Levon Aronian beat Arjun Erigaisi in the Armageddon Playoffs to win Tata Steel Chess India 2021 Blitz. The second day of the Blitz event saw several players at the top throughout the day between Nihal, Gukesh, Levon, Parham and Arjun. However, in the end it was Aronian and Arjun who tied for the first place at 11.5/18 each. Arjun was completely winning in both Playoff games and Aronian admitted that he should have lost at least one of them. It was absolutely fitting that Arjun and Aronian finished at the top in Blitz and they had to play the tie-break games after their virtual final in the Rapid two days ago. The Aronian-Arjun saga is certainly far from over. It is just getting started. Photo: Lennart Ootes
A poetic finale
"First of all, I didn't expect to be playing in the Blitz event. I am very happy that I got this as well. I am happy about rapid. I could have probably done better on the second day. I had a slightly off day today but nevertheless I had a good finish. It went down to the wire. I would like to thank everyone, Tata Steel for giving me this opportunity, to play against such strong players like Levon Aronian, Le Quang Liem and others. Also being mentored by Vishy sir is just fantastic. I am thankful to my family, friends, coaches, everyone. A special mention to Ramaraju sir who is here, who helped me a lot in the past. Also Srinath who has been a great support and he had seen the potential in me before anyone else did. I hope to reach greater heights." - Arjun Erigaisi, winner of Tata Steel Chess India 2021 Rapid. He also added, "This is surely my best event of my career so far and it's a fantastic feeling.
Levon Aronian receives the Tata Steel Chess India 2021 Blitz trophy from AICF Hony. Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan | Photo: Lennart Ootes
"It's a wonderful experience because you have such fans and such devoted people to chess that organize such an event. I am extremely grateful to everybody who is following and making this tournament happen, to Tata Steel, Anand who I witnessed for the first time as an organizer and as a person who doesn't actually want to hurt me (laughs)..." - Aronian on his experience playing Tata Steel Chess India 2021." Anand chimed, "I am sure the feeling was mutual when you were playing but one of my closest friends and a very enjoyable company. So I am sure most of you have seen that side of him as well. Congrats Lev! In spite of the fact, that you are probably not in the best shape, you hung in there and came back in the blitz. His knowledge about obscure facts about India is amazing and he is also a big fan of Indian movies. Always a pleasure to have him here."
"I think discovering something is always very important and for me this is the driving force of my life, learning new things. You know a country like India, has so much knowledge, wisdom, that you can learn every day. The most of the things I have learned here was from the young players. They are incredible and also the lady players were giving us a hard time. The only reason I got this cup, I think Arjun is a very strong player in chess but he is not physically so strong to carry two cups. So that's why he thought about this and said okay, one is enough for me." On getting into the zone for Playoffs, Aronian shared, "Of course I was very lucky to be able to play in tie-break. My games were very poor and also I have to admit I should have lost in maybe both games, definitely in one in the tie-break. I think throughout the day I played one good game, it was the Armageddon.I can tell you I spent a long time preparing mentally ready but no-no I was just very lucky."