Harikrishna excels

V. GANESAN

Pendyala Harikrishna, ranked No. 25 in the world, recently won the Edmonton International tournament in Alberta, Canada, firmly placing himself as the biggest hope in men’s chess in India. With Parimarjan Negi taking an extended break to pursue higher studies and Krishnan Sasikiran no longer in the top 100, Harikrishna is the only men’s player from the country — apart from world No. 2 Viswanathan Anand — to perform consistently in elite tournaments.

His victory in Canada came in a convincing fashion; he didn’t lose a single game and ended the tournament a point ahead of his nearest rivals. The 29-year-old finished with 7.5 points from nine rounds in the round-robin tournament, featuring 10 players. He had begun his campaign with a victory over American Samuel Shankland and then went on to win the next four games as well.

After drawing with Ivanchuk in the sixth round, he again drew with compatriot Surya Shekhar Ganguly. In the eighth round, he defeated Vladimir Pechenkin of the host nation and drew the final round with Wang Hao, who needed a win to take the title. The Chinese had to settle for a shared second spot, with Ivanchuk and Ganguly.

P. K. Ajith Kumar