Youngster Raunak Sadhwani shared the seventh spot to stay in the medal hunt after 12 rounds of the World blitz chess championship in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Thursday.
On a day when the Indians struggled, Hikaru Nakamura (10 points) enjoyed a one-point lead over Magnus Carlsen, Anish Giri, Daniil Dubov, Haik Martirosyan and Richard Rapport. Nine rounds remain.
Playing well over his starting rank of 30, Sadhwani won seven rounds, including the last two, drew three and lost two.
Nihal Sarin and P. Harikrishna (8 each) were among those sharing the 14th spot.
Arjun Erigaisi (7.5), who finished fifth in the rapid format on Wednesday, drew the first three rounds, won the next two but then lost three of the next four games to slip down the order. Undeterred, Arjun won the last three rounds to climb to be tied for 24th.
Vidit Gujrathi, Aravindh Chithambaram (7 each), B. Adhiban (6.5), Surya Shekhar Ganguly, V. Pranav (6 each), S. L. Narayanan, Sankalp Gupta, Abhimanyu Puranik, Harsha Bharathakoti (5 each), Arjun Kalyan and N. Srinath (4.5 each) did not have a day to remember.
Interestingly, Ganguly figured in all 12 decisive battles. He won five of the first six games but lost five of the next six games.
After nine rounds of action in the women’s section, 10th seed D. Harika (6.5 points) shared the sixth spot.
Russians Valentina Gunina and Polina Shuvalova (7.5) shared the lead, half a point ahead of the trio of Tan Zhongyi (China) Aleksandra Goryachkina and Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russians representing FIDE).
Harika posted a hat-trick of wins after facing Lu Miaoyi (China), Mariam Mkrtchyan (Armenia) and Olga Girya ( FIDE) to share the lead. She drew the fourth round with Nataliya Buksa (Ukraine), beat Olga Badelka ( FIDE), drew in succession with Gunina and Goryachkina, and defeated Meri Arabidze (Georgia) before suffering the day’s only defeat to Polina.
With eight rounds to go, Tania Sachdev (6 points) was 10th. Padmini Rout (6, 19th), K. Humpy (5, 44th) and the World rapid bronze medallist B. Savitha Shri (4, 69th) were the other Indians in the 99-player field.
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