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Smooth sailing for favourites in Asian Junior Chess

Chennai: World Under-10 silver medalist Murali Karthikeyan caused a upset holding higher rated and IM norm holder Swayams Mishra to a draw in a first round tie of the Asian Junior Chess Championships.

The opening day, otherwise, yielded results on the expected lines with favourites led by top seed B Adhiban having a smooth sailing.

Karthikeyan adopted the classical Queens` Gambit declined variation and accepted hanging pawns. Though he lost a pawn on the queenside and was staring at defeat, he managed to create complications in a Knight ending and created a dangerous passer on the queenside.

In the end, it was Mishra who had to play carefully to hang on to a draw.

Adhiban and strong contender M R Lalith Babu employed the Caro Kann defence to outplay their rivals Kaushik and Akash respectively while Defending Champion Ashwin Jayaram played Sicilian defence against Pratik Patil to score a full point.

Grandmaster norm holder and strong contender Vaibhav Suri pulled out of the event citing personal reasons.

In the girls category, the top seed and hot favourite WIM Padmini Rout won pawns at will against her opponent Homa Alavi to win her opening tie while Candidate Master Bhakti Kulkarni too had an easy outing against Aparajita Gochchikar.

Young Ivana Maria Furtado, twice silver medalist in World Championships, held her higher rated opponent WFM Nakhbayeva Guliskhan of Kazakhstan to a creditable draw.

Yet another youngster G Lasya drew her game against higher rated Khadamelsharieh Sarasadat.

In the lone upset in the girls side, Supriya Joshi outwitted her higher rated rival J Saranya.