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Harikrishna makes a strong start at World Stars Sharjah Online International

by Shahid Ahmed - 13/06/2020

Harikrishna made a strong start at World Stars Sharjah Online International Championship 2020. He scored 3.0/5 on day 1 and currently he is at shared second position with former World Champion and Caruana's second Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Currently former World Rapid champion Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is leading the tournament with 4.0/5. He remained unbeaten in the tournament so far. Africa and Egypt no.1 Bassem Amin had a tough day as he missed a few wins. The double round robin tournament will continue today with the last five games deciding who will walk away with US$ 3000 out of the total prize fund US$ 10000. Photo: Niklesh Jain

Mamedyarov takes sole lead

Former World no. 2 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan took sole lead with 4.0/5 at the conclusion of Day 1 in World Stars Sharjah Online International Chess Championship 2020. Pentala Harikrishna and Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan are in shared second position with 3.0/5. Both of them lost their only game of the day against the former World Rapid and World Junior champion, the Azerbaijan no. 2 Mamedyarov.

The tournament is a six player double Round-Robin tournament with a time control of 10 mins + 3 seconds increment.

Harikrishna made a good start in the month of June which will be a busy month for him | Photo: Niklesh Jain

A short draw against Kasimdzhanov

In Round 1, Harikrishna was up against former World Champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan. They made a short draw in just 21 moves.

It is well known that Kasimdzhanov is Caruana's second | Photo: Lennart Ootes / Grand Chess Tour

Salem's smashing start

UAE no.1 Salem Saleh is known for his creative and attacking display. He won against Egypt and Africa's no.1 Bassem Amin with his brilliant attack.

Saleh - Bassem, Round 1

Find out why 23...Nxa4 is a mistake

You can always expect fireworks when Salem Saleh is playing especially in the faster formats

Shakh's superb finish

Mamedyarov's strength is well documented, not much new can be said about it. What makes him very strong is the precision in which he realizes his advantage into a win.

Mamedyarov - Kasimdzhanov, Round 2

Position after 32...Rab7

It is evident that white is winning here, can you find out the precise finish for white after 32...Rab7 ?

Mamedyarov is a former World Rapid Champion

Harikrishna turned the tables against Bassem

Harikrishna had a completely difficult position against Bassem Amin for the better part of the game in Round 2. However Bassem's inaccurate pawn capture allowed him to bounce back and snatch the full point away.

Bassem - Harikrishna, Round 2

Position after 35.Rxd6

Find out why 35.Rxd6 is a mistake and what white should have done instead.

Bassem Amin had a difficult start | Photo: Grand Chess Tour

Kasimdzhanov could have done things differently

In Round 3, Kasimdzhanov had a half chance against Salem Saleh in the Knight vs Bishop endgame where he could have gone for a pawn earlier which probably would have changed the outcome of the game.

Kasimdzhanov - Saleh, Round 3

Position after 38...g5

The game continued with 39.g4, but what was the better alternative?

Wojtaszek woes for Bassem

Wojtaszek won against Bassem and handed him his third consecutive loss, however he could have accelerated things.

Wojtaszek - Bassem, Round 3

Position after 23...h5

The game continued with 24.h3 which is fine but can you find something better?

Wojtaszek might be at fifth place after day 1 proceedings but you can never count him out | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Hari's only loss against Shakh

Harikrishna suffered his only loss of the day against Mamedyarov. He played a strange move 18.Kf2 which is not a mistake according to the computer, but what followed it was definitely a mistake which led to his opponent gaining substantial advantage.

Harikrishna - Mamedyarov, Round 3

Position after 17...Qg5

The game continued with 18.Kf2, what was the other option?

Wojtaszek's miss against Kasimdzhanov

After dominating the majority of the game, Wojtaszek probably blundered in time pressure against Kasimdzhanov and eventually lost the game. Before that he got a few opportunities to accentuate his advantage.

Wojtaszek - Kasimdzhanov, Round 4

Position after 40...Kg7

The game continued with 41.d5 but what was the better alternative?

Bassem missed another win

After Kasimdzhanov's sacrifice went wrong in the Breyer variation in the Ruy Lopez opening, Bassem was cruising towards victory until he made an incorrect decision which cost him one pawn too many and eventually the game.

Kasimdzhanov - Bassem, Round 5

Position after 32.Rd7

What should black do here to make sure white cannot stir up any trouble on the kingside?

Replay the livestream

GM Efstratios Grivas and WGM Anastasia Karlovich are the Official Commentators | Video: Internet Chess Club

Round 1-5 results

Day 1 results | Photo: shj_masters

Standings after Round 5

Cross table | Photo: shj_masters

Replay all games


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