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Anand held, Harikrishna wins

January 14, 2008 16:31 IST

Unable to break through the solid defenses of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, World Champion Viswanathan Anand was held to a draw by the Azerbaijani in the second round of the Group 'A' of Corus International Chess tournament in Wijk Aan Zee.

Anand, who had lost his first round game against another Azerbaijan Teimour Radjabov, split the point to open his score.

But another Indian GM P Harikrishna came firing on all cylinders to beat GM Yifan Hou of China in a keenly contested game and emerged as joint leader on 1.5 points with five others in the Group 'B', being played simultaneously.

Harikrishna became the first Indian to score a victory in the Corus tournament as Koneru Humpy played out a draw with Russian GM Ian Nepomniachtchi in the other game of Group 'B' while GM Parimarjan Negi suffered his second defeat in as many days in the Group 'C', going down to Arik Braun of Germany.

Grandmaster Levon Aronian and Magnus Carlsen scored their second victories on the trot in the elite Group 'A' and continued to lead the tables with 2 points from as many games.

On the receiving end was Boris Gelfand of Israel who found the going tough against Aronian in a variation named after the Israeli while Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine was gradually outplayed by Carlsen.

With all the remaining 5 games of Group 'A' ending in draws, Radjabov was relegated to the sole third spot on 1.5 points and a half point behind are Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, Loek Van Wely of Holland, Hungarians Peter Leko and Judit Polgar and Michael Adams of England.

Anand is currently at the bottom of the tables on a half point sharing it with Mamedyarov, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, Gelfand and Eljanov.

Harikrishna's effort against Hou was simply perfect. The Indian had misplayed a promising position against England's Nigel Short in the first round and made amends by outwitting Hou who played the black side of a King's Indian attack. 

Harikrishna played the middle game energetically and cashed in when Hou made an error leading to loss of material. 

Anand could do little against Mamedyarov who played solidly with black pieces.

It was a Ruy Lopez where the Indian played with white and got a miniscule advantage but subsequent exchanges left little hope for either players even though Anand had an extra pawn in the endgame. The peace was signed after 36 moves.

In the Group 'C', young Parimarjan Negi was beaten by Braun of Germany from a complicated position arising out of an English opening.

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