaa.
He won the first game in 56 moves with white pieces and the second in 44 with black.
A 36-move draw saw Erigaisi sealing his second win, a day after beating Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 3-1.
The Praggnanandhaa-Duda encounter was a thriller. The highly-rated Pole won the first game before the teenaged Indian star levelled by taking the second in 53 moves.
A similar pattern was repeated with Duda and Praggu taking the third and fourth games respectively with black pieces. The Indian won the first blitz tie-break game only to see his opponent level things with a 41-move win.
In the Armageddon (sudden-death game), Duda and Praggu battled it out for 90 moves before peace was signed. Meanwhile, Norwegian world No.1 Magnus Carlsen, who had been in cruise control till round four, had to bring out his best to tame Vietnam’s Quang Liem Le 4-3 via the sudden tie-break.
They were level at 2-2 after the four rapid games and honours were shared in the blitz before Carlsen prevailed in the Armageddon.
In the other match of the day, American Wesley So crushed Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan 3-0, winning three straight games.
Carlsen is on top of the standings with an all-win record with 15 points. Duda is second with nine points followed by So (9). Praggnanandhaa and Erigaisi have six points each and are placed fifth and sixth respectively.
In the sixth round on Sunday, Praggnanandhaa will take on Carlsen in a much-awaited clash while Erigaisi will meet Liem Le.
Eight players qualified for the Finals after a series of events in the Meltwater Champions Tour.
The total prize money for the Tour finals is USD 210,000. Each win in the round-robin earns a player USD 7,500. The eight players are playing a round-robin tournament. The winner will be the player who accrues the most points and cash overall.