PUNE: Vishwanathan Anand and Pentala Harikrishnan shined through the seventh round, bringing home our first match victory of the tournament. Anand, playing white against Teimour Radjabov, opted for the Bayonnet Attack against Radjabov’s pet King’s Indian Defence.
Radjabov decided to sacrifice a pawn in the opening, in exchange for a bishop pair. He definitely had compensation into the middle game, but went wrong on the 28th move, missing Anand’s well concealed idea of 29. g3 !, thereby winning another pawn.
Anand quickly converted his advantage into a full point. On the third board Hari crushed Cori Jorge from the white side of the Sveshnikov variation, in a game where he was pushing for initiative throughout. He ended it with a spectacular knight sacrifice in the centre of the board.
On the remaining two boards D Harika drew against Mariya Muzychuk on the women’s board, and Vidit Gujrathi lost to Alireza Firouza in an opposite colour bishop ending, after Firouza showed some smooth technique to convert his extra pawn. Round 8 : India drew against Europe, Score : 2-2. Vidit played some excellent chess in this round, by winning against two-time World Cup winner Levon Aronian of Armenia.
Vidit secured a considerable advantage after the 31st move, when he managed to create a passed pawn on the d file and plant his rook on the seventh rank. He showed class technique in the rook ending to bring home the full point.
It takes strength of spirit to keep backing yourself when you are struggling with your form and produce such a nice win as Vidit did. Anand made a solid draw with black against Maxime Vachier Lagrave on board 1.
We were very close to winning this match too as Hari found some nice defensive resources to ward off Jan Krzysztof Duda’s attack on board 3, while Humpy had a long-term advantage in a double rook ending against Anna Muzychuk on board 4. As it happened, Hari lost his game and Humpy drew.