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Geneva: Harikrishna defeats Aronian, joins Grischuk and Radjabov in lead

Indian Grandmaster Pentala Harikrishna defeated the top seed Levon Aronian in the sixth round of Geneva Grand Prix to join Alexander Grischuk and Teimour Radjabov, who drew each other, on the top of the crosstable with 4 points.

As Aronian weakened the king with careless 20.f4 and then 21.b5, Harikrishna pounced on the opportunity, and after the tactical transfer of the knight to g4-square he obtained a strong attack.

White lost a pawn but the trouble was that it was a really fast passer which advanced unopposed to the promotion square. Black sealed the victory right before the time control.


Li Chao was inspired by Mamedyarov’s games to employ a sharp line against Pavel Eljanov’s Queen’s Indian defence. Black was ever under the pressure and it only worsened as he was delaying the castle.

A mistake on move 15 allowed white to trade off the light-squared bishops and use the e4-square as transit point for the knight. From then on, black king remained in the center and white’s advantage grew until the opponent’s position collapsed.


Ian Nepomniachtchi spent the day off in his room, resting, and arriving fresh to the sixth round he defeated the compatriot Ernesto Inarkiev.

In the Ruy Lopez black was perhaps one move late with the break d6-d5. White’s neat reply 20.Nce5 posed certain problems for the opponent, who allowed too many pins and consequently lost the thread of the position. Nepo swiftly concluded the game.


The game between Salem A.R.Saleh and Hou Yifan was roughly equal until white buried his pieces far on the queenside. With several energetic moves (21…f5!) Yifan obtained initiative, but white fought his way back by transferring the queen back to defence.

However, white’s stand did not last long as being in the huge time trouble Salem blundered and run into checkmate.


Alexander Riazantsev was once again involved in the longest match of the day. In the post-game interview he said he is not feeling fatigue in the sixth hour of play, but that his calculation is sometimes weaker due to the fact that he is also the national coach of Russian women’s team. Having parallel careers of a player and a coach is very difficult, Riazantsev said. He added that all professional players have to be physically fit in order to stay focused on the board.

Speaking of the game with Richard Rapport, Riazantsev said that he obtained the advantage after the opening, but he was criticizing 23…Bxb4+ and 24…c5, which were poor compared to the alternatives.

Nevertheless, black managed to push the pawn all the way to h2, when Rapport erred again, and then Riazantsev advanced the phalanx on the queenside until white king was facing a checkmate.


The remaining games were drawn.

The honorary first move was made by Dr Haik Nikogosian, Special Representative of World Health Organization.

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Round 6 standings:

1-3. GM Grischuk Alexander RUS 2761, GM Harikrishna Pentala IND 2737 and GM Radjabov Teimour AZE 2724 – 4
4-7. GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2800, GM Svidler Peter RUS 2749, GM Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2742 and GM Li Chao B CHN 2735 – 3.5
8-13. GM Aronian Levon ARM 2809, GM Giri Anish NED 2775, GM Adams Michael ENG 2736, GM Gelfand Boris ISR 2728, GM Jakovenko Dmitry RUS 2703 and GM Riazantsev Alexander RUS 2654 – 3
14-15. GM Eljanov Pavel UKR 2739 and GM Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2707 – 2.5
16. GM Hou Yifan CHN 2666 – 2
17-18. GM Rapport Richard HUN 2694 and GM Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2638 – 1.5

Round 7 pairings:

GM Harikrishna Pentala 2737 – GM Grischuk Alexander 2761
GM Radjabov Teimour 2724 – GM Svidler Peter 2749
GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2800 – GM Nepomniachtchi Ian 2742
GM Riazantsev Alexander 2654 – GM Li Chao B 2735
GM Giri Anish 2775 – GM Aronian Levon 2809
GM Adams Michael 2736 – GM Jakovenko Dmitry 2703
GM Hou Yifan 2666 – GM Gelfand Boris 2728
GM Eljanov Pavel 2739 – GM Salem A.R. Saleh 2638
GM Inarkiev Ernesto 2707 – GM Rapport Richard 2694

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