World Youth chess: Aditya proves equal to top seed Sargsyan; Praggnanandhaa, Divya held

Aditya Mittal drew with top-seeded Shant Sargsyan, while second seed R. Praggnanandhaa also drew with Artur Davtyan in the World Youth Chess championship.

Aditya Mittal in action during his game against top seed Shant Sargsyan in the under-18 section of the World Youth Chess Championship in Mumbai on Thursday.   -  Special Arrangement

Immensely-talented local International Master Aditya Mittal held back top-seeded Grandmaster Shant Sargsyan before fellow-Armenian Artur Davtyan proved equal to second seed R. Praggnanandhaa in the under-18 section of the World Youth chess championship here on Thursday.

On a double-round day when matches went late into the night, Mittal provided the brightest phase. His defensive tactics saw him hold a rival rated 150 points higher at 2580. Sargsyan, the highest rated player here, gained a pawn and looked to be cruising for a win. But Mittal played the rook-and-pawn endgame to perfection and eventually came out with honours even in 66 moves.

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At the adjacent table, Praggnanandhaa battled for over five hours against Davtyan but failed to make the most of his pawn-advantage.

On a day when the march of several high-rated players was slowed down by little-known talents, surprise-packet C. Lakshmi upstaged sixth and eighth seeded rivals to join the leaders in the girls’ under-16.

Most surprises came from the girls’ under-14 section where the top four seeds failed to score their third straight win. Top seed Divya Deshmukh was held by Poland’s Martyna Wikar, second seed Rakshitta Ravi could only get a draw off Armenia’s Ashghik Hakobyan, third seed Azerbaijan’s Ayan Allahverdiyeva lost and fourth seeded Russian Ekaterina Nayrova drew.

Important results (Indians unless stated):

Under-18: Shant Sargsyan (Arm. 2.5) drew with Aditya Mittal (2.5); Artur Davtyan (Arm, 2.5) drew with R. Praggnanandhaa (2.5); Aryan Gholami (3) bt Leon Mendonca (2); (second round): R. Srihari (1) lost
to Byambasuren Gardmagnai (Mgl, 2).

Under-16: Arash Daghli (Iri, 2.5) drew with Kushagra Mohan (2.5); Gabriele Lumachi (Ita, 2) lost to Aronyak Ghosh (3); Chingizkhan Sarzhanov (Kaz, 2) lost to Sankalp Gupta (3).

Under-14 (third round): M. Sreeshwan (3) bt Nikhl Magizhnan (2);

Girls’ Under-18 (second round): Vantika Agarwal (1.5) drew with Aashna Makhija (1.5);

Girls’ Under-16: (third round): C. Lakshmi (3) bt Jovana Srdanovic (2); (second round): Savitha Shri (1.5) drew with Mrudul Dehankar (1.5); Viktoriya Loskutova (Rus, 1) lost to C. Lakshmi (2);

Girls’ Under-14 (third round): Divya Deshmukh (2.5) drew with Martyna Wikar (Pol, 2.5); Astghik Hakobyan (Arm, 2.5) drew with Rakshitta Ravi (2.5); Ayan Allahverdiyeva (Aze. 2) lost to Liya Kurmangaliyeva (Kaz, 3); Parnian Ghomi (Iri, 2.5) drew with Ekaterina Nasyrova (Rus, 2.5).