Pentala Harikrishna at the 2016 Chess Olympiad.
|Born||10 May 1986|
Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India
|FIDE rating||2734 (July 2019) |
(No. 21 in the August 2017 FIDE World Rankings)
|Peak rating||2770 (December 2016)|
|Peak ranking||No. 10 (November 2016)|
Pentala Harikrishna (born 10 May 1986) is a chess Grandmaster from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India. He became the youngest grandmaster from India on 12 September 2001, a record now held by Gukesh D. He was Commonwealth Champion in 2001, World Junior Champion in 2004 and Asian Individual Champion in 2011. On personal front, he married Nadezda Stojanovic, the Serbian chess prodigy, in 2018.
Harikrishna won the Tata Steel Group B in 2012 and the Biel MTO Masters Tournament Open event in 2013. He represented India at seven Chess Olympiads from 2000 to 2012 and won team Bronze at the World Team Chess Championships in 2010. At the Asian Team Championships, Harikrishna won team gold once, team silver twice and individual bronze once.
In February 2013, Harikrishna's FIDE rating passed 2700 for the first time. He broke into the top ten players in the world in November 2016 with a FIDE rating of 2768.
Harikrishna was a highly successful junior player winning the Indian Under-08 (1993), Under-10 (1995), Under-14 (1999), Under-15 (1998) and Under-18 (1998) titles. He won the Under 18 prize at the Commonwealth Chess Championship in 1999. He won the World Under-10 Championship in 1996.
His progress was such that, at the age of 14 years 5 months, he joined the Indian team for the 2000 Chess Olympiad, scoring 6.5 out of 11 rounds and earning his first Grandmaster norm. The second and third norms came soon after with a solid 6.5/13 result placing fifth in Corus Group B and sharing seventh place at the Asian Individual Championship with 7/11. This last norm both qualified him for the FIDE World Chess Championship 2002 (knocked in the first round to Alexander Beliavsky) and secured his Grandmaster title, having reached the required FIDE rating of 2500 in the July 2000 rating list.
Immediately after that he won on tiebreak the Commonwealth Championship, held in London, then claimed first on tiebreak with Alexei Barsov and Krishnan Sasikiran at Hastings Chess Congress at the start of 2002. Finishing half a point behind Sasikiran in the 2002 National "A" Championship. Despite a series of weaker results costing him 29 rating points between July 2002 and January 2003, Harikrishna regained nearly all of them the next rating period with third place at Hastings and second place at the National "A" Championship in Mumbai. He shared second place with Vasilios Kotronias and Paul Motwani in the 2003 British Championships then shared first with Vasily Yemelin, Smbat Lputian and Pavel Kotsur in Abu Dhabi.
Harikrishna's form continued with shared second at the Sharjah Open half a point behind Kotsur, shared seventh at the Parsvanth Open, shared fifth at the Tata Open and second at the Asian Zonal 3.1b tournament held in Dhaka, a point behind Surya Shekhar Ganguly and shared third at GibTelecom Masters, a point behind Nigel Short. A few months later he came sixth on tiebreaks (a dozen players tied half a point behind Shakriyar Mamedyarov at the strong Dubai Open.
Between the January 2003 and October 2005 rating lists, Harikrishna experienced a steady increase from 2539 to 2673, reaching 2600 in July 2004.
Harikrishna was knocked out of the FIDE World Chess Championship 2004, held in Tripoli in the second round after rapid tiebreaks 3-1 against Vasily Ivanchuk but bounced back with fourth place on tiebreaks at the Abu Dhabi Open, half a point behind Dmitry Bocharov. He came third in the Pune Super GM event, a point behind winner Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu but winning their individual game and was solid for India at the Chess Olympiad. This string of performances culminated in winning the World Junior Chess Championship held in Kochi, India in November 2004, scoring 10/13 with Tigran L Petrosian and Zhao Jun half a point behind.
Such success saw invitations to stronger events, such as Bermuda in early 2005 where despite losing to Boris Gelfand in the eighth round, victory in the two last rounds enabled him to catch up with him to tie for first, followed by an even score at Dos Hermanas and fifth on tiebreak at HB Global Challenge. Harikrishna joined up with former Viswanathan Anand coach Elizbar Ubilava, looking to improve his game. He then won the Sanjin Hotel Cup, a point clear of the field with 8.5/11. He tied for second at the Mainz Ordiz Open. An even result at the Lausanne Masters was followed up by winning the Essent Crown Group in October 2005, scoring 4/6. December's Chess World Cup 2005 saw Harikrishna defeat Yu Shaoteng 3-1 and Giovanni Vescovi 4-2 before being knocked out in the third round against Alexei Dreev 2.5-1.5, then tied for second at Pamplona, half a point behind Ruslan Ponomariov.
In March 2006, Harikrishna tied for first (fifth on tiebreak) with winner Gabriel Sargissian, Ahmed Adly, Mamedyarov, and Igor-Alexander Nataf at the Reykjavik Open with 7/9. After competing in the 37th Chess Olympiad, he performed badly a month later with shared last place at Aerosvit, though he bounced back with victory at Marx Gyorgy Memorial then won the Chess960 Junior Chess Championship winning the last four games against Arkadij Naiditsch with the final score 4½-3½. 2007 started on a bad note with 3.5/9 at the Aeroflot Open but he recovered to come third at the Montreal International, losing in the final round to tournament winner Ivanchuk. Harikrishna tied for first (second on wins tiebreak) at Marx Gyorgy then finished 20th at the Mainz FiNet Rapid Open. At the end of 2007, he lost 3-1 in the final of the Carlos Torre Memorial to Ivanchuk and came fourth on tiebreak at the Reggio Emilia.
Harikrishna played tournaments less frequently after 2007 but finished fourth at the 2008 Corus Group B with 7.5/13, followed by several team events and winning on tiebreak in September 2008 at the Spice Cup in Lubbock, United States. He was seeded to the knockout stages of the XXI Carlos Tore Memorial but was eliminated 3-2 by Jan Ehlvest in the quarter finals.
A last round loss to Peter Svidler saw Harikrishna slip from co-leader to shared seventh at the January 2009 Gibraltar Chess Congress, but won the Nancy Rapid event the next month, a point ahead of Georg Meier. He lost three consecutive games at the 39th Bosna Tournament to finish fifth out of six and scoring 4/10, also struggling at Zurich's 200th Anniversary event, finishing shared 27th with 6/9. At the Chigorin Memorial he came fifteenth after tiebreaks in the Open section and won the blitz section. He finished the year helping India win the Asian Team Championships.
Harikrishna came tied sixth at Corus Chess Group B with 6.5/13 in January 2010 before a poor performance at the Asian Individual Championship, finishing 23rd after tiebreaks and losing 17 rating points Some consolation came with shared first with Ehlvest at the New York International. He shared second place scoring 7/9 at the World Open, half a point behind Viktor Lázni?ka, but lost his rating gains at the Canadian Open with 6/9 sharing 23rd place. His strong performance in the Asian Games and Spanish league (including a win over Maxime Vachier-Lagrave) along with a solid performance in the Chess Olympiad helped recover his rating back to 2667 after a steady fall between April 2009 (2686) and July 2010 (2645).
In January 2011, he came ninth on tiebreak scoring 7/10 at Gibraltar then sixth on tiebreak with 6.5/9 at Cappelle-la-Grande. May 2011 he won the Asian Chess Championship after tying with Yu Yangyi and Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son 6.5/9, shared second place on 7/9 with Robert Hess and Alejandro Ramirez at the Chicago Open half a point behind Timur Gareev. Harikrishna's form dipped at the New York International scoring only 4.5/9 for shared 25th place, but shared third at the World Open scoring 6.5/9. He struggled at the World Team Championships competing against almost exclusively 2700 rated players, scoring 3.5/9 and was eliminated from the Chess World Cup in the second round 1.5-0.5 by Dmitry Jakovenko.
Harikrishna started 2012 in style winning the Group B of Tata Steel, scoring 9/13, half a point ahead of Alexander Motylev and Lazaro Bruzon, earning himself a place in the 2013 Group A followed up with victory at the Cappelle-la-Grande Open on tiebreaks with 7/9. In July, he was third on tiebreaks at the Benasque Open scoring 8/10 and fifth on tiebreaks at the Biel Master event with 7.5/11. Harikrishna rounded off the year with the 40th Chess Olympiad and league games, ending the year at his highest rating so far with 2698.
Making his first appearance in the Tata Steel A group in January 2013, Harikrishna finished in seventh place with 6.5/13 and breaking 2700 for the first time. Despite a collapse of form at the Capablanca Memorial in which Harikrishna scored 3/10, losing four games and failing to win and pushing him back under 2700, his form returned in July with a strong performance in the Greek league, winning at the Biel Masters with 8½/11 and tied fifth place at the HZ Open with an unbeaten 7/9.
In January 2014, Harikrishna finished seventh in the rejigged Tata Steel Masters with 5.5/11 after a last round loss against Boris Gelfand and came 12th on tiebreak scoring 7/10 at Gibraltar soon after. After claiming silver at the Asian Blitz Championship, he played only league games until July when he finished third on tiebreak at Biel. Despite playing for the Indian team at the previous seven Chess Olympiads, he did not participate in the 2014 edition, taking part in the Turkish league instead. At the inaugural Qatar Masters he scored 5.5/9 to tie for 25th place.
Harikrishna started 2015 by scoring 7.5/10 for ninth place by tiebreak at Gibraltar, with several team events following including the World Team Championships in which he scored 5/9. In June, he won the 10th Edmonton International scoring 7.5/9, including a 5/5 start. An early second round exit from the World Cup against Sethuraman allowed Harikrishna to enter and tied for first from Gabriel Sargissian and Laurent Fressinet at the Isle of Man International on tiebreak, scoring 7/9. He rounded off the year by scoring an unbeaten 6/9 at the Qatar Masters Open for eleventh place on tiebreak.
In February-March 2016, he participated in IMSA Elite Mind Games held in China. He finished the event placed seventh in the rapid and third in blitz events gaining a staggering 113 points in live ratings to reach the career best rating of 2774 in blitz.
Harikrishna also took part in World Team Chess Championships, Asian Team Chess Championships and Asian Games events with results as follows:
|Event||Individual result||Team result|
|13th Asian TCC 2003, Jodhpur India||5/8 (4th)||Silver|
|15th Asian Games 2006, Doha Qatar||6.5/9 (Silver)||Gold|
|3rd Asian Indoor Games 2009, Hanoi Vietnam||4.5/8||Bronze|
|16th Asian TCC 2009, Kolkata India||4/6 (Bronze)||Gold|
|7th World TCC 2010, Bursa Turkey||4/8 (6th)||Bronze|
|16h Asian Games 2010, Guangzhou China||6/9||Bronze|
|8th World TCC 2011, Ningbo China||3.5/9 (7th)||8th|
|17th Asian TCC 2012, Zaozhuang China||6/9 (4th)||Silver|
|10th World TCC 2015, Tsakhkadzor Armenia||5/9 (4th)||9th|
Harikrishna has played for a variety of teams in league events. He played for Baden Baden in three of their title wins from 2007 to 2009.
From 2012 to 2014, GM Harikrishna played first board for chess club Eppingen in Chess Bundesliga, and he is a member of Spanish chess club Solvay since 2007 (first board). Harikrishna is also the first board for BPCL A team, which has won PSPB Inter Unit Chess Tournaments in 2010 and 2011.
The game shown here was the final knockout match in the Carlos Torre Memorial Tournament 2007, in Mérida, Mexico. Here Harikrishna, with white, is facing Vassily Ivanchuk, who was world number 2 at that time.
1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3!? g6 3. Nbd2 d5 4. e3 Bg7 5. b4! ( 5. b3 c5 ) 5... O-O 6. Be2 b6 7. Bb2 Nbd7 8. b5! Bb7 9. O-O a6 10. a4 axb5 11. axb5 Rxa1 12. Qxa1 Qa8 13. Ba3 Re8 14. Qb2 Qa7 15. Bb4! Bf8 16. Ra1 Qb8 17. Ne5 e6 18. Bxf8 Nxf8 19. Ndf3 Ne4 20. c4 f6 21. Nc6 Bxc6 22. bxc6 Qd8 23. Qb4 Qd6 24. Qxd6 Nxd6 25. cxd5 exd5 26. Ne1 Ne6 27. Nc2 f5 28. Bd3 Ne4 29. g4! Kf7 ( 29... fxg4 30. Bxe4 dxe4 31. Ra7 Rc8 32. Nb4 with the idea Na6 followed by d5. ) 30. Nb4 Rd8 31. f3 Nd2 32. gxf5 gxf5 33. Kf2 f4 ( 33... Kf6 34. Rd1 Nb3 35. f4 would leave black tied up to the defense of the f5-pawn. ) 34. exf4 Ke7 ( 34... Nxf4 35. Ke3 Nb3 36. Ra7 Ne6 37. Nxd5 Rxd5 38. Bc4 Ra5 39. Rxc7+ Kf6 40. Bxe6 Kxe6 41. Rd7 Nxd4 42. Kxd4 ) 35. Re1 Kd6 36. Re5 Nxf4 37. Ke3 Nxd3 38. Kxd3 Nxf3 39. Rh5! 1-0