Covid puts brakes on Grandmaster Arjun’s goals

Telangana’s first Grandmaster busy playing tournaments online to maintain form

By   |  Published: 1st Jul 2020  12:07 amUpdated: 30th Jun 2020  11:15 pm
Arjun Erigaisi has been impressive in online tourneys recently.

Hyderabad: For the first Grandmaster from the State of Telangana Arjun Erigaisi, the coronavirus pandemic has come as a speed breaker. Having achieved the GM title at a very young age of 14 years and 11 months in 2018 making him the 32nd youngest ever to achieve it, his immediate target was to reach 2600 FIDE rating points and then focus on achieving 2700 rating points.

However, with the outbreak of coronavirus, Arjun’s progress has come to a temporary halt. The current crisis has confined everyone to their homes and many international tournaments have been cancelled. Arjun, however, is not letting his guard down. He is spending a lot of time playing tournaments online and polishing his skills.

He has so far played over 60 tournaments online since his last on-board game in February in Russia. “Yes, many tournaments have been cancelled. I last played in Russia where I accumulated good rating points. I planned to play many tournaments. But with the current crisis, I am playing only online tournaments. I participated in over 60 tournaments in last four months and won in a few including the Titled Tuesday and Titled Arena along with an Azerbaijan tournament,” said the 16-year-old lad from Warangal.

“I was in good form before the tournaments were cancelled. My immediate goals are to reach these two landmark rating points. But it is possible only if one plays on-board games. Playing online tournaments will help improve the game and stay in touch with it. However, we can’t improve FIDE rating through these tournaments. So I am eagerly waiting for the on-board format. A few tournaments are being conducted in Norway and Hungary, but we can’t participate because of the restrictions on international travel,” revealed the intermediate second year student who has 2559 rating points. His highest rating points were 2575 that he achieved in January this year.

Speaking about his training in the lockdown period, he said it didn’t take a hit. “In fact, I got more time to spend at home working on my game. I work at least 10 to 12 hours every day playing game online and learning. My Israeli coach Victor Mikhalevski takes two classes in a week and gives me work. This keeps me occupied. So I didn’t get to learn new things apart from exercising and reading,” revealed the youngster.

With no sign of relief in sight from the coronavirus, the 2015 Asian Youth Championship silver medalist feels the entire year will perhaps see no tournaments. “I don’t think there will be any tournaments this year since we can’t travel abroad. As of now, other than working on my game and playing online tournaments, we can’t plan anything,” he said.

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