In the highly anticipated battle between two Indian Grand Masters in the World Youth Chess Championship in Mumbai on Wednesday, R Praggnanandhaa outclassed compatriot P Iniyan and kept India’s hopes alive in the Under-18 Open.
Iniyan, playing with black, opted for the Pirc defence. Pragg not only countered the move easily but forced him into the back foot in the opening half. He kept on piling pressure with every move and finally wrapped up the game on move 38.
As a result of the win, the youngster joined Iran’s IM Aryan Gholami in the lead after he settled for a draw in 38 moves against Indian IM Mitrabha Guha.
Grand Master Sargsyan Shant of Armenia, the top seed player of the tournament, kept himself in the hunt by beating George Stoleriu of Romania in 37 moves.
Meanwhile, R Abinandhan continued his dream run in the Under-14 Open, and he is now a surprise leader with seven points. After beating two Russians, second and fourth-seeded, Abinandhan completed a hattrick of wins after outwitting compatriot FM LR Srihari in a Queens’ Gambit move.
Armenian youngster Aydin Suleymanli has moved to second place with 6.5 points after he drew against Marc Morgunov of Austria.
World Youth Chess Championship Key Results
Under 18 Open: Aryan Gholami (IRI, 6.5) drew with Mitrabha Guha (IND, 6);R Praggnanandhaa (IND, 6.5) beat P Iniyan (IND, 5); George Stoleriu (ROU, 5) lost to Sargsyan Shant (ARM, 6);
Under 18 Girls: Vantika Agrawal (IND, 6) drew with Polina Shuvalova (RUS, 6.5); Tianqi Yan (CHN, 6) beat Alicja Sliwicka (POL, 5); Assel Serikbay (KAZ, 5) lost to Alexandra Obolentseva (RUS, 6)
Under 16 Open: Miguel Soto (COL, 5.5) lost to Moke Hans Niemann (USA, 7); Moksh Doshi (IND, 5) lost to Mohan Kushagra (IND, 6)
Under 16 Girls: Nazerke Nurgali (KAZ, 7) beat Alessia Ciolacu (ROU, 5.5)
Under 14 Open: LR Srihari (IND 6) lost to R Abinandhan (IND, 7); Marc Morgunov (AUT, 6) drew with Aydin Suleymanli (AZE, 6.5); S Maralakshikari (IND, 6) drew with Thien Phuc Vo (VIE, 6)
Under 14 Girls: Rakshitta Ravi (IND, 6.5) drew with Ekaterina Nasyrova (RUS, 6.5);Astghik Hakobyan (ARM, 6) drew with Eline Roebers (NED, 6.5); Erdene Mungunzul (MGL, 6) beat Dhyana Patel (IND, 5)