Harikrishna bounces back to beat Eljanov

Grandmaster and former world junior champion P. Harikrishna bounced back with an attacking victory over Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine in the fifth round of Shamkir Chess tournament here on Monday.

After two back-to-back losses coming against Sergey Karjakin of Russia and Anish Giri of Holland in the last two rounds, it was important for Harikrishna to recover.   -  v. v. subrahmanyam

Grandmaster and former world junior champion P. Harikrishna bounced back with an attacking victory over Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine in the fifth round of Shamkir Chess tournament here on Monday.

After two back-to-back losses coming against Sergey Karjakin of Russia and Anish Giri of Holland in the last two rounds, it was important for Harikrishna to recover and he did that in style to return to 50 per cent score just past the half way mark in the ten-player, round-robin tournament.

Fabiano Caruana meanwhile seems unstoppable as the American outclassed Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan to record his fourth win in five days. Anish Giri ensured Caruana did not go away from reach and remained within striking distance with his third victory in the event coming at the expense of local hopeful Eltaj Safarli.

In other games of the day Sergey Karjakin also remained focus to beat Women’s world champion Yifan Hou of China while the all Azerbaijani duel between Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Rauf Mamedov ended in a draw.

With four rounds still to come, Caruana is sitting pretty with 4.5 points enjoying a half point lead over Giri. Karjakin is a distant third at this point in the 83,000-euros prize money tournament having three points in his kitty.

Following his fine victory Harikrishna jumped to the joint fourth spot along with Mamedyarov on 2.5 points while Mamedov, Eltaj and Radjabov have two points. Yofan Hou is on the ninth spot with 1.5 and Eljanov remained on one point after another debacle.

Harikrishna displayed excellent form with his white pieces. Opting for the Four Knights opening, the Indian opened the King side with a thematic breakthrough and kept on mounting pressure with fine deployment of forces.

Black was pushed to the wall and Harikrishna uncorked a knight sacrifice on the 21st move to cause some serious damage. Eljanov defended accurately for some moves but missed out on the best defense on move 26 to allow Harikrishna a clear better position. The queen versus double rook endgame that ensued had some technicalities but Harikrishna made them look like child’s play and romped home in 41 moves.

Caruana was yet again at his instructive best in outplaying Radjabov from a Rossolimo opening as white Giri defeated Eltaj from the black side of an irregular closed Sicilian.

Results round 5: P Harikrishna (Ind, 2.5) beat Pavel Eljanov (Ukr, 1); Fabiano Caruana (4.5) beat Teomour Radjabov (Aze, 2); Safarli Eltaj (Aze, 2) lost to Anish Giri (Ned, 4); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 3) beat Yifan Hou (Chn, 1.5); Shakhriyayr Mamedyarov (Aze, 2.5) drew with Rauf Mamedov (Aze, 2).