The Indian grandmaster was the first to win a game in the elite Shenzhen Masters.
Pentala Harikrishna of India leads the elite Shenzhen Masters tournament in China after winning his second round over Michael Adams of England. It was the first decisive result of the double round-robin tournament; which includes six of the world’s top 20 players.
Adams, who had White, got some slight pressure in a Catalan opening, but he never really had serious winning chances. He then mishandled the position as his clock ran down towards the end of the first time control.
Adams, Michael vs. Harikrishna, Pentala
Shenzhen Masters |China |Round 2 |24 Mar 2017 |0-1
24. Bxd5White is slightly better in this position because of his strong bishop and more mobile pawn majority, but it's not that much of an advantage and it is important not to over press. Adams started off well enough. 24... Rcd825. Bc4Nc626. f4Rxd127. Rxd1Rd828. Rd5Rxd529. Bxd5Nb430. Bb3The trade of all the rooks has been fine for White. Now he could try a slow invasion with his king, using the light squares to good effect. But the key word is slowly! 30... Nc631. Kf2
( 31. Bc4I would prefer a patient move like this one. The goal should be to play e6. 31... Qd732. Kg2White can push for a long time, and Black would be best advised to avoid a trade of queens. )
31... Qd732. Qc4?!White is starting to lose the thread. He has a lot of pressure on f7 but is abandoning the kingside. 32... Nd433. Ba2?This is a mistake.
( 33. Qd5!This move was necessary. 33... Qf534. e6Qxd535. Bxd5fxe636. Bxb7White can push a bit in this position, but Black should be able to hold a draw. )
33... b634. Ke3?Adams was getting low on time at this point. He deserves credit for playing for a win, but he was rapidly losing control of the position. 34... g5!Now White's king is starting to feel some heat. Black threatens gxf4 followed by Qh3. 35. fxg5hxg536. Qf1?
( 36. Qd5!This was the last chance. After 36... Qf537. Bc4!White has nothing better than a draw, though this is very hard to see in time pressure. )
36... Nc6!The pawn on e5 will be lost. White lost a piece on the next move but Black was winning anyway. 37. Qd3Qxd3+38. Kxd3Nb4+And Harikrishna went on to win easily.
Anish Giri of the Netherlands has played so far. After achieving an easy draw with Black in Round 1, he got a nice position from his preparation against Ding Liren of China in Round 2. But a couple inaccuracies and good defense from Ding led to a draw.
Giri, Anish vs. Ding Liren
Shenzhen Masters |China |Round 2 |24 Mar 2017 |1/2-1/2
18. h3Giri showed some nice preparation in this game, but he only obtained a tiny edge and Ding was able to buckle down and gradually equalize. 18... Rxd3!Forcing exchanges. 19. Qxd3Bc420. Qd2Bxf121. Rxf1Re8Black is hoping that the semi-open e-file and targeting the White e-pawn will be as useful as the open d-file is for White. 22. Rd1Qb423. a3Qc424. Qd4Qxd425. Rxd4White has a slight edge in the ending, but Ding has a plan. 25... Re7!This looks like a very good way to meet the threat of e5.
( 25... Kf8?26. e5And White can invade. )
26. e5Nd7!Now White has the only open file, but Black is planning to play f6 and then he will also have an open file on which to operate. 27. g3Kf8!
( 27... f6?Not yet... 28. e6 )
28. Kg2Nc5!Again eschewing f6 until e6 cannot be played in reply. 29. Kf3f6!Now it's time. White is still a little better but now he faltered. 30. Rd8+?!
( 30. exf6!gxf631. Rd6And White would have still had some winning chances. )
30... Kf731. Ne4Nxe432. Kxe4This position looks very promising for White with his active king and passed e-pawn, but Ding was ready and showed the route to a draw: 32... fxe5!33. fxe5Re8!34. Rd7+Re7Giri decides to accept a draw through repetition of the position rather than retreat his rook. 35. Rd8Re8
The other game, between Peter Svidler of Russia and Yu Yangyi of Chhina, was very level throughout.
Svidler, Peter vs. Yu Yangyi
Shenzhen Masters |China |Round 2 |24 Mar 2017 |1/2-1/2
10. Ne2This position looks like it arose from the Italian opening, but it is somewhat unusual. Normally, White would have played c3 by now, and the knight would be on d2 instead of e2. The differences pose no problems for Black, who is able to equalize easily by forcing exchanges. 10... Be6!11. Bxe6fxe6Normally, White's queen would move to b3, but in this position that is not possible. 12. Ng3O-O13. c3Qe814. O-ONh5!Forcing more exchanges. 15. Nxh5Qxh516. Be3Bxe317. fxe3Rf618. Ra2Raf819. Raf2With a symmetrical structure, identical pieces on both sides, and equal activity among those pieces, peace is all but assured. 19... Nd820. Qa4Qg621. Kh2Qf722. Kg1Qg623. Kh2Qf7
Given how strong the field is, full points are going to be hard to come by, so winning with Black has given Harikrishna a big leg up.
Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 4 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He was also a member of the team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Chess Olympiad. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter, has his own site, and is also on Facebook.
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