Millennium Post

Harikrishna beats Vidit Gujrathi, jumps to joint lead

Former world junior champion GM P Harikrishna continued his brilliant run as he outplayed compatriot Vidit Gujrathi to jump into joint lead after the end of the 8th round of the masters section of Tradewise Gibraltar International Chess Festival now underway here.

It turned out to be an easy ride for Harikrishna who displayed top form to beat Gujrathi. The innocuous opening choice by Harikrishna might not find many takers but the Indian was probably impressed with world champion Magnus Carlsen, who in an important game in the just concluded Tata Steel Chess tournament, employed the same move order.

Gujrathi’s attempt to seek counter play on the queen side did not come good while Harikrishna demolished his king side in the middle game. In the end, the attack proved irresistible and Gujrathi had to call it a day. Harikrishna took himself up to 6.5 points out of a possible eight and now shares the lead with David Anton Gujarro of Spain and French duo of Etienne Bacrot and second seed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France.

With two rounds still to come in the 185000 Pound Sterling festival, as many as twelve players including Indians Abhijeet Gupta, S P Sethuraman and M R Lalith Babu share the fifth spot on six points apiece.

The fortunes did not change for former world champion Viswanathan Anand as he was held to another draw in the tournament. Little known American International Master Marc Esserman got a creditable draw against Anand. Anand is losing heavily on the rating front from here and has slipped out of the top ten in world rankings after a long time. Currently in live rankings, Anand is ranked 13, a point ahead of Harikrishna.
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