India’s Candidate Master Aronyak Ghosh registered a thrilling victory against top seed Hans Niemann of the USA in the Under-16 Open category of the World Youth Chess Championship in Mumbai on Thursday. With the win, Aronyak joins Hans and Russian IM Rudik Makarian at the top with seven points.
Both in the U-16s and U-18s, India had a good outing yesterday with both of its biggest hopes registering wins. While eighth seed Aronyak played a strong strategic game in Round 9 to outwit Hans in 42 moves, GM R Praggnanandhaa eked out a well-fought victory over IM Viachaslau Zarubitski of Belarus to jump into the lead with 7.5 points. However, GM Shant Sargsyan of Armenia, the top seed in the category, was back in the title race with seven points after scoring a second successive victory.
The hosts suffered major setbacks in the U-14s category with R Abinandhan and top seed S Maralakshikari losing crucial matches. Abhinandan, who was enjoying a dream run up until now, slipped to a joint-second position with just two more rounds to go after he was beaten by Azerbaijan’s IM Aydin Suleymanli.
Among the girls, second-seeded WIM Rakshitta Ravi suffered a loss against Azerbaijan’s WFM Ayan Allahverdiyeva in the U-14s category while WFM Salonika Saina’s draw against Russia’s WCM Leya Garifullina meant the Russian held on to her top position in the U16 Girls.