Harikrishna eyes Candidates berth
Archiman Bhaduri | TNN | May 10, 2017, 09.17 PM IST

KOLKATA: Indian Grandmaster Pentala Harikrishna will take the first steps in claiming a place for the 2018 Candidates meet when he will take part in the Moscow Grand Prix. The second leg of the Fide Grand Prix this year will see 18 top players of the world locking horns over the next 10 days beginning on Friday.

The top two finishers of the four-leg series will qualify for the 2018 Candidates Tournament, the winner of which will challenge World champion Norwegian GM Magnus Carlsen in the next World Championship match.

Although 24 players earned berths to take part in the tournaments, each player will be eligible to take part in any three of the four legs of the GP. Harikrishna had skipped the first leg at Sharjah which was held in February.

World No. 5 French GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who finished tied first with Alexander Grischuk of Russia and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan in the first leg, will once again start as one of the favourites to claim the leg. The three now lead the points table with 140 points.

The tournament, a nine-round Swiss contest, will also feature strong players like China’s Hou Yifan, the world’s leading female player, along with American GM Hikaru Nakamura, who has been in great form in recent time along with five other top 20 players of the world.
The second-highest rated Indian GM, who spent his 31st birthday on Wednesday travelling to Moscow, will have to improve a lot after finishing last in the just-concluded Shamkir Chess meet.
However, in spite of not ending up with a good result, the Indian did play some great matches and had his stronger rivals under pressure. The Shamkir experience will thus hopefully help Harikrishna negotiate tough situations much better in Moscow.
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