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Four Indians among leaders

By Manuel Aaron

HERAKLIO (GREECE), NOV. 7. Four Indians were among the joint leaders in the World Youth Chess Festival at the end of the fourth round at Hotel Creta Maris here on Saturday.

The Festival is being held to find the 2004 world champions in the under-10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 categories.

J. Mohana Priya in the girls' under-10 event, Dronavalli Harika (girls' under-14), N. Srinath (boys' under-10) and Parimarjan Negi (boys' under-12) are in joint lead with seven more rounds remaining.

Mohana Priya was tied with Melissa Greef of South Africa and two Georgian girls, WFM Arabidze Mary and Nino Anakidze. In the under-14 division, Harika was held to a draw by Russian WFM Elena Tairova.

However, Harika is on top of the table with six others with 3.5 points.

In the boys' under-10 category, Srinath, sponsored by United India Insurance, beat team-mate K. Sanjoy Singh to emerge joint leader with Poland's Swiercz and Yangyi Yu of China.

Similarly, in the under-12 section, Negi was in the lead pack of four players.

Apart from the leaders, P. Lakshmi Sahithi, Mary Ann Gomes and Y. Sandeep were just half-a-point behind the leaders in their categories. S. Arun Prasad and Deep Sengupta could achieve International Master and

Grandmaster norms if they continue to do well. Arun drew with a Grandmaster in this round.

Gritty Negi

Negi's tenacity saw him through the fourth round. In the black side of a Sicilian Defence against Haik Vardanian of Armenia, he tactically disrupted white's king-side pawn structure and pressured his opponent throughout. Vardanian could have availed of some chances in a double rook ending, but the tension took its toll and he gave up after 62 moves.

Mohana Priya played a superb positional game to outmanoeuvre Vlada Artemieva her Russian opponent in a Kings Indian game. Always initiating new threats against the black position with her two bishops and showing patience and restraint, she won black's d6 pawn. With the key pawn gone, the Russian girl lost without further fight.

Srinath exploited the poor opening play of Sanjoy to win rook for knight. There followed a fascinating middle-game where Srinath had queen and two rooks for Sanjoy's Queen, rook and knight. Sanjoy threw forward his three king-side pawns, risking the safety of his king. After some exciting play, Srinath won on the 60th move.

The results (involving Indians, fourth round):

Girls: Under-10: J. Mohana Priya 4 bt Vlada Artemieva (Rus); Tejeswini Reddy 3 bt Myriam Roy (Can); Gutta Sirisha 2 lost to Sevinj Samadzade (Aze).

Under-12: G. Madanasri 3 drew with Varvara Repina (Rus); P. Lakshmi Sahithi 3.5 bt WFM Deysi Cori (Per); Devangi Patankar 2.5 bt Amisha Parmar (Eng).

Under-14: D. Harika 3.5 drew with WFM Elena Tairova (Rus); Daria Charochkina (Rus) bt K. Lakshmi Praneetha 2.5; Kajri Choksi 1.5 bt Shirley Wu (Nzl).

Under-16: WFM Yulduz Hamrakulova (Uzb) lost to Mary Ann Gomes 3.5.

Under-18: N. Vinuthna 3 bt Monika Seps (Swz); Eva Kulovana (Cze) lost to M. Rajadarshini 3.

Boys: Under-10: N. Srinath 4 bt Sanjoy Singh 3; G. Madhukiran 3 bt Timur Kim (Kaz); Lortkipanidze (Geo) lost to Prasanna Rao 3.

Under-12: Haik Vardanian (Arm) lost to Parimarjan Negi 4; Y. Sandeep 3.5 bt Luis De Arco (Col); Amir Azemati (Iran) lost to S. Ravi Teja 3.

Under-14: Dasari Sai Srinivas 2.5 lost to Sasa Martinovic (Cro); Sankalp Modwal 1.5 lost to Petar Krstic (Yug); Matthieu Rigolot (Fra) bt Sanchit Chauhan 1.5.

Under-16: S. Arun Prasad 3 drew with GM Rauf Mamedov (Aze); Deep Sengupta 3 drew with FM Konstantin Sirotine (Rus); FM Vasily Papin (Rus) drew with G. Rohith 2.5.

Under-18: Nikhilesh Kumar 2 drew with IM Tadej Sakelsek (Slo).

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