Rapid chess championship | Harsha Bharathakoti and R. Vaishali shine on opening day

Carlsen shares lead with Duda and Baadur; Konsteniuk and Gunina on top

Harsha Bharathakoti lived up to his reputation of being a fine player in the shorter time duration as he notched up 3.5 points, same as Vidit Gujrathi, after five rounds of the World rapid chess championship at Warsaw on Sunday.

In the 13-round competition, defending champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Poland) and Jobava Baadur (Georgia) shared the lead on 4.5 points in the 173-player field.

The players are allotted 15 minutes on the clock plus 10-second increments for each move.

In the 11-round women’s competition, 49th-ranked R. Vaishali kept the Indian flag flying by holding the fourth position with 3.5 points from four rounds. Notably, she stunned fourth seed Marika Muzychuk (Ukraine) and 18th seed Alina Kashlinskaya, representing Chess Federation of Russia (CFR), following a creditable draw with 16th seed Nino Batsiashvili (Georgia) in the second round.

Alexandra Konsteniuk and Valentina Gunina (both CRF) shared the lead at four points.

On a roll

Among the Indians, Harsha punched way above his weight. Armed with a starting rank of 110, the youngster defeated 22nd seed Rauf Memedov (Aze), 36th-ranked Vladislav Kovalev (FIDE) and Volodymyr Onyshchuk (Ukr) in the first three rounds before losing to Carlsen. He drew with 30th seed Sergie Movsesian (Arm) to share the 17th spot.

Vidit defeated three lower-rated rivals, but lost to fourth seed Ian Nepomniachtchi (CRF) and drew with fifth seed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave before setting up a sixth-round meeting with sixth seed Fabiano Caruana (USA).

Nihal Sarin, who scored 3 points from four rounds against higher-rated rivals, lost to Alireza Firouzja (Fra) in the fifth round. An unbeaten S.L. Narayanan also scored three points off higher-ranked opponents.

D. Gukesh (3), among the lowest rated players in the event at 2050, performed at a whopping 2637, after winning odd-numbered rounds against Denis Kadric (BIH), Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (IRI) and Alan Pichot (Arg) to more than make up for the losses to Timur Gareyev (USA) and David Anton (Spain).


The biggest disappointment was P. Harikrishna, the highest rated Indian in the field. The 18th seed, rated 2705, managed only two points to be placed 130th.

Indians’ points-tally: Open (after five rounds): Vidit Gujrathi, Harsha Bharathakoti (3.5 each), Nihal Sarin, S.L. Narayanan, D. Gukesh (3 each), Abhimanyu Puranik, Raunak Sadhwani, Arjun Erigaisi, Mitrabha Guha, Aditya Mittal (2.5 each), P. Harikrishna (2) and Sankalp Gupta (1).

Women (after four rounds): R. Vaishali (3.5), K. Humpy, Vantika Agarwal (2.5) and Padmini Rout (2).

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