Arjun Erigaisi Briefly World #5 As Menorca Open Winner

GM Arjun Erigaisi won the 2024 Menorca Open on Sunday. The Indian top-GM edged out GMs Kirill Alekseenko and Maksim Chigaev on tiebreaks after all finished on 7.5/9. Arjun reached a career-peak live rating of 2761 and briefly occupied the fifth place in the world rankings.

As it goes with those quick changes at the top, Arjun is currently in seventh place in the live ratings, one-and-a-half days after his tournament victory. An eight-move draw in the final round against GM Vladimir Fedoseev lost him one Elo point and pushed him just below GM Ding Liren, while GM Ian Nepomniachtchi moved ahead as well with a good score in Toronto.

Still, it’s remarkable to see a further small jump in the ratings for Arjun, taking into account that he achieved it in open tournaments – he played the Grenke Open shortly before Menorca. His secret? Not losing.

Erigaisi live ratings
Arjun didn’t lose a single game in Karlsruhe or Menorca. Image: 2700chess.

It’s a common belief that it’s harder to win rating points in opens, although GM Fabiano Caruana disagreed with that notion in a recent episode of his C-Squared podcast: “I know that this is a very common narrative, that top players play in their own little fish bowl and then they go to the wide open sea, and then they lose all their hard-earned rating made by drawing a million games. Absolutely not the case from my experience.”

Fabiano Caruana
Fabiano Caruana doesn’t think it’s harder for top GMs to gain rating in open tournaments. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Caruana noted that he’s gained rating points in almost every open he’s played in since 2016 and mentioned GM Hikaru Nakamura doing the same in different Gibraltar tournaments. He argued: “Ratings are there for a reason. They mean something.”

Erigaisi Menorca 2024 result
Arjun remained undefeated in Menorca with six wins and three draws.

Arjun’s Buchholz tiebreak was identical to Alekseenko’s, but after removing the worst opponent for both, it was the Indian GM who prevailed. The regulations do not make a mention of shared prizes in case of a tie, so it looks like this tiny difference was quite costly for Alekseenko.

Arjun Erigaisi Menorca 2024
The full 5,000 euros went to Arjun while Alekseenko won 3,000 euros. Photo: Open Chess Menorca/Facebook.

In the fourth round, Arjun beat the 23-year-old German IM Roven Vogel, who blundered in a position that was still OK for him. Shortly before, the eventual tournament winner missed a tactic that you can try to solve yourself:

An important game, which took Arjun to that temporary fifth spot in the world, was his win in the penultimate round. He played a model game in a Semi-Tarrasch against his compatriot GM Aryan Chopra, a 22-year-old player from New Delhi who was a grandmaster at the age of 14 but thus far has failed to break 2650.

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Alekseenko came second after winning a hard-fought battle against Dutch GM Max Warmerdam in the final round. Alekseenko is one of several players who left Russia due to the war in Ukraine (like third-placed Chigaev), and now represents Austria. His most notable game was in round six, where he lost to GM Daniel Dardha. The talented Belgian came up with a brilliant theoretical novelty and won a very nice game:

Kirill Alekseenko Menorca 2024
Kirill Alekseenko came second in Menorca. Photo: Open Chess Menorca/Facebook.

Final standings (Top 10)

Menorca Chess Open 2024 Final Standings

The Menorca Open 2024 took place April 2-7, 2024, in the four-star MarSenses Paradise Club in Ciutadella de Menorca, Spain. The format was a nine-round Swiss. The time control was 90 minutes for the entire game plus a 30-second increment starting on move one. You can find all the games on our events page.

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