Chess: Harikrishna draws with Mihal Marin

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Reggio Emilia,Jan 5: Grandmaster P Harikrishna drew with Romanian GM Mihal Marin in the sixth round of the 50th Reggio Emilia Internationl Chess tournament here.


With three draws, two win and a loss against Zoltan Almasi of Hungary, Harikrishna took his tally to 3.5 points out of a possible 6 and remained in joint second spot.The lead positions remained unchanged as all the five games of round six ended in draws for the first time in this category-16 round robin event. As a result, Almasi remained at the helm with 4 points in his kitty and half a point adrift of nearest rivals Konstantin Landa of Russia, Ni Hua of China, Vugar Gashimov of Azerbaijan and Harikrishna. The sixth spot is jointly held by Swiss veteran Viktor Korchnoi, David Navara of Czech Republic, Sergei Tiviakov of Holland and Marin who all have 2.5 points apiece while Michele Godena of Italy is at the bottom of the tables on 2 points.

Harikrishna was quite surprised by the peaceful intentions of Marin when the latter went for the exchange variation in the Slav defense as white which largely has a drawing reputation. Initially, the Hyderabad based was not much deterred and went for complications in trying to keep the position alive in the middle game.

Marin, on the other hand, maintained his cool and played correct moves to keep the balance intact and when Harikrishna pressed harder, the Romanian stood better. In the end, Harikrishna had to find the equaliser by way of exchanges that led to an equal endgame where draw was a just result. The game lasted 33 moves.

Zoltan Almasi survived a scare at the hands of Godena. Playing the white side of a Ruy Lopez, Almasi was not quite prepared for the Arkhengelsk system and found the going tough as Godena made headway on the queen side. The Hungarian had to work hard and was helped by Godena's time pressure in the middle game, which resulted in transposition to a level ending.

Ni Hua had to play by the book in the endgame against Landa. Playing black, the Chinese lost one pawn and defended in fine fashion to steer the game to a draw after 62 moves.

Gashimov was in deep trouble against Korchnoi but the latter overlooked a tactical possibility and drew vide perpetual checks while the eventful battle between Tiviakov and Navara also ended peacefully in 41 moves.

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