Dinara Saduakassova is the girls’ World Junior Champion 2016

The girls’ section turned out to be interesting right until the end as the top two boards were locked in fierce battles.
Towards the end of day’s play, it was clear that nerves were playing a huge role in deciding the winner. Kazakh WGM Dinara Saduakassova was convinced that her game could end in nothing more but a draw, but it turned out that she had a winning position towards the very end after a mistake by her opponent Uurtsaikh Uuriintuya of Mongolia. Surprisingly, Saduakassova missed her chance and the game ended in a draw. It was only after it ended that she realized to her horror that she had just given away the game! In the second board, WIM Dinara Dordzhieva of Russia was a pawn up against Indian WIM Parnali Dharia. Things could have got messy had Dordzhieva won, as she may have ended up winning the tournament. However, Parnali held the Russian with some accurate calculations, thus allowing Dinara Saduakassova to become the World Junior Champion in the girls’ section with 9.5/13.
Nadhidhaa Pv
India’s WIM Nandhidhaa Pv made India proud by bringing home the silver medal. She won when it mattered most, and that too with the black pieces, against WGM Nataliya Buksa of Ukraine. She scored 9.0/13. WIM Dinara Dordzhieva, who was held to a draw, was third and won the bronze medal with 9.0/13, on the tiebreak.
Jeffery vs. Masoud Mosadeghpour
In the Open section, GM Jeffery Xiong was held to a draw in the final round by Iran’s Masoud Mosadeghpour. He had already won the event with a round to spare.
Artemiev
GM Vladislav Artemiev of Russia won his country a silver medal by beating India’s GM Aravindh Chithambaram. Polish IM Nasuta Grzegorz, who had had a fine run throughout the tournament, ended up losing to Kerala’s GM S.L. Narayanan. Thus, Narayanan sneaked up to the third spot to take the bronze medal.

Xiong becomes the Junior Champion with a round to spare

Jeffery Xiong of the USA scored a comfortable victory with the black pieces to become the World Junior Chess Champion 2016 with a round to spare. In a Sicilian Defence, Grand Prix Variation, his opponent IM Paulo Bersamina went slightly wrong in the early middlegame, allowing Xiong to roll over his opponent in the endgame. With 10.0/12, Xiong has taken an unassailable 1.5 point lead over his nearest opponents. At 16, Xiong is amongst the youngest World Junior Champions in chess history.
The second board game between IM Nasuta Grzegorz and the top seed GM Vladislav Artemiev of Russia ended in a draw. Both the players are tied for the second spot at 8.5/12. The third board game between Iran’s Parham Maghsoodloo and India’s GM Aravindh Chithambaram was an interesting affair, where Parham amassed a huge advantage. Nevertheless, despite being an exchange for a pawn up, he could not convert and the game ended in a draw.
The girls’ section saw the Kazakh WGM Dinara Saduakassova take the sole lead in the tournament just in the nick of time. Saduakassova beat Colombian IM Andrea Rodriguez to move to 9.0/12. In another surprise, WIM Frayna Janelle Mae, who was in the lead for the most part of the tournament lost her second game on a trot, this time to India’s WIM Parnali Dharia. Erst-while joint leader WIM Pv Nandhidhaa too ended up losing to Mongolian WIM Uurtsaikhu Urintuya. All of them are not joint second at 8.0/12. WIM Dinara Dordzhieva managed to put it across WIM Michelle Catherina to move to the second position with 8.5/12.

Xiong maintains the lead, Frayna loses

The USA’s GM Jeffery Xiong maintained a point’s lead over his nearest rival, moving his score to 9.0/11, as he drew with Russian GM Vladislav Artemiev. The game was an Exchange Slav where nothing spectacular happened at any point before the players finally calling it a day. Artemiev reached 8.0/11.

Joining Artemiev at the second position is Polish IM Nasuta Grzegorz. He played a sharp Moscow Variation of the Sicilian Defence, where his opponent was playing all the right moves, until in the late middlegame, when he made critical mistakes while approaching the time control. Nasuta made full use of his chances and won, also moving to 8.0/11.
The second board game between two untitled but extremely strong players — Xu Yinglun and Parham Maghsoodloo — ended in a fitting draw after a fighting game. Maghsoodloo seemed to be pushing in the endgame, but nothing came of it. Both remain stranded on 7.5/11. India’s GM Aravindh Chithambaram beat Austrian IM Christoph Menezes to reach 7.5/11 as well.
Michelle Catherina
In the girls’ section, there were a handful of novel results. The leader Frayna Janelle Mae failed to defend with the black pieces against IM Andrea Rodriguez. In the second table, WIM Pv Nandhidhaa managed to defeat WIM Alina Bivol with the white pieces. On the third table, the top seed WGM Dinara Saduakassova managed to outwit Vaishali R.. Thus, Saduakassova, India’s Nandhidhaa, and Rodriguez joined Frayna in the lead with 8.0/11 each. Also, WIM Michelle Catherina brought cheers to the host country as she beat WGM Nataliya Buksa with the white pieces. Michelle moved to 7.5/11, half a point behind the leaders.

Xiong beats Grzegorz, cements his lead at the top

Playing with the white pieces, GM Jeffrey Xiong beat the Polish IM Natusa Gregorz to cement his position at the top of the table. With 8.5/10, he now leads by a full point over Russian GM Vladislav Artemiev. 
 Artemiev Vladislav
Artemiev scored a victory, too, to reach 7.5/10. He managed to beat Georgian Irakli Beradze with the white pieces as well. The second board game between Xu Yinlung and Bozidar Ivekovic ended in a draw. Parham Maghsoodloo managed to put it across India’s GM Murali Karthikeyan. Thus, Yinlung, Parham, and Ivekovic now follow Xiong and Artemiev on 7.0/10. There was an upset on the sixth board as IM Christoph Menezes defeated the third seeded Russian Kirill Alekseenko.
Frayna Janelle Mae
In the girls’ section, the top board game between WIM Alina Bivol and IM Andrea Rodriguez ended in a tied result. However, WIM Frayna Janelle Mae beat WIM Michelle Catherina to walk into the sole lead with 8.0/10

Black Wednesday as Xiong beats Maghsoodloo, and Karthikeyan loses

It was a black Wednesday at the top tables as Parham Maghsoodloo lost to USA’s GM Jeffrey Xiong, while GM Murali Karthikeyan of India lost to Polish IM Nasuta Grzegorz, whose Sicilian from the black side ended up triumphing.
Natusa Grzegorz
Therefore, Xiong now leads the leaderboard with 7.5/9, while Grzegorz is following him closely on 7.0/9. Indian hope Karthikeyan is left stranded at 6.0/9 Joining him at the same score is GM Aravindh Chithambaram, who managed to beat country-mate Arjun Kalyan. Seven players made 9-game IM norms — Parham Maghsoodloo, Xu Yinglun, Irakli Beradze, Xu Yi, Bozidar Ivekovic, Harsha Bharathakoti, Srijit Paul and Rakesh Kumar Jena. Odisha’s local star FM Rakesh Kumar Jena brought in the much-needed cheer for the local camp with his second IM norm in his career.
Alina Bivol
The girls’section saw some fireworks as the Russian derby at the first table between WIM Alina Bivol and WIM Dinara Dordzhieva ended in a win for Alina, who was playing with the black pieces.The top seed WGM Dinara Saduakassova drew with Filipino WIM Frayna Janelle Mae. Thus, Alina and Frayna now lead the girls’ section with 7.0/9. WIM Dinara Dordzhieva, despite losing her game, made a WGM norm, while WFM Alinasab Mobina of Iran and India’s Priyanka K. made WIM norms.

Jeffrey Xiong beats Aravindh to become sole leader

Indian GM Aravindh Chithambaram faced a resourceful GM Jeffrey Xiong on Monday as, despite going all in with the black pieces, he could not unsettle his American opponent. Xiong won and took the sole lead for the first time in the tournament with 6.5/8. Four players — Nasuta Grzegorz, Xu Yinglun, Maghsoodloo, and Karthikeyan — are in close pursuit on 6.0/8.
While the top board game between Grzegorz and Yinglun ended in a draw, Iran No. 1 Parham Maghsoodloo played a gem of a game to positionally crush GM S.L. Narayanan. Erstwhile leader GM Murali Karthikeyan jumped back into contention as he defeated Iran’s IM Masoud Mosadeghpour to also reach the tied second spot.
In the girls’ section, there were no spectacular changes at the top as WIM Dinara Dordzhieva and WIM Frayna Janelle Mae both settled for draws. Notably, the top two seeds WGM Dinara Saduakassova and WIM Alina Bivol stayed in contention at 6.0/8 by winning their respective games. WIM Nandhidhaa Pv, who had held Dordzhieva on the top table is also on 6.0/8.
16ht August, Tuesday, will be observed as a rest day for the tournament and play will be resumed on Wednesday.

Karthikeyan loses, allows trio to overtake

In a bitter turn of events for the Indian National Champion GM Murali Karthikeyan, the white pieces did not prove enough as he went down to the second seed, USA’s GM Jeffrey Xiong. This ensured that Xiong walked into the lead, but he was not alone.
Xu Yinglun
China’s untitled player Xu Yinglun, who had a jittery start to his campaign with draws to Indians, has made a fine comeback with a power victory over the top seed, Russia’s GM Vladislav Artremiev. There was another surprising result on the third board as the third-seeded Russian GM Kirill Alekseenko ended up losing to Polish IM Grzegorz Nasuta in a rook endgame.Thus, three players — Xiong, Yinglun, and Nasuta — now share the lead with 5.5/7.
The girls’ section saw parity being restored as India’s Priyanka K. lost to co-leader WIM Frayna Janelle Mae of the Philippines. But WIM Dinara Dordzhieva was not to be outdone as she too joined Frayna by defeating IM Andrea Rodriguez. Both Frayna and Dinara continue to lead with 6.0/7. India’s WIM Pv Nandhidhaa stayed in the hunt with 5.5/7 by defeating the fourth seed Uzbek WIM Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova. Odisha’s centralised her knights and the queen in a powerful manner, entrenching them deep into her opponent WIM Bodda Pratyusha’s territory to win a well-played game. The eighth round of the tournament will be played out on the 15th August 2016 at the KIIT University campus.

Draw day at the top tables

(Pictured: Praggnanandhaa and Nihal, two of the youngest participants in the Open)

The competition saw a dour day at the top tables as most of the games ended in draws. The top seed and the leader — Artemiev with white and Karthikeyan with black— played an excellent game in the Kings Indian Defence opening that ended in with Black taking a perpetual. The game on the second table between USA’s GM Jeffrey Xiong and China’s Xy Yinglun was also a draw. With 5.0/6, GM Murali Karthikeyan of Tamil Nadu continues to lead the tournament.

Polish IM Grzegorz Nasuta and Iran’s IM Masoud Mosadeghpour held Indian grandmasters Aravindh Chithambaram and S.L. Narayanan respectively. Thr fifth table saw a spectacular game by the third-seeded Russian GM Kirill Alekseenko. This allowed the Russian to join the hunt for the top places. A bunch of players is pursuing the leader Karthikeyan at the second spot with 4.5/6.
In the girls’ section, the top two tables witnessed draws as well. WGM Dinara Saduakassova settled for a draw with her namesake WIM Dinara Dordzhieva of Russia. WIM Frayna Janelle Mae drew with Indian WIM Pv Nandhidhaa. The biggest shock occurred on the third board, where the leader of the Indian challenge WIM Bodda Pratyusha blundered towards the end and lost to Tamil Nadu’s Priyanka K., who caused her second straight upset. This surprise win allowed her to join Dordzhieva and Frayna in the lead with 5.0/6.

Murali Karthikeyan becomes the sole leader

The current Indian National Champion GM Murali Karthikeyan of Tamil Nadu snatched pole position at the end of five rounds of play here at the World Junior Chess Championship 2016 in the KIIT University, Bhubaneswar.

Six players went into the fifth day of play tied at 3.5/4. While both the top two board games by the first and the second seeds ended in a draw, Karthikeyan beat German IM Rasmus Svane with the white pieces to become the tournament’s first sole leader with 4.5/5. In the top board, Iran’s Masoud Moadeghpour held the top seed GM Vladislav Artemiev to a draw in a long game, GM S.L. Narayanan easily held USA’s GM Jeffrey Xiong at the second table.

In the girls’ section, the co-leaders Russia’s WIM Dinara Dorzhieva and Philippines’ WIM Frayna Janelle Mae split the point, thus continuing to lead with 4.5/5. Priyanka K. of Tamil Nadu managed to upset Ukrainian WGM Nataliya Buksa to join the pack pursuing pack at 4.0/5.

The new leader in the open section has an onerous task ahead, for winning the crown is one thing, but maintaining it on your head is another. Karthikeyan has a knack of outperforming others in pressure situations. It remains to be seen how well India’s 2015 National Champion fares in the coming days.