Person of day   -  10 MAY 2021

PENTALA HARIKRISHNA

PENTALA HARIKRISHNA

Pentala Harikrishna was born on 10th May 1986 in a wealthy Indian family that lived in Guntur, in the Andhra Pradesh province. He became interested in chess after the success of Vishy Anand- his parents never imagined that Pentala would one day play with the Tiger from Madras for the same team!

Harikrishna won the world U10 championship in 1996 and the Commonwealth junior championship three years later. The young talent’s rise was overseen by Nigel Short, and English grandmaster and candidate in 1993, who the Indian junior often visited for training. 

The progress was evident: at 14, Pentala Harikrishna played for the Indian team at the 2000 Olympiad, where he fulfilled the criteria for grandmaster. Shortly after, Harikrishna became the youngest grandmaster in India’s history (his record would be broken by Parimarjan Negi) and qualified from the Asian championship for the FIDE knockout world championship in 2002. 

He won the world junior championship and the Indian championship in 2004. In that same year, he surpassed the markof 2600 ELO points. In 2005, he began working with Anand’s former coach, Elizbar Ubilava. Regular training with an experienced mentor enabled India’s second player to improve his game considerably and neared him to the global elite. At the 2005 World Cup, Harikrishna made it to the third round, where he lost to Alexey Dreev.

Pentala won the Asian team championship with India in 2004 before becoming a prize-winner in several Eastern team championships. From 2000, Anand barely played for his national team, so Harikrishna and Sasikiran became national team leaders. In 2010, the Indian team sensationally won third place at the world team championship, even while playing without the world champion. 

Thanks to his consistent opening repertoire and a solid style, Pentala Harikrishna has been considered a team player from his youth who has played in multiple club leagues around the world. He won a silver medal in the European Cup with Germany’s Baden-Baden, a gold at the Greek championship with Kavala, a bronze medal at the Russian championship with Elara, a gold in Spain with Cuna de Dragones and silver with C.A. Solvay, gold in Bosnia and Herzegovina with Bosna, gold in China with Shanghai, gold in Turkey with Istanbul’s Technical University and the European Cup and Czech championship with G-Team. 

In the last few years, Pentala Harikrishna achieved notable success in individual tournaments. He won the PokerStars International Open in 2015. Harikrishna’s rating surpassed 2750 and the Indian grandmaster is consistently among the top players in the world. At the 2016 super tournament in Stavanger, Pentala felt confident among world champions: he lost to Kramnik and Carlsen, but beat Li Chao and Giri.