Top seed D Harika's title hopes were dealt yet another blow after she lost her 12th and penultimate round game against Elena Tairova of Russia in the World Junior Girls' Chess championship in Yerevan, Armenia.
The second successive loss saw Harika slip from the shared lead position to the joint-second in the premier tournament for Under-20 girls.
Vera Nebolsina regained sole lead after beating P Priya on the third board and now only a disaster can stop the Russian girl from winning the championship.
Harika still has a chance to figure among medals but for that she will have to do well in the final round game.
The Indian medal prospects in the boys' section too suffered a decisive setback as Parimarjan Negi and Abhijeet Gupta could not win their penultimate round games against Gawain Jones of England and Maxim Rodsshtein of Israel respectively.
Ahmed Adly of Egypt, who survived a scare at the hands of Abhijeet in the previous round, joined Ivan Popov of Russia in lead after scoring a fine victory over Davit Jojua of Georgia. Popov drew his penultimate round game with Georg Meier of Germany to reach nine points.
The best Indian performers in this section are still Abhijeet and Parimarjan and both have played above their rating in the event thus far.
In other games involving Indians, Deepan Chakkravarthy and G Rohit went down fighting while Ashwin Jayaram did well to beat compatriot G N Gopal. Abhishek Das played out a draw and R Arun Karthik ended a winner.
Among the other Indian girls in the fray, Eesha Karavade lost to Gulmira Dauletova of Kazakhstan. Mary Ann Gomes and Soumya Swaminathan were among those who won while Padmini Rout lost to Kulon Klaudia of Poland.
Important and Indian results round 12: (Indians unless specified):
Boys: Georg Meier (Ger, 8.5) drew with Ivan Popov (Rus, 9); Arman Pashikian (Arm, 8) drew with Wang Hao (Chn, 8.5); Adly Ahmed (Egy, 9) beat Davit Jojua (Geo, 7.5); Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 8.5) beat Avetik Grigoryan (Arm, 7.5); Maxim Rodshtein (Isr, 7.5) drew with Abhijeet Gupta (7.5); Parimarjan Negi (7.5) drew with Gawain Jones (Eng, 7.5); G Rohit (7) lost to Evgeny Romanov (Rus, 8); Deepan Chakkravarthy (6.5) lost to Amin Bassem (Egy, 7.5); Ashwin Jayaram (7.5) beat G N Gopal (6.5); R Arun Karthik (5.5) beat Maxat Alaguzov (Kaz, 4.5); Pablo Garcia Cardenas (Esp, 5) drew with Abhishek Das (5)
Girls: Elena Tairova (Rus, 8.5) beat D Harika (8.5); Melia Salome (Geo, 8.5) beat Jolanta Zawadzka (Pol, 8.5); P Priya (7.5) lost to Vera Nebolsina (Rus, 9.5); Diana Arutyunova (Kaz, 7.5) lost to Mongontuul Bathuyag (Mgl, 8.5); Gulmira Dauletova (Kaz, 8) beat Eesha Karavade (7); Sabrina Vega Gutierrez (Esp, 7.5) beat Sona Pertlova (Cze, 7); Sopiko Guramishvili (7) drew with Madona Bokuchava (Geo, 7); Soumya Swaminathan (7.5) beat Anahit Kharatyan (Arm, 6.5); Ghazal Hakimifard (Iri, 6.5) lost to Anna Gasik (Arm, 7.5); Bela Khotenashvili (Geo, 7) beat Tatev Abrahamyan (Usa, 6); Mary Ann Gomes (7) beat Katrine Tjolsen (Pol, 6); Padmini Rout (6) lost to Kulon Klaudia (Pol, 7).