Pragg, Divya Deshmukh score second wins in World Youth Chess Championship

Mumbai: Indian prodigies Grandmaster Praggnanandhaa R and Woman International Master Divya Deshmukh notched up their second straight victories as Round 2 of the World Youth Chess Championship here on Thursday.

Chennais Pragg got the better of Polands Antoni Kozak in the Open U18 while Nagpurs Diya routed Bhagyashree Patil in the Girls U14 to underline their form and preparedness for the 11-round mega event, Indias biggest chess tournament in recent times.

Fourteen-year-old Pragg was among 12 players, including four other Indians, to maintain a clean slate and pick up the maximum possible 2 points so far.

The countrys second youngest Grandmaster Pragg, playing white, opened with the Kings Indian. On move 17, he sacrificed his Rook for a Knight as he put pressure on Antonis king. The Pole soon returned the sacrifice, hoping to get away unscathed. But Pragg was meticulous in his play and swiftly marched towards victory.

In the same group, top seed GM Shant Sargsyan of Armenia played brilliantly to knock out Chinas Shixu Wang. In a complicated endgame, Sargsyan played aggressively with his pawns, which ultimately proved to be the deciding factor in his win.

Indias other Grandmaster P Iniyan too had a fairly easy run, beating Ravan Aliyev of Azerbaijan. Aditya Mittal, Srijit Paul and Luke Mendonca were the other Indians who won their matches in the morning session. Round 3 began in the evening and was expected to go late into the night.

In Girls U14, top seed Divya Deshmukh wheeled out the Sicilian Defence in reply to Bhagyashrees King Pawn opening. Right at the start, Divya played a string of attacking moves which her opponent couldnt cope with. The game ended on move 30 with Bhagyashrees resignation.

Rakshitta Ravi and Dhyana Patel were the other Indians in this category who scored easy wins.

Key Results (Rd-2):

U14 Open: Sreeshwan M (IND) bt Rudolf Jun Jr (CZE); Volodar Murzin (RUS) bt. Dennis Andrijashkin (EST). U14 Girls: Divya Deshmukh (IND) bt Bhagyashree Patil (IND); Rakshitta Ravi (IND) bt. Mariya Alekseenko (RUS); U16 Open: Moke Niemann (USA) bt VS Raahul (IND); Oliver Wartiovaara (FIN) drew Santiago Avila (COL); U16 Girls: Leya Garifullina (RUS) bt Madara Golsta (LAT); Govhar Bydullayeva (AZE) drew Svitlana Demchenko (CAN); U18 Open: Shant Sargsyan (ARM) bt Shixu Wang (CHN); R Praggnanandhaa (IND) bt Antoni Kozak (POL); U-18 Girls: Polina Shuvalova (RUS) bt. Tanishka Kotia (IND), Vantika Agrawal (IND) drew Aashna Makhija (IND)