Harikrishna beats top seed Lazaro
Wijk Aan Zee (The Netherlands): Grandmaster and Asian champion P Harikrishna showcased his best technique to outplay top seed Lazaro Bruzon of Cuba in the first round of the Tata Steel Chess tournament.
Harikrishna`s victory with black pieces in group `B` came after a long drawn affair and the Indian is now amongst four leaders in the 14-players round robin tournament.
The other Indian in the fray D Harika also got off to a good start holding last year`s `C` group winner Daniele Vocaturo of Italy to share the fifth spot after the opening round.
B Adhiban was the other Indian who got off to a flier in the `C` group beating Anne Haast of Holland. Adhiban won with black while the all Indian affair between Tania Sachdev and Sahaj Grover petered out to a draw without much excitement.
Sans Viawanathan Anand, the premier group saw Nepali-Russian Anish Giri in top form as he methodically outwitted Boris Gelfand of Israel.
Fresh from his victory at the Reggio Emilia tournament in Italy, Giri did not show any signs of fatigue in this near one sided affair and now shares the lead with world number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Levon Aronian of Armenia.
Harikrishna could not have hoped for a better start than a victory against the top seed. Playing true to his style, the Andhra based went for the Berlin defense as black and found Lazaro’s technique wanting in the endgame that ensued.
From a slightly worse position, Harikrishna equalized in quick time and then his perseverance on the queen side paid heavy dividends as Lazaro lost a pawn before reaching a pure minor piece endgame. The technicalities were still there but Harikrishna made them all look like child’s play and won in 79 moves.
For Harika, the Capablanca variation in the Nimzo Indian promised slightly better prospecys but regulation exchanges by Vocaturo ensured he was never too worse. The players reached a rook and opposite coloured Bishops endgame in quick time and the peace was signed in 39 moves.
B Adhiban scored an expected victory over Anne Haast, one of the five woman participant in the ‘C’ group. The Dutch girl had not done her homework right and spent a lot of time in the opening. Adhiban made use of his pieces well in the Benko gambit and registered a smooth victory.
Double GM norm holder Sahaj Grover was in some difficulties against Tania Sachdev but the latter fell behind on clock to play it safe. The point was split when the players reached a queen and opposite coloured Bishops endgame.