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Harika Dronavalli shocks world number 1 Hou Yifan in Isle of Man International tournament

Harika will next play Latvias Grand Master Alexei Shirov.

Harika Dronavalli
Harika Dronavalli pulled off a shock by defeating Hou Yifan

Isle of Man (Douglas), October 8: India’s Harika Dronavalli scored a sensational victory over World No. 1 Hou Yifan to catapult into the joint fourth position in the Isle of Man International Chess tournament in a late game on Friday night.

Harika was at her brilliant best as she manoeuvred past a determined Yifan to pull off her fourth win in the championship. The captivating 45-move game slowly started devolving towards the Indian Grand Master’s way and she held on to her nerve for her first ever victory over the Chinese star.

Viswanathan Anand congratulates Harika

India’s chess king Viswanathan Anand was quick to congratulate Harika for her morale-boosting win. “Nice to see Harika do well against Hou,” he tweeted. “She is holding her own against string GM (sic) quite impressively,” he added, perhaps referring to the strong GMs she has played so far.

Anand wished her all the best for her remaining matches in this elite tournament.

Harika is now sitting pretty with 5 points after seven rounds, just one and a half points behind the championship leader Eljanov Pavel of Ukraine.

The World No. 6 with an ELO of 2542, was expectedly delighted after her big win. “We began with an unusual opening and right from move number four we were coursing through unchartered territory,” she said. “Just as we approached the mid-game, I found myself in a slightly better position strategically. I held on to it doggedly and converted it into a point,” she added.

A high on confidence Harika will next play Latvia’s Grand Master Alexei Shirov (ELO 2673), who is an equally tough opponent. Shirov is also on 5 points.

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