World Junior Chess: Day of mixed fortunes for Indians

The defeat of P. Iniyan on the second board was somewhat offset by R. Praggnanandhaa. The youngster bounced back to outplay Kazakhstan’s Zhandos Agmanov.

K. S. Raghunandan (right) who held sixth seeded Armenian Shant Sargsyan in the sixth round of World junior chess championship in New Delhi on Saturday.   -  CHESSBASE INDIA

Indians experienced a mix of joy and disappointment on the leading boards with second seed M. Karthikeyan dropping half-a-point to overnight leader Evgeny Shtembuliak and K. S. Raghunandan holding sixth seed Shant Sargsyan in the sixth round of World junior chess championship here on Saturday.

The defeat of P. Iniyan on the second board was somewhat offset by R. Praggnanandhaa. The youngster bounced back from Friday’s defeat to outplay Kazakhstan’s Zhandos Agmanov in 52 moves.

Iniyan’s conqueror Aram Hakobyan (Armenia) and Shtembuliak (Ukraine) shared the lead with five points, closely followed by  Karthikeyan and Praggnanandhaa (4.5 each). Joining Raghunandan at four points was third seed Aravindh Chithambaram.

Among the girls, ninth seed Divya Deshmukh drew second seeded Greek rival Stavroula Tsolakidou to reach 4.5 points. Matching Divya’s tally were R. Vaishali, Rakshitta Ravi and Arpita Mukherjee, among others, for a share of the third spot.

Iran’s Mobina Alinasab (5.5) took the lead by beating fellow overnight leader Mongolia’s Boldbaatar Altantuya. Russia’s Polina Shuvalova (5) moved to the second spot by beating teammate Elizaveta Solozhenkina.

Meanwhile, yet another case of an Iranian not turning up for his game against an Israeli rival hit the chess world. Iranian top seed Amin Tabatabaei gave a walkover to Or Bronstein. He submitted a medical certificate to explain his absence.

In the fourth round, Tabatabaei’s 11th seeded compatriot Aryan Gholami did likewise when paired against Israel’s Alexander Zlatin. Gholami later withdrew from the championship.

Malaysian Chief Arbiter Hamid Majid said, “I have accepted the medical certificate submitted by the Iranian contingent. I will go by the FIDE directive in the matter. There is very little that can be done here.”

Important sixth-round results (Indians unless stated):

Open: M. Karthikeyan (4.5) drew with Evgeny Shtembuliak (Ukr, 5); P. Iniyan (4) lost to Aram Hakobyan (Arm, 5); Shant Sarsgyan (Arm, 4) drew with R. K. Srihari (4); R. Praggnanandhaa (4.5) bt Zhandos Agmanov (Kaz, 3.5); Ruiz Miguel Santos (Esp, 4.5) bt Leon Mendonca (3.5); N. R. Visakh (4) drew with Rithvik Raja (4).

Girls: Boldbaatar Altantuya (Mgl, 4.5) lost to Mobina Alinasab (Iri,5.5); Stavroula Tsolakidou (Gre, 4.5) drew with Divya Deshmukh (4.5); Polina Shuvalova (Rus, 5) bt Elizaveta Solozhenkina (Rus, 4); Rakshitta Ravi (4.5) drew with R. Vaishali (4.5); Arpita Mukherjee (4.5) drew with Bibisara Assaubayeva (Kaz, 4.5); Mariia Berdnyk (Ukr, 4.5) bt V. Toshali (3.5); Vantika Agarwal (4) bt Michelle Katkov (Isr,3).