Grandmaster and former world junior champion P. Harikrishna suffered his second consecutive defeat in the Shamkir Chess Tournament, losing to Anish Giri of Holland in the fourth round here today.
After a remarkable start that gave him a draw and a victory over Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Harikrishna seems to be slipping out a bit and now will need at least one victory in the next two games to find him back among the probables for a podium finish.
The win over Harikrishna was some sort of a revenge for the Dutchman of Nepalese origin as the Indian had beaten him in their last outing in Norway.
Today’s game was a Tarrasch opening wherein Harikrishna seemed to have equalised according to artificial intelligence. However, when it came to playing on board, Giri was determined to prove the computer judgement wrong.
As it happened in the game, Harikrishna had to go for the bait when Giri sacrificed a central pawn eyeing his king side. Everything looked in order for the naked eye but the tension kept brewing and Harikrishna missed an important detail in the process.
Sacrificing a piece, Giri was in command and won in just 27 moves. Harikrishna is known to be a fighter but on this day he did not get a second chance.
Meanwhile, Fabiano Caruana of United States seemed unstoppable here as he scored another victory at the expense of local hopeful Rauf Mamedov. The American took his tally to an astonishing 3.5 points out of a possible four and remained as the sole leader with five rounds still remaining in this nine-round event.
While these were the only decisive games of the day, World championship challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia had to be content with a draw against Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine and strongest woman player on the planet Yifan Hou could not get more than a half point against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan. The all Azerbaijani duel between Teimour Radjabov and Safarli Eltaj also ended in a draw.
With the second half coming now, Caruana is a half point ahead of Anish Giri while Karjakin, Radjabov, Mamedyarov and Eltaj have two points apiece. Harikrishna shares the seventh spot along with Mamedov and Yifan on 1.5 points apiece while Eljanov is at the bottom of the tables on just one point.
Results: Round 4: Anish Giri (Ned, 3) beat P Harikrishna (Ind, 1.5); Rauf Mamedov (Aze, 1.5) lost to Caruana Fabiano (Usa, 3.5); Pavel Eljanov (Ukr, 1) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 2); Yifan Hou (Chn, 1.5) drew with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 1.5); Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 2) drew with Safarli Eltaj (Aze, 2).
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