Woman Grandmaster D Harika registered a smashing victory over International Master Maka Purtseladze of Georgia and jumped to joint second position after the 12th and penultimate round in the World Junior Girls' Chess Championship in Istanbul.
International Master Elisabeth Paehtz of Germany defeated Turkan Mamedjarova of Azerbaijan to stretch her lead to a full point with only one game remaining. The German moved to 9.5 points and is now followed by Harika, Russian duo of Irina Vasilevich and Natalija Pogonina and Chinese leader Gu Xiaobing.
In the final round, Harika not only needs a victory against Paehtz but also some favourable results on other boards to win a medal.
Grandmaster Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan won the boys' championship with one round to spare after taking a draw with Finnish Grandmaster Tomi Nyback in the 12th round game.
Mamedyarov moved to an unassailable 10 points with just one round remaining as he is 1.5 points ahead of his two closest rivals -- Nyback and GM Ferenc Berkes of Hungary.
Mamedyarov, also the 2003 winner, became the first player in the 55-year history of World Junior Championship to win the crown twice.
The event is an annual feature since 1973 while the girls' championship was first introduced in 1986. Amongst the Indian girls in the fray, Tania Sachdev bounced back in the event albeit a little too late, and grounded Anna Sherevich of Belarus in a one-sided affair.
Kruttika Nadig and last year's bronze medallist Eesha Karavade were held to draws by Alina Motoc of Romania and Natalia Zdebskaja of Ukraine respectively while N Raghavi had a bye. Tania took her tally to 7.5 after the victory, Eesha and Kruttika are on 7 while Raghavi, aided by the bye, took her tally to 4.5 points.
Amongst the Indian boys, GM norm holder Deep Sengupta emerged as the best performer with 7 points after drawing with Ildar Khairullin of Russia. IM S Poobesh Anand, who was a having a reasonable time until now, went down to Russian Grandmaster Igor Kursonov and Parimarjan Negi's wait for the Elo rating gain for the IM title confirmation continued after he drew with El Debs Felipe De Cresce of Brazil.
Twelve-year old Negi will still make his requirements in case he wins the final round game.
The other Indian boys had a good day with G Rohit and Akshat Khamparia coasting to victories over Maenhout Thibaut of Belgium and Leandro Perdomo of Argentina respectively while G N Gopal held Grandmaster Elshan Moradiabadi to a draw.
Harika was at her best in tackling Purtseladze, who played the Nimzo Indian defense as black. The Georgian was apparently well-armed in the opening as she followed an early game of the event played by Harika for quite some time before deviating.
Harika's confidence was visible right from the beginning as she embarked on the perfect plan and executed it in style winning an exchange in a tactical melee. The Hyderabad-based Harika did not look back thereafter and exchanged pieces at will to land in a won endgame. The game lasted 64 moves.
Tania was also quite impressive against Anna Sherevich in a Queen's gambit declined game wherein the Indian played white. Sherevich went haywire in the middle game losing a couple of pawns and never recovered.
The checkmate threats were looming large on the Belarussian when she called it a day on move 40.
Important and Indian results Round 12:
Boys: (Indians unless specified): Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 10) drew with Tomi Nyback (Fin, 8.5); Evgeny Alekseev (Rus, 8) drew with Ferenc Berkes (Hun, 8.5); Wang Yue (Chn, 8) drew with Erwin L'ami (Ned, 8); Radoslaw Wojtaszek (Pol, 8) drew with Daniel Stellwagen (Ned, 7.5); Vugar Gashimov (Aze, 8) beat Bartel Mateusz (Pol, 7); Sergei Zhigalko (Blr, 7.5) drew with Alexander Kharitonov (Rus, 7.5); Jan Smeets (Ned, 8) beat Bartlomiej Heberla (Pol, 7); Davit Magalashvili (Geo, 7.5) drew with Wang Hao (Chn, 7.5); Sanikidze Tornike (Geo, 7) drew with Evgeny Tomashevsky (Rus, 7); Borki Predojevic (Bih, 7.5) beat Evgeny Roma nov (Rus, 6.5); Deep Sengupta (7) drew with Ildar Khairullin (Rus, 7); Andrey Zhigalko (Blr, 6.5) lost to Li Chao (Chn, 7.5); Igor Kurnosov (Rus, 7.5) beat S Poobesh Anand (6.5); G N Gopal (6) drew with Elshan Moradiabadi (Iri, 6); Maenhout Thibaut (Bel, 5.5) lost to G Rohit (6.5); El Debs Felip e De Cresce (Bra, 6) drew with Parimarjan Negi (6); Akshat Khamparia (6) beat Leandro Perdomo (Arg, 5).
Girls': Turkan Mamedjarova Turkan (Aze, 8) lost to Elisabeth Paehtz (Ger, 9.5); Irina Vasilevich (Rus, 8.5) drew with Natalija Pogonina (Rus, 8.5); Jolanta Zawadzka (Pol, 7.5) drew with Gu Xiaobing (Chn, 8.5); D Harika (8.5) beat Maka Purtseladze (Geo, 7); Nana Dzagnidze (Geo, 7.5) drew with Beata Kadziol ka (Pol, 8); Marina Guseva (Rus, 7.5) beat Zhang Jilin (Chn, 7); Andriasian Siranush (Arm, 7.5) beat Anna Ushenina Anna (Ukr, 6.5); Tania Sachdev (7.5) beat Anna Sharevich (Blr); Anya Corke (Hkg, 6.5) lost to Melia Salome (Geo, 7.5); Alina Motoc (Rom, 7) drew with Kruttika Nadig (7); Eesha Karava de (7) drew with Natalia Zdebskaja (Ukr, 7); Bela Khotenashvili (Geo, 7) beat Viktori Bashkite (Est, 6) N Raghavi (4.5) had a bye.