Isle of Man: Vidit Gujrathi stops Harsha

Vidit Gujrathi ended the dream run of National junior champion Harsha Bharathkoti in the fifth round to set up a top-board clash with frontrunner Magnus Carlsen in the Isle of Man chess tournament here.

The second highest Indian in the fray, Gujarathi next takes on World Champion Carlsen Magnus of Norway.   -  Rajeev Bhatt

Vidit Gujrathi ended the dream run of National junior champion Harsha Bharathkoti in the fifth round to set up a top-board clash with frontrunner Magnus Carlsen in the Isle of Man chess tournament here.

Vidit, rated 2,702 as the third strongest player in India, won in 42 moves. Harsha, in fact, played way above his rating of 2,394 by performing at 2,894 at the end of the fifth round. In fact, the 97th-seeded International Master’s victims include a trio of seasoned Grandmasters – USA’s Varuzhan Akobian, Switzerland’s Sebastian Bogner and B. Adhiban – seeded 25, 36 and 21, in that order.

The expected triumph pushed Vidit to the second spot at five points, half a point behind Carlsen who stopped overnight joint leader Pavel Eljanov in just 29 moves. On Friday, 12th seed Vidit plays black against Carlsen. Viswanathan Anand, seeded fourth, topped the heap for the tied third place after overpowering teammate S. P. Sethuraman in a sharp, tactical clash lasting 51 moves following the opening lines of Ruy Lopez.

Joining Anand at 4.5 points was Swapnil Dhopade who impressively nailed higher-rated Norwegian GM Aryan Tari in 49 moves. In an interesting battle involving Indians, S. L. Narayanan pulled off a surprise victory over Adhiban, who suffered his second straight loss. Coincidently, Adhiban will face his fifth Indian rival – fourth in succession – in seven rounds when he plays S. Kidambi. World’s youngest International Master 12-year-old R. Praggnanandhaa made Swedish Grandmaster Nils Grandelius – rated 153 points higher at 2653 – struggle all the way to a 88-move draw. Grandelius, who had earlier drawn with D. Harika and Anand, forced a deadlock by perpetual checks in the marathon battle.

Also creditable was Aravindh Chithambaram’s 65-move draw with Peter Leko in a battle that ended with only the kings on the board.

The results (involving Indians): Sixth round: Harsha Bharathakoti (4) lost to Vidit Gujarathi (5); Viswanathan Anand (4.5) bt S. P. Sethuraman (4); Peter Leko (Hun, 4) drew with Aravindh Chithambaram (3.5); Vishnu Prasanna (3.5) lost to Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Uzb, 4.5); K. Ratnakaran (3.5) lost to Sergei Movsesian (Arm, 4.5); Nils Grandelius (Swe, 4) drew with R. Praggnanandhaa (4); Swapnil Dhopade (4.5) bt Aryan Tari (Nor, 3.5); S. L. Narayanan (4) bt B. Adhiban (3); Hou Yifan (Chn, 4) bt P. Magesh Chandran (3); Arjun Kalyan (3.5) drew with Alexie Shirov (Lat, 3.5); Falko Bindrich (Ger, 4) bt Neelotpal Das (3); S. Kidambi (3) drew with Sabino Brunello (Ita, 3); Jovanka Houska (Eng, 2.5) lost to D. Harika (2.5); Eesha Karavade (2.5) lost to Eugene Perelshteyn (USA, 3.5); Jonas Lampert (Ger, 3.5) bt R. Vaishali (2.5); C. R. G. Krishna (3) drew with Pier Luigi Basso (Ita, 3); N. R. Visakh (3.5) bt B. Vignesh (2.5); Swayams Mishra (3) v G. M. H. Thilakarathne (Sri, 2.5); Nihal Sarin (3) bt V. Pranav (2); Inna Gaponenko (Ukr, 2) lost to Hemant Sharma (3).

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