India’s Candidate Master Aronyak Ghosh scored a thrilling victory over top seed Hans Niemann of the USA to become joint leader in the Under-16 Open category of the World Youth Chess Championships here on Thursday. Eighth-seeded Aronyak played a strong strategic game in Round 9 to outwit his formidable opponent in 42 moves.
The break on Tuesday seemed to have rejuvenated Shant as he punished the in-form IM Aryan Gholami of Iran. India suffered major setbacks in the Under-14 Open category though, with surprise package R Abinandhan and top seed S Maralakshikari losing crucial matches. There are only two more rounds to go after this.
The 55th seed Abinandhan, who was enjoying a dream run, was beaten by Azerbaijan’s IM Aydin Suleymanli to slip to joint second. Aydin is in sole lead while Abinandhan has Austria’s Morgunov Marc for company on the second rung. Morgunov overcame Maralakshikari.
The Under-14 Girls category too didn’t give much joy for India. Second-seeded WIM Rakshitta Ravi suffered a tough loss against Azerbaijan’s WFM Ayan Allahverdiyeva. As a result of the defeat, the Indian slipped to the second slot.
Rakshitta’s defeat helped untitled Dutch player Eline Roebers, who downed Russian WFM Ekaterina Nasyrova, to take the sole lead in the section. Russia’s WCM Leya Garifullina (7.5) clung on to her top position in the Under-16 Girls category, scoring a draw against India’s WFM Salonika Saina. Kazakhastan’s Nazerke Nurgali joined her after drawing with India’s BM Akshaya.