If it was Arjun Erigaisi last year, Nihal Sarin this year — the teenaged Indian champion at the Tata Steel Chess India at the National Library here on Thursday.
Interestingly, Arjun somewhat spoiled Nihal’s party in the end, winning their final round game in what turned out to be a decisive preparation, but the latter had already pocketed the top prize in the fast section. Arjun finished runner-up.
Circle the rest
Nihal, in fact, won the tournament with a round to spare. “It was easily my best performance,” said the 18-year-old from Thrissur, Kerala.
Ukraine’s Anna Ushenina was crowned champion in the women’s event after winning her tie-breaker games against Georgia’s Nana Dzagnidze.
“I think I should just play in India,” she said with a smile, referring to the gold medal won by Ukraine’s women at the Chess Olympiad in Chennai three months ago.
The results (Indians unless otherwise specified): Tomorrow: Ninth round: SP Sethuraman 2 lost to Hikaru Nakamura (US) 4.5; Wesley So (US) 4 bt D. Gukesh 4.5; Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze) 4.5 draw with Vidit Gujrathi 4.5; Parham Maghsoodloo (IRI) 4 drew with Nodiberk Abdusattarov (Uzb) 4.5; Arjun Erigaisi 6 bt Nihal Sarin 6.5.
Standings: 1. Nihal, 2. Arjun, 3-7. Vidit, Nakamura, Gukesh, Mamedyarov and Abdusattorov; 8-9. Maghsoodloo and Wesley; 10. Sethuraman.
Women: Ninth round: Oliwia Kiolbasa (Pol) 4.5 bt Koneru Humpy 5; Anna Ushenina (Ukr) 6.5 draw with R. Vaishali 5; D. Harika 5.5 bt B. Savitha Shri 1; Nana Dagnidze (Geo) 6.5 draw with Mariya Muzychuk (Ukr) 5; Vantika Agrawal 3 bt Anna Muzychuk (Ukr) 3.
Tie-breaker: Nana Dzagnidze lost to Anna Ushenina 0-2.
Standings: 1-2. Ushenina and Dzagnidze; 3. Harika, 4-6. Mariya, Humpy and Vaishali; 7. Sausage 4.5; 8-9. Vantika and Anna; 10. Anna and Savitha.