Frayna breaks free; Xiong still in front

Janelle Mae Frayna moved into the sole lead at the end of the 10th round of the World Junior Girls’ Chess Championship after beating Chennai girl Michelle Catherina.

Janelle Mae Frayna (left) of Philippines moved into the sole lead after beating India's Michelle Catherina in the 10th round of the World Junior Girls' Chess Championship in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.   -  P.K. Ajith Kumar

After sharing the lead all through, Janelle Mae Frayna finally broke free on Thursday. The ninth seed from Philippines moved into the sole lead at the end of the 10th round of the World Junior Girls’ Chess Championship after beating Chennai girl Michelle Catherina at the KIIT University campus.

She won in 55 moves from the white side of a Catalan Opening to take her tally to eight points. With three rounds remaining, she is followed half-a-point behind by fellow overnight joint leader Alina Bovil.

The second-seeded Russian lost the lead after drawing with Paula Rodriguez Rueda of Chile on the top board. As many as five girls – including P.V. Nandhidhaa and R. Vaishali of the host – are on seven points, though.

In the boys’ championship, Jeffrey Xiong continues to be on song. He defeated Poland’s Grzegorz Nasuta in a knight-and-pawn ending after 67 moves to move on to 8.5 points.

The second-seeded American now has a full point lead over his nearest rival, top seed Vladislav Artemiev of Russia, who has bounced right back into contention after posting his third win on the trot. Four players are on seven points, but none of them is from India. That was because Karthikeyan Murali lost to Iran’s Parham Maghsoodloo, while Aravindh Chithambaram drew with Rasmus Svane of Germany.

There was, however, some good news for the host, with four players making their title norms. Harsha Bharatakoti, Rakesh Kumar Jena and Srijit Paul made International Master norms, while K. Priyanka scored a Woman International Master norm.

Important results (10th round; Indians unless specified): Jeffery Xiong (USA) 8.5 bt Grzegorz Nasuta (Pol) 7; Bozidar Ivekovic (Cro) (Geo) 7 drew with Xu Yunglun (Chn) 7; Vladislav Artemiev (Rus) 7.5 bt Irakli Beradze (Geo) 6; Karthikeyan Murali 6 lost to Parham Maghsoodloo (Ira) 7; Rasmus Svane (Ger) 6.5 drew with Aravindh Chithambaram 6.5; Christoph Menezes (Aut) 6.5 bt Kirill Alekeseenko (Rus) 5.5; Dennis Wagner (Ger) 5.5 lost to Paulo Bersamina (Phi) 6.5; Cristobal Villagra Henriquez (Chi) 6 drew with Srijit Paul 6; N.R. Visakh 6 drew with S.L. Narayanan 6; Patrik Grandadam (Swi) 6 drew with Shardul Gagare 6; Xu Yi (Chn) 6 drew with Shahin Lorparizangeneh (Ira) 6; Masoud Mosadeghpour (Ira) 6.5 bt Stefan Beukema (Bel) 5.5.

Girls: Alina Bivol (Rus) 7.5 drew with Paula Rodriguez Rueda (Col) 7; Janelle Mae Frayna (Phi) 8 bt Michelle Catherina 6.5; Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova (Uzb) 6.5 drew with Dinara Saduakassova (Kaz) 7; R. Vaishali 7 bt Dinara Dordzhieva (Rus) 6.5; Nataliya Buksa (Ukr) 7 bt Gu Tianlu (Chn) 6; M. Mahalakshmi 6 lost to P.V. Nandhidhaa 7; Teodora Injac (Srb) 6 drew with Mobina Alinasab (Ira) 6; Uurtsaikh Uuriituya (Mgl) 6 bt Saina Salonika 5.5; V. Varshini 6 bt Anna Styazhkina (Rus) 5; Srija Seshadri 5 lost to Parnali Dharia 6; Harshita Guddanti 5.5 drew with K. Priyanka 5.5; Shania Mae Mendoza (Phi) 4.5 lost to P. Bala Kannamma 6.

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