Malmo (Sweden), May 11 (IANS) Indian Grand Master Harika Dronavalli staved off a strong challenge to eke out a thrilling draw against Ukrainian Grand Master and the highest rated player Pavel Eljanov in her opening round game of the TePe Sigeman and Co. chess tournament at the Hipp theatre here.

Harika, the lone Indian at the prestigious tournament, started with black pieces and had to be at her defensive best from the early stages here on Wednesday.

“My opponent attacked from the beginning and I countered with a defensive structure to contain the pressure,” the Guntur lass said after the match.

However, during the later stages of the game, Harika capitalised on an error made by her higher rated opponent which helped her regain 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 the opening day’s action, Harika moved up to the fifth spot on the leader board with half a point. She will take on the local Grand Master Nils Grandelius in her second round later on Thursday.

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