Harikrishna expectedly emerged as the best Indian performer at the business end of the tournament, taking his tally to 5.5 points out of a possible seven and with just three rounds to go, the Indian has his task cut out.

At the top of the table, Hikaru Nakamura's winning streak was halted by David Howell of England but the American remained in front on 6.5 points conceding his first draw in the tournament after six victories.

The American is followed by Axel Bachmann of Paraguay, Chinese Yangyi Yu, Daniel Naroditsky of the United States and Howell on six points each.

Harikrishna stands in the next bunch of players with 5.5 points and he has elite company in Yifan Hou, the reigning women's world champion and Peter Svidler of Russia and five others in this point group.

The other Indians lost their way in this round and it would be hard work all over again for the likes of B Adhiban, Sethuraman and M R Lalith Babu.

Adhiban was outdone by Naroditsky. For the first time in the tournament, Adhiban was found wanting on preparation as well as form, as the Indian went for a rather lacklustre variation leading to complex position with white pieces. Naroditsky displayed his best tactical acumen in flirting with wild complexities that ensued and the American won two pawns when the dust subsided. The resulting position was much worse and Adhiban's best defense was not enough to salvage the day.

National champion Sethuraman also suffered a loss against Dmitry Jakovenko of Russia, while M R Lalith Babu could not get half point in his game against Maxim Rodshtein of Israel.

While it does not mean the end of the road for these Indians in the tournament, they will certainly need a flourish in the last three games to make an impact.

The day belonged to Harikrishna, who came up with some inspired display with his white pieces. Gaining the development advantage, the Andhra-based came up with a unique sacrifice by giving up his rook for a minor piece and thereafter it was a sustained attack that did the trick.

Muzychuk was on the brink, but fought hard to reach an endgame where Harikrishna continued to cause the damage with his Bishop pair and the extra material did not really see the light of the day as it deserved for the Slovenian lady.

Harikrishna will next take on Ivan Cheparinov of Bulgaria and a victory can put him in the top bracket of this 175000 Pounds Sterling (Rs. 1.7 Crores) prize money tournament.

The eighth round will be quite important for the Indian, who has won many fans with two sparkling victories in the tournament so far.

Important and Indian results round 7 (Indians unless specified): David Howell (Eng, 6) drew with Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 6.5); Yangyi Yu (Chn, 6) drew with Yifan Hou (Chn, 6); B Adhiban (5) lost to Daniel Naroditsky (Usa, 6); Dennis Wagner (Ger, 5) lost to Axel Bachmann (Par, 6); Veselin Topalov (5) drew with Aleksandr Lenderman (Usa, 5); Ivan Salgado Lopez (Esp, 4.5) lost to Peter Svidler (Rus, 5.5); Nikita Vitiugov (Rus, 5.5) beat Michael Roiz (Isr, 4.5); S P Sethuraman (4.5) lost to Dmitry Jakovenko (Rus, 5.5); P Harikrishna (5.5) beat Anna Muzychuk (Slo, 4.5); M R Lalith Babu (5) drew with Maxim Rodshtein (Isr, 5); M R Venkatesh (4.5) lost to Wei Yi (Chn, 5.5); Maxim Matlakov (Rus, 5) beat Surya Shekhar Ganguly (4.5); Debashis Das (4.5) drew with Romain Edouard (Fra, 4.5); Emil Sutovsky (Isr, 5) beat Arghyadip Das (4); Tamir Nabaty (Isr, 5) beat Neelotpal Das (4); M Shyam Sundar (4) lost to Eric Hansen (Can, 5); Sandipan Chanda (4) lost to Padmini Rout (5); V Vishnu Prasanna (5) beat Hannes Stefansson (Isl, 4); Soumya Swaminathan (4) lost to Gil Popilski (Isr, 5); Deep Sengupta (4.5) beat Manuel Juan Bellon Lopez (Esp, 3.5); D Harika  (4.5) beat Victor Plotkin (Can, 3.5): Klara Varga (Hun, 3) lost to Eesha Karavade (4).

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