Athens (Greece): Grandmaster-elect Sahaj Grover came back in reckoning for a podium finish with a fluent victory against Mark Lapidus of Estonia in the 11th round of World Junior chess championship, here.
With his sixth victory besides three draws, Grover took his tally to 7.5 points and this was an excellent recovery for him after a loss in the previous round against top seed Ding Liren of China.
Playing the black side of a Ruy Lopez, Grover gave no chances to Lapidus and launched an attack against the king very early in the middle game. The Estonian, tried combating to no avail and was grinded in a mere 27 moves.
Alexander Ipatov of Turkey joined Richard Rapport of Hungary in the lead on nine points after the former won against Serbian Aleksandar Indjic.
Rapport played out a draw with Nils Grandelius of Sweden. Samvel Ter-Sahakyan of Armenia holds the sole third spot on 8.5 points and he is followed by five players including Ding Liren with eight points apiece.
With just two rounds remaining, Grover shares the ninth spot and needs two victories to be in with a chance. The Indian next plays Yaroslav Zherebukh of Ukraine who is more than 100 points above him in ELO ratings.
Debashish Das, who earlier made a GM norm in the championship, bowed out of contention with his second successive loss. Zherebukh outclassed Das in all departments of the game.
In the girls` championship, the Indian challenge ended after Bhakti Kulkarni went down to Aleksandra Goryachkina of Russia. With just 6.5 points in her kitty, Bhakti can at best hope for a top ten finish.
It was a forgettable day in fact for the Indian eves as Ivana Maria Furtado and Pon N Krithika also lost their games against Andrea Paula Rodriguez Rueda of Columbia and Kardelen Cemhan of Turkey respectively.
In the open section, Diptayan Ghosh?s International Master norm aspirations suffered a setback after he lost to Grigoriy Oparin of Russia.
National Junior Champion Aravindh Chithambaram did well to hold Danish Mads Andersen to a draw while the all Indian affair between M Shyam Sundar and Anwesh Upadhyaya also ended peacefully.
P SHyam Nikil also drew while Nishant Malhotra caused another upset and defeated Alexandros Dounis of Greece.
Important and Indian results round 11 open (Indians unless specified): Richard Rapport (Hun, 9) drew with Nils Grandelius (Swe, 8); Alexander Ipatov (TUr, 9) beat Aleksandar Indjic (Srb, 7); Ding Liren (Chn, 8) drew with Yu Yangyi (Chn, 8); Samvel Ter-Sahakyan (Arm, 8.5) beat Conrad Holt (Usa, 7); Mikhail Antipov (Rus, 7) lost to Aleksandr Shimanov (Rus, 8); Karen Grigoryan (Arm, 7) lost to Wei Yi (Chn, 8); Yaroslav Zherebukh (Ukr, 7.5) beat Debashis Das (6.5); Mark Lapidus (Est, 6.5) lost to Sahaj Grover (7.5); Grigoriy Oparin (Rus, 7.5) beat DIptayan Ghosh (6.5); P Shyam Nikil (6.5) drew with Evandro Amorim Barbosa (Bra, 6.5); Aravindh Chithambaram (6.5) drew with Mads Andersen (Den, 6.5); M Shyam Sundar (6) drew with Anwesh Upadhyaya (6); Nishant Malhotra (5) beat Alexandros Dounis (Gre, 4)
Girls: Meri Arabidze (Geo, 7.5) lost to Deysi Cori (8.5); Irina Bulmaga (Rou, 7.5) drew with Guo Qi (Chn, 8); Monica Sihite Chelsie (Ina, 7) lost to Anastasia Bodnaruk (Rus, 8); Nastassia Ziaziulkina (Blr, 8) beat Wang Jue (Chn, 6.5); Alina Kashlinskaya (Rus, 6.5) lost to Khayala Abdulla (Aze, 7.5); Elena Semenova (Rus, 6.5) lost to Jovana Vojinovic (Mne, 7.5); Aulia Medina Warda (Ina, 7.5) beat Abdumalik Zhansaya (Kaz, 6.5); Aleksandra Goryachkina (Rus, 7) beat Bhakti Kulkarni (6.5); Andrea Paula Rodriguez Rueda (Col, 6.5) beat Ivana Maria Furtado (5.5); Kardelen Cemhan (Tur, 5.5) beat Pon N Krithika (4.5).