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Asian Continental Chess: Harsha maintains sole lead; Nandhidhaa grabs lead in women’s section


New Delhi, Nov 1 (IANS) Overnight sole leader Grandmaster Harsha Bharathakoti held top seed R. Praggnanandhaa in the sixth round to maintain his sole lead with five points in the Asian Continental Chess Championship here on Monday.

Playing the white side of Catalan opening, Harsha exchanged the pieces with his top seed at regular intervals to sign the peace treaty after 33 moves. Eleven players, including Prgganandhaa, trail the leader by half a point.

In the other important sixth-round matches, Grandmaster Leon Luke Mendonca drew with Sethuraman SP, while Karthikeyan Murali split the point with compatriot Grandmaster B. Adhiban. Second seed Narayanan SL moved closer with a win over Sandipan Chanda, while Aravindh Chithambaram got the better of Ayush Sharma.

In the women’s section, Nandhidhaa PV grabbed the sole lead after beating compatriot Priyanka Nutakki in the sixth round. Playing with dark pieces in the Alapin Variation of Sicilian Defence, Nandhidhaa capitalised on the positional mistake of her opponent in the middle game to garner full point from the outing to take her points tally to five-and-a-half points.

She now enjoys a solid one-point lead over the nearest contenders, Padmini Rout and Priyanka Nutakki, with three rounds remaining.

After a sedate start, 2018 edition winner, third seed Padmini Rout found her rhythm to beat sixth seed Nilufur Yakubbaeva of Uzbekistan to follow the leader with four-and-a-half points. In the crucial seventh round on Tuesday, Padmini will take on Nandhidhaa while Priyanka is paired against Yakubbaeva.

Important results Round 6: Harsha Bharathakoti (5) drew with R. Praggnanandhaa (4.5); Leon Luke Mendonca (4.5) drew with Sethuraman SP (4.5); Karthikeyan Murali (4.5) drew with B. Adhiban (4.5); Shamsiddin Vokhidov of Uzbekistan (4.5) drew with Maksat Atabayev of Turkmenistan (4.5); Sandipan Chanda (3.5) lost to Narayanan SL (4.5); Ayush Sharma (3.5) lost to Aravindh Chithambaram (3.5); Saparmyrat Atabayev of Turkmenistan (4.5) beat Rinat Jumabayev of Kazakhstan (3.5); Pranav V (4) drew with Aditya Mittal (4); Shyam Sundar M (4) drew with Urazayev Arystanbek of Kazakhstan (4); Koustav Chatterjee (4.5) beat Viani Antonio Dcunha (3.5); Abhimanyu Puranik (4) beat Ajay Karthikeyan (3); Sankalp Gupta (3.5) drew with Nigmatov Ortik (3.5); Deep Sengupta (3) lost to Sammed Jaykumar Shete (4); Shyaamnikhil P (3.5) drew with Anuj Shrivatri (3.5); Karthik Venkataraman (4) beat Amartuvshin Ganzorig of Mongolia (3).

Women’s Round 6: Priyanka Nutakki (4.5) lost to Nandhidhaa PV (5.5); Padmini Rout (4.5) beat Nilufar Yakubbaeva of Uzbekistan (4); Divya Deshmukh (4) drew with Soumya Swaminathan (4); Vo Thi Kim Phung of Vietnam (4) drew with Mary Ann Gomes (4); Vantika Agrawal (4) beat Cholleti Sahajasri (3.5); Saina Salonika (3.5) drew with Tania Sachdev (3.5); Enkhtuul ALtan-Ulzii of Mongolia (3) lost to Thi Mai Hung Nguyen of Vietnam (4); Amina Kairbekova of Kazakhstan (3.5) drew with Srishti Pandey (3.5); Nisha Mohota (4) beat Xeniya Balabayeva of Kazakhstan (3); Rakshitta Ravi (4) beat Varshini V (3).



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