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Arjun Erigaisi leads Satty Zhuldyz Chess Festival 2023

300 children and youth of Kazakhstan began playing the Bibisara Assaubayeva Cup this morning, part of the Satty Zhuldyz Chess Festival 2023. Clocks were started at 11:00 local time with a ceremonial first move made by the Minister for Culture and Sport of Kazakhstan. The Minister awarded local star IM Bibisara Assaubayeva with the Honor of the Master of Sport on behalf of the Republic of Kazakhstan. “It’s a great pleasure to see and support the work of the Bibisara Assaubayeva Foundation and Satty Zhuldyz”, he said, “this is a welcome initiative to help develop the children and youth of Kazakhstan in chess.” He then made the ceremonial first move on the top board on both the U20 and U10 tournament. The children then played three rounds of the rapid, with several players currently in first place – with 14 year old IM Aldiyar Ansat currently in the lead of the U20 event on tie-break.

The first round of the Masters super-tournament began at 17:00 local time. There was a clash of former classical world champions, as Vladimir Kramnik was paired against Hou Yifan, with a ceremonial first move made by Ziyadin Malika, winner of the Kazakh Championship in her age group. Likewise, there was a clash of current and former Women’s Blitz World Champions as Bibisara Assaubayeva played Kateryna Lagno, with a ceremonial first move made by Kenenbay Alibi who won bronze medal in his age group in the National Championship.

Satty Zhuldyz Chess Festival 2023: Replay all games R1-R4 / Live games R5 / The return of Yifan Hou

In Round 1, Bibisara Assaubayeva had a lucky escape against Kateryna Lagno, as under time pressure Lagno’s winning position crumbled into a draw. Some of the veterans of the tournament, Boris Gelfand and Levon Aronian, both saw off the new Uzbek wunderkinds, Jakhongir Vakhidov and Javokhir Sindarov respectively.

In Round 2, players had zeroed in their sights – with 5 of 6 games being draws. The one decisive game was played between the Indian prodigy Arjun Erigaisi and the Uzbek prodigy Javokhir Sindarov. Despite Sindarov looking much better for most of the game, a fast time control allows blunders and mistakes to be made under time pressure – with Sindarov blundering his advantage and allowing Erigaisi to win.

Parallel: Nepo – Ding game 1 / Ding – Nepo game 2 / Nepo – Ding game 3 / Nepo – Ding game 4 / Nepo – Ding game 5 / Nepo – Ding game 6 / Nepo – Ding game 7 / Nepo – Ding game 8

Round 3 was also slightly less vicious than the first round – with Bibisara Assaubayeva drawing Vincent Keymer, Gelfand drawing against Lagno, and Grischuk drawing Aronian. Meanwhile, Arjun Erigaisi continued his hot streak with three wins in a row, beating Hou Yifan.

The final round of the day saw Arjun Erigaisi take the sole lead with an impressive 3.5 / 4, with a quick draw against Alexander Grischuk. He is a clear point ahead of second place, with both Boris Gelfand and Levon Aronian on 2.5 / 4. There is a large chasing pack on 2 / 4, including Bibisara Assaubayeva who came very close to an impressive victory over Vladimir Kramnik. However, the conversion of the position was not clear and provoked much analysis that lasted almost an hour, between the players and two other participants even after their game in a beautiful display of sportsmanship and respect for each other and the game.

Meanwhile, Javokhir Sindarov picked up his first win of the day against Kateryna Lagno – an important result for him after three losses. Hou Yifan likewise took a full point from Haik Martirosyan with a dominant and instructive control of the center.

More chess: the ongoing Stockfish vs Leela Superfinal (also live on Twitch here) . Stockfish leads at halftime with 25,5-24,5

Report by Maria Emilianova

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