Carlsen Knocks Out Erigaisi, Secures Early Champions Chess Tour Victory

By reaching the semifinals of the Aimchess Rapid tournament, GM Magnus Carlsen has secured overall victory in the 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. The world champion knocked out GM Arjun Erigaisi and will face GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda next. The other semifinals match will be between GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and GM Richard Rapport, who eliminated GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov and GM Gukesh D. respectively.

Carlsen-Erigaisi 2.5-0.5

Carlsen has already sealed the overall Meltwater Champions Chess Tour title, for the second year running and with an event to spare. This means that the Norwegian star will be claiming the $50,000 bonus prize on top of his overall winnings, which are $192,500 so far.

Having that tough battle in the Julius Baer Generation Cup of last month in mind, this time Carlsen needed only three games to eliminate Erigaisi. The first one was crucial, with the Indian GM being up two pawns for a long time but somehow he let his opponent escape, after which Carlsen won the remaining two games smoothly.

Magnus Carlsen Aimchess 2022
Carlsen is playing from a ski resort in Sweden. Image: Champions Chess Tour.

Duda-Vidit 2.5-0.5

Duda was the only player who could still catch Carlsen in the overall tour standings, but for that he needed his rival to lose against Erigaisi (and to win the Aimchess Rapid himself). The Polish GM did his part, defeated Vidit convincingly, and will now face Carlsen next.

Afterward, Duda admitted that it wasn’t so easy and indeed, in the second game he was in a bit of trouble:

Rapport-Gukesh 2.5-1.5

“I’m playing miserable chess, so I was really looking forward to Gukesh putting me out of my misery tonight!” said Rapport after eliminating the 16-year-old prodigy from India. The Hungarian GM was in trouble after drawing the first game and then losing the second as White, but he pulled it off by winning the next two.

After bamboozling his opponent tactically in a King’s Indian in game three, Rapport decided the match by winning the infamous (and theoretically drawn) rook and bishop vs. rook endgame. It seems every great player should lose this endgame once in their career, and no doubt Gukesh learned a valuable lesson.

Richard Rapport aimchess
Rapport: “I was really looking forward to Gukesh putting me out of my misery tonight!” Image: Champions Chess Tour.

Mamedyarov-Abdusattorov 2.5-1.5

Mamedyarov also successfully defended the “old guard” as he knocked out another rising star. The first game was the only decisive game in this mini-match and saw an instructive moment in a rook endgame:

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

All games quarterfinals

The Aimchess Rapid, the seventh event in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, takes place October 14-20, 2022 on chess24. The preliminaries consisted of a round-robin among 16 players, from which the top eight advanced to the knockout stage. There, they play a match of four rapid games (15+10) in each round and if necessary, a blitz + armageddon tiebreak. The prize fund is $150,000.

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