Shamkir chess: Harikrishna next plays Yifan Hou

Harikrishna, with 2.5 points, currently shares the fourth spot in the 10-player round-robin tournament with a prize fund of €83000.

After a rest day following some really high-tension games, Harikrishna can feel at ease in the last four rounds as the storm has apparently passed since the Indian has played all the top players.   -  V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Indian Grandmaster P. Harikrishna will take on women’s World champion Yifan Hou of China in the sixth round of Shamkir Chess tournament here on Wednesday.

After a rest day following some really high-tension games, Harikrishna can feel at ease in the last four rounds as the storm has apparently passed since the Indian has played all the top players.

Harikrishna, with 2.5 points, currently shares the fourth spot in the 10-player round-robin tournament with a prize fund of €83000.

The Indian began with a draw against World No. 2 Fabiano Caruana of the United States and a victory in the second round over local favourite Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

However, Harikrishna slipped and lost to Sergey Karjakin of Russia and Anish Giri of Holland in the next two rounds and could stage a recovery only in the fifth round when he won a beautiful game against Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine.

After the battle with Yifan, Harikrishna plays Azerbaijan’s Eltaj Safarli, Teimour Radjabov and Rauf Mamedov in the last three rounds and would be hoping for a positive result.

Caruana, after the draw with Harikrishna, has been on a rampage winning the next four games and is currently leading the tables by half-a-point over Giri, who has four points with three wins and two draws. Karjakin is in third place with three points while Harikrishna shares the fourth spot with Mamedyarov.

Mamedov, Radjabov and Safarli all have two points each, sharing the sixth spot while Yifan on 1.5 is ninth currently and half-a-point clear of Eljanov.

It looks like a massive gap between the leader Caruana and Harikrishna currently but, Caruana has tough games lined up in the last three rounds when he is scheduled to meet Giri, Mamedyarov and finally Karjakin.

The pairings (sixth round): Yifan Hou (Chn, 1.5) vs P. Harikrishna (2.5); Anish Giri (Ned, 4) vs Pavel Eljanov (Ukr, 1); Safarli Eltaj (Aze, 2) vs Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 4.5); Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 2) vs Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 2.5); Rauf Mamedov (Aze, 2) vs Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 3). — PTI