Harikrishna hastily in Prague

by André Schulz
6/13/2018 – David Navara plays a match against P. Harikrishna in Prague, starting today. The match will take place over 12 games of rapid chess. Harikrishna was a last minute replacement for Ding Liren after the Chinese GM suffered an accident in Norway. The Chinese Association sends word that their top player will be fine, but he will be out of competition for at least a month.

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Faces Navara in annual 'CEZ Trophy' match

Chess is considered a fairly safe sport. But you have to be careful with the extracurricular activities. Sometimes such dangerous sports are offered as football, which becomes even more dangerous when inexperienced chess players take part. Even players left to their own recreation choices are not immune; Ding Liren's bicycle accident during the Norway Chess tournament forced him to retire from the tournament. Reportedly he and his father were on their own, heading downhill, when they encountered a sharp curve that caused Ding to lose control and crash. It emerged only later in the day that he fractured his hip in the fall. Ding but first took part in a planned cooking competition, organized for the grandmasters in Stavanger, and Ding did not want to miss it. He and his cooking partner Viswanathan Anand even performed the best — the Chinese-Indian duo triumphed.

However, because of the pain in his hip, Ding then made a trip to the doctor where the fracture was diagnosed, severe enough to require minor surgery. That seemed to go well, without complications, and just days later Ding could be seen — with crutches but in a good mood — on a boat trip among his colleagues. He could not, however, continue the tournament.

Norway Chess group

Boat trip group | Photo: Norway Chess

Ding was scheduled for a match against David Navara in rapid chess but was forced to cancel shortly after his accident. Fortunately, he should not be gone from the chess scene for long.

When asked about the health of Ding Liren, Tian Hongwei, Secretary-General of the Chinese Chess Federation, replied via email:

"He has returned to his hometown Wenzhou as planned. He has had a very successful operation in Norway. It will take about 3 months to recover. He hopes that he can participate in the chess events in one or two months."

Navara vs Harikrishna

Undaunted, the Prague Chess Society led by Pavel Matocha was able to obtain a high-quality replacement on short notice, so the competition can take place as planned. Instead of Ding, P. Harikrishna is now playing against Navara.

From June 12th to 17th, the "CEZ Chess Trophy 2018" will once again be held in Prague. The annual competition pits Navara, the top Czech player (No. 20, Elo 2740), against a strong invited Grandmaster from abroad.

There is an extensive supporting program, which began yesterday with a blitz tournament on the roof of the Lucerna Palace. Navara and Harikrishna too part.

Lucerna palace | Google maps

The main competition is underway at the Michna Palace (Hotel Kampa). On the first day of the competition, three rapid chess games will be played from 16:00 CEST (10:00 EDT). Three more rapid games will follow Thursday through Saturday, while, on Sunday, the two world-class grandmasters will give a simultaneous exhibition.

One of the guests of honour of the event is Vlastimil Hort.

Google Maps

Match standings


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About Harikrishna

Harikrishna was born on May 10th, 1986, in the Andhra Pradesh region of India. In 1996 Harikrishna became Under-10 World Champion. In 2001 he earned the Grandmaster, at the age of 15, and was the youngest grandmaster in India. He went on to win the 2004 World Junior Championship. In 2011, 'Hari' became Asian champion.

He has been a member of the Indian national team since 2000 and has already played eight times in Chess Olympiad for India. In 2014, the team won the bronze and Harikrishna took home the individual silver on the third board. Harikrishna also played regularly with the team at the Asian Cup, the World Team Championships and the Asian Games. In the Indian rankings, Harikrishna is number two behind Anand. In the world ranking, he is currently the number 22 with an Elo of 2734. 

In the German League, Harikrishna has played for the OSG Baden-Baden and Eppingen and most recently for SG Solingen. He's also active in the Austrian League, the Czech 'Extraliga', and a few other European leagues, along with select national team tournaments. He lived in Hyderabad and Prague.

Just a few months ago, in March 2018 Harikrishna married his Serbian girlfriend Nadezda Stojanovic in a colourful Indian wedding ceremony and moved his center of life to Belgrade.

Indian wedding

Indian wedding | Photo: Arunastudio1 / ChessBase India

Translation from German: Macauley Peterson


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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