Experience Bests Youth: Radjabov Knocks Out Erigaisi

Experience Bests Youth: Radjabov Knocks Out Erigaisi


GM Teimour Radjabov knocked out GM Arjun Erigaisi on Wednesday, securing the last spot into the round of 16 at the Chess.com Global Championship.

This was an especially electrifying matchup of experienced contender vs. up-and-comer. In this corner, entering at 2747 in live ratings, we have Radjabov, a repeat world championship candidate who kicked off his entrance into the chess elite with victories against GMs Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand in 2003―the year his current opponent was born. And in this corner, entering at 2731, we have Erigaisi, the teenage super-GM who recently performed at a 2893 level to win the Abu Dhabi Chess Festival. How would the wisdom of experience fair against the energy and momentum of youth?

The round of 16 begins on Sunday, October 2, starting at 12 p.m. PT / 21:00 CET, featuring GM Levon Aronian vs. GM Sam Sevian and GM Wesley So vs. GM Jeffery Xiong.

In the first game, these two heavyweights battled to a fighting draw by perpetual check. 

After a tense middlegame skirmish in the next game, Radjabov gained the two bishops and a passed pawn to head into an advantageous ending. 

In game three, Erigaisi made the bold choice to reject a repetition and play on for the win as Black. Radjabov soon aimed the majority of his pieces at his opponent’s kingside and broke through in the center, seizing a significant edge and trading into the endgame. Radjabov looked to be converting seamlessly to win the match when he overlooked one detail in the resulting king-and-pawn ending. With just seconds on his clock, Erigaisi discovered the opportunity to save the game. 

Next, in a must-win position, Erigaisi’s play went into a higher gear in game four. Despite having to bring his king back into the center, Erigaisi’s pieces gained great activity and space on all sides of the board. He soon found a clever tactic to win material, tie the match, and trigger an armageddon playoff. Try your hand at detecting his subtle yet winning idea in the puzzle below. 

Radjabov bid 14 minutes for the armageddon game, essentially deciding that he wanted to take white and play for the win, no matter what. This decisive duel is our Game of the Day.

In his post-match interview, Radjabov shared his thoughts on preparing for the match: “I didn’t do any special preparation, to be honest, so I don’t have any secrets to tell you about how to beat Erigaisi…. But probably to retain some energy is good, so I didn’t do much at home before the match and tried to relax as much as I can. I thought it would be kind of tense, and it was.”

Round of 32 Scoreboard

Round of 16 Bracket

The 2022 Chess.com Global Championship (CGC) is the first Chess.com global championship cycle open to all Chess.com verified players. Players compete in official Chess.com verified events for their share of the $1,100,000 prize fund and the Chess.com Global Champion title.

Chess legends, such as GMs Viswanathan Anand, Vasyl Ivanchuk, Vladimir Kramnik, and Veselin Topalov, compete against today’s best (online) players, including GMs Hikaru Nakamura, Ding Liren, Levon Aronian, and Jan-Krzysztof Duda, and more. 

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