Harikrishna falters again

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/c/chessgeneric2.jpg' class='caption'> P Harikrishna suffered his second straight loss, going down to Viktor Bologan of Moldova in the Aerosvit international Grandmasters chess tournament.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:34 IST
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Crimea, Ukraine:

Former world junior champion P Harikrishna suffered his second successive loss, going down to Viktor Bologan of Moldova in the fifth round of the Aerosvit international Grandmasters chess tournament. With his second loss in as many days, Harikrishna slipped further down in the standings and is currently sharing the last spot in the 12-players category-18 round-robin tournament. The victory over Harikrishna helped Bologan retain his sole lead on four points out of a possible five and the Moldovan is now trailed by Russian champion Sergei Rublevsky who has staged a great comeback here after losing the first round game. On the other board, Rublevsky defeated Andrei Volokitin of Ukraine to register his third straight victory. A pack of four players are half a point adrift of Rublevsky with three points apiece. They are Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine, Alexei Shirov of Spain and Alexander Grischuk of Russia. Following the four is Volokitin on 2.5 points and Alexander Areshchenko of Ukraine on two points while Harikrishna is in the last group of four players in the company of former World champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine, his compatriot Sergey Karjakin and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu of Romania. The fifth round had just two decisive games out of a possible six and Harikrishna's loss was disappointing for him as he will now have to focus hard to save his ELO rating from this event. Harikrishna's moves Playing black against former Dortmund champion Bologan, Harikrishna employed the Brayer variation in the Ruy Lopez and did not successfully equalise in the middle game. Bologan got the tangible advantage he was looking for out of the opening and slowly nursed his position in the middle game to exert pressure on the king side. Harikrishna tried to find some counter play through an exchange sacrifice in the middle game but Bologan was alert enough to keep the Indian at bay. The game lasted 48 moves. Rublevsky's turnaround performance after an insipid show in the chess Olympiad has taken everyone by surprise here. The Russian was yet again at his attacking best in outclassing Volokitin who played the black side of a Sicilian Closed. Rublevsky got a tiny advantage in form of greater control after the game entered less trodden paths in the middle game and there was no looking back for the Russian thereafter as he unleashed a fine exchange sacrifice to find enough holes in Karjakin's position. It took just 37 moves for Rublevsky to force resignation. Alexander Grischuk tried to make an impression against twice World Junior champion Shakhriyar Mamedyarov but his ideas did not yield desired result. It was a Ruy Lopez Tchigorin variation game in which Mamedyarov found his share of counterplay after exchanging a few pieces and in the final position salvaged Grischuk's checkmating attempts vide perpetual checks. The other three games of the day also ended in draws with Shirov signing peace with Nisipeanu after 45 moves of a Phillidor defense game and Areshchenko taking a 30-move draw with a now-struggling Ponomariov. (PTI)

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