Tata Steel Rapid Chess: P. Hari Krishna in joint lead

Viswanathan Anand, Wesley So sign peace after 145 moves.

Keen tussle: Viswanathan Anand (left) shakes Wesley So's hand ahead of the 145-move marathon draw. Photo: Special Arrangement

Viswanathan Anand and Nihal Sarin, the oldest and youngest players in the fray, proved their worth in contrasting ways. P. Hari Krishna gave a packed hall much to cheer about. All this while, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov showed why the chess world considers him as one of the most proactive campaigners in the shorter format on the opening day of the Tata Steel rapid chess tournament here on Friday.

For the record, of the 15 games played, only four proved decisive.

Mamedyarov faced Indians in all three games that proved outright results. When the dust settled, Hari, Mamedyarov and Levon Aronian (two points each) were ahead of the rest. Importantly, Hari tamed Mamedyarov. For the gallant Azerbaijani, the defeat was sandwiched between victories over Vidit Gujrati and Surya Shekhar Ganguly.

Read: 'Promising' Nihal Sarin gains praise

Hari, looking better against Mamedyarov, gained decisively after the fourth seed chose to capture a queenside pawn with his knight. With Hari’s queen and rook occupying menacing squares over the next four moves, Mamedyarov gave up.

‘Relieved’

It was hard to recall when Anand last played out 145 moves for a draw!

He was not sure whether he missed a win against Wesley So but candidly admitted being “relieved” after the American overlooked a move that could have made the decisive difference. “My first game was most interesting. I think there are days when I have not played 145 moves. So, to do it in one game was nice. And I was clearly lost at one point. I was relieved when he did not find that,” was how the World rapid champion chose to put it.

In any case, Anand, 48, showed that the marathon had not impacted his energies and drew with Sergey Karjakin and Aronian. As a result, he stayed unbeaten against three higher-rated rivals and looked good to strike big over the weekend.

Sarin, 14, playing in this elite company for the first time, drew with white pieces against Sergey Karjakin in 41 moves and again with Vidit Gujrati in 29 moves. In between, playing black against Aronian, he tried to play for a draw in an equal position and lost.

The results
  • Third round
  • Viswanathan Anand (1.5) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 2);
  • Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 2) bt Surya Shekhar Ganguly (1);
  • Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 1.5) drew with P. Hari Krishna (2);
  • Nihal Sarin (1) drew with Vidit Gujarati (1);
  • Wesley So (USA, 1.5) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 1.5);
  • Second round
  • Hari bt Mamedyarov;
  • Ganguly drew with So;
  • Karjakin drew with Anand; Aronian bt Sarin;
  • Vidit drew with Nakamura;
  • First round
  • Sarin drew with Karjakin;
  • Anand drew with So;
  • Hari drew with Ganguly;
  • Mamedyarov bt Vidit;
  • Nakamura drew with Aronian.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos