| Surya Sekhar: Draws with Neelotpal
Panaji: The Indians continued to trail Grandmaster Luke McShane of England who remained atop the table with a draw against top seed Grandmaster Bu Xiangzhi of China in the fifth round of the 41st world junior chess championship here at Cidade de Goa Thursday.
McShane has 4.5 points from his five games and is closely followed by Levon Aronian of Armenia, Vladimir Potkin of Russia, Ni Hua of China and Sergei Azarov of Belarus with four points apiece in the boys’ section.
GM Pentyala Harikrishna, GM-in-waiting Surya Shekhar Ganguly, IM Neelotpal Das, double GM norm holder Sandipan Chanda and S. Satyapragyan are among 13 in the next point-group with 3.5 points each in their kitty.
On the top board, McShane played a solid game with white pieces in one of the preferred variations of his compatriot super GM Michael Adams. Up against a Sicilian, McShane chose the closed set-up and it was quite clear that he was not interested in a complicated tussle.
Bu Xiangzhi, once the youngest GM in the world, tried to make some headway on the queenside with routine pawn roller but realised that white had adequate resources on the other flank.
The result was a peace proposal on the 19th move by the Chinese that was turned down but five moves later McShane himself suggested a draw result that was accepted after some thought.
Harikrishna’s ability to play different openings successfully held him in good stead as he managed an easy draw with black with Sergey Erenburg of Israel who opted for the Italian game after being surprised on the very first move.
The pieces got traded at regular intervals and the Indian was never in any real trouble except when white managed a slight advantage in the middle game.
However, with quick trading of pieces Harikrishna brought the game to a level rook and minor piece ending where the peace treaty was signed after 26 moves.
Seeded second Levon Aronian gave an excellent display of his attacking prowess and outplayed Rustem Sadykov of Kazakhstan who played black. Aronian started with the English opening but arrived at a position akin to the Botvinnik variation of the Caro Kann defence through transposition.
Sadykov had more than a few problems to solve once he ventured in to unwarranted complexities and lost a pawn on the 19th move. Aronian went on the offensive thereafter and launched a decisive attack against the king with a picturesque knight move on the 23rd turn to finish the game in style in just 31 moves.
Surya was involved in a draw with his former Goodricke Chess Academy mate Neelotpal, while Sandipan Chanda defeated Yannick Gozzoli of France.
The girls’ section
Meanwhile, among girls, top seed and defending champion GM Koneru Humpy slipped to the second position after drawing her game with Nadezhda Kosintseva of Russia in the fifth round.
WGM Zhao Xue of China shot in to sole lead with a comprehensive victory over Ekaterina Ubiennykh of Russia.
Xue took her tally to 4.5 points from five games with this victory and Humpy, along with, Tatiana Kosintseva of Russia, Makka Ioulia of Greece, Wang Yu of China and Nadezhda Kosintseva, has 4 points to her credit.
While five players are placed on 3.5 points, a group of ten hopefuls including Asian junior girls champion Tania Sachdev, Dronavalli Harika, Y. Pratibha and P. Priya are on 3 points each.
Eight rounds remain to be played.
Tania played out a draw with Harika in a Sicilian Sveshnikov game where the former played white.