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Baku 10: Harikrishna beats Karjakin!

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 13/09/2016

India faced the top-seeded Russia in an all-important penultimate round clash. Russia's top board Sergey Karjakin is slated to take on the World Champion Magnus Carlsen for the title clash in New York in a few weeks from now. And Hari was tasked with taking on Karjakin with the white pieces. Fairly straightforward, one would assume, except that Adhiban was losing against Kramnik and other boards were heading towards draws. Hari increased the pressure on Karjakin who began to go wrong and finally cracked. We bring you a quick illustrated report on the performance in the men's section.

 

 Baku 10: Harikrishna beats Karjakin!

Sergey Karjakin is slated to take on the World Champion Magnus Carlsen for the title clash in New York in a few weeks from now. Although the pundits believe that Magnus stands a very good chance of dominating his Russian colleague (forget losing), it is far from the truth. The match will come with its own stories and sub-plots, and the tension is bound to be palpable. And Karjakin is brilliant under pressure. But one gets the impression that Magnus is even better.

 

In any case, the openings Magnus chooses to play against Karjakin can be the deciding factor -- because the Norwegian is famous for avoiding them. In view of all the said facts, Karjakin may prefer to keep his cards close to his chest. But will it help against Magnus? Time will tell.

Sergey Karjakin vs. Pentala Harikrishna [Photo: M. Emelienova]

But before all that, Karjakin had been tasked with leading the Russian team in the Olympiad on the top table. India vs. Russia was bound to attract eyeballs, and Harikrishna had the white pieces against the world title challenger. Karjakin had been performing solidly for his 6.0/8.

 

Hari is an equal match for Karjakin, of course. But he had his hands full. The third board game between Vidit and Ian Nepomniachtchi had ended in a draw. Sethuraman too held the fort with the black pieces against Alexander Grischuk. On top of that, Hari had another tension to take care of...

Adhiban was struggling to stay alive against the former world champion Vladimir Kramnik. [Photo: M. Emelienova]

Kramnik played beautifully, true to his stature, in a manner that has made him a treat to behold. Positional, dominating, smooth, effortless, and so on...

Kramnik-Adhiban: Move 18, White to play. have a think how best to proceed...

...to reach such a frighteningly dominating position!
[Event "42nd Olympiad Baku 2016 Open"]
[Site "Baku"]
[Date "2016.09.12"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Kramnik, Vladimir"]
[Black "Adhiban, B."]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2808"]
[BlackElo "2671"]
[PlyCount "91"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
1. Nf3 {0} d5 {0} 2. g3 {0} Nf6 {0} 3. Bg2 {0} Bf5 {0} 4. O-O {68} c6 {22} 5.
d3 {44} e6 {63} 6. Nh4 {278} Bg4 {23} 7. h3 {15} Bh5 {10} 8. Qe1 {35} Be7 {522}
9. f4 {6} Nfd7 {398} 10. Nf3 {22} f5 {203} 11. e4 {46} Bxf3 {98} 12. Bxf3 {65}
O-O {26} 13. Nc3 {260} fxe4 {505} 14. dxe4 {21} d4 {2} 15. Nd1 {417} e5 {2} 16.
Nf2 {136} c5 {42} 17. Qe2 {342} Nc6 {141} 18. Bg4 {154} Kh8 {278} 19. Be6 {492}
exf4 {591} 20. gxf4 {167} g5 {29} 21. Ng4 {257} gxf4 {634} 22. Bxf4 {113} Qe8 {
152} 23. e5 {903} Bh4 {1179} 24. Bc4 {156} Qg6 {584} 25. Kh1 {166} Bg5 {139}
26. Bh2 {148} Nb6 {76} 27. Bd3 {115} Qe6 {2} 28. Qe4 {245} Qd5 {38} 29. e6 {31}
Rae8 {191} 30. Rxf8+ {269} Rxf8 {1} 31. Ne5 {16} Qxe4+ {131} 32. Bxe4 {5} Nd8 {
7} 33. a4 {223} Nxe6 {74} 34. a5 {6} Nc8 {6} 35. Nd7 {40} Re8 {37} 36. Be5+ {84
} Ng7 {1} 37. Rg1 {38} Bh6 {73} 38. Bxb7 {394} Ne7 {8} 39. Nf6 {37} Rf8 {75}
40. Be4 {0} Ng8 {0} 41. Nxh7 {465} Re8 {764} 42. Ng5 {411} Re7 {1} 43. Bd3 {267
} Bxg5 {234} 44. Rxg5 {6} Nh6 {4} 45. Bxg7+ {8} Rxg7 {4} 46. Rh5 {3} 1-0

 

 

 
Adhiban was being bombed by Kramnik, and the other two boards were heading towards draws. It was up to Hari to make something of his game. [Photo: D. Llada]

It was an Italian game, where Harikrishna slowly built up his position and reached the following position:

White to play

Yes, Hari had simply crushed Karjakin, who may have underestimated Hari's possibilities. After 26...Qf5, White is one move away from winning an exchange. India managed to hold the top seeded Russia to a creditable draw.

[Event "42nd Olympiad Baku 2016 Open"]
[Site "Baku"]
[Date "2016.09.12"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Harikrishna, P."]
[Black "Karjakin, Sergey"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2752"]
[BlackElo "2769"]
[PlyCount "87"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
1. e4 {0} e5 {0} 2. Nf3 {0} Nc6 {0} 3. Bc4 {0} Bc5 {0} 4. O-O {0} Nf6 {0} 5. d3
{3} O-O {8} 6. h3 {12} d6 {57} 7. c3 {12} h6 {283} 8. Re1 {45} a5 {28 This
move has hardly been played before. Usually Black settles for a6 followed by
Ba7. This seems like some preparation for the World Championship Match!} 9. Bb3
{196} Re8 {440} 10. Nbd2 {154} Be6 {42} 11. Ba4 {88} Ba7 {565} 12. Nf1 {434}
Rb8 {16} 13. Bb5 {235 Hari makes the perfect use of the move a5. The b5 square
was weakened and he settles his bishop on that square.} Bd7 {26} 14. Ng3 {645}
Ne7 {32} 15. Bxd7 {8} Qxd7 {4} 16. d4 {44} Ng6 {278} 17. Be3 {123} exd4 {68}
18. Bxd4 {17} Bxd4 {4} 19. cxd4 {56 White has a harmonius position and should
surely stand slightly better here.} a4 {456} 20. Rc1 {100} d5 {255} 21. e5 {258
} Nh7 {2} 22. Nh2 {279 Look at the knights on the kingside, all four
identically placed. However, the pawn on e5 gives white the space advantage
and the chances for an attack.} Ng5 {143} 23. Nh5 {443} a3 {979} 24. b4 {425}
Ne6 {383} 25. Qd2 {913} Ng5 {417} 26. Ng4 {54 Slowly but surely the pressure
is creeping in.} Qf5 $2 {31 Karjakin blunders!} 27. Nhf6+ $1 {111 The knight
cannot be taken as Nxh6 wins the queen!} Kh8 {7} (27... gxf6 28. Nxh6+ $18) 28.
Nxe8 {32} Rxe8 {2} 29. Rxc7 {117 The rest as they say is matter of technique,
which Harikrishna shows in good measure!} Nf4 {54} 30. Qe3 {470} Nge6 {55} 31.
Rc3 {42} Qg6 {104} 32. Qg3 {77} Ra8 {8} 33. Kh2 {122} h5 {170} 34. Ne3 {22} Qh7
{2} 35. Rec1 {207} Qe4 {4} 36. Rc8+ {114} Rxc8 {2} 37. Rxc8+ {6} Kh7 {3} 38.
Qf3 {83} Qxf3 {35} 39. gxf3 {5} Nxd4 {5} 40. Rc7 {0} b5 {0} 41. Rxf7 {83} Nde6
{138} 42. Rd7 {57} d4 {39} 43. Nc2 {131} d3 {5} 44. Ne1 {15} 1-0

 

 


 

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