Harikrishna held to a draw by Mamedov in Shamkir

With just two rounds remaining, Caruana is on 5.5 points, a half point ahead of Giri. Mamedyarov and Karjakin now share the third spot on four points apiece while Harikrishna stands sole fifth on 3.5 points.

After registering an easy draw as black in the previous round against Yifan Hou of China, Harikrishna needed to win to catch up with the leaders but Mamedov proved a tough nut to crack.   -  V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Indian Grandmaster P. Harikrishna played out a draw with Rauf Mamedov of Azerbaijan and slipped to fifth position in the Shamkir Chess tournament here today.

After registering an easy draw as black in the previous round against Yifan Hou of China, Harikrishna needed to win to catch up with the leaders but Mamedov proved a tough nut to crack in this tournament.

Fabiano Caruana of United States remained in sole lead after drawing with Anish Giri of Holland in a position where the computer indicated the former stood better. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan defeated compatriot Safarli Eltaj to move a step closer but he still remains a distant joint third.

Sergey Karjakin of Russia and Teimour Ardjabov of Azerbaijan played a rather strange game wherein just one minor piece changed hands for 33 moves and the players decided to shake hands. The other game of the day between Pavel Eljanov and Yifan was still in progress with the Ukrainian pressing hard for his first victory.

With just two rounds remaining, Caruana is on 5.5 points, a half point ahead of Giri. Mamedyarov and Karjakin now share the third spot on four points apiece while Harikrishna stands sole fifth on 3.5 points. Mamedov and Radjabov are joint sixth on three points apiece.

Harikrishna started of with the king pawn against Mamedov and faced the Sicilian defence. The Rossolimo was Harikrishna’s choice and it was a complicated game wherein the Indian sacrificed a pawn for initiative.

Mamedov to his credit was spot on in defense and found some right moves to remain in the game with his extra pawn.

The game liquidated in to an endgame in which Harikrishna was still a pawn less but the game was always within the boundaries of a draw.

Caruana faced the open Ruy Lopez and went for a recently popular variation against Giri. It was a hard fought affair but Giri kept himself in contention. Caruana was on top when the draw was agreed but the American probably did not mind the result as this kept him in lead.

Results: Round 7: P. Harikrishna (Ind, 3.5) drew with Rauf Mamedov (3); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 4) drew with Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 3); Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 5.5) drew with Anish Giri (Ned, 5); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 4) beat Safarli Eltaj (2.5); Pavel Eljanov (Ukr, 1.5) playing Yifan Hou (Chn, 2). PTI Corr PDS PDS 06022152

  Dugout videos