Woman Grandmaster and top seed Dronavalli Harika came back into reckoning for top honours after beating Sona Petrova of the Czech Republic in the fourth round of the World Junior girls' chess championship in Yerevan, Armenia.
Playing black, it turned out to be a hard day for Harika as she had to fight 85 grueling moves before overcoming Petrova, who played the white side of a Grunfeld defense. It was energetic play in the middle game that netted Harika a pawn and later although Petrova managed to get what was a theoretically drawn rook endgame, it was always a difficult defense.
The Indian girls had a reasonable day again as Eesha Karavade played out a draw on the second board against Sopiko Guramishvili of Georgia. The Pune-based Indian WGM did not have to exert herself much with black as the game ended in just 18 moves when Eesha managed to equalise.
The youngest Indian in the fray, 13-year old Padmini Rout, who had caused the biggest upset in the second round by beating Harika, secured her third victory accounting for Narine Ghazaryan of Armenia. Soumya Swaminathan also ended on the winning side against Armenian Nune Darbinyan while Mary Ann Gomes was held to a draw. The lone loser from Indian camp in this section was P Priya.
Sarah Hoolt of Germany and Vera Nebolsina of Russia share the lead on 4 points each while Eesha is in joint third spot with two others.
In the World Junior event organised simultaneously, GM elect G N Gopal continued with his solid game and held Gawain Jones of England to a draw. Playing white, Gopal fought till 80 moves before signing peace.
Ending on the losing side was world's youngest Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi who was outdone by Dmitry Andreikin of Russia in a Ruy Lopez Berlin game.
After a forgettable start, National Junior Champion Abhijeet Gupta played a fine game to beat Leonardo Fusco of Argentina while GM Deepan Chakkravarthy recorded his third victory on the trot at the expense of Kazakh Maxat Alaguzov.
David Howell of England, Georg Meier of Germany, Maxim Rodshtein of Israel and So Wesley of Philippines share the lead on 3.5 points.
Joint fifth at this stage are Gopal and Deepan with 11 others.
Important results from Round 4 (Indians unless specified): Maxim Rodshtein (Isr, 3.5) drew with So Wesley (Phi, 3.5); David Howell (Eng, 3.5) drew with Daniel Stellwagen (Ned, 3); Wang Hao (Chn, 3) drew with Ivan Popov (Rus, 3); Arman Pashikian (Arm, 3) drew with Viktor Laznicka (Cze, 3); G N Gopal (3) drew with Gawain Jones (Eng, 3); Parimarjan Negi (2.5) lost to Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 3); Adly Ahmed (Egy, 3) beat Abhishek Das (2); Maxat Alaguzov (Kaz, 2) lost to Deepan Chakkravarthy (3); Dzurabek Khamrakulov (Uzb, 3) beat G Rohit (2); Ashwin Jayaram (2.5) beat Thibaut Vandenbussche (Bel, 1.5); Abhijeet Gupta (2) beat Leonardo Fusco (Arg, 1); Dagur Arngrimsson (Isl, 2) beat R Arun Karthik (1).
Girls: Vera Nebolsina (Rus, 4) beat Bela Khotenashvili (Geo, 3); Sopiko Guramishvili (Geo, 3.5) drew with Eesha Karavade (3.5); Tatevik Airapetian (Arm, 2.5) lost to Sarah Hoolt (Ger, 4); Sabrina Vega Gutierrez (Esp, 3.5) beat Mongontuul Bathuyag (Mgl, 2.5); Sona Pertlova (Cze, 2) lost to D Harika (3); Jolanta Zawadzka (Pol, 3) beat Haritomeni Markantonaki (Gre, 2); Mary Ann Gomes (2.5) drew with Lia Martirosian (Arm, 2.5); Simona Limontaite (Ltu, 3) beat Diana Arutyunova (Ukr, 2); P Priya (2) lost to Tatev Abrahamyan (Usa, 3); Nune Darbinyan (Arm, 2) lost to Soumya Swaminathan (3); Padmini Rout (3) beat Narine Ghazaryan (Arm, 2).