It was Arjun Erigaisi’s day at the FTX Road to Miami online rapid chess tournament on Tuesday.
After letting an unbeaten Jan-Krzysztof Duda escape to victory in the ninth round, a hat-trick of wins saw Arjun retain second spot and qualify for the quarterfinals with three rounds to go.
Arjun did not let the disappointing loss in the day’s first round affect him and came out stronger against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Hans Moke Niemann and Women’s world champion Ju Wenjun.
Gaining three points for each win, Arjun took his tally to 26/36 and moved within two points of the leader Samuel Sevian. Arjun scored nine points - one more than Sevian - to emerge as the strongest performer of the penultimate day of the league.
Interestingly, Levon Aronian and Anish Giri share the seventh spot at 17/36. They will feel the heat in the last three rounds in their bid to remain in the top-8 bracket.
Arjun reached a winning position against Duda but messed up on the 43rd move. The Polish player sensed his chance to bounce back and never put a foot wrong again, winning in 69 moves.
Mamedyarov blundered on the 33rd move in a position that appeared to be heading for a draw, and Arjun capitalized on it to win in the next three moves. In the 11th round, rising star Neimann faltered on the 41st move in an equal position, and Arjun sealed the matter on the 46th move.
In the day’s final round, Arjun dominated Ju Wenjun to hand the latter her fourth loss of the day. The Chinese struggled with her internet connection and resigned on the 34th move when she found herself a move away from being checkmated.