Harikrishna keeps lead after draw with Potkin

Wijk Aan Zee (The Netherlands): Asian champion P Harikrishna retained his full point lead after settling for a hard-fought draw with Vladimir Potkin of Russia in the seventh round of the `B` group of Tata Steel Chess tournament.

The draw helped Harikrishna move to an impressive 5.5 points out of a possible seven and Russian Alexander Motylev remained the only one in striking distance a full point adrift.

Grandmaster D Harika continued with her solid play to split the point with Motylev. The Indian took her tally to 2.5 points signing peace for the fifth time in the tournaments.

GM B Adhiban scored a fine victory over International Master Elisabeth Paehtz of Germany to maintain his third spot in the ‘C’ group being held simultaneously.

16-year old International Master Sahaj Grover came up with some scintillating maneouvres to hold second seed Maxim Turov of Russia to a draw while Tania Sachdev mishandled a winning position to eventually split the point with local hopeful Etienne Goudriaan.

Turov stayed in lead on six points in this section and the Russian seems to be slowing down a little after five wins in a row.

Hans Tikkanen of Sweden accounted for Lisa Schut of Holland to be sole second on 5.5 points while Adhiban now has five points for his third place. Grover, along with top seed Matthew Sadler of England and Daan Brandenburg of Holland holds the joint fourth spot on four points while Tania now has three points.

In the ‘A’ group world number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway caught up with Levon Aronian of Armenia in the lead following a clinical victory against Boris Gelfand of Israel. Aronian and Carlsen now have five points apiece.

Harikrishna opted for the Nimzo Indian defense as black and got an easy equality in the middle game that ensued. Potkin however persisted in his quest and finally reached a pawn plus endgame wherein the Indian had to defend precisely and it was only after 65 moves that the draw was agreed to.

Adhiban showed his technical side in outplaying Paehtz. The Italian opening gave Adhiban a slight advantage as white and he dented Paehtz’s pawn structure before reaching a better queen and minor pieces endgame. The German tried but Adhiban was relentless.

Sahaj Grover earned the reward for the game of the day in a brilliant tactical endgame against Turov who shared the award. Starting with a Queen’s gambit declined the Delhi boy threw caution to the winds with a spectacular yet positional piece sacrifice in the endgame.

It was tactics in almost every move as Grover finally equalized by capturing all white pawns.


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