P. Harikrishna suffered his first loss in the Tata Steel Masters chess tournament after running into an in-form Alireza Firouzja (5.5 points) who emerged as the sole leader after eight rounds in Wijk aan Zee, in the Netherlands, on Sunday.
On a day when 16-year-old Russian Andrey Esipenko crushed Magnus Carlsen with a flawless display, all other games were drawn.
Playing black, Harikrishna (4) paid the price for underestimating the danger posed by the position around the 33rd move.
Notwithstanding a pawn-deficit, Harikrishna did his best to defend. Firouzja made him suffer by finding accurate continuations and eventually won in 56 moves.
This was Firouzja’s third successive victory and fourth in all after starting his campaign with a defeat to Carlsen.
Carlsen, whose last defeat to a teenager in this coveted event came against 16-year-old Anish Giri in the 2011 edition, looked lost by the 16th move against Esipenko. The youngster stayed calm to convert his advantage in 38 moves.
Eighth-round results: P. Harikrishna (4) lost to Alireza Firouzja (5.5); Andrey Esipenko (Rus, 5) bt Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 4); Fabiano Caruana (USA, 5) drew with Anish Giri (Ned, 5); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 5) drew with Jorden van Foreest (Ned, 5); Nils Grandelius (Swe, 4.5) drew with Radoslaw Wojtaszek (Pol, 3.5); Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Pol, 3) drew with David Anton Guijar (Esp, 3); Alexander Donchenko (Ger, 2.5) drew with Aryan Tari (Nor, 3).