World Junior Chess: Divya Deshmukh scores emphatic win, Priyanka holds top seed

Divya Deshmukh's victory was the lone bright spot on an otherwise disappointing day for India, with R. Vaishali among those who lost.

Divya Deshmukh outfoxed Mongolian Boldbaatar Altantuya in the seventh round of the World Junior Chess Championship.   -  CHESSBASE INDIA

Pony-tailed Divya Deshmukh provided the lone bright spot after most seventh-round results proved disappointing for the host in the World Junior Chess Championship here on Monday.

On a day when fifth seed R. Vaishali, Rakshitta Ravi, Arpita Mukherjee, Sakshi Chitlange lost, Divya’s citymate from Nagpur Srishti Pandey upstaged Vantika Agarwal.

In the open section, M. Karthikeyan, Aravindh Chithambaram and R. Praggnanandhaa, seeded two, three and eight, drew their games before Ukraine’s Evgeny Shtembuliak emerged as the sole leader with six points.

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Divya, seeded ninth, completely outfoxed Mongolian Boldbaatar Altantuya, leader after four rounds. Facing French Defence, Divya opted for a variation that she never played before and that set the Mongolian girl thinking.

Soon it became apparent that Altantuya was caught unaware. She committed a series of mistakes and Divya came up with fitting responses to tighten her grip. Eventually, Divya won in 43 moves.

Lesser-known K. Priyanka (4) was the other noted Indian performer as she managed to hold a struggling Chinese top seed Zhu Jiner in 60 moves, with only the kings left on the board.

Important seventh-round results (Indians unless stated)

Open: Evgney Shtembuliak (Ukr, 6) bt Aram Hakobyan (Arm, 5); Mihnea Costaschi (Rou, 5) drew with M. Karthikeyan (5); Semen Khanin (Rus, 5) drew with R. Praggnanandhaa (5); Ravi Haria (Eng, 5) drew with Miguel Santos Ruiz (Esp, 5); Aravindh Chithambaram (5) drew with Volodar Murzin (Rus, 5); Sammed Shete (4) lost to Shant Sargsyan (Arm, 5); K. S. Raghunanadan (4) lost to Viktor Gazik (Svk 5); Anuj Shrivatri (4) lost to N. R. Visakh (5); Rithvik Raja (4.5) drew with P. Iniyan
(4.5).

Girls: Mobina Alinasab (Iri, 6) drew with Stavroula Tsolakidou (Gre, 4.5); R. Vaishali (4.5) lost to Polina Shuvalova (6); Bibisara Assaubayeva (Kaz, 5.5) bt Rakshitta Ravi (4.5); Gabriela Antova (Bul, 5.5) bt Arpita Mukherjee (4.5); Srishti Pandey (5) bt Vantika Agarwal (4); Zhu Jiner (Chn, 4) drew with K. Priyanka (4).