Mahalakshmi crowned World Under-18 chess champion

It is a remarkable performance by Mahalakshmi, who had begun the tournament as the 32nd seed.

M. Mahalakshmi won with a round to spare in Halkidiki, Greece   -  The Hindu

M. Mahalakshmi won the World Under-18 girls’ chess championship with a round to spare in Halkidiki, Greece. In the 10th round, the Chennai girl defeated Romania’s Castany Garcia and took her tally to nine points — that is an unassailable lead of 1.5 points going into the final round.

It is a remarkable performance by Mahalakshmi, who had begun the tournament as the 32nd seed. “She defeated several higher-rated players right through the championship and this victory has come at the right time for her, as she hasn’t had that many success of late,” T. J. Suresh Kumar, who had coached her in her formative years, told Sportstar.

“She comes from a very underprivileged background and I hope this title would help her get some sponsors.”

Another Indian, V. Varshini, was in the joint second place, with 7.5 points.

In the Under-14 championship, top seed R. Vaishali maintained her sole lead, with 8.5 points. Fellow-Indian Vankita Agrawal was in the second spot with eight points.

Rakshita Ravi, with eight points, was in lead in the Under-10 section, along with China’s Song Yuxin and Bat-Erdene Mungunzul of Mongolia. B. Savitha Shri, though, slipped to the seventh slot in the Under-8 championship with seven points, 1.5 behind the leader Dilyana Ivanova of Bulgaria.

Saina Salonika was third in the Under-12 championship, with eight points, one behind the leader Nurgyul Salimova of Bulgaria. In the Under-16 event, Chandreyee Hajra was the best-placed Indian, with 6.5 points, 1.5 behind the leaders Agata Bykovstev of the United States, Fiona Sieber of Germany and Stavroula Tsolakidou of Greece.

In the Under-12 boys’ championship, Nihal Sarin, with eight points, was in the lead, along with Mahammad Muradi of Azerbaijan, Alireza Firouzja of Iran, Arseniy Nesterov of Russia and David Peng of the United States. R. Pragnananda (eight points) shared the lead in the Under-10 championship Ilya Makoveev of Russia. Raunak Sadhwani was sixth 7.5 points.

H. Bharath Subramaniyam was on top of the table in the Under-8 championship, with nine points, while Dev Shah was second, half-a-point behind. Top seed Vaibhav Suri was ninth in the Under-18 championship with seven points, two behind the leader Masoud Mosadeghpour of Iran.

Al Muthiah was 12th in the Under-16 event with seven points, one point adrift of the leaders Roven Vorgel of Germany, Luca Maroni of Italy and Haik Martirosyan. P. R. Rithikesh was tenth in Under-14 championship with 7.5 points, half-a-point behind the leaders Andrey Esipenko and Timur Fakhrutdinov of Russia and Shamsiddin Vokhidov of Uzbekistan.

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