Vivaan Saraogi suffered an unfortunate defeat in the last round of the U-8 Open tournament in China which saw him slip from the first position to fifth as he lost out on gold by a mere single point. AR Ilampathari was his only compatriot who also managed to claim a top-five finish in the chess meet.
Emerging talent Vivaan Saraogi made a defining impact at the World Cadet Chess Championship being held at Weifang, China but a last minute slip-up saw the boy from Nagpur miss out on a major achievement of winning the gold. However, he did manage to finish fifth among 96 players from 29 countries in what was more than a satisfying display by the Indian throughout the length of the tournament.
Seeded ninth in the U-8 Open group, Vivaan started the tournament in flying colours, winning his first three matches with considerate ease using his aggressive brand of chess. He suffered his first setback at the hands of Kazakhstan’s Tulendinov Dinmukhammed but overcame the hiccup to record another win and a draw with compatriot Ayush Mohanty saw him reach the halfway point in the 11-player event.
There onwards, Vivaan’s surge took an even more attacking approach, as he recorded three wins on the trot, including a couple of upsets over higher-seeded opponents to be recognized as a major contender for the title. A draw against Vietnam’s Dau Khuong Duoy meant that a win was all that was needed in the final round to take home the trophy.
Defending with black against eighth seeded Lebedev Artem S of Russia who was level on points with him at the top, Vivaan committed a silly error while practicing his usual brand of aggressive chess that saw the Russian walk away with the win. Vivaan had to satisfy himself with a fifth-spot finish with eight points and a better progressive score than those below him.
No other Indian managed to even come close to a podium finish in the open or Girls event, as they failed to win any of the medals across six events. Ilamparthi was the only other countryman from the 32 participants that managed to replicate Vivaan’s feat of a top-five finish.
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