Harikrishna held by Yifan Hou in Shamkir Chess

Grandmaster P. Harikrishna played out an easy draw as black against world women’s champion Yifan Hou of China in the sixth round of Shamkir Chess tournament now in progress here.

With two white games to come in the last three, P. Harikrishna can hope for a good finish.   -  Getty Images

Grandmaster P. Harikrishna played out an easy draw as black against world women’s champion Yifan Hou of China in the sixth round of Shamkir Chess tournament now in progress here.

Having played some very enterprising chess in the first five rounds, the rest day came as a good breather for Harikrishna as he equalised without much ado against Yifan who is struggling with her form here. With two white games to come in the last three, the Indian can hope for a good finish.

Draw was the order of the day as all the five games ended in draws. Dutchman Anish Giri could not break the defences of lowest ranked Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine while Safarli Eltaj of Azerbaijan stopped the juggernaut of Fabiano Caruana of United States. Azerbaijani Rauf Mamedov did well to hold world championship challenger Sergey Karjakinof Ukraine and the all Azerbaijani duel between Teimour Radjabov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov also reached the same fate.

As a result, the standings remained unchanged and Caruana continued at the helm with five points out of a possible six.

Anish Giri took his tally up to 4.5 points while Karjakin moved to 3.5. Harikrishna and Mamedyarov share the fourth spot on three points apiece while the Azerbaijani trio of Radjabov, Mamedov and Eltaj share the sixth spot with 2.5 points. Yifan on two points is on ninth place, a half point ahead of Eljanov.

Harikrishna took things easy. It was a Petroff defense by the Indian, an opening that has earned high respect in elite chess for its solidity. Yifan went for a system that required exchange of two minor pieces and Harikrishna was never in any troubles.

As a last-ditch effort towards complications, Yifan sacrificed a pawn and tried for a king side attack but Harikrishna went for the perpetual checks to ensure parity.

Caruana pressed hard for his fifth victory on the trot against Eltaj but the latter was quite up to the task in defence with his white pieces. As it turned out, although Caruana had a miniscule advantage, it was never good enough to convert in to a full point.

Results Round 6: Yifan Hou (Chn, 2) drew with P Harikrishna (Ind, 3); Safarli Eltaj (Aze, 2.5) drew with Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 5); Anish Giri (Ned, 4.5) drew with Pavel Eljanov (Ukr, 1.5); Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 2.5) drew with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 3); Rauf Mamedov (Aze, 2.5) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 3.5).

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