Jermuk, Armenia
June 9-18

Stepan Avagyan Memorial International RR 17 Category Tournament ։ Round 2


Round 2. First Fork: Erigaisi Up, Murzin Down


When the world’s 4th-ranked player is in the tournament, always expect miracles... Arjun Erigaisi started in Jermuk with two consecutive victories. While his success in the first round was largely predictable, in the second round, he was practically handed the win! How long the Indian’s winning streak will last, we’ll find out in the third round when the Elo-favorite faces the Iranian Tabatabaei with the white pieces.


It seemed that the game between Sargsyan and Erigaisi would be one of the first to end in a draw: Shant quickly exchanged queens and transitioned into an endgame that did not pose significant threats for White. Arjun had two bishops and a mobile pawn chain in the center, but he couldn’t create any serious threats. It was a situation where standing still would have been sufficient... Instead, the Armenian grandmaster suddenly committed hara-kiri – his suicidal pawn capture 32.gxf6?? not only failed to create sharpness but immediately ruined his position. Sargsyan overlooked the simplest of moves, 32…h5+! The pawn was untouchable due to a mate in two moves, and if it wasn’t captured, the entire idea of the tripled passed pawns for White fell apart. At this moment, he could have resigned in good conscience, but Shant delayed this by 15 inconsequential moves.


While Erigaisi moved to “+2,” another young talent, Murzin, fell to “-2.” Moreover, just as the Indian’s victories were similar, the Russian’s losses were like two peas in a pod. Volodar inexplicably lost concentration during the game and lost everything. In the game against Martirosyan, he dubiously sacrificed a pawn and then missed an intermediate move that immediately steered the game into a technical endgame... Essentially, White’s task was to convert the extra material in the endgame, which they soon did.


The remaining three games ended in draws, with none of the opponents particularly risking winning or losing... Hovhannisyan quickly subdued Blübaum with White, Tabatabaei, despite his efforts, couldn’t pose serious challenges to the reactive Sevian, and Petrosyan seemed to aim for a draw with Dyach right from the start, resulting in a completely calm position by the time control.


Stepan Avagyan Memorial. Round 2. Sargsyan – Erigaisi – 0-1, Martirosyan – Murzin – 1-0, Petrosyan – Deac, Hovhannisyan – Bluebaum, Tabatabaei – Sevian – draws. Standings after Round 2. 1. Erigaisi – 2; 2-3. Deac, Martirosyan – 1,5; 4-7. Petrosyan, Sevian, Bluebaum, Tabatabaei – 1; 8-9. Hovhannisyan, Sargsyan – 0,5; 10. Murzin – 0.

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