Jermuk, Armenia
June 9-18

Stepan Avagyan Memorial International RR 17 Category Tournament ։ Round 8


Round 8: Witnesses of Erigaisi


The main question of the tournament in Jermuk has been answered: as expected, Erigaisi came, saw, and conquered. Without the slightest deviation from his master plan and without mercy for his opponents. In the 8th round, he defeated Murzin, reached a score of "+4", and secured the victory in the Avagyan Memorial ahead of schedule.


Erigaisi had a prepared plan for each opponent, targeting their weakest points. Murzin was left defending in a dull endgame where Arjun had a clear, albeit not decisive, advantage. His pawn structure was stronger, his pieces more active, and his bishop, with play on both flanks, more effective. Of course, there was no mathematically guaranteed win for White, but they could press Black indefinitely.


Murzin held his ground quite well until the first time control. Erigaisi kept prodding Black's pieces with small threats, but each time they found adequate responses. However, once the game entered the 30-second increment phase, the Russian faltered. His 43...Rf8? immediately pushed the game to the brink of defeat—White's rook broke into "the garden," making the bishop's superiority over the knight evident. By move 49, Arjun had an extra passed pawn, and there was no stopping it. Murzin stopped the clock on move 63.


It's worth noting that no one in Jermuk had ever won first place with such a commanding lead. Not only did Erigaisi achieve "+4" and become unreachable with a round to spare, but in none of his games did he find himself in a worse position. He might have missed half a point when he couldn't convert the rook versus bishop endgame against Martirosyan. He won when he wanted to and drew when there was no reason to push for a win. He easily equalized with Black and gained comfortable positions with White, never letting anyone off easily.


It's no surprise that such a chess player continues to climb the rating ladder, gaining respect and fans with his new victories. In Armenia, where Erigaisi has played more than once, he is sure to gain many personal fans. Watching his game feels like touching something special, something only the chosen ones can achieve!


Erigaisi's competitors – Sevian and Tabatabaei – tried their best to delay Arjun's coronation. But, as in the previous round, neither succeeded! Petrosyan escaped from Amin's deadly grasp yesterday, and today he held off Samvel's attack. Like yesterday, Manuel erred before time trouble and lost a pawn but managed to create subtle counterplay and then find a fortress to hold with two pawns down. As for Amin, he faced the quest: can his extra bishop (for a pawn) in a rook endgame, with pawns on one flank, secure a win? Ovsepyan thought not – and held the draw.


The other two games, Blübaum vs. Dyach and Martirosyan vs. Sargsyan, were not very eventful and ended in draws. The tournament standings remained unchanged for these pairs.


Stepan Avagyan Memorial. Round 8. Erigaisi – Murzin – 1-0, Sevian – Petrosyan, Tabatabaei – Hovhannisyan, Bluebaum – Deac, Martirosyan – Sargsyan – draws. Standings after Round 8. 1. Erigaisi – 6; 2-4. Tabatabaei, Deac, Sevian – 4,5; 5-6. Martirosyan, Hovhannisyan – 4; 7-8. Sargsyan, Petrosyan – 3,5; 9. Bluebaum – 3; 10. Murzin – 2,5.

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