Carlsen Leads In Final vs. Erigaisi

Carlsen Leads In Final vs. Erigaisi


GM Magnus Carlsen won the first match vs. GM Arjun Erigaisi in the final of the Julius Baer Generation Cup on Saturday. Winning two games and finishing off with a draw, the world champion needs only a tie in Sunday’s match to win the tournament.

How to watch? The games of the Julius Baer Generation Cup knockout can be found here. The rounds start each day at 9 a.m. Pacific/18:00 CEST.
Julius Baer Generation Cup 2022 results

The commentators were more impressed with his play than Carlsen himself. GM David Howell said: “I must say, in this tournament so far he is possibly the best I’ve seen since 2019, since he was just destroying everyone.”

Carlsen, afterward: “The score was obviously very good. I am far from satisfied with my play, I think there were some pretty bad moments today but overall I can’t complain.”

His opening in the first game was quite modest (6.c3 in the Exchange Grunfeld, instead of going for c2-c4 earlier) but Carlsen then outplayed Erigaisi slowly, although there was one moment where the game could have taken a different course.

Erigaisi: “I think I could play …g5 at some point and I saw the move but I didn’t go for it. That’s what hurts me the most.”

After that, Carlsen was in full control and 35.Bxg6! was a crushing sacrifice. 

The second game started as a quiet Italian, but things became interesting when Carlsen went for queenside castling. The key moment was move 27, when the world champion sacrificed an exchange without noticing all the details.

“Frankly, I was a bit lucky there,” he admitted afterward. “I hadn’t seriously considered the fact that he would take my rook as I thought it would just lose. Then I missed this idea of 29.Nc6+. So at that point, I quickly realized that every other move loses so I had to play 28…N4d5. The fact that he has no defense after that was a little bit lucky but considering the position it’s not too surprising. Fortunately I had some minutes there to calculate so I could easily eliminate all the other alternatives.”

Arjun Erigaisi generation cup
Arjun Erigaisi. Image: Champions Chess Tour.

In a game where he needed a draw, Carlsen went for the Alapin Sicilian and seemed to be looking for simplification early on, but this way he actually got into a slightly worse endgame. Erigaisi didn’t take his chances:

“I’m a bit disappointed with my play and with the result but it’s going to help me for sure so I take it as a positive thing,” said Erigaisi. “I have been telling myself not to think too much about the fact that I am playing against Magnus and just try to play as if it’s any other opponent. I don’t know if that helped or not.”

The 2022 Champions Chess Tour’s seventh event, the Julius Baer Generation Cup, takes place September 18-25, 2022 on chess24. The preliminary phase was a 16-player rapid (15|10) round-robin. The top eight players have advanced to the knockout phase which consists of two days of four-game rapid matches, which advance to blitz (5|3) and armageddon (White has five minutes, Black four with no increment) tiebreaks only if a knockout match is tied after the second day. The prize fund is $150,000.

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