World junior chess: Shtembuliak and Shuvalova claim top honours

Ukraine's Evgeny Shtembuliak boys' crown of the World junior chess, while M. Karthikeyan and Aakanksha Hagawane were India's top finishers at fifth.

Polina Shuvalova (Russia) and Evgeny Shtembuliak (Ukraine) pose with their trophies and medals after winning the titles in the World junior chess championship in New Delhi on Friday.   -  RAKESH RAO

Indians finished medal-less after overnight leaders Ukraine’s Evgeny Shtembuliak and Russia’s Polina Shuvalova performed to expectations to claim their maiden World junior (under-20) chess crowns here on Friday.

On a day when Armenian boys and Russian girls won two medals, the champions took contrasting routes on their home-run. Polina, playing black, drew in just 30 moves against China’s Song Yuxin and won the girls’ title with a tally of 9.5 points from 11 rounds.

Shtembuliak, the seventh seed who is pursuing his degree in Masters from University of Texas, took his time to overpower Russian prodigy Volodar Murzin in 63 moves and raised his tally to an unsurpassable nine points.

Much after the champions were decided, Armenia’s Shant Sargsyan stopped Spain’s Miguel Santos Ruiz in 95 moves in the sixth hour to take the silver behind Shtembuliak. Sargsyan’s compatriot Aram Hakobyan (8) claimed the bronze following his 64-move draw with third seed Aravindh Chithambaram.

Similarly, among the girls, Iran’s Mobina Alinasab (9) fought for 67 moves to beat Kazakhstan’s Bibisara Assaubayeva for the silver medal. The bronze went to Polina’s compatriot Eliaveta Solozhenkina who prevailed in a 83-move marathon over teammate Dinara Dordzhieva.

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After three years, India again finished without a medal. Second seed M. Karthikeyan signed off with a win and took the fifth spot, like he did in 2016. Among the girls, Aakanksha Hagawane was the best finisher. She won the last round and occupied the fifth place.

R. Praggnanandhaa was held by K. S. Raghunandan while Luke Mendonca and Harsha Bharathakoti battled for 86 moves for a draw. N. Priyanka lost a possible medal following a 53-move defeat to Ukraine’s Marria Berdnyk.

The round ended with a 218-move draw between Australia’s Temur Kuybokarov and China’s Wang Shixu. The six-and-a-half-hour deadlock ended when the Chief Arbiter intervened and declared the game as a draw by pointing out to the players that they had completed 75 moves after the last pawn-capture.


Important 11th-round results (Indians unless stated):

Open: Evgeny Shtembuliak (Ukr, 9) bt Volodar Murzin (Rus, 7); Miguel Santos Ruiz (Esp, 7.5) lost to Shant Sargsyan (Arm, 8.5); Aravindh Chithambaram (7.5) drew with Aram Hakobyan (8); Temur Kuybokarov (Aus, 7) drew with Wang Shixu (Chn, 7.5) M. Karthikeyan (7.5) bt Igor Janik (Pol, 6.5); K. S. Raghunandan (7) drew with R. Praggnanandhaa (7); Leon Mendonca (7) drew with Harsha Bharathakoti (7); Arjun Kalyan (6.5) lost to Mihnea Costachi (Rou, 7.5).

Medallists: 1. Evgeny Shtembuliak (Ukraine),  2. Shant Sargsyan (Armenia), 3. Aram Hakobyan (Armenia).

Leading Indians: 5. M. Karthikeyan, 7. Aravindh Chithambaram, 9. R. Praggnanandhaa.

Girls: Song Yuxin (Chn, 7.5) drew with Polina Shuvalova (Rus, 9.5); Mobina Alinasab (Iri, 9) bt Bibisara Assaubayeva (Kaz, 7); Mariia Berdnyk (Ukr, 8) bt N. Priyanka (7); Elizaveta Solozhenkina (Rus, 8) bt Dinara Dordzhieva (Rus, 7); Aakanksha Hagawane (8) bt Gabriela Antova (Bul, 7).

Medallists: 1. Polina Shuvalova (Russia), 2. Mobina Alinasab (Iran), 3. Elizaveta Solozhenkina (Russia).

Leading Indians: 5. Aakanksha Hagawane, 11. N. Priyanka, 13. Sakshi Chitlange.

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