Abu Dhabi Masters: Gagare and Harika put up fine performances

Grandmaster Shardul Gagare shared the fifth spot with 4.5 points, while Harika has registered two wins, three draws and just one loss after six rounds in the Abu Dhabi Chess Festival.

After a decent outing on Sunday, Harika will take on CM Suleymanli Aydin of Azerbaijan in her seventh—round clash and will look to bounce back from the three consecutive draws.   -  V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Grandmaster Shardul Gagare shared the fifth spot with 4.5 points after six rounds of the Abu Dhabi Masters chess tournament here on Saturday, while Egypt’s Amin Bassem led the field with 5.5 points.

Indian Grandmaster Harika Dronavalli had a decent outing and played out two draws against compatriot Eesha Karavade and Spain’s Antonio Pazos Porta in the fifth and sixth rounds respectively.

The World No.9 Indian, playing with white pieces for her first game of the day, got off to a flying start against Eesha. But she could not capitalise on the advantage as Eesha blocked all possibilities to make inroads and lead the game towards neutral territory.

The draw in the fifth round put Harika up against F. M. Pazos Porta of Spain. She had to be at her defensive best to contain the attack from her Spanish opponent.

However, it was the Spanish who offered to share the spoils after just 20 moves and Harika accepted.

“The position was dead equal and my opponent couldn’t break my defensive strategy, so he offered a draw,” the Hyderabadi said after her second game of the day.

After six rounds in the nine—round Swiss tournament, Harika has registered two wins, three draws and just one loss.

She will take on CM Suleymanli Aydin of Azerbaijan for her seventh—round clash and will look to bounce back from the three consecutive draws.