Indian Grandmaster P Harikrishna on Wednesday defeated David Anton Guijarro of Spain in the seventh and final round of the Classical event of the 53rd Biel International Chess Festival in Switzerland but still had to settle for second spot. Poland's Radoslaw Wojtaszek claimed the title after winning his game against Noel Studer of Switzerland. Playing with black pieces, the Indian No.3 outclassed Guijarro in just 31 moves with some fine play.
However, Wojtaszek's victory over Studer meant Harikrishna's strong run during which he won four straight games in the Classical event wasn't enough to land him the top prize. Wojtaszek finished with 37 points, edging out the Indian (36.5 points) by a mere half-a-point. Harikrishna (Elo 2719) had defeated German Vincent Keymer, Wojtaszek and Romain Edouard before putting it across Guijjaro on Wednesday. Wojtaszek, needing a win to annex the title, overcame the challenge of Studer in a 59-move encounter.
A below par performance in the Blitz section during which he scored only six points from 14 games cost Harikrishna dear in the final analysis. The 34-year old Indian had won the Chess960 event and finished second in the rapid section. "I had a pretty good event except the blitz. I am happy with my performance here. Except in Blitz my performance was quite good," Harikrishna told PTI from Biel. The Guntur-born player said he was happy to play an over-the-board event after the coronavirus-forced break.
"I am quite happy to get a chance to play an over-the-board after a long time. We had plexiglass for all the events and (wore) masks for the blitz. So, probably plexiglass could be used to restart strong events. Of course, there were other regulations during the event," he added. Apart from measures including social distancing, regular hand washing and the disinfection of clocks, boards, and pieces after each round, the matches were conducted with a plexiglass partition between the players.
Harikrishna rated his win over the champion Wojtaszek in the fifth round of the Classical event as the best in the Biel Festival. He will next take part in the Online Olympiad in which India's campaign will begin from August 19. "We have a strong team. Of course, while playing online there can be some unfortunate incidents like internet connection (issues) or mouse slip. But if no so such things occur, the Indian team is one of the favourites," he said.
Classical: 7th and Final round: P Harikrishna beat David Anton Guijjaro; Michael Adams (England) beat Arkadij Naiditsch (Azerbaijan); Radoslaw Wojtaszek beat Noel Studer (Switzerland); Romain Edouard (France) beat Vincent Keymer (Germany).
Final standings: 1. Radoslaw Wojtaszek 37 points, 2. P Harikrishna 36.5, 3. Michael Adams 35.5, 4. Vincent Keymer 28, 5. Arkadij Naiditsch 22.5, 6. David Anton Guijjaro 22, 7. Romain Edouard 17.5, 8. Noel Studer 15.