Mumbai: India began their campaign in the this year's World Youth Chess Championship on a positive note with Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa, along with Mrudul Dehankar and Master Divya Deshmukh scoring emphatic wins on the opening day (Rd-1) here on Wednesday.
Fourteen-year-old prodigy Praggnanandhaa, who has opted to play in the Under-18 category, beat Italy’s Botta Massimiliano in 35 moves. Mrudul, India’s top player in U-16 girls, had it far easier, overcoming Kristyn Otrubova of Czech Republic in 19 moves.
Mrudul started the game with her king’s pawn while Kristyn opted for the Sicilian Defence. Mrudul pounced on a couple of inaccuracies on moves 12 and 13 to take charge of the board. Six moves later, Kristyn had no option but to resign.
In the same group, top seed Woman Candidate Master Leya Garifullina of Russia too began with a convincing win over Bangladesh’s Woman FIDE Master Noshin Anjum. Leya, playing white, opted for the popular Ruy-Lopez opening.
She craftily dragged her opponent into a winning end-game and eventually emerged victorious on the 39th move.
Open U-18: Shant Sargsyan (Arm) bt Vladyslav Sydoryka (Ukr) 1-0; Massimiliano Botta (Ita) lost to R Praggnanandhaa (Ind) 0—1; Aryan Gholami (Iri) bt Vojtech Sramek (Cze) 1-0; Vedant Panesar (Ind) drew with Viktor Gazik (Svk). Girls U-18: Polina Shuvalova (Rus) bt K Laurincova (Cze) 1-0; K Zeliantsova (Blr) bt Anna Afonasieva (Rus) 1-0. Open U-16: MH Niemann (USA) bt Sai Karthik (Ind) 1-0; C Tomiello (Bra) lost to M Gharibyan (Arm); D Arash (Iri) bt S Skurniak (Pol) 1-0. Girls U16: L Garifullina (Rus) bt A Noshin (Ban) 1-0; M Dehankar (Ind) bt K Otrubova (Cze); Open U-14: V Jumani (Ind) lost to V Murzin (Rus) 0-1; A Suleymanli (Aze) bt LMST De Silva (Sri) 1-0; Pv Anand (Ind) bt M Kadam (Ind) 1-0. Girls U-14: D Deshmukh (Ind) bt M Fatima (Ind) 1-0; A Abdala (Chi) lost to Rakshitta Ravi (Ind).