Let's Talk about Chess... with Pentala Harikrishna

by ChessBase
2/13/2021 – In a new episode of his "Let's talk about Chess..." podcast Eric van Reem has a long and relaxed chat with Pentala Harikrishna, India's number two. In part one of the interview the Indian Grandmaster, who is living in Europe, looks back to the Tata Steel Tournament 2021 that finished two weeks ago, and shares memories of his first start in Wijk, which was twenty years ago. | Photo: Pentala Harikrishna at the Chess Olympiad 2016 | Photo: Andreas Kontokanis

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In this episode Eric talks to the Indian number two of Indian chess: Super Grandmaster Pentala Harikrishna (1986) from India about the TATA Steel Chess Tournament 2021. Hari, as he is often called, played for the 8th time in Wijk aan Zee. He tells us how it was to play the first super tournament of 2021 in COVID conditions. He tells us a bit how it was to be tested before every rest day, to be in quarantaine before the event and of course about his games. He scored 50% in the event, after a good start. Harikrishna also has something to say about the Firouzja case and the tie-breaks. Eric and Hari also talk about the first event he played in, back in 2001, in which he shared the stage with players like Kasparov, Anand, Kramnik and Ivanchuk. In the 2021 edition, Hari was the oldest player! 

Pentala Harikrishna became the youngest grandmaster from India on 12 September 2001, a record now held by Gukesh D. He was Commonwealth Champion in 2001, World Junior Champion in 2004 and Asian Individual Champion in 2011.

Pentala won the Tata Steel Group B in 2012 and the Biel MTO Masters Tournament Open event in 2013. He represented India at seven Chess Olympiads from 2000 to 2012 and won team Bronze at the World Team Chess Championships in 2010. At the Asian Team Championships, Pentala won team gold once, team silver twice and individual bronze once.

In July 2020, he won with 5.5 points out of 7 games the Chess960 event, that was part of the chess tournament in Biel. He also represented India in the Online Olympiad 2020 where India won the gold medal along with Russia.

In February 2013, Pentala's FIDE rating passed 2700 for the first time. He broke into the top ten players in the world in November 2016 with a FIDE rating of 2768. His current rating (February 2021) is 2730.

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