Pendalya Harikrishna celebrated his Arjuna award in great style. He beat Chinese Woman Grandmaster Hou Yifan in the fifth round to rise to the joint third spot in the Marx Gyorgy memorial International chess tournament in Paks, Hungary.
The defending champion cruised past Yifan to register his first victory in the category-14 double round-robin tournament.
The Indian proved his mettle against Yifan, who played the white side of a Ruy Lopez.
Yifan was in trouble in the middle game when Harikrishna got a better Knight against the Bishop and showed clinical precision while exchanging the queens at the right moment to enhance his advantage in the ensuing endgame.
Losing a pawn, Yifan resigned after 50 moves when Harikrishna's king marched in to white's territory.
"I am quite happy with the way things turned out today. Somehow since day one I have not been able to play very well here but today was much better. The Arjuna award really made me happy," Harikrishna said after the match.
If Harikrishna showed superior technique, Korchnoi displayed his attacking prowess to beat Berkes. The Grunfeld defense saw Ferkes struggling with black pieces after an off-beat variation and once Korchnoi had his forces set, he set himself out for the final demolition in style.
Berkes lost a couple of pawns while trying to negotiate white's attack and never recovered.
Peter Acs played an imaginative game to beat Balogh from the black side of a Ruy Lopez.
Balogh was in trouble after Acs sacrificed a piece for two pawns and could not make a match of it in the tactical melee that ensued. The game lasted 54 moves.
Aided by his maiden victory, Harikrishna took his tally to a respectable 2.5 points and now shares the joint third spot along side Csaba Balogh while Ferenc Berkes now stands fifth on 2 points, a half point clear of last-placed Yifan.
At the half way stage, Korchnoi took sole lead with 3.5 points while Acs jumped to sole second spot a half point behind.
Meanwhile veteran Viktor Korchnoi of Switzerland continued to make merry in the event and scored another victory at the expense of Hungarian Ferenc Berkes. The other game of the day saw Hungarian Peter Acs coming out triumphs against compatriot Csaba Balogh in a keenly-contested game.
In the Paks Cup GM tournament, Indian National champion Tania Sachdev sprang a major surprise, defeating top seeded Chinese GM Yo Shaoteng.
Tania, who is having a rather tough time in the event with three losses and a sole draw in the first four rounds, played a controlled game with black pieces in the final stages to register her first victory.
The much-needed victory also helped Tania recover from her last position in this category-9 event to joint-eighth spot.
The Delhi-based player took her tally to 1.5 points from five games and will now look forward to better her performance in the remaining four rounds in this 10-players-all-play-all tournament.
The lead here is shared by Hungarian duo of Attlia Groszpeter and Papp Gabor who both have 4 points apiece.
Results round 5: Hou Yifan (Chn, 1.5) lost to P Harikrishna (Ind, 2.5); Viktor Korchnoi (Sui, 3.5) beat Ferenc Berkes (Hun, 2); Csaba Balogh (Hun, 2.5) lost to Peter Acs (Hun, 3).
Paks Cup: Papp Gabor (Hun, 4) beat Pataki Gyozo (Hun, 1); Mihai Grunberg (Hun, 1.5) lost to Attilia Grszpter (Hun, 4); Andras Flumbort (Hun, 2) lost to Vladislav Nevednichy (Rus, 3.5); Yu Shaoteng (Chn, 2) lost to Tania Sachdev (Ind, 1.5); Krisztian Szab (Hun, 3.5) drew with David Smerdon (Aus, 2).
The moves: Hou Yifan v/s P Harikrishna
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. a4 b4 9. d3 d6 10. a5 Be6 11. Nbd2 Qc8 12. Nc4 Rb8 13. h3 h6 14. Be3 Nh7 15. d4 exd4 16. Nxd4 Nxd4 17. Bxd4 Rb5 18. f4 Bf6 19. f5 Bxc4 20. Bxc4 Bxd4+ 21. Qxd4 Re5 22. Qd3 Nf6 23. Bxa6 Qa8 24. Bb5 Rb8 25. Bc4 Rxa5 26. Rxa5 Qxa5 27. Qb3 Rf8 28. Kh1 Qc5 29. c3 bxc3 30. Qxc3 Re8 31. Bd3 Qxc3 32. bxc3 Re5 33. Re2 Kf8 34. Kg1 Rc5 35. Rc2 d5 36. e5 Nd7 37. e6 Ne5 38. Bf1 d4 39. c4 fxe6 40. fxe6 Ke7 41. Rd2 Nc6 42. Rf2 Kxe6 43. Rf8 Rf5 44. Re8+ Kd6 45. Bd3 Re5 46. Rg8 Re7 47. Kf2 Kc5 48. Ra8 Ne5 49. Ra5+ Kb4 50. Rb5+ Kc3 white resigned.