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Harikrishna joint fifth

Abu Dhabi: GM P. Harikrishna defeated IM Javad Maherramzade of Azerbaijan to move to joint fifth position after the Round 8 in the Abu Dhabi chess festival on Monday.

GM Gabriel Sargissian of Armenia emerged sole leader with 6.5 points after scoring a crucial win over Jobava Baadur of Georgia in the penultimate round.

Top seed GM Smbat Lputian of Armenia, Vasily Yemelin of Russia and Pavel Kotsur of Kazakhstan shared the second spot with six points each.

Behind them are GMs Merab Gagunashvili of Georgia, Evgeny Vladimirov of Kazakhstan, M. Shakhriyaz of Azerbaijan and Harikrishna. All four have 5.5 points apiece.

The other Indian GMs in fray, Abhijit Kunte and Sandipan Chanda, are joint ninth on five points with 11 others. Chanda drew with IM El Gindy Essam of Egypt in 40 moves.

In a Slav Defence with black pieces, Chanda attained a level position but the exchange of queens early in the middle game led to a balanced endgame.

Kunte beat IM Alexander Raetsky of Russia in a marathon game that lasted 102 moves.

Harikrishna defeated Maherramzade in 42 moves from an irregular queen pawn opening.

The Indian won a pawn in the middle game by mounting pressure along the queen bishop file. In the ensuing rook and opposite colour bishop ending, the passed pawn and position of the rook clinched the issue.

Tejas Bakre drew with IM Ezat Mohamed of Egypt in 32 moves in a Slav Defence. Chandrasekhar Gokhale lost to highly-rated IM Tahir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan in 43 moves.

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