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Gelfand halts Harikrishna's run

BERMUDA, FEB. 8. World junior champion P. Harikrishna's fine run in the International invitational chess tournament was halted when Boris Gelfand of Israel made the Indian bite the dust in the eighth round here.

The first-ever loss in the event proved costly for Harikrishna, who was in joint lead after the seventh round, as he slipped to joint third spot with four points after eight rounds.

Gelfand moved in to the sole lead for the first time with five points and is now followed by Cuban GM Lenier Dominiguez on 4.5.

With just two rounds remaining in the category-17 double round-robin tournament, Harikrishna and Giovani Vescovi of BNrazil are next in line while Ukraine's Andrei Volokitin stands fifth on 3.5 after pushing Bartlomiej Macieja of Poland (3) back to the bottom of standings on a decisive day on Monday.

For once, the predictable draws in the event took a back seat and cashing in most was Gelfand who won a chanceless encounter against Harikrishna.

Playing the black side of a Catalan opening, Harikrishna was outdone in the middle game by his experienced rival after the opening went along trodden paths.

Quite interestingly, the Catalan holds a prominent place in the repertoire of Harikrishna too with white pieces and given the fact a better show was expected from him.

As it happened in the game, Gelfand came out with a tangible advantage in the middle game and nurtured it well to get a decisive attack against black's weak pawns on the queen side.

Faced with material loss, Harikrishna got his queen under troubles and lost two pawns in succession. The rest was easy for Gelfand as he knocked down a rook for knight before converting his overwhelming position into a full point.

Dominguez defeated Vescovi in a finely crafted game arising out of a Ruy Lopez where the former played white. The Brazilian went for the Tchgorin variation and got himself in to unsolvable problems when Dominiguez penetrated his rook to the seventh rank and forcibly won a pawn.

The results (round eight): Boris Gelfand (Isr, 5) bt P. Harikrishna (Ind, 4); Lenier Dominguez (Cub, 4.5) bt Giovanni Vescovi (Bra, 4) Andrei Volokitin (Ukr, 3.5) bt Bartlomiej Macieja (Pol, 3).

The moves:

B. Gelfand v/s P. Harikrishna: 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 d5 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Qc2 a6 8. Qxc4 b5 9. Qc2 Bb7 10. Bd2 Ra7 11. Rfc1 Be4 12. Qb3 Nd7 13. Ba5 Qb8 14. Qe3 b4 15. Nbd2 Ba8 16. Nb3 Rc8 17. Rc2 Be4 18. Ne5 Bxg2 19. Nxd7 Nxd7 20. Kxg2 Qb5 21. Rac1 c6 22. Qf3 Nb8 23. Rc4 Rd7 24. e3 h6 25. Qe2 Re8 26. Qe1 Qa4 27. Bxb4 Qxa2 28. Qc3 Bxb4 29. Rxb4 c5 30. dxc5 a5 31. Nxa5 Qd5 32. e4 Qa8 33. c6 Rc7 34. Rc4 Na6 35. b4 Qb8 36. Nb7 Rxc6 37. Rxc6 Qxb7 38. Rc8 black resigned. — PTI

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