Mumbai, Oct. 11:
India’s Candidate Master Aronyak Ghosh scored a thrilling victory over top seed Hans Niemann of the USA to become joint leader in the Under-16 Open category of the World Youth Chess Championship here on Thursday.
Eighth seeded Aronyak played a strong strategic game in Round 9 to outwit his formidable opponent in 42 moves. He now has 7 points along with Hans and Russian IM Rudik Makarian, who was held to a draw by another Indian hopeful CM Kushagra Mohan (now joint second with 7 points).
The Under-18 Open too was intriguingly poised, with India’s biggest hope, GM R Praggnanandhaa eking out a well-fought victory over IM Viachaslau Zarubitski of Belarus to jump into the lead with 7.5 points.
Top seeded GM Shant Sargsyan of Armenia, however, was back in the title race with 7 points by scoring his second straight victory. The break on Tuesday seemed to have rejuvenated Shant as he punished the in form IM Aryan Gholami of Iran.
India suffered major setbacks in the Under-14 Open, though, with surprise package R Abinandhan and top seed S Maralakshikari losing crucial matches, with just two more rounds to go after this. Abinandhan, seeded 55th, who was enjoying a dream run, was beaten by Azerbaijan’s IM Aydin Suleymanli to slip to joint second.
Aydin was in sole lead while Abinandhan has Austria’s Morgunov Marc for company on the second rung. Morgunov overcame Maralakshikari.
The Under-14 Girls too went against the country, with second seeded WIM Rakshitta Ravi suffering a tough loss against Azerbaijan’s WFM Ayan Allahverdiyeva. In a Ruy-Lopez opening, Ayan gained the upper hand in the middlegame after Rakshitta’s aggression with her pawns backfired, to move into the second position.
Rakshitta’s defeat helped untitled Dutch player Eline Roebers, who downed Russian WFM Ekaterina Nasyrova to take the sole lead in the section.
Russia’s WCM Leya Garifullina (7.5) clung on to her top position in the Under-16 Girls, scoring a 47-move draw against India’s WFM Salonika Saina. Kazakhastan’s Nazerke Nurgali joined her by the end of day, after drawing with India’s BM Akshaya.