Indian Grandmaster Harika Dronavalli staved off a stiff challenge from Ukrainian Grandmaster Pavel Eljanov to eke out a thrilling draw in the opening round of the TePe Sigeman & Co Chess tournament, in Malmo.
The Guntur lass, the lone Indian player at the prestigious tournament, started with black pieces and had to be at her defensive best from the early stages against the highest rated player in the tournament at the Hipp theatre
on Wednesday night.
“My opponent attacked from the beginning and I countered with a defensive structure to contain the pressure,” Harika said after the match.
However, during the later stage of the game, Harika capitalised on an error made by her higher rated opponent which helped her regain the lost ground.
“In a crucial moment, he allowed me to break the Queen side due to slight miscalculation and after that I got a tactical shot that helped in drawing the game comfortably,” the world no. 10 Indian added.
At the end of first day’s action, Harika moved up a spot to the fifth position on the leader board with half a point.
She will take on the local Grandmaster Nils Grandelius in her second round later on Thursday night.