Harikrishna Leads Shenzhen Masters Ahead Of Giri
Pentala Harikrishna. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Harikrishna Leads Shenzhen Masters Ahead Of Giri

| 14 | Chess Event Coverage

Halfway through the Shenzhen Masters in China, it's Indian grandmaster Pentala Harikrishna who tops the standings with 3.5/5. Anish Giri is the only other player on a plus score: 3/5.

Grenke is not the only strong tournament underway right now. Almost 8,000 kilometers (4,940 miles) to the east, in Shenzhen, there's the "Belt and Road" 2019 "DT News Cup" Shenzhen Longgang Chess Masters Tournament, which we'll just call the Shenzhen Masters.

It's the tournament where Ding Liren (China, 2809) saw his 100-game unbeaten streak come to an end last year, and the Chinese GM is playing again this year, as the top seed. Two other 2018 participants have returned: Anish Giri (Netherlands, 2797) and Yu Yangyi (China, 2751).

The other three participants in this six-player, double round-robin are Pentala Harikrishna (India, 2723), Richard Rapport (Hungary, 2726) and Dmitry Jakovenko (Russia, 2719). With an average rating of 2754, the players are playing for a U.S. $90,000 prize fund with a U.S. $20,000 first prize.

After three draws in the first round, it was Giri who took an early lead with the following convincing win against Harikrishna. It was a remarkably one-sided game at this level.

Giri Harikrishna Shenzen Masters 2019
Some strange moves by Harikrishna gave Giri an easy win. | Photo:

After finishing last in Shamkir, Giri was suddenly at the top of the leaderboard in his very next event. Thereupon Magnus Carlsen's second Peter Heine Nielsen joined the trolling of his boss with Giri with a tweet, which got a reply from the man himself.

First, the tweet by Carlsen from last month that it referred to, and then PHN and Giri:

The Dutch player continued with three draws though, and with that he lost his top position. The unlikely leader at the moment is Harikrishna, who scored three wins in a row after his loss in the second round!

After slowly outplaying Rapport, in round four the Indian grandmaster did what not many manage to do these days: beating Ding. It looks like the Chinese player was too optimistic with 31...Rd2. He ended up losing a pawn and then his opponent skilfully finished the technical task.

Playing hall Shenzen Masters 2019
The playing hall in Shenzhen. | Photo:

After catching Giri, Harikrishna took the sole lead by beating the other Chinese player as well. This time his Giuoco Pianissimo went much better with Black, and the remainder of the game was very similar: winning a pawn on the queenside, and converting it eventually.

Harikrishna Shenzen Masters 2019
Harikrishna leads after five rounds. | Photo:

Ding got back to 50 percent with the following excellent win over Jakovenko. Due to Black's weakened kingside, a queen and a pawn were stronger than two rooks here.

Ding Liren Jakovenko Shenzen Masters 2019
A great win by Ding Liren vs Jakovenko. | Photo:

Monday was a rest day in Shenzhen; rounds 6-10 will be played Tuesday-Sunday. The games start at 2 p.m. local time, which is 08:00 CEST, 07:00 London, 2 a.m. Eastern or 11 p.m. Pacific the previous day. You can follow the tournament here, as part of our events portal. The games are also being relayed in Live Chess.

2019 Shenzhen Masters | Round 5 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Harikrishna,Pentala 2723 2907 0 1 ½ 1 1 3.5/5
2 Giri,Anish 2797 2816 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 3.0/5
3 Ding,Liren 2809 2744 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 2.5/5
4 Jakovenko,Dmitry 2719 2691 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 2.0/5 5.25
5 Yu,Yangyi 2751 2685 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/5 4.75
6 Rapport,Richard 2726 2690 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/5 4.75

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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