Indian Grand Master Pentala Harikrishna got off to a flying start in the Biel International Chess Festival campaign after he secured the runner-up position in the Rapid Chess Championship played here late on Sunday night (July 23).
The eight-player closed tournament saw the likes of former World Champion Anatoly Karpov, Women's World Champion Hou Yifan, David Navara (top seed), Alexander Morozevich, Yannick Pelletier, Rafael Vaganian and Vlastimil Hort feature alongside Harikrishna, who is the sole Indian representative in this prestigious event.
Harikrishna, seeded second got the better off Vlastimil Hort who he was paired up against in the opening round with ease,winning the first and tactfully drawing the second to breeze into the semifinals.
The 31-year-old from Guntur was up against local lad Pelletier in the semi-finals.
The Indian

comfortably defeated the Swiss in both the games to set the summit clash with top seeded Czech Grand Master, Navara.
The 31-year old from Guntur had a great chance to go the distance, but he could not sustain the momentum with Navara clinching the opener in 37 moves.
Harikrishna was looking for redemption in the second encounter to take the tie to the third and final Armageddon game. But the Czech Grandmaster did well to hold on to his fort to gradually lead the game towards neutral territory after 46 moves to take the crown.
The World No. 20 Indian, will now start his campaign in the Grand Master Tournament which will be played at Classic time control and will have a playing field of 10 very competitive Grand Masters.
He will take on Rafael Vaganian from Armenia later tonight for his first-round encounter in the single round-robin tournament.

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