Divya beats Rakshitta to stay in sole lead of World Junior Chess

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Gandhinagar, Jun 11 (PTI) International master Divya Deshmukh defeated compatriot Rakshitta Ravi in one of the key encounters of the ninth round to enjoy a half point lead over nearest rivals in the World Junior girls' chess championship here on Tuesday.

With just two rounds to come in the premier junior chess championship of the world, Divya took her tally to eight points and stayed a half point ahead of Mariam Mkrtchyan of Armenia, who is proving out to be a worthy rival for the Indian.

In the ninth round, Mkrtchyan defeated Sofia Hryzlova of Switaerland to ensure that Divya remained within her striking distance.

India's Sachi Jain continued with her dream run in the event and beat Krasteva Beloslava of Bulgaria to emerge in sole third spot on seven points. Sachi, like Divya and Mkrtchyan has remained unbeaten in the tournament.

Divya chose to play the French defense against Rakshitta and it was soon a Rubenstein variation on board that is known to have a solid reputation. Rakshitta decided to complicate matters early by going for opposite side castling and her position seemed stable as the middle game arrived.

Divya showed she had sensed her chances better once Rakshitta had to push her queen side pawns. This left some weaknesses in white's position and Divya knocked down a couple of pawns on the king side before making a decisive headway. The game lasted 41 moves.

Sachi defeated higher ranked Beloslava out of a Sicilian defense game with white pieces.

Entering a relatively less known variation, Sachi launched a king side offense in the early middle game and her efforts were rewarded as the Bulgarian could not find the right counter play.

The position looked complicated for quite some time but eventually the Indian was able to convert to come out victorious.

In the open section, four overnight leaders Nodirbek Kazybek of Kazakhstan, Rudik Makarian of Russia, Mimikon Gharabyan of Armenia and Jose Gabriel Cordoso Cordoso were joined at the top by Daniel Quizon of Philippines at the top on seven points each.

With five-way lead in this section, India's top ranked Pranav Anand was held to another draw in the event by Aleksey Grebnev of Russia and now shares the ninth spot on six points.

Top results after Round 9 open (Indians unless stated): Nogerbek Kazybek (KAZ, 7) drew with Rudik Makarian (FID, 7); Mamikon Gharibyan (ARM, 7) drew with Jose Gabriel Cardoso Cardoso (COL, 7); Daniel Quizon (PHI, 7) beat Artiom Stribuk (FID, 6); Pranav Anand (6) drew with Aleksey Grebnev (FID, 6.5); Amin Ohanyan (ARM, 6.5) beat Mayank Chakraborty (5.5); Luka Budisavljevic (SRB, 6.5) beat Avila Pavas Santiago (COL, 5.5); Ethan Vaz (6) drew with L R Srihari (6); Tobias Koelle (GER, 6) drew with Pham Tran Gia Phuc (VIE, 6); Anuj Shrivatri (6) drew with Aditya Samant (6); Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux (CAN, 6) beat L M S T De Silva (SRI, 5.5); Siddharth Jagadeesh (SGP, 6) beat Sanket Chakravarty (5); Jan Subelj (SLO, 5) lost to Bodrogi Bendeguz (HUN, 6); Marius Fromm (GER, 5) lost to Tarun Kanyamarala (IRL, 6); Sambit Panda Sambit (5) lost to A R Ilamparthi (6); S Aswath (5) lost to Prraneeth Vuppala (6); Ayush Sharma (5) lost to Davtyan Arsen (ARM, 6); Manish Anto Cristiano (6) beat Wafa Hamed (5); Saryyev Azym (TKM, 5) lost to Ozenir Ekin Baris (TUR, 6).

Girls: Rakshitta Ravi (6.5) lost to Divya Deshmukh (8); Marium Mkrtchyan (ARM, 7.5) beat Sofia Hryzlova (SUI, 6); Sachi Jain (7) beat Krasteva Beloslava (BUL, 6); V Rindhiya (6) lost to Ayan Allahverdiyeva (AZE, 6.5); Swara Lakshmi S Nair (6) drew with Martyna Wikar (POL, 6); Gunawardhana Devindya Oshini (SRI, 6.5) beat Balabayeva Xeniya (KAZ, 5.5); Norman Kseniya (FID, 6.5) beat Kaldarova Ayaulym (KAZ, 5.5); Anupam M Sreekumar (5.5) lost to Abdinova Narmin (AZE, 6.5); Liya Kurmangaliyeva (KAZ, 5) lost to Shubhi Gupta (6.5); Kheerthi Ganta (5.5) drew with Anna Zhurova (FID, 5.5); Sulyok Eszter (HUN, 6) lost to Meryem Agajanova (TKM, 5.5); Sneha Halder (6) beat Nia Donghvani (GEO, 5); Mrudul Dehankar (5.5) drew with Bristy Mukherjee (5.5); Sannidhi Ramakrishna Bhat (6) beat Lala Shohradova (TKM, 5); G Tejaswini (5.5) beat Kriti Mayur Patel (5). PTI Cor SSC SSC SSC