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50% after seven rounds for Hari

by Sagar Shah - 03/06/2016

After seven rounds at the Shamkir Chess 2016 Harikrishna is on 3.5/7. His sixth round game against Hou Yifan was a solid draw with the black pieces. However, in the seventh round Hari had his back against the wall against Rauf Mamedov. It was only through highly resourceful play that he managed to hold a draw. With Radjabov and Safarli to go in the last two rounds, a win against them will ensure a good finish for the Indian. We have game analysis of rounds six and seven and some nice pictures of the free day.

While Caruana and Giri are running away with the fight for the first place, Indian challenger Pentala Harikrishna, after seven rounds, still has a chance for the podium finish. This is how the standings look:


Standings after seven rounds



Things were looking upbeat for Hari after he scored a powerful win against Eljanov in the fifth round. He had a rest day after that to recoup his energy and faced two of the bottom seeds in the event: Hou Yifan and Rauf Mamedov in round six and seven respectively. However Hari could only manage to muster one point from these two games. This leaves him with a 50% score after seven rounds. He will play Teimour Radjabov in round eight and Eltaj Safarli in the ninth. Let's have a look first at his sixth round game against Hou Yifan.


Hou Yifan vs Harikrishna, Round six


Hou Yifan receiving tips from the Shak

Maybe the advice didn't really work so well!

That's where she belongs!

Harikrishna repeated the Petroff in spite of his loss against Karjakin earlier in this tournament in the same opening

A draw with black is not at all a bad result but the game was rather dull and uneventful

Analysis of Hou Yifan vs Harikrishna

[Event "Vugar Gashimov Mem 2016"]
[Site "Shamkir AZE"]
[Date "2016.06.01"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Hou Yifan"]
[Black "Harikrishna, P."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C42"]
[WhiteElo "2663"]
[BlackElo "2763"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "60"]
[EventDate "2016.05.26"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 {Even after his debacle against Karjakin, Harikrishna goes
for the Petroff Defense.} 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 (5. Nc3 {was Karjakin's
response.}) 5... d5 6. Bd3 Be7 7. O-O Nc6 8. Nc3 Bf5 9. Re1 Nxc3 10. bxc3 Bxd3
11. Qxd3 O-O {At first look this seems for like French exchange than the
Petroff. White has an edge here based on the active placement of his pieces.
His rook on e1 is well placed and so is his knight on f3 which is ready to
jump into e5 any moment.} 12. Re2 {Quite a curious waiting move. Of couse the
point is to wait with the development of the bishop on c1 for the time being
and prepare the doubling of the rooks on the e-file.} (12. Bf4 Bd6 13. Ng5 g6
14. Qh3 h5 15. Qg3 Bxf4 16. Qxf4 Ne7 {And with a knight coming to f5, this
should be equal.}) (12. c4 {Computers prefer this move quite a bit.} dxc4 13.
Qxc4 Bf6 14. Ba3 Re8 15. Rxe8+ Qxe8 16. Re1 Qd7 17. c3 h6 18. h3 Na5 19. Qd3
Rd8 20. Nd2 Qa4 21. Bc1 Re8 22. Ne4 Bd8 23. Re3 b6 24. Rg3 Re6 25. Kh2 Qxa2 26.
d5 Rg6 27. Rxg6 fxg6 28. Qd4 c6 29. dxc6 Bc7+ 30. g3 Qe6 31. Qd7 Qxd7 32. cxd7
Kf7 33. Nd6+ Ke7 34. Nc8+ Kxd7 35. Nxa7 Be5 36. Kg2 Bxc3 37. Be3 Nc4 38. Kf3
Be5 39. Ke4 Bb8 40. Nb5 Nxe3 41. Kxe3 Kc6 42. Nd4+ Kd5 43. Kd3 Be5 44. Nc2 Kc5
45. f4 Bf6 46. g4 b5 47. Ne1 b4 48. Nf3 g5 49. fxg5 Bxg5 50. h4 Be7 51. Nd4 Kd5
52. Nf5 Bf8 53. g5 hxg5 54. hxg5 Ke5 55. Nd4 Bc5 {0-1 (55) Shirov,A (2745)
-Gashimov,V (2730) Poikovsky 2009 was a nice win for the man in whose
remembrance the tournament is held.}) 12... Qd6 {Stopping Bf4.} 13. Rb1 b6 14.
Bd2 Bf6 15. Rbe1 Na5 16. Qf5 (16. Ne5 Bxe5 17. dxe5 Qc5 $11) 16... g6 17. Qh3
Qc6 {Preparing Re8 with some exchanges down the e-file.} 18. Bg5 $1 {A nice
move by Hou Yifan taking advantage of the slight attacking chances she has on
the kingside.} Nc4 19. Bxf6 Qxf6 20. Ne5 Nxe5 21. Rxe5 Qc6 22. R1e3 $6 {
After this Harikrishna has absolutely no issues.} (22. Qe3 $14 {followed by
h4-h5 still leaves Black with some problems to solve.}) 22... Rae8 $11 23. Qh6
Rxe5 24. dxe5 Qb5 (24... f6 {could have been a trying to keep the game going
as after} 25. e6 $6 (25. Rh3 Rf7 26. exf6 Qxf6 $11) 25... Re8 26. Rh3 Re7 $17 {
Black is better.}) 25. g4 {White goes for the all out attack, but Black is
just in time for a perpetual.} Qb1+ 26. Kg2 Qxc2 27. Rh3 Qe4+ 28. Kf1 Qb1+ 29.
Kg2 Qe4+ 30. Kf1 Qb1+ {A rather uneventful draw.} 1/2-1/2


Harikrishna vs Rauf Mamedov, Round seven

It was surely a big escape for Harikrishna, who after an insipid opening landed in a nearly lost position. The fact that he held a draw says a lot about his tenacity and fighting spirit. However, getting such a position out of the opening with the white pieces is not what you expect, especially when you have only four games with white.

Thank heavens chess is not a physical sport! Rauf Mamedov injured during the football match on the free day

With white pieces Harikrishna had been flawless in the event with  2.0/2 score. He was surely searching for this third win against Mamedov who was rated 100 points below him.

The game was well fought,Mamedov played with great imagination and had a nearly winning position but it all eventually ended in a draw

Analysis of Harikrishna vs Mamedov

[Event "3rd Shamkir Chess 2016"]
[Site "Shamkir"]
[Date "2016.06.02"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Harikrishna, Pentala"]
[Black "Mamedov, Rauf"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B31"]
[WhiteElo "2763"]
[BlackElo "2655"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "103"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[EventCountry "AZE"]
1. e4 {(4s)} c5 {(11s)} 2. Nf3 {(7s)} Nc6 {(5s)} 3. Bb5 {(7s) Harikrishna is
not the biggest fan of the open Sicilians. The Rossolim suits his positional
style pretty well.} g6 {(6s)} 4. Bxc6 {(13s)} bxc6 {(4s) dxc6 is another way
to play the position. bxc6 is more principled as it captures towards the
centre but it doesn't open the c8 bishop's diagonal and hence Black lags
behind in development. The best way for White to take advantage of this fact
is to play c3 and d4.} 5. O-O {(18s)} Bg7 {(4s)} 6. Re1 {(83s)} Nh6 {(9s)} 7.
c3 {(27s)} O-O {(4s)} 8. h3 {(16s)} (8. d4 {is the more common move.} cxd4 9.
cxd4 d5 10. e5 f6 {is another position worth exploring.}) 8... f5 $5 {(5s)
Because White made this move h3, Mamedov finds this the right time to break in
the centre.} 9. e5 {(131s)} Nf7 {(20s)} 10. d4 {(263s)} cxd4 {(159s)} 11. cxd4
{(9s)} c5 $1 {The d4-e5 chain has to be broken as soon as possible.} 12. dxc5 {
(203s)} Bb7 {( 18s)} 13. Nc3 {(215s)} e6 {(541s)} 14. Nd4 $6 {(257s)} (14. b4
Bxf3 15. Qxf3 Nxe5 16. Qg3 $11 {With a relatively even position.}) 14... Bxe5
$1 {(1127s) Black has regained the pawn and with the double bishops stands
clearly better.} 15. f4 {(749s)} Bg7 {(262s)} 16. Be3 {(30s)} g5 {(630s)} (
16... e5 $1 17. fxe5 Bxe5 $15 (17... Nxe5 $2 18. Qb3+ $18)) 17. fxg5 {(1747s)}
f4 {(42s) Typical Rauf Mamedov style. Sharp and tactical.} 18. Bf2 {(236s)} (
18. Bxf4 $5 e5 19. Nf5 (19. Bxe5 Nxe5 $1 20. Qb3+ Nf7 21. Qxb7 Bxd4+ $17) 19...
exf4 20. Ne7+ Kh8 21. Qh5 {With a strong attack, could have also been possible.
}) 18... Qxg5 {(309s)} 19. c6 {(449s)} Bxd4 $1 {(286s)} 20. Qxd4 {(120s)} (20.
cxb7 Bxf2+ 21. Kxf2 Rab8 $17 22. Qxd7 $2 Qg3+ 23. Kg1 f3 $19) 20... Bxc6 {
(19s) Black is just a pawn up. It is quite a miracle that Hari managed to save
this position.} 21. Ne4 {(8s)} Qg7 {(910s)} 22. Qxg7+ {(943s)} Kxg7 {(8s)} 23.
Rad1 {(4s) Endgames are Hari's forte but pawn down endgames are never fun to
play even for a player of his stature.} Rg8 {(482s)} 24. Bh4 {(537s)} Kh6 {
(537s)} 25. Rd2 {(76s)} Rg6 {(518s)} 26. Nf6 {(21s)} e5 {(423s)} 27. b4 {(300s)
} (27. Nxd7 e4 $17) 27... Kg7 {(206s)} 28. b5 {(156s)} Bxb5 {(51s)} 29. Nxd7 {
(9s)} Re8 {(254s)} 30. Nc5 {(25s)} Nd6 {(32s)} 31. Ne4 {(183s)} Nxe4 {(71s)}
32. Rxe4 {(5s)} Bc6 {(1s)} 33. Rc4 {(25s)} e4 {(6s) Black is just clearly
better. He has an extra pawn, two monsters on e4 and f4 and perfect
co-ordination.} 34. Rdc2 {(95s)} Ree6 {(7s)} 35. Be1 {(85s)} h5 {(72s)} 36. Kh2
{(24s)} Kh6 {(18s)} 37. Rd4 {(40s)} (37. g3 $5 fxg3+ 38. Bxg3 $15) 37... f3 {
(38s)} 38. Bh4 {(49s)} e3 {(22s)} (38... fxg2 39. Rxg2 e3 40. Rg3 (40. Rxg6+
Rxg6 $19) 40... e2 41. Rd2 Rxg3 (41... e1=Q $2 42. Rxg6+ Kxg6 43. Bxe1 Rxe1 44.
Rd6+ $11) 42. Bxg3 Bf3 43. Be1 Rg6 44. h4 Rg2+ 45. Kh3 Rg1 $19) 39. gxf3 {(1s)}
e2 {(13s)} 40. Be1 {(0s)} Bxf3 {(0s)} (40... Re3 $5 41. Rcd2 (41. Rdd2 Bxf3 $19
) 41... Rxf3 42. Rd6 Bb5 43. R6d5 $17 {White clings on.}) 41. Bd2+ $1 {This
check is what Mamedov must have missed!} Kh7 {(306s)} 42. Rc7+ {(292s)} Rg7 {
(55s)} 43. Rxg7+ {(19s)} Kxg7 {(2s)} 44. Kg3 {With the exchange of a pair of
rooks White can now breathe easy.} Bc6 {(160s)} 45. Kf2 {(58s)} Kg6 {(33s)} 46.
a4 {(453s)} a6 {(180s)} 47. Be1 {(203s)} Kf5 {(56s)} 48. Bd2 {(268s)} Kg6 {
(59s)} 49. Be1 {(15s)} Be4 {(2s)} 50. Kxe2 {(55s)} Bf5+ {(4s)} 51. Kf2 {(101s)}
Bxh3 {(12s)} 52. Bb4 {(9s) A great escape for Harikrishna.} 1/2-1/2

Harikrishna now faces Teimour Radjabov in the eighth round on 3rd of June with the black pieces. You can watch the game live here.

 Pictures from the official website

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