WIM Vantika Agrawal (U-18 Girls), Aronyak Ghosh (U-16 Open) and LR Srihari (U-14 Open) can eye a silver medal each. The first two can, however, convert it into a gold if they win their last games and the other matches go their way.
Grand Master Praggnanandhaa asserted his supremacy in the U-18 Open, trudging to a crucial victory against IM Paulius Pultinevicius of Lithuania to take his tally to 8.5 points. The 63-move victory gave him a half-point advantage that could fetch him the gold with a draw in the 11th and final round.
But, Praggu will be wary of top seed GM Shant Sargsyan of Armenia, who thrashed IM Mitrabha Guha for his third straight victory. He is now in second position with 8 points. Vantika beat China’s Tianqi Yan to ease to 7.5 points, to be just half a point behind top seed Polina Shuvalova (Russia).
Aronyak would probably rue the quick draw he opted for against compatriot Kushagra Mohan. It seemed like a good decision when top seed Hans Niemann (USA) suffered an unexpected defeat to fall behind. But Makarian Rudik (Russia) held on to his nerves to overcome GB Harshavardhan (India) to shoot into sole lead with 8 points. Aronyak has 7.5 points and would hope for a good pairing on Saturday.