Twice in lead in the rapid format, Arjun Erigaisi needed a victory in the blitz segment to overpower a fighting 15-year-old Christopher Yoo (USA) 3.5-2.5 to advance to the semifinals of the $150,000 Julius Baer Generation Cup online rapid chess tournament on Thursday.
Arjun will take on Vietnam’s Le Quang Liem who defeated USA’s Hans Moke Niemann 2.5-1.5.
In the top-half of the draw, in a battle of 17-year-olds, Vincent Keymer defeated R. Praggnanandhaa 3-1 to set up a clash with Norway’s World champion Magnus Carlsen, who won three times in succession to shut out Levon Aronian (USA) 3-1.
The Arjun-Christopher clash was the only one that went into the blitz games. The two teenagers played out four decisive rapid games where the winner emerged from the white side.
In the first blitz game, Arjun punished his rival for an error on the 26th move and a massive blunder on the 28th turn. Christopher gave up on his 36h move. With Christopher facing a must-win situation in the second blitz game, Arjun played a steady game to enjoy better exchanges and easily forced a draw in 67 moves.
Earlier, Praggnanandhaa failed to get his act together against Keymer. After a late blunder cost him the first game, Praggnanandhaa could not find any advantage in the next two games and that left him in a desperate position to win on demand in the fourth.
Keymer did yield some ground until the 37th move but Praggnanandhaa committed a match-deciding blunder on the 38th move. Keymer saw his chance and closed out the contest in 42 moves.
Carlsen lost the first game to Aronian but hit back in great style to win the next three. Meanwhile, Neimann’s defeat ended all speculation around Carlsen giving up the final should the two meet in the title-clash. It may be recalled that Carlsen had resigned on his second move during their league encounter.
Vaishali posts first win
In the FIDE women’s Grand Prix in Astana, Kazakhstan, R. Vaishali (3 points) defeated Germany’s Elizabeth Paehtz in 61 moves for her first win in the sixth round of the 12-player competition on Friday.