Lesser-fancied Indians again stole limelight in the LIC World Junior Chess Championships, being played at Hotel Hyatt, in Pune, on Friday.

Nandhidhaa PV created a sensation in the fifth round, upsetting IM Meri Arabidze of Georgia, who is rated and titled higher than her, while 15-year-old Maria Ivana Furtado shocked Nguyen Thi Mai Hung to emerge joint leaders.

S L Narayanan created another big ripple by shocking GM Vladislav Kovalek of Belarus, even as Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, the top-rated Indian in the fray, was forced to split the point with N Srinath after his third successive draw.

In the girls’ section, Padmini Rout drew with Sarasadat Khademaisharieh.

Rout, Furtado, Nandhidhaa and five others jointly share the lead with four points.

In the Open section, S Narayanan, Lu Shangiel  tallied 4.5 points but the top board game between sole leader Cori Jorge and Sei Yi was in progress at the time of going to press with the Chinese enjoying a better position.

Maria Ivana Furtado

Maria Ivana Furtado

Former double World Under-8 champion Furtado, who hails from Goa, showed remarkable maturity in manoeuvring her pieces in a closed position against higher-rated Hung to pocket a point.

The Irregular Opening resulted in heavy concentration of pieces at the centre where the Vietnamese erred. Furtado immediately forced the retreat of her opponent’s defensive pieces and infiltrated with her knight.

Nguyen’s position started crumbling and the Indian’s queen and second knight too joined the action to start weaving a checkmating net to romp home the victory after31 moves.

“I just played normally and once my opponent made a mistake in the closed position, I gained entry into her territory,” beamed Furtado.

The French Defence-Tarrasch variation encounter between Vidit and Srinath was a rather tame affair with periodic exchange of pieces and predictably petered into a draw after 47 moves with just two Kings and a pawn each on board.

Srinath later explained, “I made a mistake in the Opening and thereafter had no choice but to try and gain equality which I managed by forcibly exchanging pieces.”

Irina Petrukhina of Russia opted for the Sicilian defence against Ioana Gelip but paid the penalty for not castling. Ioana castled on the queen-side and bulldozed through her opponent’s defence to set up a checkmating net with her queen and rook in a miniature lasting just 20 moves.

Important Results of Open section (Indians unless specified): Cori Jorge (Per) Yi Wei (Chn); Lu Shanglei (Chn)-4.5 bt Karen Grigoryan (Arm)-3.5; S L Narayanan-4.5 bt Vladislav Kovalev (Blr)-3.5; Mikhail Antipov (Rus)-4 drew Grigoriy Oparin (Rus)-4; Vladimir Fedoseev (Rus) Tadeas Kriebel (CZE) ; Aryan Tari (Nor)-3.5 drew Robin Van Kampen (Ned)-3.5; N Srinath- 3.5 drew Vidit Santosh Gujrathi-3.5 ; Benjamin Bok (Ned) Shardul Gagare; Bai Jinshi (Chn) Pouya Idani (Iri); Ankit Rajpara Niranjan Navalgund ; Sahaj Grover Gabiel Gaehwiler (Sui); Kamil Dragu (pol) R Ganesh

Girls: Sarasadat Khademaisharieh (Iri)-4 drew Padmini Rout-4; Ann Chumpitaz (Per)-4 drew Daria Pustovoitova (Rus)-4; Aleksandra Goryachkina (Rus) Clada Sviridova (Rus); Nandhidhaa Pv  Meri Arabidze (Geo); Mo Zhai (Chn) Pratyusha Bodda; Ivana Maria Furtado-4 bt Nguyen Thi Mai Hung (Vie)-3; Ioana Gelip (Rou)-4 bt Irina Petrukhina (Rus) -3; Aysa Imeeva (Rus)-3 lost to Sabina Ibrahimova (Aze)-4.

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