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Harikrishna is World No. 14!

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 20/12/2015

India No. 2 Pentala Harikrishna joined the SG Solingen club as their second board for the 2015-16 season of the Bundesliga. He played the December leg of the current season for his team and scored 2.5/3, before heading to Qatar to play the 2015 Qatar Masters Open. His performance at the German League has earned him 13 points that take his live rating to 2756, and rank 14 in the live rating list!

2015-16 Bundesliga: Harikrishna debuts for SG Solingen, jumps five places in the live rating list

SG Solingen shares the lead with OSG Baden-Baden in the Bundesliga, the German Chess League. In the 2015-16 season that began in September, four Indians will be playing in the league. Indian ace Vishy Anand has been a regular at the top board for the OSG Baden-Baden team while GM Abhijeet Gupta is a part of the SC Hansa Dortmund team. Anand's second during the 2014 Candidates, GM Sandiapan Chanda, has been playing for SG Solingen since the past thirteen seasons!

GM Sandipan Chanda (2582), a long-time knight for the Solingen team, scored 2.0/3 in the December leg

GM Pentala Harikrishna (2756!)

It has never been meteoric, but Harikrishna's consistency in displaying improvement in his play has been the key to his rise over the years

The SG Solingen team has Anish Giri at the top board, however, the high-flying Dutchman is yet to play for them. In the December leg, Pentala Harikrishna made his first appearance for his new team at the first board and scored 2.5/3.

He started off sluggishly by escaping with a draw in a worse position against Hungarian GM Viktor Erdos (2615) of SG Turm Trier
[Event "BL 1516 SG Solingen - SG Turm Trier"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.12.11"]
[Round "7.1"]
[White "Erdos, Viktor"]
[Black "Harikrishna, Pentala"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A22"]
[WhiteElo "2615"]
[BlackElo "2743"]
[PlyCount "55"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Bc5 4. Bg2 d6 5. e3 O-O 6. Nge2 c6 7. O-O Bb6 8. d4
Re8 9. Qc2 Bg4 {A day later, Harikrishna would play a similar Bg4-h5-g6 maneuver
and beat Fressinet!} 10. h3 Bh5 11. g4 Bg6 12. Qd1 exd4 13. exd4 Ne4 14. Nf4
Nxc3 15. bxc3 Nd7 16. Nxg6 hxg6 17. Qd3 Nf8 18. Bd2 Qd7 19. f4 Re7 20. f5 Rae8
21. Rf2 d5 22. cxd5 cxd5 23. Bg5 Re1+ 24. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 25. Rf1 Rxf1+ 26. Kxf1 Qc6
27. Bd2 Nd7 28. fxg6 {White has an advantage in this position because of the
pawn on d5 and and the one arriving on g6. Luckily for Hari, he escaped with a
draw.} 1/2-1/2


In the next match against Werder Bremen, Hari played French GM Laurent Fressinet (2707) and squeezed out a victory [Photo: Alina L'ami]
[Event "BL 1516 SG Solingen - Werder Bremen"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.12.12"]
[Round "3.1"]
[White "Fressinet, Laurent"]
[Black "Harikrishna, Pentala"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A29"]
[WhiteElo "2707"]
[BlackElo "2743"]
[PlyCount "88"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nb6 7. O-O Be7 8.
d3 O-O 9. a3 Re8 10. b4 Bf8 11. Nd2 Rb8 12. Bb2 Bg4 {Again, the same idea as
in the previous game.} 13. b5 Nd4 14. h3 Bh5 15. g4 Bg6 16. e3 Ne6 17. Nde4 {
White's play has made the ...c6 break possible now, allowing Black to improve
his knight.} c6 18. Rb1 Rc8 19. bxc6 bxc6 20. Kh1 Nd5 21. Ne2 {...and this
cuts White's influence on the h5 square.} h5 22. N2g3 hxg4 23. Qxg4 {Now, as
the Queen moves away from defending d3, Black pressurizes the point.} Nc5 24.
Nxc5 Bxc5 25. Ne4 Bf8 26. Qg3 Nf6 27. Rbd1 (27. Bxe5 Nh5 28. Qh2 Qxd3 $15)
27... Nxe4 28. dxe4 Qe7 29. Rd2 Rb8 30. Rfd1 Qe6 31. Bf3 {White's idea is to
play h4-h5.} c5 $1 32. Ba1 $2 (32. h4 Qc6 $15 {is the point.}) (32. Kh2 c4 33.
h4 $11) 32... c4 33. Rd5 Bxa3 34. Bxe5 Rb3 35. Bd6 Bb2 36. Kh2 Bxe4 $17 37.
Bxe4 Qxe4 38. Rc5 Rd3 39. Rb1 Rxd6 40. Rxb2 Rg6 41. Rg5 Rxg5 42. Qxg5 c3 43.
Rb5 Rc8 44. Rc5 Qe6 0-1

Finally, as his team played Turm Emsdetten, Harikrishna played a quiet Sicilian Dragon, which is not that common, against Swedish GM Nils Grandelius (2632) [Photo: Amruta Mokal]
[Event "BL 1516 Turm Emsdetten - SG Solingen"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.12.13"]
[Round "4.1"]
[White "Harikrishna, Pentala"]
[Black "Grandelius, Nils"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B76"]
[WhiteElo "2743"]
[BlackElo "2632"]
[PlyCount "117"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 d6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 Nc6 8. Qd2
O-O 9. O-O-O d5 10. Qe1 {Not as common as 10.exd5.} e6 11. h4 Qc7 12. exd5 Nxd5
13. Ndb5 Qe5 14. Bc5 Qxe1 15. Rxe1 Rd8 16. Nxd5 Rxd5 17. Be3 Rd7 18. Be2 a6 19.
Nc3 b5 20. Ne4 Nb4 21. Kb1 Nd5 22. Bc1 Raa7 23. h5 Rac7 24. hxg6 hxg6 25. Rh4 {
Hari finds a unique sqaure for his rook.} Bb7 26. Rd1 Nf6 27. Rxd7 Rxd7 28. Nc5
Rc7 29. Nxb7 Rxb7 30. c4 Bf8 31. Bg5 Nd7 32. cxb5 axb5 33. Rd4 {White is
threatening tricks with Bxb5.} b4 34. Ba6 Ra7 35. Bb5 Ra5 36. Rxd7 Rxb5 37. Bd2
g5 {Things are going downhill for Black.} 38. Kc2 Re5 39. Rd8 Kg7 40. a4 Re2 (
40... bxa3 $4 41. Bc3 $18) 41. g4 Rf2 42. Rd3 f5 43. a5 fxg4 44. fxg4 Bc5 45.
Kb3 e5 46. Kc4 Bd4 47. b3 Rg2 48. Bxb4 Rxg4 49. Bc5 Bg1+ 50. Kb5 e4 51. Rc3
Bxc5 52. Kxc5 Rf4 53. b4 g4 54. a6 Rf3 55. Rc1 g3 56. a7 Ra3 57. Kb6 e3 58. Kb7
e2 59. a8=Q 1-0

With this victory, Hari's elo has increased by 12.7 points, taking it to his career-best rating of 2755.7 making him the World No. 14 in the live rating list.

This means that he has joined the absolute upper echelons of the chess world and, hopefully, his continuing rise will make him a regular in the super-tournaments. This success should boost his confidence ahead of the Qatar Masters that begins today.



All games in PGN.

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