SPORT

Silver for Goginenni Rohit

Iraklio (Greece) Nov. 24. India finished the World Youth Chess Festival with one silver and two bronze medals. While Goginenni Rohit got the silver in the under-14 boys' section, Harika and Harikrishna got the bronze in the under-12 girls and under-18 boys' sections respectively.

Last year, at Oropesa, India had got only one silver through Harika. Earlier in 1999, also at Oropesa, India had its richest haul of medals - two golds and one silver.

Rohit needed a draw this morning to grab the silver. He seemed to be in a poor position in the final round against Austria's Markus Ragger, but recovered well to be in a winning position. Since he could only be second whether he won the game or drew it, he took the easy course and drew the game.

Last night Rohit had an elegant victory over Evgeny Romanov of Russia. From a Sicilian Defence where he castled on the queen-side with the black pieces, he won two pawns. Then he gave back one pawn to win a pinned bishop. After this the Russian gave up.

In the tenth round played last night, Harikrishna was defeated by Mark Paragua of the Philippines. To avoid losing a pawn, Harikrishna sacrificed his queen for rook and bishop and after making one more mistake he had to give up the fight. But this morning, he had an easy time against

Kazakhstan's Rustem Sadykov. Rustem played the semi-Slav and got into a weak position with a poor pawn structure. Focussing on black's isolated a6 pawn, Harikrishna won it and then pushed a pawn to queen. This forced victory in 32 moves.

Dronavalli Harika started the last round in the under-12 girls' section, half a point behind WIM Muzychuk and Zhongyi Tan. She had to win to take the silver medal as Muzychuk surprisingly lost on the top table and the Chinese drew to be assured of the gold medal. But Harika played the black side of a Morra Gambit in the Sicilian Defence rather casually. She set a trap by moving her knight to g4. As the Chinese girl, Yixin Ding saw through the trap and played an aggressive move, Harika had to get back her adventurous knight. Losing time in this manoeuvre, Harika had to face a series of skirmishes engineered by Ding. It was not possible for Harika to survive and she lost the game.

China's Zhonyi Tan was watching from the second board the defeat of Muzychuk on the top board. The moment Muzychuk resigned, Zhong Yi offered a draw to Buttner who accepted it. Thus Zhongyi Tan won the World under-12 girls championship. Earlier she had won the World under-10 girls championship at Oropesa, Spain in 2000 and 2001.

Harika played well last night in the penultimate round to beat Maria Ignacs of Hungary. In the last round, nine of the 12 Indian girls lost the game rather inexplicably.

The final standings with Indians:

Boys: 1. Eltaj Safarli (Aze) 9.5; 10. P. Negi 7.5; 16. Y. Sandeep

7; 51. P.P. Prachura 5.5. 109 players. U-12: 1. Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus) 9; 9. Dasari Sai Srinivas 8; 35. Aswin Jayaram 6.5; 41. Subodh Lakhey 6; 63. Sankalp Modwal 5.5; 71. C.R.G. Krishna 5; 117 players. U-14: 1. Luka Lenic (Slo) 9; 2 G. Rohit 8.5; 42. Nikhilesh Kumar 5.5; 96. Namra Pandya 3. 100 players.

U-16: 1. Levan Pantsulaia (Geo) 8.5; 15. Deepan Chakravarthy

7; 20. Somak Palit 6.5; 89 players. U-18: 1. Ferenc Berkes (Hun) 9; 3 P. Harikrishna 8; 29. Poobesh Anand 6.5; 86 players.

Girls: Under-10: 1. Lara Stock (Cro) 9.5; 11. P. Lakshmi Sahithi 7; 23. Manogna Mandava 6; 41. G. Madanasri 5; 70 players. U-12: 1. Zhongyi Tan (Chn) 9; 3. D. Harika 8; 14. Ramya Krishna 6.5; 26. Kajri Choksi 6; 85 players. U-14: 1. Laura Rogule (Lat) 9.5; 11. Krutiga Nadig 7; 20. Saheli Nath 6.5; 82 players. U-16: 1. Tamara Tchistiakova (Rus) 9; 8. Tania Sachdev 7; 10. Eesha Karavade 7; 35. Amruta Mokal 5.5; 68 players. U-18: 1. Elizabeth Paehtz (Ger) 8.5; 25. P. Priya 6; 59 players.