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Asian chess: Harikrishna, Harika make it an Indian double

May 11, 2011 09:20 IST

Grandmaster P Harikrishna and double GM norm holder D Harika rose to the occasion and made it a grand Indian double for India in the Asian Individual Chess Championships in Masshad (Iran) as they clinched the gold in both the open and women's section respectively. 

Harikrishna defeated Zhao Jun of China in the last round to emerge as the champion. He was little lucky too as overnight sole leader Yu Yangyi of China suffered a defeat at the hands of Nguyen Ngoc Troung Son of Vietnam.

It was a fantastic effort by the former world junior champion, especially as the victory came with black pieces. It was a similar story for Harika as she too needed to win her last round game against Chinese Tan Zhongyi with black and everything went according to plan. 

It turned out to be a three-way tie at the top in the open section with Harikrishna, Yangyi and Son scoring 6.5 points apiece but the Indian won the gold with the best tiebreak score. Yangyi got the silver while Son had to be satisfied with  the bronze.

There were more cheers in the Indian came in the women's section, apart from Harika, Eesha Karavade also came up with an inspired performance to win the bronze medal.  The silver in this category went to Pham Le Thao Nguyen of Vietnam.

For the record, Harika finished clear first on 6.5 points and it was a five-way tie for the second spot in which Padmini Rout finished sixth overall. 

Apart from the medals here, both Harika and Harikrishna also made it to the next world championship cycle by virtue of securing a seat from here. Besides the three co-winners, Rinat Jumabayev of Kazakhstan made the cut defeating former world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan in the final round. 

But Krishnan Sasikiran could not break the ice in his last round game against Bu Xiangzhi of China and finished tied fourth after splitting points while another Indian in the fray, Parimarjan Negi got the same result against Wesley So of Philippines. 

Harikrishna played a game he will remember for a long time. A passive approach by Zhao Jun did not yield dividends as Harikrishna seized the initiative in the middle game and then wrecked havoc on the queenside before cleaning it up. The Chinese lost an exchange and called it a day after 40 moves.

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