Naka­mura jumps to joint lead with Aro­nian

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - HTSPORTSMAX - B Shrikant shrikant.bhag­vat­ula@htlive.com

KOLKATA: When it comes to speed chess, Hikaru Naka­mura of the United States is a dif­fer­ent beast al­to­gether. One of the top clas­si­cal play­ers in the world, Hikaru is far more ac­com­plished in the shorter for­mat of the game and his rat­ing in rapid and blitz is higher than in the longer for­mat of the game.

With a rat­ing of 2844 Elo (rapid), the 30-year-old Amer­i­can of Ja­pa­nese ori­gin is sec­ond only to Mag­nus Carlsen (2880) of Nor­way in rank­ing, which makes him the top seed at the Tata Steel Chess In­dia 2018.

At the end of three rounds on the first day, Naka­mura had 1.5 points from three draws. On Satur­day, the Amer­i­can star seems to have found his rhythm as he scored three wins out of three to po­si­tion him­self as the favourite for the ti­tle and the top prize of $10,000.

At the end of sixth round, Naka­mura was shar­ing the top spot with Levon Aro­nian of Ar­me­nia at 4.5 points with In­dia’s Harikr­ishna a point be­hind. Four play­ers — In­dia’s Viswanathan Anand, Shakhri­yar Mam­e­d­yarov of Azer­bai­jan, Wes­ley So of the United States and Sergey Kar­jakin ofrus­sia are clubbed to­gether (3.0 points).

The day be­longed to Naka­mura as he es­tab­lished his as­cen­dancy with im­pec­ca­ble results. He started off with a cred­itable win against Mam­e­d­yarov, fol­lowed it up by out­play­ing lo­cal star Surya Shekhar Gan­guly, who is go­ing through hor­ren­dous time here hav­ing lost three of the five games, in the fifth round be­fore round­ing it off with an­other clin­i­cal win against teenager Ni­hal Sarin.

The fourth round clash be­tween Naka­mura and Mam­e­d­yarov was the match of the day as both play­ers are well ac­com­plished in speed chess and quite highly rated. How­ever, things did not go as planned for Mam­e­d­yarov as he went for win from an Levon Aro­nian beat Wes­ley So

SS Gan­guly lost to Sergey Kar­jakin Pen­tala Harikr­ishna drew with Ni­hal Sarin Shakhri­yar Mam­e­d­yarov lost tohikaru Naka­mura

Vidit Gu­jrathi drew with Viswanathan Anand V Anand drew with P Harikr­ishna S Kar­jakin drew with L Aro­nian H Naka­mura (3.5) beat SS Gan­guly (1) N Sarin (2) drew with S Mam­e­d­yarov (2.5) Wes­ley So (2.5) beat Vidit Gu­jrathi (1.5) Gan­guly (1) lost to Aro­nian (4.5)

Vidit Gu­jrathi (1.5) beat Kar­jakin (3) Harikr­ishna (3.5) drew with Wes­ley So (3)

equal po­si­tion and in his anx­i­ety to con­jure some­thing, blun­dered and lost.

Hav­ing ac­counted for the overnight leader, Naka­mura was mer­ci­less against Gan­guly and cap­i­tal­ized on his mis­takes to pun­ish him.

In the sixth round match, teenager Ni­hal Sarin put up a bet­ter fight against Naka­mura but lost the plot when the in­ex­pe­ri­enced 14-year-old tried to cre­ate pressure on his op­po­nent from an equal po­si­tion.

“He should have shown more pa­tience in that sit­u­a­tion but tried to cre­ate some­thing. That was mainly due to in­ex­peri- Mam­e­d­yarov (3) drew with Anand (3) Naka­mura (4.5) beat Ni­hal Sarin (2) 4.5 pts Aro­nian, Naka­mura

3.5 pts Harikr­ishna 3 pts Anand, Mam­e­d­yarov, Wes­ley So, Kar­jakin

2.5 pts Vidit Gu­jrathi 2 pts Ni­hal Sarin

1 SS Gan­guly

ence,” said Naka­mura of Sarin.

Viswanathan Anand’s search for his first win con­tin­ued as he played out three more draws on Satur­day. The In­dian mae­stro had promis­ing po­si­tions in two games but that was not enough. One of his draws was against com­pa­triot Harikr­ishna, whom he was play­ing for the first time on home soil.

Vidit Gu­jrathi sal­vaged his day in the sixth round when he de­feated Sergey Kar­jikan of Rus­sia. Play­ing with white pieces in Bogo In­dian de­fence, Vidit cre­ated pressure against a player who is known for his de­fen­sive ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

SAMIR JANA/HT PHOTO

Hi­raku Naka­mura (left) and Shakhri­yar Mam­e­d­yarov at TATA Steel Chess In­dia 2018 in Kolkata on Satur­day.

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