World Youth 2019 Rd.10: How many medals can India win?
The penultimate round of the World Youth Championships 2019 was filled with action. Praggnanandhaa continued his sprint towards the title in under-18 open section by winning his game against Paulius Pultinevicius. Shant Sargsyan was saved by the skin of his teeth against Mitrabha Guha and is still right on the heels of Praggnanandhaa. Polina Shuvalova keeps her lead intact in girls under-18. Nazerke Nurgali has finally managed to edge out Leya Garifullina in girls under-16 and Rudik Makarian has taken the sole lead in under-16 open. Aydin Suleymanli from Azerbaijan leads in the open under-14 while Bat-Erdene Mungunzuul has come strongly to the top as the sole leader in girls under-14. Last round to be played on 12th of October when the 18 medal winners will be decided.
The penultimate round is always quite tense as there is a lot at stake! Players who are playing on the top boards and can squeeze out a full point here are often excellently placed for winning a medal. What are the chances of Indians winning a medal?
Under-14 open: Srihari and Abinandhan are on places two and three. They have excellent chances of winning a medal. But both of them have strong opponents. While Srihari faces the Vietnamese prodigy Vo Pham Thien Phuc, Abinandhan will take on Sreeshwan Maralakshikari, the top seed!
Under-14 girls: This is a section where India's chances of medal look dim. But Divya and Rakshitta are on places five and six and they are facing opponents who have more points than them. If both of them can win, and some results pan out in their favour, they may win a medal here!
Under-16 open: Aronyak Ghosh is on the second spot and is facing the strong Iranian IM Arash Daghli. Aronyak has good chances to win a medal and an outside chance also lies from Kushagra Mohan who is currently on 6th place.
Under-16 girls: Saina Salonika and Akshaya Bommini Mounika are on places four and five. They are in with a chance to win bronze, as the gold and silver in this section is out of their reach now.
Under-18 open: Praggnanandhaa is in sole lead. He also has the white pieces and should be able to take back home the gold medal. Arjun Kalyan is on 6th place and if he manages to win against GM Shant Sargsyan today, he can win a medal.
Under-18 girls: Vantika Agrawal has the best chance here as she is currently on second position behind Polina Shuvalova.
All in all it seems like Pragg, Aronyak, Vantika, Srihari or Abinandhan have excellent chances. We can expect four medals here, but if things work out well, then the tally could even grow!
Let's have a look at how things panned out in round 10:
Standings after Round 10 of under-18 Open
Praggnanandhaa vs Pultinevicius
c4!? was a well timed decision by Pragg. You may feel that after dxc4 bxc4 b4, the pawn on c4 is weak and the knight on c5 is very strongly placed. But Pragg had seen it beforehand that the knight on c5 is not stable and can be evicted with Nb3, when either Black has to take on b3 and give White a protected passer or move from c5, when the c-pawn starts marching down the board.
Shant Sargsyan scored a lucky victory in the tenth round. He was completely lost in the endgame against Mitrabha Guha. But Mitrabha hallucinated for a move and it was all over!
Guha vs Sargsyan
After a few inaccuracies it was already time to start thinking about a draw here with Bxd2 followed by taking on c6. However, Mitrabha took on c6 allowing Black to queen. What was the point of his play? Isn't the bishop on d5 hanging with a check? Well, he played his bishop back to f3.
Standings after Round 10 of under-18 Girls
Standings of Round 10 of under-16 Open
|5||1||IM||Niemann Hans Moke||USA||2439||7,0||0,0||59,5||64,0||5||6|
|7||19||FM||Cardoso Cardoso Jose Gabriel||COL||2313||7,0||0,0||51,0||55,0||5||7|
|8||17||FM||Moksh Amit Doshi||IND||2328||6,5||0,0||57,0||61,5||5||5|
|9||9||IM||Raja Rithvik R||IND||2369||6,5||0,0||55,0||59,5||5||4|
It was a King's Indian where White seemed to have made early inroads on the queenside. But it turns out that although White broke through on the queenside, the real action was on the kingside where Arash Daghli struck with his pawns, typical of the King's Indian.
Standings of Round 10 of under-16 Girls
|5||14||WFM||Bommini Mounika Akshaya||w||IND||2017||7,0||0,0||57,5||61,0||6||5|
Nurgali vs Hajieva
Standings of Round 10 of under-14 open
|2||12||FM||Srihari L R||IND||2283||7,5||0,0||61,5||64,5||5||7|
|6||60||Vo Pham Thien Phuc||VIE||1807||7,5||0,0||56,0||61,0||5||5|
Suleymanli vs Vo Pham
Standings of Round 10 of under-14 Girls
|10||21||WCM||Ince Safiye Oyku||w||TUR||1840||6,5||0,0||58,5||62,5||5||5|
Talks by Experts