Abu Dhabi Masters: Harika stuns Mamedov, leads with 13 others

D. Harika produced a memorable finish to overpower noted Azerbaijani Grandmaster Rauf Memedov in the second round.

D. Harika now has two points after two rounds.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam (File Photo)

D. Harika produced a memorable finish to overpower noted Azerbaijani Grandmaster Rauf Memedov and joined S. P. Sethuraman in the 14-player leaders’ pack after two rounds of the Abu Dhabi Masters chess tournament here on Tuesday.

After the top two seeds were held by young Indians in the first round, Harika accounted for the third seed in 56 moves. Sethuraman defeated Italy’s Fabrizio Bellia for his second victory. If Arjun Kalyan held top seed Nigel Short in the first round, it was the turn of Raunak Sadhwani to force a draw against the British Grandmaster on this day. Sadhwani’s rating is 2359, against Short’s 2688!

Young GM Aryan Chopra, Abhimanyu Puranik, N. R. Vignesh, Raja Harshit, Aditya Mittal and M. Mahalakshmi were among those who pulled off a draw against higher-rated rivals. GM Neelotpal Das brought down his higher-ranked Georgian counterpart Levan Pantsulaia. Srija Seshadari defeated pre-match favourite Iranian Arya Omidi.

However, the ladies brigade of Eesha Karavade, Tania Sachdev, N. Priyanka, P. V. Nandhidhaa and Pratyusha Bodda ended up on the losing side.

Important results (involving Indians):

Second round: D. Harika (2) bt Rauf Mamedov (Aze, 1); Anton Korobov (Ukr, 1.5) drew with Aryan Chopra (1.5); Constantin Lupulescu (Rom, 1.5) drew with Abhimanyu Puranik (1.5); N. R. Vignesh (1.5) drew with Mircea-Emilian Parligras (Rom, 1.5); Robert Hovhannisyan (Arm, 1.5) drew with Raja Harshit (1.5); Neelotpal Das (1.5) drew with Levan Pantsulaia (Geo, 1.5); Alexander Fier (Bra, .5) drew with P. Iniyan (1.5); Arya Omidi (Iri, 0.5) lost to Srija Seshadari (1.5); Raunak Sadhwani (1) drew with Nigel Short (Eng, 1); M. Mahalakshmi (1) drew with Alireza Fiouzja (Ira, 1); Aditya Mittal (0.5) drew with Max Illingworth (Aus, 0.5).