Harsha alone keeps the lead; Nandhidhaa took the lead in the women’s section | So Good News


NEW DELHI: Overnight sole leader Grandmaster Harsha Bharatakoti defeated R. Praggnanandhaa in the sixth round to maintain his sole lead by five points at the Asian Continental Chess Championship here on Monday.

Playing the white side of the Catalan opening, Harsha switched pieces at regular intervals to sign a truce after 33 moves. Eleven players led by Prgganandhaa trailed the leader by half a point.

In other important matches of the sixth round, Grandmaster Leon Luc Mendonca drew with Sethuraman SP, while Karthikeyan Murali shared the points with compatriot Grandmaster B. Adhiban. Second-seeded Narayanan edged closer with a win over SL Sandipan Chanda, while Aravind Chithambaram got the better of Ayush Sharma.

In the women’s category, Nandhidhaa PV took the sole lead by defeating compatriot Priyanka Nutakki in the sixth round. Playing with the black pieces in an Alapin variation of the Sicilian defense, Nandhidhaa capitalized on his opponent’s positional error in the middle game to score a full game point to bring his score to five and a half points.

She is now one point ahead of her nearest rivals Padmini Root and Priyanka Nutakki with three rounds to go.

The 2018 winner, third seed Padmini Root, found her rhythm and overcame sixth seed Nilufur Yakubbayeva of Uzbekistan to finish four and a half points behind the leader. In Tuesday’s deciding seventh round, Padmini will face Nandhidhaa while Priyanka will be paired with Yakubbayeva.

Highlights Round 6: Harsha Bharatakoti (5) drew with R. Praggnanandhaa (4.5); Leon Luca Mendonca (4.5) tied with Sethuraman SP (4.5); Karthikeyan Murali (4.5) tied with B. Adhiban (4.5); Uzbekistan’s Shamsiddin Vohidov (4.5) tied with Turkmenistan’s Maksat Atabayev (4.5); Sandipan Chanda (3.5) lost to Narayanan SL (4.5); Ayush Sharma (3.5) lost to Aravindh Chitambaram (3.5); Saparmyrat Atabayev from Turkmenistan (4.5) beat Rinat Zhumabaev from Kazakhstan (3.5); Pranav V (4) tied with Aditya Mittal (4); Shyam Sundar M (4) tied with Urazaev Arystanbek from Kazakhstan (4); Koustav Chatterjee (4.5) Viani Antonio Dcungna (3.5); Abhimanyu Puranik (4) beat Ajay Karthikeyan (3); Sankalp Gupta (3.5) tied with Nigmatov Ortik (3.5); Deep Sengupta (3) lost to Sammed Jaikumar Shete (4); Shyamnikhil P (3.5) tied with Anuj Srivatri (3.5); Karthik Venkataraman (4) beat Mongolia’s Amartuvshin Ghanzorig (3).

Women’s Round 6: Priyanka Nutakki (4.5) lost to Nandhidhaa PV (5.5); Padmini Rout (4.5) beat Uzbekistan’s Nilufar Yakubbayeva (4); Divya Deshmukh (4) tied with Soumya Swaminathan (4); Vietnam’s Vo Thi Kim Phung (4) tied with Mary Ann Gomez (4); Vanthika Agrawal (4) defeated Cholleti Sahajasri (3.5); Saina Salonika (3.5) tied with Tanya Sachdev (3.5); Mongolia’s Enkhtuul ALtan-Ulziy (3) lost to Vietnam’s Thi Mai Hung Nguyen (4); Kazakhstan’s Amina Kayyrbekova (3.5) tied with Srishti Pandey (3.5); Nisha Mohota (4) beat Ksenia Balabaeva from Kazakhstan (3); Rakshitta Ravi (4) beat Varshi V (3).


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