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Tata Steel India 2022 Rapid R1-3: The 'Shakh Attack' Unleashed

Report by Shahid Ahmed / Chessbase India

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov enchanted the chess universe with his fantastic play on the first day of Tata Steel Chess India 2022 Rapid. After a relatively paltry victory against Gukesh, the World no.14 exhibited some exemplary play scoring wins over Sethuraman and Wesley So. The third round win against So was excellent. Speaking of excellence, Arjun Erigaisi started the day with a brilliant win over Nodirbek Abdusattorov in a clash of the champions. Arjun slipped a bit in the next two games by somehow managing two draws, one was lost and another had a full point fingertips away. Nihal Sarin is also at an unbeaten 2/3 along with Arjun. Round 4 starts tomorrow at 4 p.m. IST. Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Nakamura loses two in-a-row, Spectacular start to the tournament

When was the last time you saw a super tournament where only three players remained unscathed after the first day? It will certainly be difficult to recall. Yet, no player is at zero point. Statistically the strength of the field is second-highest since the 2019 edition of Tata Steel Chess India. However, the reality is 9/10 if not 10/10 are capable of winning the tournament. Only six out of 15 games ended decisively, the exact same number as the Women's event of the first day.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov made a fantastic start to emerge sole leader 3/3 | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Round 1: An Instant Classic

The clash of champions between the reigning World Rapid and 44th Chess Olympiad Gold medalist, GM Nodirbek Abduattorov (UZB, 2676) and the defending Tata Steel Chess India 2021 Rapid winner and reigning National champion of India, GM Arjun Erigaisi (2628), was absolutely an instant classic. The head-to-head encounters in rated games between the teenagers was tied at 1-1. That changed today.

Abdusattorov - Arjun

Position after 20.b4

20.b4 might seem to be the obvious move for White to launch an attack on Black's castled king. However, computer does not agree with it. It surmises it as a positional inaccuracy. 20...c4 21.Qf3 Rhe8 22.Re1 Qxb4 yes Black can afford to take another pawn because the king cannot be harmed easily. Soon Black's advantage accentuated and he sacrificed an exchange to eliminate any counterplay possibilities. This game will definitely get into the books in the future for a near-perfect play by Black.


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