Pranav, Rakshitta lead India’s challenge

Oct 5, 2019 Mumbai

Indians continued to hold sway in the Under-14 categories of the World Youth Chess Championship, with FIDE Master Pranav Anand and Woman International Master Rakshitta Ravi scoring swift victories here on Saturday.

Pranav beat Poland’s Sebastian Poltorak in the U14 Open category to share the lead with IM Aydin Suleymanli of Azerbaijan and Aditya Sawant of India as Round 5 continued late into the evening. He has 4.5 points to move past overnight leader LR Srihari who yielded the top position after losing to Suleymanli.

Rakshitta, on the other hand, crushed Varvara Poliakova of Belarus to jump into sole lead in the U14 Girls class. Top seeded WIM Divya Deshmukh too downed compatriot Aanya Agrawal, putting her title hunt back on track. Divya has 3.5 points after suffering one loss and one draw in five rounds.

In the Under-18 Open, India’s star player Grand Master R Praggnanandhaa held on to the pole position with 4.5 points, defeating countryman Arjun Kalyan after an intense battle. He shared the lead with IM Aryan Gholami of Ireland, who comfortably beat IM Viachaslau Zarubitski of Belarus.

The country’s other GM P Iniyan played out a draw with IM Aditya Mittal to trail the leaders by half a point.

India’s hopes remained alive in the U16 Open too, with Candidate Master Aronyak Ghosh drawing against co-leader International Master Rudik Makarian of Russia. The duo was joined by Iranian FM Arash Daghli who upstaged Indian FM Amit Moksh.