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    Entries in Pentala Harikrishna (9)

    Sunday
    May122019

    Sigeman & Co.: Harikrishna Can't Quite Keep up with the Jones

    It has been a good year for Pentala Harikrishna, who has taken second place this year in at least two very strong tournaments, and maybe even three, if memory serves. He recently came up half a point short in Shenzhen, where Anish Giri pipped him at the post, and now it is Gawain Jones who has finished half a point ahead of him. This was in the Tepe Sigeman & Co. Chess Tournament, a strong annual event in Malmo, Sweden. The eight-player round-robin included six players at or near 2700, and Jones's undefeated +3 score was good for first place and an impressive 2816 TPR. It may be surprising to those of us who have been around for a while, but Jones is now the UK's #1 player, ahead of Michael Adams (for many years Great Britain's top player), David Howell, and Matthew Sadler.

    Harikrishna finished half a point behind, his 2756 TPR adding a few points to his rating. Nils Grandelius finished with a +1 score to achieve the best result among the host country's participants. More here or here.

    Sunday
    May052019

    Du Te Cup (Shenzhen): A Quick Look Back

    For those willing to tolerate Google's translation of this report, you'll find plenty of information here. I'll just offer a few summary comments in retrospect on the 2019 Du Te Cup that took place in Shenzhen, China.

    When we left off at the halfway point, Pentala Harikrishna had bounced back from a second-round loss to Anish Giri to win three in a row, taking a half point lead over Giri with 3.5/5. He started the next cycle with a win over Dmitry Jakovenko, but Giri won what had to be a drawn ending against Yu Yangyi, grinding out the victory in a 2012 move marathon.

    Harikrishna's winning streak was snapped in his rematch with Giri, but since the game was drawn he kept his half-point lead. In round 8, however, he was upended, losing to Richard Rapport. This was Rapport's only win in the entire tournament, and it allowed Giri to catch up after drawing with pre-tournament favorite Ding Liren. Giri and Harikrishna lead with +2 scores, while Ding and Rapport were on 50%.

    In round 9, Harikrishna bounced back again, defeating Yu Yangyi, while Giri drew with Rapport and Ding drew with Yakovenko. Harikrishna thus entered the last round with a half point lead over Giri; however, Giri had White against Jakovenko, while Harikrishna would have Black against Ding. White won in both games - long ones - and so Giri came out half a point ahead. It took him 97 moves to win his game, while Ding's victory (getting revenge for Harikrishna's win in the first cycle) went 72 moves. (Everyone was fighting--even the draw between Yu and Rapport went 75 moves.)

    It wasn't a wonderful tournament for Ding, though it wasn't a disaster for him either, but it was a terrific outing for both Harikrishna and Giri. Harikrishna's TPR was more than 100 points over his rating, and his winning five games out of ten against a super-GM field in which he was the next-to-last seed was a fantastic achievement.

    As for Giri, this was his first outright super-tournament victory, even if it was relatively weak by super-tournament standards. (Magnus Carlsen, asked by an interviewer about this tournament with a round to go, light-heartedly said he was rooting for Harikrishna to win, to keep Giri from winning his first super-GM event. As Carlsen said, "I'm nothing if not petty." Again, this was meant in a light-hearted spirit, as Giri and Carlsen have been engaging in trash talk and Twitter wars for years.)

    Final Standings:

    • 1. Giri 6.5/10
    • 2. Harikrishna 6
    • 3. Ding 5.5
    • 4. Rapport 5
    • 5-6. Jakovenko, Yu 3.5

    Saturday
    May042019

    Du Te Cup (Shenzhen) 2019: A Translated Report

    I intend to say something about this tournament's finish as well, but for now you can find a long and interesting report on the event here, in Russian. Normally I wouldn't mention a Russian-language article, but Google's translation in the Chrome browser is serviceable enough that you might want to give it a try.

    Sunday
    Apr212019

    Harikrishna Rampaging in Shenzhen

    After starting the Du Te Cup in Shenzhen China with a draw (with Dmitry Jakovenko) and a loss (to Anish Giri), Pentala Harikrishna has caught fire, winning three games in a row. He defeated Richard Rapport in round 3, the generally bulletproof Ding Liren in round 4, and the other Chinese super-GM participating in this event, Yu Yangyi, in round 5. He has thus "won" the first cycle with 3.5/5, half a point ahead of Giri, a point ahead of Ding, and a point and a half clear of the other three. The players have a rest day on Monday, and then they'll do it all again with colors reversed.

    Thursday
    Feb142019

    The Next Big Event: The 2019 Champions Showdown

    Hopefully everyone is enjoying Valentine's Day with someone they love. (Unless you're a little kid, in which case all that romantic stuff is icky. For you, be happy - the day is almost done!) Here's some good chess news to go along with your romantic bliss: a very high-level rapid & blitz event starts in less than a week.

    It's the 2019 Champions Showdown in St. Louis, and it features the United States' Fab Five (note the extra pun, free of charge) taking on five challengers from the rest of the world (ROW). There will be three days of rapid play and two days of blitz, and these are the matchups:

    • Fabiano Caruana vs. Pentala Harikrishna
    • Hikaru Nakamura vs. Jan-Krzysztof Duda
    • Wesley So vs. David Navara
    • Leinier Dominguez vs. Veselin Topalov
    • Sam Shankland vs. Richard Rapport

    I'm pretty excited about the event, and it will be nice to see Caruana and especially the long inactive Dominguez back in action. I think the Americans will be favorites on every board, though I wouldn't be shocked to see the ROWers win one or two of the first, fourth, or fifth matches.

    Here are the specifics:

    The event runs from February 20-24, and play each day starts at 1 p.m. local time (= 2 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CET). The first three days will be devoted to rapid chess, the last two to blitz. There will be 12 rapid games - 4 per day - and 24 blitz games - 12 per day. The rapid time control is 15' + 10" (an increment, thankfully, not the abominable Bronstein delay) and the blitz control is 3' + 2". The rapid games are scored 2-1-0, the blitz games 1-.5-0, with the prize money in each match awarding $36,000 to the winner and $24,000 to the loser. If the match finishes in a tie, that's it: the money is split and there's no playoff.

    Wednesday
    Jun202018

    Harikrishna Defeats Navara in their Match, 7-5

    A close and hard-fought rapid match between Pentala Harikrishna and David Navara finished surprisingly. It was a 12 game match, with three games played each day from the 13th to the 16th of June. On day 1, Harikrishna won one game and drew two, and Navara returned the favor on days two and three to take a 5-4 lead heading into the final day. And then? Harikrishna blanked him 3-0 on the last day to win the match.

    Games and basic facts here; tournament site here (English version here).

    Thursday
    Jun142018

    Daily Roundup: Leuven, Svidler-Yu, Navara-Harikrishna

    It's rapid & blitz time in the chess world, as not one, and not two, but three elite quick-play events transpired today.

    We already know about Leuven, the first Grand Chess Tour tournament of 2018. Today was the last day of the rapid portion of the event, and Wesley So continues to enjoy a dominant lead. He defeated Hikaru Nakamura in the first game of the day, then drew the next two to finish with 7/9. Or rather 14/18, since the rapid games count double compared to the blitz games coming Friday and Saturday. Levon Aronian and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave have 11 points apiece, Sergey Karjakin and Nakamura have 10, and on it goes: Mamedyarov 9, Grischuk 8, Caruana 7, and Anand and Giri have 5 each.

    Next, Peter Svidler played a rapid  and blitz match against Yu Yangyi that started Tuesday and finished today (Thursday), consisting of eight rapid games (which counted double) and ten blitz games. Svidler massacred Yu in the rapid, going 6-2 thanks to a five-game winning streak, but after going +1 in the first five blitz games it was Yu who delivered the beatings, scoring 4.5 points in the last five games. Yu thus won the blitz portion 6.5-3.5. It wouldn't have been enough to save the match even without the double scoring in the rapid, but with it Svidler's final margin of victory was 15.5-10.5. (Offiical site here; this will be more helpful to non-Chinese readers.)

    Finally, David Navara and Pentala Harikrishna are halfway through a rapid-only match, and the score is tied 3-3 with one win apiece. As with Leuven, play continues through Saturday.

    Monday
    Jun292015

    Harikrishna Wins Edmonton International

    A mixed strength round robin finished yesterday in Edmonton, in Canada, and was won by Pentala Harikrishna with an impressive score of 7.5/9. He was undefeated and finished ahead of three players: his fellow 2700s Vasil Ivanchuk and Wang Hao, and his countryman Surya Ganguly. American Sam Shankland finished a further half a point back with 6 points; two points ahead of the highest-placed non-GM.

    Friday
    Jan302015

    Gibraltar, Round 3 Highlights: 13 Lead, Including Youngest-Ever 2700 Wei Yi

    There are now only 13 3-0 scores in the current installment of the Masters section of the Gibraltar Chess Festival, and I will focus on five of them in this post: Hikaru Nakamura, Pendyala (or Pentala or even just "P.") Harikrishna, Wei Yi, Hou Yifan and Ju Wenjun.

    Nakamura defeated Tamir Nabaty in good technical style - a la Carlsen, one might say, though Nakamura was adept at winning such games before Magnus Carlsen took over the chess world. As a result he is currently the highest-rated three-pointer, and if he wins tomorrow/today against Nils Grandelius he will pass Vladimir Kramnik to reach the #8 spot in the world. He is current 2.1 points behind him, and 6.6 points behind the new American #1, Wesley So.

    Harikrishna made it to 3-0 by winning a spectacular game against Ioan-Cristian Chirila, featuring an interesting pawn sac that may just refute Chirila's (probably unintended) novelty on move 8. Harikrishna will play Michael Roiz in round 4.

    Wei Yi is the real top story, as his victory against Bela Khotenashvili brought him to 2701.7 on the live list, making him the youngest player in chess history to break the 2700 barrier. The previous record-holder? Magnus Carlsen. Wei Yi, who just last week won the Challengers group at Wijk aan Zee, is just 15, and will not turn 16 until June 2. Next up for him: Ju Wenjun - about whom more a bit later.

    Hou Yifan consolidated her epochal achievement with another win, this time over Qatar GM Mohammed Al-Sayed. Now she's 2678.1, and will face Indian GM Babu M. R. Lilith in round 4.

    Finally, the women's #5 player, Ju Wenjun (like Wei Yi and Hou Yifan, she is from China), reached her 3-0 score by drubbing the 18-year-old Hungarian superstar Richard Rapport. That was a very big win for her, and now she'll get another 2700 as her reward, her countryman Wei Yi.

    The five games can be replayed here (sans notes), but for those of you who subscribe to ChessLecture.com I think I'm going to record a video of the Harikrishna game early next week (I don't know how long it will take before it's posted, though - probably another week or two after that).