R Praggnanandhaa defeated compatriot P Iniyan in the highly-anticipated battle between two Grand Masters of India in the World Youth Chess Championship (WYCC) in Mumbai on Wednesday. With this pivotal win, Praggnanandhaa joins Iran’s IM Aryan Gholami in the Under-18 Open category lead.
India’s hopes in the Under-18 Open brightened as R Praggnanandhaa outwitted compatriot P Iniyan in 38 moves in the highly-anticipated battle between two Indian Grand Masters in the World Youth Chess Championship (WYCC) in Mumbai on Wednesday. Playing black, Iniyan opted for the Pirc Defence sometimes known as the Ufimtsev Defence or Yugoslav Defence, which was easily countered by Praggnanandhaa, forcing him into inaccuracies in the opening itself. Praggnanandhaa kept piling up his advantage with every move and duly emerged victorious on move 38.
With this pivotal win, Praggnanandhaa joins Iran’s IM Aryan Gholami in the Under-18 Open category lead after the latter was made to settle for a draw by Indian IM Mitrabha Guha in 38 moves. Top seed GM Sargsyan Shant of Armenia kept himself in the hunt by crushing George Stoleriu of Romania in 37 moves.
Meanwhile, untitled 55th seed R Abinandhan’s dream run continued as he outwitted compatriot FM LR Srihari in a Queen’s Gambit game to coast to a 40-move win in the Under-14 Open, storming into the lead with 7 points. Aydin Suleymanli of Armenia had moved to the second place with 6.5 points, after settling for a draw against Austrian Marc Morgunov.
Top seed S Maralakshikari was in the next lot after one more draw. In the Under-14 Girls, WIM Rakshitta Ravi (6.5 points) forced a draw on Russia’s Ekaterina Nasyrova to hold on to her lead. In the Under-16 Open, USAs IM Moke Hans Niemann defeated Colombian Miguel Soto to hold on to his lead.
CM Mohan Kushagra moved up the ladder after getting the better of compatriot Moksh Doshi to be in the third a lot with 6 points. Sixth seed WIM Vantika Agrawal held on to the second position in the leaderboard after forcing a draw to split the point with Polina Shuvalova of Russia.