Praggnanandhaa, Divya Deshmukh make winning starts

Photo: Amruta Mokal/ ChessBase India

India began their campaign in the World Youth Chess Championship 2019 on a rousing note, with GM R Praggnanandhaa, WIM Divya Deshmukh and WCM Mrudul Dehankar scoring emphatic victories in round one in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Fourteen-year-old prodigy Praggnanandhaa, who has opted to play in the Under-18 category, beat Italy’s Botta Massimiliano in 35 moves.


Photo Amruta Mokal/ ChessBase India

India’s brightest hope WIM Divya Deshmukh had no difficulty in defeating her opponent Fatima Marium.

Mrudul Dehankar Photo: Amruta Mokal/ ChessBase India

Mrudul, India’s top player in U-16 Girls, had it far easier, overcoming Kristyn Otrubova of Czech Republic in 19 moves. Mrudul started the game with her king’s pawn while Kristyn opted for the Sicilian Defence. Mrudul pounced on a couple of inaccuracies on moves 12 and 13 to take charge of the board. Six moves later, Kristyn had no option but to resign.

India is hosting the World Youth Chess Championship for the first time. More than 450 players from 65 countries are participating in this 11-round event, being played across six categories: Under-14 Open and Girls, Under-16 Open and Girls, and Under-18 Open and Girls.

Key early results:

Open U18: Shant Sargsyan (Arm) bt Vladyslav Sydoryka (Ukr) 1-0; Massimiliano Botta (Ita) lost to R Praggnanandhaa (Ind) 0—1; Aryan Gholami (Iri) bt Vojtech Sramek (Cze) 1-0; Vedant Panesar (Ind) drew with Viktor Gazik (Svk)


Girls U18: Polina Shuvalova (Rus) bt Kristyna Laurincova (Cze) 1-0; Kseniya Zeliantsova (Blr) bt Anna Afonasieva (Rus) 1-0

Open U16: Moke Hans Niemann (USA) bt Sai Karthik (Ind) 1-0; Costamilan Tomiello (Bra) lost to Mamikon Gharibyan (Arm); Daghli Arash (Iri) bt Szymon Skurniak (Pol) 1-0

Girls U16: Leya Garifullina (Rus) bt Anjum Noshin (Ban) 1-0; Mrudul Dehankar (Ind) bt Kristyn Otrubova (Cze)

Open U14: Vinay Jumani (Ind) lost to Volodar Murzin (Rus) 0-1; Aydin Suleymanli (Aze) bt LMST De Silva (Sri) 1-0; Pranav Anand (Ind) bt Manish Kadam (Ind) 1-0

Girls U14: Divya Deshmukh (Ind) bt Marium Fatima (Ind) 1-0; Anastas Abdala (Chi) lost to Rakshitta Ravi (Ind)