It's dangerous to exchange queens against Harikrishna!
It's simply phenomenal how Harikrishna has managed to win equalish looking positions at the Shenzhen Masters 2019. His modus operandi is simple - he exchanges the queens, masterfully shuffles his pieces to their best squares, calculates like a machine and overpowers strong opposition in the endgame. After losing his eighth round to Richard Rapport, Hari's first super tournament victory at Shenzhen was in jeopardy. Anish Giri had caught up with him. But in the 9th round Hari came up with the goods against Yu Yangyi and defeated the Chinese player from the white side of the Petroff in tremendous positional style. With this win, he once again is in the lead going into the final round. Check out Harikrishna's win over Yu Yangyi.
Harikrishna one step away from his first super tournament victory
When things are going your way, you are winning one round after another and after that you lose a game, it is often quite difficult to recover. Harikrishna's 8th round loss to Richard Rapport was a big setback to the Indian as he was leading the tournament by half a point and the loss meant that Anish Giri had joined him at the top. But more than that, he had an equal position against Richard which slowly slipped into a lost endgame.
But in the ninth round Harikrishna simply picked up from where he had left off in the first six rounds of the event. It was as if the loss didn't matter to him. He countered Yu Yangyi's Petroff with his symmetrical positional line. It's as if Harikrishna has found the perfect formula to beat the Chinese players. He first plays a solid and safe opening, then exchanges the queens, brings all his pieces to excellent squares and when the Chinese players make an error, he pounces on that and wins his games! At the Shenzhen Masters Hari has scored 3.0/3 against Chinese no.1 (Ding Liren) and 2 (Yu Yangyi). Let's have a look at the game:
Harikrishna vs Yu Yangyi
Just have a look at this position. Each and every white piece is superior to its counterpart. The h1 rook can get into the game anytime with hxg5. The c1 rook will find excellent occupation on b1 to attack the b6 pawn. The bishop on d3 and the knight on g3 are well placed. And not to forget, the king on f2. It is all set to come to e3 at the right time to defend the potential d4 weakness. Harikrishna didn't really have difficulties converting this endgame. Have a look at this game with complete annotations below: