Negombo (Sri Lanka): International Master P. Magesh Chandran and Y. Prathiba maintained their lead in Round VIII of the 26th Asian Junior Chess championships here on Thursday.
Magesh accounted for Deepan Chakravarthy in an absorbing contest and maintained the sole lead he had taken on Wednesday after beating G. Rohit. Magesh now has 6.5 points in his kitty. Half-a-point adrift are Abhijit Gupta, Prathmesh Mokal and S. Poobesh Anand.
In the girlís section, Chennaiís Y. Prathiba stayed on course for the title with a hard-fought endgame victory over J. Rajasurya. Following Prathiba is Bengalís Saheli Nath with 6 points. Another Bengal girl, Mary Ann Gomes (5.5) shares third spot with Kruttika Nadig and J. E. Kavitha.
While Saheli beat Vietnamís Luong Phong Hanh, Mary Ann got the better of Kathryn Ann Cruz of the Philippines. Defending champion WIM Tania Sachdevís lost to Kavitha.
IM-norm holder Poobesh gave Pune lad Akshayraj Kore his first defeat of the tournament, moving to the second spot with 6.0 points. Top seed WIM D. Harika drew both her games against compatriots Mahima Rajmohan and N. Vinuthna and remained on 4 points. (PTI)