Nakchivan (Azerbaijan): The Indians failed to secure any medals in the world junior chess championships after the conclusion of the 13th and final round Thursday.
Grandmasters Surya Sekhar Ganguly and Pentyala Harikrishna could only manage to draw their games and tallied eight points each from a possible 13 to finish eighth and ninth, respectively.
Top seeded Grandmaster Shakhriyaz Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan played a quick draw in his last game to finish on top with 10 points. Sergei Azarov of Belarus secured the silver after he too drew his game while the bronze went to Alexander Zubov of Ukraine, who won his final round against Kanep Meelis of Estonia.
In the girls’ section, Dronavalli Harika failed to win her final-round game against Shukurova Meihriban of Azerbaijan. She narrowly missed out on a medal, finishing fourth with seven points.
hdev, lost her final round game against Zeinab Mamedjarova of Azerbaijan to finish sixth with 6.5 points. Eesha Karavade managed to hold Nana Dzagnidze of Georgia who had won the tournament with one round to spare.
Eesha achieved her third and final IWM norm in the process and will now become an International Women Master soon.
The silver went to Cristina Calotescu, who finished with a tally of 7.5 points along with Mamedjarova. Calotescu’s superior tie-break ensured the second place while the Azerbaijani had to be content with the bronze.
Earlier in the 12th round, Surya fumbled under pressure and lost to Vitaly Bachin of Russia while Harikrishna also settled for a draw with Ukrainian Alexander Zubov.
Harika had remained in the hunt for a medal following a draw with higher-rated Cristina Calotescu of Romania while Asian junior girls’ champion Tania beat countrymate Saheli Nath.
The pressure, in the 10th round, was too much for Surya to handle, who had a very good start to the tournament. Playing white, he went all out for a victory.
As the endgame approached, Bachin pushed his queenside pawns relentlessly and caught Surya off guard in a little tactical skirmish. The game lasted 52 moves.
Harika faced the Benoni set up and gained a definite advantage against Calotescu in the ensuing middlegame. But Calotescu played a tactical game to pose threat for Harika. The Indian lost a pawn in trying to force matters but defended well thereafter to steer the game to a draw after 82 moves.