World Junior Chess Championship: Aravindh, Karthikeyan keep India's medal hopes alive

Aravindh Chithambaram joined M. Karthikeyan at 6.5 points to keep alive India's claim for a possible medal at the World Junior Chess Championship.

Aravindh Chithambaram wears a confident look before scoring over Germany's Dmitrij Kollars in the ninth round of the World Junior Chess Championship in New Delhi.   -  CHESSBASE INDIA

Triumphant third seed Aravindh Chithambaram joined sparring-partner M. Karthikeyan at 6.5 points to keep alive the Indian claim for a possible medal in the World junior chess championship here on Wednesday.

Even as seventh seeded Ukrainian Evgeny Shtembuliak emerged as the only leader at 7.5 points, half-a-point clear of fellow overnight joint-leader Spain’s Miguel Santos Ruiz, Aravindh moved to the tied-third spot at 6.5 with M. Karthikeyan, who drew on the second board. R. Praggnanandhaa raised his tally to 5.5 points after a 98-move draw with compatriot Arjun Kalyan.

However, with the defeat of 14-year-old Divya Deshmukh, hopes of Indian medal in the girls’ section have almost ended.

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Meanwhile, the off-form duo of R. Vaishali and Vantika Agarwal, seeded five and 18, have withdrawn citing health reasons. Top seeded Iranian Amin Tabatabaei also decided he had enough after scoring just five points from nine rounds and withdrew.

Meanwhile, there was good news from the Indian norm-seekers. Out of the five International Masters-norms made after nine rounds, three were by Indians - Aronyak Ghosh, Audi Ameya and Aaryan Varshney. Others were, China’s Wang Shixu and Mongolia’s Byambasuren Garidmagnai.

Among the girls, even as Russian leader Polina Shuvalova made a Woman Grandmaster norm, the Indian trio of Srishti Pandey, V. Toshali and P. Surprita achieved Woman International Master norm. Others making the WIM norm were, Bulgaria’s Antova Gabriela and Mongolia’s Boldbaatar Altantuya.

Important ninth-round results (Indians unless stated)

Open: Evgeny Shtembuliak (Ukr, 7.5) bt Mihnea Costachi (Rou, 6); M. Karthikeyan (6.5) drew with Miguel Santos Ruiz (Esp, 7); Or Bronstein (Isr, 6.5) drew with Aram Hakobyan (Arm, 6.5); Aravindh Chithambaram (6.5) bt Dmitrij Kollars (Ger, 5.5); Sergey Drygalov (Rus, 5.5) lost to Shant Sargsyan (6.5); Ortik Nigmataov (Uzb, 5) lost to Wang Shixu (6.5); R. Praggnanandhaa (5.5) drew with Arjun Kalyan (5.5).

Girls: Stavroula Tsolakidou (Gre, 6) lost to Polina Shuvalova (Rus, 8); Mobina Alinasab (Iri, 7.5) bt Gabriela Antova (Bul, 6); Marria Berdnyk (Ukr, 7) bt Divya Deshmukh (6); Bibisara Assaubayeva (Kaz, 6) drew with N. Priyanka (6); Srishti Pandey (5.5) lost to Turmunkh Munkhzul (Mgl, 6.5); Aakansha Hagawane (5) drew with Li Yunshan (6).