Hyderabad: Playing his maiden Chess Olympiad, Telangana grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi, who was part of India A team, had a good run. Though the team missed out on a medal by a whisker finishing fourth, the Warangal lad impressed everyone with his performance. He clinched a silver medal on Board 3 and also crossed 2700 rating […]
Hyderabad: Playing his maiden Chess Olympiad, Telangana grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi, who was part of India A team, had a good run. Though the team missed out on a medal by a whisker finishing fourth, the Warangal lad impressed everyone with his performance. He clinched a silver medal on Board 3 and also crossed 2700 rating points, which he has been dreaming of.
However, Arjun was disappointed at missing out on the medal on his debut. “Competing in the maiden Chess Olympiad was a great experience. Since this was my first Olympiad, I wanted to make it a memorable one. As a team, we had better expectations. We were on course for a medal but we missed it. It was disappointing. But individually, I am happy with my performance. Winning silver in the individual category was satisfying,” said Arjun who played all 11 games and scored 8.5 points with six wins and five draws.
Entering the fray as hosts, India A team were considered one of the favourites for the medal. However, their losses in crucial matches did them in. “We lost against Armenia and drew with Uzbekistan. Had we at least drawn with Armenia, or won against Uzbekistan, we would have got a medal,” he rued. Arjun is happy that India B team won a medal. “The B team at least got a bronze. I am happy for them. Even the women’s team did extremely well to clinch the third place. They were leading from the front but lost in the final round. Otherwise, they would have got gold ,” added the 18-year-old.
Indian women’s team of Dronavalli Harika, Koneru Humpy, Tania Sachdev, Bhakti Kulkarani and R Vaishali scripted history with a maiden medal. They were on course to clinch gold before going down in the final round to settle for a bronze.
Playing in such a big tournament in front of a home crowd, how did the youngster feel? “I was very nervous on the first day. But as the days passed, I got settled,” he revealed.
Arjun also crossed the 2700 rating points during the tournament, which he has been eyeing for quite some time now. He thus became the only seventh Indian to cross the 2700 points. Speaking of the achievement, he said, “I was very close to achieving it. I used to think a lot about crossing the 2700 during earlier tournaments. That might have worked in a negative way. I used to watch for the rating points during the tournament. But this being a team event, I haven’t thought about the rating points much. I just checked once in a while. I am happy that I finally crossed the rating points.”
He further added that he got to learn a lot playing against top players. “On the whole, I got to analyse my game and understand it better. I also got to interact with top players which is great.”
He now set his sights on achieving 2750 rating points. “I will be competing in the Abhu Dhabi Masters, which is an open tournament. My goal is to win there and achieve 2750 rating points next,” concluded the youngster.