Harikrishna on Opening Strong in Chicago
By Jamaal Abdul-Alim   
May 28, 2011
Spring in Chicago, Photo Betsy Dynako
Chicago -- Fresh from clinching the Asian Chess Championship earlier this month, GM Pendyala Harikrishna scored victories in all of his first three games here at the Chicago Open, making him the highest-rated player with a perfect score thus far.

But with three other GMs and two IMs also with perfect scores as Round 4 and 5 take place today, Harikrishna knows the battle in the nine-round Swiss tournament is far from over.

“It’s important that I play good and keep winning,” Harikrishna told Chess Life Online after Round 3, in which he defeated IM Robert Hungaski.

“I equalized very easily from black side. I got a comfortable position on the black side,” Harikrishna said. “In the middle game, somewhere he went wrong. and then I got initiative. Thereafter, he blundered his piece, and after that, he just resigned.”
Harikrishna thought Hungaski’s fatal error was 16.Na4, in the following game:


While players are still trickling in to the Chicago Open, organizers say this year’s advance registration lags last year’s advanced registration of 475 by about 50 players.

Last year’s Chicago Open drew some 700 players but organizers say they don’t expect as many this year.

Unofficially, the event is fielding 17 GMs, 15 IMs, 12 FMs, one WFM and one WIM (numbers corrected from earlier version). Bill Goichberg, chief director of the tournament and president of the Continental Chess Association, said the event has enough FIDE-rated foreign players such that other registrants do not have to specifically play against foreigners in order to qualify for norms.

Harikrishna at the Chicago Open, Photo Abdul-Alim
“If they have to play them, that’s a tremendous problem, because you’re not allowed to manipulate the pairings,” Goichberg said. “It’s a good thing for the tournament, so players will know when they come here they have a pretty good shot at norms.”

In his first two games, Harikrishna (2666), of Hyderabad, India, defeated GM Dmitry Gurevich (2476) and WFM Tatev Abrahamyan (2335). Harikrishna attributed his win against Gurevich to a time-pressure mistake by Gurevich.

Harikrishna is joined in his thus far-perfect status in the open by our new Samford winner, GM Aleksandr Lenderman, (2548) GM Nikola Mtikov (2525), GM Kida Sundararajan (2467), as well as IMs Leonid Gerzhoy (2496) and Jacek Stopa (2460). 

Harikrishna said he had no time to specially prepare for the Chicago Open after winning the Asian Chess Championship.

“I just did normal preparation before coming to the tournament, but nothing specifically. I’m just playing,” he said.

Harikrishna said the Chicago Open is proving more difficult to prepare for and play in than the Asian Chess Championship.

“It’s very difficult to prepare for this tournament, because they have nine games in five days, and the pairings are just before the game,” Harikrishna said.
But he said keeping a calm outlook is critical.

“I think it’s more important to be relaxed than to play,” Harikrishna said.

Also off to a nice start with 2.5/3 is IM Irina Krush, who suffered a setback in round three by drawing to the lower rated youngster Kevin Mo. Still, Irina must be happy about her win over GM Yury Shulman in round two.


Look for more news on the Chicago Open on CLO, see live games on Monroi and follow standings and pairings at the official website, http://chicagoopen.net/