Indian Grandmaster S.P. Sethuraman crashed through the defenses of Russian Andrey Stukopin to score an impressive win and join Yu Yangyi of China in lead on 4.5 points after the end of the fifth round of World Junior Chess Championship here.

Playing the black side of a Sicilian Najdorf, Sethuraman capitalized on his chances in the middle game and launched a direct attack on the king that resulted in his winning a piece for a couple of pawns. Stukopin hung in there trying to find some counter play but the Indian came up with a startling manoeuvre to force checkmate after a knight sacrifice.

It turned out to be a good day for Indian boys as GM Sahaj Grover outplayed Muhammad Luthfi Ali of Indonesia to jump to joint third spot on four points.

Grover was at his technical best in another Sicilian Najdorf of the day and got a passed pawn on the queenside with some precise calculation. Ali was at sea in figuring out the best defense with his clock ticking away and Grover’s Queen and Bishop dealt the knockout blow.

Debashish Das and Vidit Gujrathi also moved to four points in contrasting styles. Das again came up with a fine positional display and defeated Martin Romero Martinez of Colombia while Gujrathi played out a draw with Polish Duda Jan-Krzysztof.

Among other Indian boys, Asian junior champion N. Srinath defeated Ali Marandi Cemil Can of Turkey, Sameer Kathmale scored over Erkin Karaolcu of Turkey, while Rakesh Kulkarni drew with Vehid Mesic of Bosnia. S.L. Narayanan ended on the losing side against Peruvian Grandmaster Jorge Cori.

In the girls’ championship being held simultaneously, G.K. Monnisha lost to Meri Arabidze of Georgia. But, Rucha Pujari brought cheers to the Indian camp defeating higher rated Indonesian Monica Sihite Chelsie.

The highest ranked Indian, Padmini Rout was held to a draw by Sarasadat Khademalsharieh of Iran. Rucha, Padmini and Monnisha all have an identical 3.5 points from five rounds.

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