SAN FRANCISCO: Indian Grand Master Arjun Erigaisi scored a 2.5-1.5 victory over the Dutch GM Anish Giri in the fifth round of Meltwater Champions Tour Final Saturday.
Young GM R Praggnanandhaa was embroiled in an intense battle with Poland’s Jan-Krzysztof Duda, with the game ending 3.5-3.5 after the players split the honors in all four rapid games, two blitzes and one Armageddon game.
Erigaisi’s win over Giri was his second and took him to six points with fellow 17-year-old Indian Praggnanandhaa.
He won the first game in 56 moves with white and the second in 44 with black.
A 36-stroke draw saw Erigaisi seal their second win, a day after beating Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 3-1.
The Praggnanandhaa-Duda encounter was a thriller. The highly rated Pole won the opener before the teenage Indian star equalized by taking the second from 53 strokes.
A similar pattern repeated itself with Duda and Praggu winning the third and fourth games respectively with black pieces. The Indian won the first tie-break blitz match to see his opponent even things up with a 41-shot win.
In Armageddon (game of sudden death), Duda and Praggu faced each other for 90 moves before peace was signed.
Meanwhile, Norwegian world number 1 Magnus Carlsen, who had been on cruise control until round four, had to do his best to tame Vietnamese Quang Liem Le 4-3 via the sudden tie-break.
They were tied 2-2 after the four quick games and the honors were split in the blitz before Carlsen prevailed in Armageddon.
In the day’s other match, American Wesley So crushed Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 3-0, winning three games in a row.
Carlsen leads the standings with an all-time win record of 15 points. Duda is second with nine points followed by So (9). Praggnanandhaa and Erigaisi each have six points and sit fifth and sixth respectively.
In round six on Sunday, Praggnanandhaa will face Carlsen in a highly anticipated matchup while Erigaisi will meet Liem Le.
Eight players qualified for the final after a series of events in the Meltwater Champions Tour.
The total prize for the Tour Finals is 210,000 USD. Each win in the round robin earns a player $7,500. The eight players play a round robin. The winner will be the player who accumulates the most points and money in total.



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