Mumbai: India's Candidate Master (CM) Aronyak Ghosh scored a thrilling victory over top seed Hans Niemann of the US to emerge a joint leader in the U-16 Open category of World Youth Chess Championship (WYCC) here on Thursday.
Eighth seed Aronyak played a strong strategic game in Round 9 to outwit his formidable opponent in 42 moves. He now has seven points along with Hans and Russian International Master (IM) Rudik Makarian, who was held to a draw by another Indian hopeful, CM Kushagra Mohan who is now joint second with seven points.
The U-18 Open too was intriguingly poised, with India's biggest hope, Grandmaster (GM) Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa eking out a well-fought victory over IM Viachaslau Zarubitski of Belarus to jump into the lead with 7.5 points.
Top seed GM Shant Sargsyan of Armenia, however, was back in the title race with seven points by scoring his second straight victory, as he punished the in-form IM Aryan Gholami of Iran.
India suffered major setbacks in the U-14 Open though, with surprise package R. Abinandhan and top seed S. Maralakshikari losing crucial matches with just two more rounds to go after this. Abinandhan seeded 55th, who was enjoying a dream run, was beaten by Azerbaijan's IM Aydin Suleymanli to slip to joint second.
Aydin was in sole lead while Abinandhan has Austria's Morgunov Marc for company on the second rung.
The U-14 girls' contests too went against the country with second seed WIM Rakshitta Ravi suffering a tough loss against Azerbaijan's WFM Ayan Allahverdiyeva.
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 U-16 girls' section, scoring a 47-move draw against India's WFM Salonika Saina. Kazakhstan's Nazerke Nurgali joined her by the end of the day after drawing with India's B.M. Akshaya.
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