Chotowa: Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi bowed out of title contention in the World Junior Chess Championship after losing to A R Saleh Salem of United Arab Emirates in the 10th round.
Having lost the previous round against championship leader Dmitry Andreikin of Russia, Negi was out of sorts in his clash against GM Salem and remained on six points out of a possible 10.
There is a little hope for a medal for Negi but for that he will have to win all his remaining games and also hope for favourable results on the other boards.
Top seed Dmitry Andreikin of Russia retained his slender half point lead following a draw with Peruvian Emilio Arturo Cordova Daza on the top board. Andreikin took his tally to eight points out of a possible 10 and Daza and Sanan Sjugirov of Russia are now on the heels of the leader.
Salem is in the next group of seven pointers with seven others and S P Sethuraman is now the best performing Indian having 6.5 points in his bag.
In the girls championship being played simultaneously, Padmini Rout kept herself in medal contention after settling for a draw with Sopiko Guramishvili of Georgia.
Anna Muzychuk of Slovenia looks unstoppable in this section after she won against Alisa Melekhina of United States. The Slovenian has nine points from her 10 games and only Olga Girya of Russia is within striking distance a full point behind.
Padmini shares the third spot on 7.5 points along with Gulnar Marfat Mammadova of Azerbaijan while Bhakti Kulkarni is close behind on seven points.
Negi faced the Sicilian Dragon through transposition with white pieces and did not get much out of the opening. Salem was on target in the middle game when he went for a slightly weak central pawn and Negi decided to part with two pieces for a rook to keep the game going.
However, as things unfolded, Salem`s Bishop pair did a lot of damage to white`s position and eventually Negi lost his rook for one of the Bishops. The game lasted 45 moves.
Among other Indians in the fray, Sethuraman accounted for compatriot M R Lalith Babu. After a disastrous start, Sethuraman is back in the hunt for a medal but still a lot of hard work remains for the junior national champion.
Mateusz Bobula of Poland played out a draw with Swapnil Dhopade while Debashis Das split the point with Columbian David Vanegas.
In other games involving Indians in this section, Shiyam Thavandiran of Canada drew with Anwesh Upadhyaya, R Arun Karthik got a creditable half point against off-form Dutch GM Wouter Spoelman while Sagar Shah defeated Ashwin Jayaram.