Narayanan beats Kovalev, to maintain joint lead

Pune: International Master and India’s junior champion Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan came up with yet another brilliant performance to beat higher-ranked Grandmaster Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus to stay in the joint lead after the end of the fifth round of World Junior Chess Championship on Friday.

On what turned out to be another fine day for Narayanan, he outplayed Kovalev after a long game with white pieces and took his tally to 4.5 points out of a possible five.

With eight rounds still to come, Narayanan now shares the lead with Jorge Cori of Peru and Lu Shanglei of China while there is a pack of seven players following them half a point behind and in tied fourth place.

They are top seed Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia, Wei Yi of China and Bai Jinshi of China, Mikhail Antipov of Russia, Benjamin Bok of Holland, Paulo Bersamina of Philippines and Sahaj Grover of India.

Narayanan has been displaying top form and the fifth round was no exception. The Budapest opening doesn’t find many takers in GM level chess anymore but two important games involving Indians witnessed this. Kovalev went for it with black pieces and fell in a worse endgame even though Narayanan had to find most of his moves over the board.

Leading to a rook and opposite colours endgame, Narayanan picked a couple of pawns and had no problems in converting those in to a full point. Sahaj Grover showed his immaculate technique to outplay Gabriel Gaehwiler of Switzerland. Grover got a miniscule advantage out the other Budapest opening of the day and reached another Rook and opposite colours Bishops endgame.

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