Saheli Nath stands a chance of winning gold

OROPESA, NOV. 1 For four successive years the World Youth Chess Festival incorporating the World Championships in the categories of Under- 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 for boys and girls have been organised at Hotel Marina D'Or at Oropesa.

For India, the past three years here have been eminently successful. So far, Koneru Humpy, Aarthie Ramaswamy, Deep Sengupta and Dronavalli Harika have ensured that the Indian contingent did not go back empty handed.

The last free day in the tournament yesterday passed without much excitement and anticipation. A gold medal for India appears to be difficult. And our hopes are only in one section, the under-12 girls, unlike in 2000 when we had hopes in the under-10 girls, under-12 boys and under-14 girls.

The two Indians who are going to put their lives on the line in the last two days are Harika and Saheli Nath. Though Harika has faltered after a promising start in the under-12, Saheli Nath has picked up the baton and stands a chance of winning the gold.

The top penultimate round pairings in the under-12 girls: 1 Yang Shen (Chn) 7.5 vs Shuyu Ding (Chn) 7; 2 Saheli Nath (Ind) 7 vs Maria Ignacz (Hun) 6.5; 3 Bokuchava (Geo) 6.5 vs D. Harika (Ind) 6.5.

The three medals we won last year here and Viswanathan Anand winning the World championship last December has made many chess players look upon India as a big power in international chess.

During a game between P. Priya and an Argentinian player, spectators from both countries watched the game through the large sound-proof glass window. Priya was a pawn down, but she managed to draw the ending. When they drew, the Argentinians burst into applause as though it was an achievement for them. It should have been the Indians who should have applauded!

Grandmasters Utut Adianto of Indonesia and Eugene Torre of the Philippines have accompanied their players to support them. But their players are no longer in contention for a medal.

Leaders in each group after Round 9:

Under-10 girls: 1 Zhongyi Tan (Chn) 8.5; 2 Mariya Muzychuk (Ukr) 7.5, 11 Dhyani B Dave (Ind) 6.

Under-10 boys: 1 Tamas Fodor (Hun) 7; 2 Lichman (Ukr) 7; 3 Quang Liem Le (Vie) 7; 4 Recuerro Guerra (Esp) 7; 5 Kruglyakov (Ukr) 7.

Under-12 girls: 1 Yang Shen (Chn) 7.5; 2 Saheli Nath (Ind) 7; 3 Shuyu Ding (Chn) 7; 4 D. Harika (Ind) 6.5; 5 Ignacz Mariya (Hun) 6.5; 6 Sabina Foisor (Rom) 6.5; 7 Madona Bokuchava (Geo) 6.5.

Under-12 boys: 1 Dmitri Andreikine (Rus) 7.5; 2 Karyakin (Hun) 7; 3 Vachier-Lagrave (Fra) 7; 4 Szabo (Hun) 7; 5 Susilodinata (Indo) 7.

Under-14 girls: 1 Mongontuul (Mon) 8; 2 Salome Melia (Geo) 7.5; 3 Fominykh (Rus) 7; 4 Zawadzka (Pol) 7; 5 Arutyunova (Ukr) 7.

Under-14 boys: 1 Viktor Erdos (Hun) 8; 2 Wojtaszek (Pol) 7; 3 Nakamura (USA) 7; 4 Gonda (Hun) 7.

Under-16 girls: 1 Nana Dzagnidze (Geo) 8; 2 Vozovik (Ukr) 8; 3 Worek (Pol) 6.5.

Under-16 boys: 1 Heberla (Pol) 7; 2 Korobov (Ukr) 7; 3 Alekxeev (Rus) 7; 4 Mamedov (Aze) 6.5.

Under-18 girls: 1 Gvetadze (Geo) 8.5; 2 Calotescu (Rom) 8; 3 Sophie Milliet 6.

Under-18 boys: 1 Timofeev (Rus) 7.5; 2 Iakovenko (Rus) 7; 3 Werle (Ned) 7; 4 Izoria (Geo) 7.

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