Nakamura jumps to lead on penultimate day
Hikaru Nakamura of the US recorded three successive wins to take the lead along with Armenian Levon Aronian on the penultimate day of the Tata Steel Chess India 2018 here on Saturday.
World rapid champion Viswanathan Anand drew his sixth straight game of the tournament to stay undefeated. Anand is placed mid-table at number four with three points.
With three rounds to go in the final day of the rapid chess event, Nakamura and Aronian lead the table with 4.5 points apiece from a maximum six points.
Indian No.2 Pentala Harikrishna is one point adrift. He drew American Wesley So with the white pieces of the Berlin defence in round six to slip to third place.
Anand looked promising with the Black pieces but Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan had a strong initiative to eke out a draw.
Surya Shekhar Ganguly had a poor outing as he managed to score only 0.5/3 and lost to Aronian in his last game of the day with the white pieces in the Italian opening.
Reigning World Cup champion Aronian looked in trouble to start off with but the Armenian star said it was his strategy to deceive him.
"That's generally my strategy for the game. I tried to create imbalance position just to press Surya on the clock. He is a very solid player. So I thought to create some disbalance and I think I managed to get him excited," Aronian, a winner of the 2017 St Louis rapid and blitz title, revealed.
"At the very last moment, he could still make a draw but I think he thought it's a good moment to have his first win and he lost his way."
Nakamura, who has a world ranking of second in rapid, began on a high when he got the better of overnight leader Mamedyarov Shakhriyar.
Mamedyarov, playing white, had an equal position against the speed chess superstar GM Hikaru Nakamura of USA but blundered with a Knight move on the 33rd move and there was no coming back and he went on to lose.
"He refused to go for a draw and things simply started going my way. Things became smooth (from round five) after I won the game," Nakamura, who outwitted Ganguly and Nihal Sarin in the fifth and sixth rounds, said.
Playing each other for the first time on Indian soil, Anand and Pentala Harikrishna had an interesting draw that saw no player taking extra risks.
Meanwhile, 14-year-old Sarin was on the cusp of causing an upset by beating Mamedyarov who managed to hold on with some tricks and ended in perpetual checks on the 60th move.
"I'm playing quite well here. It's a very good experience, it's my first super tournament and a nice exposure. But I'm not under any extra pressure," Nihal, who is the world number one in U-14 section, said.
Results (round six):
Surya Shekhar Ganguly (1) lost to Levon Aronian (Arm, 4.5); Vidit Gujarati (2.5) beat Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 3); Pentala Harikrishna (3.5) drew with Wesley So (USA, 3); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 3) drew with Viswanathan Anand (3); Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 4.5) beat Nihal Sarin (2).-IANS