Hastings, Jan. 4 (PTI): Indian GM P. Harikrishna scored a brilliant victory over GM Alexei Barsov of Uzbekistan to emerge as joint leader after the seventh round of the 65th Hastings International Chess meet Saturday.
Harikrishna (4.5 points) shares the lead with GM Keith Arkell of England and GM Peter Heine Nielsen of Denmark. In joint fourth place are GM Krishnan Sasikiran, who drew with English GM Glenn Flear, and Barsov with four points apiece.
With two rounds to go, Harikrishna looks set to retain the title he won jointly last year with Barsov and Sasikiran.
The match started with a queen pawn game. The initial phase was fought in one of the main variations of the Queen’s Gambit Declined wherein Barsov was thoroughly confused by the Indian’s rapid strides.
The Uzbek erred in the 34th move and Harikrishna clinched the issue in 47 moves. Sasikiranwas held by Flear in the seventh round. This was his sixth draw from seven matches.