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Harikrishna Crushes Aronian With Beautiful Knight Maneuver

Harikrishna Crushes Aronian With Beautiful Knight Maneuver

Pentala Harikrishna's beautiful knight maneuver vs Levon Aronian was the highlight of the FIDE Grand Prix's sixth round. The Indian grandmaster joined Alexander Grischuk and Teimour Radjabov in the lead as these players drew their mutual game.

Aronian in trouble vs Harikrishna. | Photo: Valera Belobeev for WorldChess.

Harikrishna's victory got him to plus two, a score that tends to be enough to be in the lead at these Grand Prix events. After a round with five decisive games, four players are tied for fourth place, with half a point less.

The all-Russian encounter between Nepomniachtchi and Inarkiev was won by the first player. Eljanov lost his second game in a row, this time to Li Chao. Rapport's bad form continued vs Riazantsev, and Hou beat Salem as Black.

Geneva Grand Prix | Round 6 Results

Bo. No. Fed Name Rtg Pt. Result Pt. Fed Name Rtg No.
1 4 Grischuk 2761 ½ - ½ Radjabov 2724 12
2 1 Aronian 2809 3 0 - 1 3 Harikrishna 2737 8
3 5 Svidler 2749 3 ½ - ½ 3 Mamedyarov 2800 2
4 14 Jakovenko 2703 ½ - ½ Giri 2775 3
5 6 Nepomniachtchi 2742 1 - 0 Inarkiev 2707 13
6 10 Li Chao  2735 1 - 0 Eljanov 2739 7
7 11 Gelfand 2728 ½ - ½ Adams 2736 9
8 15 Rapport 2694 0 - 1 2 Riazantsev 2654 17
9 18 Salem 2638 0 - 1 1 Hou Yifan 2666

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Pentala Harikrishna said that so far he wasn't looking at the standings, and just "expected a hard game" against Levon Aronian. Well, after this one he surely knows his place in the leaderboard!

The Indian grandmaster said he was slightly worse out of the opening due to the doubled b-pawns, but there was counterplay for Black. Two weakening pawn moves by Aronian (20.f4 and 21.b5) turned this counterplay into a strong attack, as the Armenian player completely missed the tactic 22...Ne5!. 

In Harikrishna's hands, Black's knight was like a maul that crushed White's bastion little by little. Aronian's only escape was an endgame where Black's passed a-pawn was just too strong.

"I had to be careful," said Hari. "Levon is a very tricky opponent; he's always finding some resources."

FIDE Press Officer Goran Urosevic spoke with Pentala Harikrishna after the game.

"It was more or less a confident game for me," said Ian Nepomniachtchi about his win over Ernesto Inarkiev. And indeed, White was better out of the opening, and that evaluation never really changed. 

"I'm not sure if I was doing good but I was trying to make some logical moves. I think I never gave the advantage away."

Maybe the rest day made the difference here. While Nepomniachtchi spent 24 hours in his hotel room and slept a lot, Inarkiev gave a simul at the United Nations Office in Geneva.

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Inarkiev playing more chess on the rest day. | Photo: Valera Belobeev for WorldChess.

In the video interview Nepomniachtchi not only explains the game, but also looks forward to playing Garry Kasparov next month in St. Louis.

FIDE Press Officer Goran Urosevic spoke with Ian Nepomniachtchi after the game.

Li Chao won a very nice game against Pavel Eljanov. He used an idea of Mamedyarov in the opening, and revealed that it wasn't the first time he looked at the Azerbaijani's games for ideas.

"We are both attacking players. Sometimes he follows me and sometimes I follow him. But we never talk about openings."

FIDE Press Officer Goran Urosevic spoke with Li Chao after the game.

Before the rest day Richard Rapport managed to break his losing streak with a victory, but on Wednesday he lost is fourth game in the tournament, to Alexander Riazantsev.

"I'm very happy!" smiled Riazantsev, who not only won his first game of the tournament, but of the whole Grand Prix.

His treatment of 1.b3 was excellent, and Black was clearly better out of the opening. However, the trainer of the Russian women's team made some inaccuracies which allowed Rapport to get back into the game. Later Riazantsev took control again.

WGM Anna Burtasova spoke with Alexander Riazantsev after the game.

Last but not least, Hou Yifan also scored her first win of the tournament. She beat Salem Saleh who, like Rapport, drew only one game so far.

After giving White a double e-pawn and playing 17...Kh8, "Black can already hope for something," said Hou. "Objectively it's equal but only Black could try to find some ideas to improve the position."

She admitted that at some point she lost her advantage, but it takes a computer to see all the ideas behind the move 30.e5. A queen sac if one of them.

Geneva Grand Prix | Round 6 Standings

Rk. SNo Fed Name Rtg Perf Pts.
1-3 4 Grischuk, Alexander 2761 2855 4
1-3 8 Harikrishna, Pentala 2737 2864 4
1-3 12 Radjabov, Teimour 2724 2890 4
4-7 2 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2800 2790 3,5
4-7 5 Svidler, Peter 2749 2810 3,5
4-7 6 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2742 2770 3,5
4-7 10 Li Chao 2735 2810 3,5
8-13 1 Aronian, Levon 2809 2735 3
8-13 3 Giri, Anish 2775 2697 3
8-13 9 Adams, Michael 2736 2725 3
8-13 11 Gelfand, Boris 2728 2750 3
8-13 14 Jakovenko, Dmitry 2703 2748 3
8-13 17 Riazantsev, Alexander 2654 2702 3
14-15 7 Eljanov, Pavel 2739 2680 2,5
14-15 13 Inarkiev, Ernesto 2707 2652 2,5
16 16 Hou Yifan 2666 2576 2
17-18 15 Rapport, Richard 2694 2504 1,5
17-18 18 Salem, Saleh 2638 2515 1,5

Round seven, on Thursday, has these pairings: Harikrishna-Grischuk, Radjabov-Svidler, Mamedyarov-Nepomniachtchi, Riazantsev-Li Chao, Giri-Aronian, Adams-Jakovenko, Hou Yifan-Gelfand, Eljanov-Salem, and Inarkiev-Rapport.

The Geneva Grand Prix takes place July 6-15 in the Hotel Le Richemond in Geneva. The prize fund is €130,000 / $148,520. The time control is 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 1.

Download Tournament PGN

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