World Youth Chess: Victorious Abinandhan moves ahead; Praggnanandhaa, Rakshitta in joint-lead

With three rounds to go, little-known R. Abinandhan is the surprise leader with seven points from eight rounds and has established a half-point lead.

R. Praggnanandhaa overpowered fellow Grandmaster P. Iniyan to join Iranian Aryan Gholami in the lead at 6.5 points.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Little-known R. Abinandhan is busy making a mockery of international rating which reflects the playing-strength of a player.

Owing to a modest rating of 1830, the youngster started his campaign in the under-14 section of the World Youth Chess Championship here in the 55th place. With three rounds to go, Abinandhan is the surprise leader with seven points from eight rounds.

Conqueror of two Russian contenders, seeded second and fourth, Abinandhan completed a hat-trick of wins after accounting for fellow overnight leader L. R. Srihari, the 12th seed with a rating of 2283. Having already gained 211 rating points from the first seven rounds, Abinandhan has a rating-performance of over 2550.

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With Azerbaijan’s Aydin Suleymanli, the other leader, held on the second board, Abinandhan established a half-point lead.

In the under-18 section, R. Praggnanandhaa (6.5) overpowered fellow Grandmaster P. Iniyan to join Iranian Aryan Gholami in the lead at 6.5 points. In fact, Mitrabha Guha helped Praggnanandhaa’s cause by holding Gholami.

In girls’ under-18, Vantika Agarwal moved to six points after holding top-seeded Russian leader Polina Shuvalova (6.5), rated 129 points higher.

In the girls’ under-14 section, V. Sarayu (6) stunned team-mate and top seed Divya Deshmukh while second seed Rakshitta Ravi, Russia’s Ekaterina Nasyrova and Dutch Eline Roebers stayed ahead at 6.5 points.

Important eighth-round results (Indians unless stated)

Under-18: Aryan Gholami (Iri, 6.5) drew with Mitrabha Guha (6); R.Praggnanandhaa (6.5) bt P. Iniyan (5); George Stoleriu (Rou, 5) lost to Shant Sargsyan (Arm. 6); Victor Gazik (Svk, 5.5) drew with Artur Davtyan (Arm, 5.5); Felix Blohberger (Aut, 5.5) drew with Aditya Mittal (5.5)

Under-16: Miguel Angel Soto (Col, 5.5) lost to Hans Moke Niemann (USA, 7); Rudik Makarian (Rus, 6.5) bt Olexiy Bilych (Ukr, 5.5); Gharibyan Mamikon (Arm, 5.5) drew with Aronyak Ghosh (6); Stefan Pogosyan (Rus, 5.5) drew with Raja Rithvik (5.5); Moksh Doshi (5) lost to Kushagra Mohan (6)

Under-14: L. R. Srihari (6) lost to R. Abinandhan (7); Marc Morgunov (Aut, 6) drew with Aydin Suleymanli (Aze, 6.5); M. Sreeshwan (6) drew with Vo Pham Thien Phuc (Vie, 6); Pranav Anand (5.5) drew with Filip Luczak (Pol, 5.5); Rodri Floris (Per, 5) lost to Jeet Shah (6)

Girls’ Under-18: Vantika Agarwal (6) drew with Polina Shuvalova (Rus, 6.5); Anna Afonasieva (Rus, 5.5) drew with Lara Schulze (Ger, 6); Yan Tianqi (Chn, 6) bt Alicja Sliwicka (Pol, 5); V. Toshali (5) drew with A. Harshini (5)

Girls’ Under-16: Nazerke Nurgali (Kaz, 7) bt Alessia-Mihaela Ciolacu (Rou, 5.5); Govhar Beydullayeva (Aze, 5) lost to Leya Garifullina (Rus, 7); Anousha Mahdian (Iri, 6.5) bt Mrudul Dehankar (5); Viktoriya Loskutova (Rus, 5.5) drew with B. Mounika Akshaya (5.5); Svitlana Demchenko (Can, 5) lost to Saina Salonika (6)

Girls’ Under-14: Rakshitta Ravi (6.5) drew with Ekaterina Nasyrova (Rus, 6.5); Astghik Kakobyan (Arm, 6) drew with Eline Roebers (Ned, 6.5); V. Sarayu (6) bt Divya Deshmukh (5.5). Bat-Erdene Mungunzul (Mgl, 6) bt Dhyana Patel (5)