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Nihal, Gukesh and Rakshitta reach final

Nihal Sarin  

Nihal Sarin came up with twin knight-sacrifice to nail a dramatic 1.5-0.5 win over Italy’s Sonis Francesco to become the third Indian, along with D. Gukesh and Rakshitta Ravi, to reach the gold-medal matches of FIDE Online World Cadet and Youth chess championship on Tuesday.

Playing in the under-18 section, Sarin drew the first game with black pieces. In the second, the talented Indian displayed his preparation in sacrificing both knights on the 14th and 17th moves, claimed his rival’s queen for a rook but then marshalled his remaining resources brilliantly to win in 47 moves. The second seeded India now plays Armenia’s Shant Sargsyan, seeded four.

Sarin had to play his semifinal on Tuesday because his scheduled clash with Peru’s Narayana Hepler Ramirez on Monday was put on hold after the latter was found in violation of the tournament's fairplay policy. Ramirez was later disqualified and Sonis replaced him.

On Monday, Gukesh reached the under-14 final after beating Dennis Lazavik 2-1. Gukesh won the first but lost the second. In the deciding Armageddon game, Gukesh gained a winning position but eventually drew.

Since he played with black pieces, a draw was enough for him to advance to the final against Russian talent Volodar Murzin.

In the girls’ under-16 semifinals, sixth seed Rakshitta stunned second seeded Russian Leya Garifullina 1.5-0.5 after winning the first game in 45 moves. In the final, Rakshitta plays fourth seeded Chinese Song Yuxin.

The only Indian to lose in the semifinal was nine-year-old Mrinmoy Rajkhowa, who did not know the technical rules in the deciding Armageddon game and lost a completely drawn position on time to Finek Vaclav.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 1:16:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/nihal-gukesh-and-rakshitta-reach-final/article33396688.ece

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